Christ ‘enough to satisfy every heart’
February 6th, 2017
By Sister Jean Evans, RSM
Each of us is called to be a disciple. We’re called to listen like disciples (Isaiah 50:4). “The Lord opened my ears that I may listen like a disciple. Morning after morning he wakes me to hear that I might learn from him how to offer a word of comfort to the weary.”
This is the call of God’s mercy to each of us: To offer a word of comfort to the weary, to those heavily burdened, to the heart sore.
There are people who feel a call to follow Christ for a lifetime. To do this within a religious community where one’s vocation is supported by a common life, by personal and communal prayer, and by the service of Christ in others is a ministry within the church.
These three elements – prayer, community and service are essential to the living of a vocation as a sister, brother or priest within a religious order or congregation.
But let’s go more deeply into the call. Pope Francis talks about the “gaze” of Christ, the way that Christ looked at the tax collector, Levi who responded by leaving his post at the Jerusalem version of the IRS and followed Jesus immediately. What was this attraction? What was the magnetism of Jesus that would make Levi stop what he was doing in order to follow Jesus?
The gaze of Jesus, its amazing warmth, its energy and its serenity, that’s what he experienced (Psalm 26). One look, one moment in our hearts can change the whole course of a life, perhaps your life.
The church needs men and women religious not just as a work force to staff and sponsor institutions, though there is infinite scope for our service. The church needs women and men religious to witness for all to see that Christ is enough. Christ is enough to satisfy the desires of every heart. We don’t marry for a good reason. Religious sisters and brothers witness to the life of heaven, to the reality of a loving God who calls us all to the “table of plenty.”
Jesuit theologian Karl Rahner says that human beings are intrinsic openness to the infinite. That means it’s in our DNA to be open to God, the source of our being. It’s within our life stream to long for the living God whom we now know and possess through faith.
As Christians, and as consecrated religious, it is our very nature to be signs pointing beyond ourselves. We can live something that is more than day-to-day routine, more than the security of certain relationships and lifestyle choices. It is our call to risk a radical life-changing response to Christ, to be in him an unequivocal sign of God.
Over years of living with Christ at your side, as he informs your choices and encourages you, it’s possible to discover in oneself an unquenchable thirst for God. It is because we have begun to taste and see the sweetness of the Lord (Psalm 34).
Our world craves such authenticity even as it busies itself with trifles.
Sister Jean is vocation minister for Sisters of Mercy West Midwest and assists Mercy Sister Suzanne Toolan with music at first Friday prayer around the cross, Taizé, in Burlingame.
From February 9, 2017 issue of Catholic San Francisco.