We Are Strong When We Are Weak

The Gospel for Mass today is St Mark’s account of the call of Simon and Andrew and James and John. In his sermon at Mass Saturday evening at Christ the King, Fr. Dale said we are mistaken if we put our focus on Simon and his fellow fisherman. The passage is not really about them and their strength in dropping everything and following Jesus. Rather, it is about God’s power – and God’s ability to create faith where none existed before, God’s ability to create disciples where none existed before.

It is essential for us to realize that we don’t operate on our own power. This is something that came up, not only in Fr. Dale’s sermon, but in the Women’s Retreat I gave at St. Stephen’ Episcopal yesterday. (More about that, tomorrow.) We are most strong precisely when we realize how weak we are – how dependent we are on God – the God who will always be with us, who will always be a source of strength and direction for us.

Our task is to be open enough to allow God in, and to realize that, with God’s help, we can further God’s plan whatever our situation. It brought a smile to my face when Fr. Dale quoted in his sermon a prayer of John Henry Cardinal Newman’s that I have used often. Here is an excerpt:

God has created me to do Him some definite service; He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission—I never may know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. Somehow I am necessary for His purposes, as necessary in my place as an Archangel…. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good, I shall do His work; I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it, if I do but keep His commandments and serve Him in my calling.

Therefore I will trust Him. Whatever, wherever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him; in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him; if I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. My sickness, or perplexity, or sorrow may be necessary causes of some great end, which is quite beyond us. He does nothing in vain; He may prolong my life, He may shorten it; He knows what He is about. He may take away my friends, He may throw me among strangers, He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide the future from me—still He knows what He is about.

Do we have that trust? The trust that allowed Simon and Andrew, and James and John to drop everything when Jesus called. To trust that whatever they were and were not, they could be part of Jesus’ plan?