each of us to a purpose

There is a great truth in the knowing that each of us is called to something greater than what we believe we are meant to be. God calls us, each in a unique and compelling way, to bring light to an often dark and forbidding world. For a few the call is direct, the response obvious, and the results measurable, while for the vast majority our calling is far less obvious and our response and any results lie shrouded in the fog of uncertainty. But no matter how clearly we are called, there can be no doubt that God gave us life for a purpose and that it is our duty and responsibility to live as He intended.

The butterfly effect

The butterfly effect

John Donne wrote “No man is an island, entire of itself … any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind.” The truth is we are inextricably bound to one another no matter how much effort we expend in distancing ourselves from each other. As Meister Eckhart saw it “What happens to another, whether it be a joy or a sorrow, happens to me.” Jesus tells us that beyond loving God the most important thing required of us is to “love your neighbor as yourself” [Matt 22:29] and isn’t that a calling from God?

When we think of a calling from God the first thought that crosses our mind is often that of a religious nature, a call to the priesthood or religious life, a ‘vocation’ but a religious vocation is not for everyone. As someone recently quipped “If everyone was either a priest or a nun there wouldn’t be many people around!” But God calls each of us, everyone, to a purpose and no matter what that might be; the result will in some way be to love your neighbor.

In one sense, those who are not called to the priesthood or religious life, have a greater opportunity to evangelize and spread the Gospel. Perhaps not with a deep theological education or a sound understanding of hermeneutics or philosophy, but filled with a love of God and neighbor, anyone can bear the message of Jesus Christ.

Once when submitting some vestments for dry cleaning, I was asked by the clerk which church I attended. When I told her, her eyes lit up and she exclaimed that when she died she was going to leave something to that church. She went on to explain that years before, newly arrived in town, she had stopped at the parish office and asked for assistance and was astonished at the outpouring a love and aid given to her. Although not a Catholic, she was deeply moved by the compassion and support provided and vowed then that she would someday repay their kindness and generosity.

Scientists who study chaos theory use a term called the ‘butterfly effect’ to describe how some small, seemingly insignificant event can result in a large, significant result some time later. Likewise, how we live our lives can have an equally large effect on others, even without our knowledge or awareness. A smile or warm embrace, a simple ‘hello’ or a friendly wave can cause a positive and meaningful change in the lives of others and who knows, it could actually impact the whole world.

About the author: Deacon Chuck

Deacon Chuck was ordained into the permanent diaconate on September 17, 2011, in the ministry of service to the Diocese of Reno and assigned to St. Albert the Great Catholic Community. He currently serves as the parish bulletin editor and website administrator. Deacon Chuck continues to serve the parish of Saint Albert the Great Catholic Community of the Diocese of Reno, Nevada. He is the Director of Adult Faith Formation and Homebound Ministries for the parish, conducts frequent adult faith formation workshops, and is a regular homilist. He currently serves as the bulletin editor for the parish bulletin. He writes a weekly column intended to encompass a broad landscape of thoughts and ideas on matters of theology, faith, morals, teachings of the magisterium and the Catholic Church; they are meant to illuminate, illustrate, and catechize the readers and now number more than 230 articles. His latest endeavor is "Colloqui: A journal for restless minds", a weekly journal of about 8 pages similar in content to bulletin reflections. All his reflections, homilies, commentaries, and Colloqui are posted and can be found on his website: http://deaconscorner.org. Comments are always welcome and appreciated. He is the author of two books: "The Voices of God: hearing God in the silence" which offers the reader insights into how to hear God’s voice through all of the noise that surrounds us; and "Echoes of Love: Effervescent Memories" which through a combination of prose and verse provides the reader with a wonderful journey on the way to discovering forever love. He regularly speaks to groups of all ages and size and would welcome the opportunity to speak to your group.

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