Over the weekend I was praying with a group of my CSJP Sisters, which is always a heart-stretching and heart-warming experience. As it happens, the prayer sheet we were using had some weird sort of typo where the characters “g=” were accidentally inserted right before the word “faithful.” During the quiet reflection time, I couldn’t get the resulting formula out of my head or heart:
God equals faithful. God is faithful. So simple yet so very powerful. I almost feel like I should engrave that on something or post it on my wall. When life seems complicated or the path ahead unsure, remember, God is faithful.
Then I prayed with the readings for this Gaudete Sunday, and was stopped in my tracks by the second reading from Thessalonians:
Brothers and sisters:
Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing.
In all circumstances give thanks,
for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.
Do not quench the Spirit.
Do not despise prophetic utterances.
Test everything; retain what is good.
Refrain from every kind of evil.
May the God of peace make you perfectly holy
and may you entirely, spirit, soul, and body,
be preserved blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The one who calls you is faithful,
and he will also accomplish it.
The one who calls is faithful. The one who calls will accomplish it. It is not up to me. It is not about me or us. Authentic call is about responding to God’s faithful love.
This weekend, I have several friends who have responded to the one who calls in faith, trust and love in special and powerful ways. My friend Stephanie married her sweetheart Matt. My friend Graham was ordained as a deacon on the path to being ordained as a priest. Another friend was in Peru witnessing the final profession of one of her Sisters. And today, my friend Belinda professes her final yes as a Benedictine Sister.
My prayer for all of my friends who are responding to the one who is faithful with a big “YES,” and this includes myself and the four CSJP Sisters who are stepping into the circle of leadership with me in January as we begin our term of office on the congregation leadership team, is just what this reading says.
May we rejoice always
Praying and giving thanks without ceasing, no matter what
May we embrace God’s will in our lives and in the lives of those with whom we are called to journey.
Spirit of God, soak us with your goodness and surprises.
Open our ears to your prophetic word.
Guide us on the path of creative experimentation.
Lead us to goodness and light and everything which gives life.
God of peace, strengthen our spirit, soul and body so that we may be ready,
Ready to respond joyfully always to your faithful love.
Help us to trust that it is YOU who works through, in, and with us.
You have called, God of peace and love and joy.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.