Memorial of Perpetua and Felicity, martyrs
[Read the Daily Reflection at Take Five for Faith or on page 9 of the parish bulletin.]
Today’s reflection speaks of keeping the end in sight. Always knowing where it is that we are headed. And, hopefully, we are all striving to reach heaven. I suppose a “terminal” diagnosis should have had some profound effect on me and how I view my life.
But you know… It really didn’t.
Last week, Fr. John gave us our parish mission, during which he spoke of the 5 levels or thresholds of discipleship, as outlined in Sherry Weddell’s book, “Forming Intentional Disciples.” Forgive me for talking “off the cuff” as it were, but as I recall, the five thresholds were: Trust, Curiosity, Openness, Seeking, and Intentional Discipleship. The difference between the Seeking and the Intentional Discipleship stage was that when you are Seeking, there is still something that is holding you back from giving everything to God. Or, to put it another way, you have some safety net, security blanket, something to which you are clinging instead of completely abandoning yourself to God. So he invited us to drop our nets.
What is my net?
No. Seriously. What is my net?
Do I have a net?
I have been thinking and praying about this for the last week, and I’m not sure that I do. Perhaps my entrance into the Church came a bit oddly, but it seems to be that in one day I jumped from being the laziest agnostic/atheist in the world to somewhere between Openness and Seeking. And I “dropped the net” sometime during my extensive 2.5 month RCIA experience. 🙂
[Of course, now that I said that, I’m having visions of Fr. John rolling his eyes and placing me firmly in the Pre-Trust category.]
And maybe this is why my life didn’t change too drastically when I got this terminal diagnosis. Because it wasn’t my life to live anyway, at that point. Why would I get incredibly mad or deeply depressed when I don’t think that I am entitled to any specific length of time here on earth? How would I be “missing out” on anything by dying “early” if I hope to enter into eternal life with the Creator? Why would I worry about what I’m going to face, if I know that He will be with me every step of the way?
So I don’t.
I’m not mad, sad, or worried. Or well, I’m not worried about *me*. I am concerned for those whom I love. Even though *I* know that God will be with them, I don’t know that *they* (or all of them, at any rate) know this. So when something happens to me, what will help them to trust in God and not fall into anger and despair? This is probably why discipleship is so important. It’s not for us, although to be sure we definitely benefit, but it’s for others. So they can see our witness and be lead towards the Lord.
This is not to say that every day is bliss. FAR from it! Actually, lately every day is a great struggle. Sometimes, it’s all I can do to make it from minute to minute. Other times, I feel okay and can do more things. Through it all, I have a deep sense of joy. Which is not giddiness. Believe me. Especially when I am curled up in agony. Luckily, or unluckily depending on your perspective, most of the time my suffering is not apparent to others. And usually I can still get things done. For which I am so thankful. Because I know that I will be useful until the moment that I die. And I so desire to do as much as I can.
God gave me gifts and talents, and I’m not one to want to bury them, but fling them out there into the world. With glee! And more enthusiasm than is advised by most sane people, but that’s my Tigger-esque personality. I am not one to stand around in hallways waiting for others.
[Oh. Wait. I do wait sometimes. This is, I think, one of the only changes that I’ve made. I tend to wait for my friends, even if it is just to say “Hi” for 5 seconds. Because, next to God, people are the most important. And if I died tonight, I would be sad that I didn’t take that time to say “Hi.”]
I stand here (or bounce, as the case may be) saying, “Here I am, Lord. Use me!” Or I am not feeling well and I intercede for others saying, “Here I am, Lord. Use me!” And perhaps more than the intercessions and requests, and through it all, I pray, “Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!” because it is truly a blessed life.
Um. Yeah. We were originally doing a Scripture reflection, right? I didn’t forget. Jeremiah is actually talking about all this too. In his own way, he is calling the Israelites to drop their nets. To let go of those things which seem to be means of salvation: power, money, status, friendship with powerful allies, foreign gods… And to turn to the One who truly has the power to save them. To repent of their sins and come back into relationship with God.
St. Perpetua and St. Felicity, pray for us!