Something Jesus and I have been talking about lately is changing ones mind. Everyone wants people to change their minds, but it’s so hard to change our own mind. And I’m not talking about changing your mind on big things like the faith, abortion, or things that are very black and white. I’m talking about changing your mind on mission, vocation, careers, our calling, etc. These things are not so black and white, and we like to think there’s right and wrong answers, but let’s take that weight off your shoulders. Jesus indeed has desires for us, just like some of you have a mom who want you to go to med school or seminary, but even if that ends up not being your calling your mother still loves you and so does Jesus. We have to remember that choices like these should never be looked at as a means to an end, but rather an end in themselves.
As you should know by now, Jesus calls us to different places sometimes just so we can learn something about ourselves. Going to Chicago and falling in love with it, and really feeling God’s presence, and maybe even discerning living there, doesn’t mean you should or shouldn’t move there. But it also doesn’t mean discerning it is a total waste of time. Not discerning it would have been a waste of time, because when you do not surrender your desires to Jesus and spend time asking him what they mean, you miss out on learning not only who He is, but also who you are. This world tells us you will be more satisfied with your choice if you have less options, but Jesus says “ I did not send you into the world to be satisfied, because the world is not your home. You are in this world to thirst.To thirst for something more.” This is not ice cream flavors we are talking about here folks. And if you want a simple choice, choose Heaven or Hell.
I’ve been reading the Gospel of Luke lately, and the other day I was reading about the man with many demons who nobody wanted to be around. This man was an absolute out cast. Jesus came and cast the demons out of him and into the swine. Then the man was free, and he sat at Jesus’s feet. He desired to know more, but Jesus had to go. The people there were completely moved by fear, and they wanted Jesus out of their town. The man whom He had cured of the demons, begged our Lord to stay. He was afraid to stay with these people, and to be abandoned. And that right their struck me, and it struck me hard. Jesus turns to this man and tells him to stay, to be grateful, and share the truth with others. He sent the man home, despite his begging.
This struck me because sometimes in life we go running to what is holy, but not by faith, rather fear. We are afraid if we don’t go on the big mission trips, go be a priest, or travel to the ends of the Earth spreading the word, that somehow we are not enough. This stayed with me for days, and I’ve been thinking about it a lot. After battling the discernment of religious life, and then wondering if I’m called to go do mission after I graduate, I’ve realized there’s more fear then faith behind my desires. Not that these are not good things, but fear does not come from God. Doubt and confusion does not come from God. And as I started to realize these things the weight came off my chest. I started looking through the Gospels seeing all these times where the disciples thought they were called to do one thing, which was a good thing, but not what Jesus wanted them to do. One person that came to mind a lot, was my man St. Peter. Peter wanted to build tents during the transfiguration, he wanted Jesus to stop talking about mystical things so Jesus could live longer, Peter even wanted to follow Jesus to the cross. Yet, Jesus again and again rebuked him. I mean look back to when Peter first met Jesus, he was washing his nets, he was ready to go home. THen Jesus comes along, and drags him back out to the water, and you know the rest.Throughout the Gospel we see Peter and Jesus go back and forth, piecing together right from wrong, what desires should be followed, and which should be left behind. And the whole time Jesus loves him, even when Peter denies Him He loves him. Through and through.
So my friends, do not be afraid to change your mind. Do good, but avoid evil. Look to the Saints. St. Louis and Zelie Martin wanted to join the religious life, but God had other plans. St. Maximilian Kolbe probably would have loved to stay with his Marian militia, but he was called to bring Mary to that concentration camp. St. Theresa would have loved to go unnoticed for her work, and she hated having her picture taken, but God had other plans. Or my Newman Center director Max (not a Saint yet), really wanted to be a priest, but the seminary booted him, because God had other plans for him, and he is very much needed in his vocation now as a father, husband, and director of our Newman Center . Going to seminary provided him so many tools that he stills uses now. So as John Paul the second always said “Be not afraid”. God is with you always, and He will never let you go astray. Do not let that icky feeling of maybe I wasn’t really listening or praying hard enough drag you into turmoil. Sometimes our desires tell us what feels like home, it pushes us to leave or stay. But home is where the heart is, so place yours in Heaven.
P.S. Mission looks different for everyone, but everyone is called to it so there! That’s all I had left to say.