This week we celebrated the feast of St. Benedict. Also this month we celebrated the feast of St. Joseph, and on March 25th we will celebrate the feast of the Annunciation. There is a common thread that runs through their stories that is also a part of our story. What do Mary, Joseph and Benedict have in common with us?
Each of them experienced a unique call from God to carry out God’s intention for them. We know that Mary was visited by an angel, Joseph was addressed in a dream, and Benedict found himself in circumstances which led him to follow God as a hermit. In each case, the call was not clear and nicely laid out for them. Each of them accepted the call without understanding the specifics of what they had been called to do. They gave the gift of themselves to God in the situations in which they found themselves.
Each of them heard God’s message, pondered it carefully with great faith, discerned what response was needed, and then committed their whole life and being in response to that call.
We’ve each had a call from God in our life, though it may not be as astounding or earth-shattering. And we’ve learned that receiving a call is not a one-time event. Nor was it a one-time event in the lives of Mary, Joseph and Benedict. Throughout their lives, they surely pondered and discerned what God’s intention was for them at each step along the way.
In the Prologue of the Rule, Benedict urges us to continue to practice answering the calls we receive. He quotes from Scripture, “It is high time for us to arise from sleep … to open our eyes to the light that comes from God … our ears to the voice from the heavens.’”
Most of us will not be well known or have our accomplishments documented in books or newspapers. Yet we will be quietly significant when we offer our lives back to the God who has called us to belong to Him. As we see in the lives of Mary, Joseph and Benedict, what is essential is to continue to listen with the ear of our heart, to be faithful, and to persevere in the search for God.