Saturday, February 11, 2012

Glorious busyness

We are busy. Everybody invokes that mantra to explain so many things in life today, and there is no contradiction. We are busy; we sigh and recognize that we cannot do everything we would like to do, be with everyone we would like to be with, or even be the way we would like ourselves to be, because we are busy. Often, too often, it keeps us from doing what we would like to do for God, spending the time we would like to spend with God, and even being the way we would like ourselves to be before God.

Saint Paul has a response today for anyone of us who recognizes that discouraging sentiment: do everything for the glory of God. In case we are tempted to think that some special activity is required for that to be possible, he makes it this basic: Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.

Heck, everybody does that much – everybody’s gotta eat! And even those strange folks who forget to eat (I have never quite understood how that is possible, but that’s just me) won’t try to go on without something to drink. That’s all it takes, and we are eligible and able to give glory to God.

How do basic human actions like eating and drinking translate into glory to God? Well, as Saint Anselm put it, Gloria Dei homo vivens, or The glory of God is the living man. But to take it one simple step beyond that, even our most basic human actions give glory to God when they are done with gratitude.

The leper Jesus heals today is not able to satisfy himself with just obtaining certification of his status as leprosy-free. No, he has to tell people about it. He must share with everyone he meets what Jesus has done for him. Can you blame him? Listen to Leviticus’ description of what marked the disease he suffered: a scab or pustule or blotch. Yuck! To be freed from that would leave anyone bubbling over with gratitude. So indeed he was: He spread the report abroad so that it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly.

Too easily we can think of some effort or activity or even a person as leading us away from prayer, or worship, or doing what we would like to do for God. But we are forgetting the awesome power that we are given in Christ. Every act we do in union with Him is an act of gratitude, since by His sacrifice on the Holy Cross He united Himself to us in a perfect act of thanksgiving. Thus every act of our human condition, freely chosen and freely offered, can give glory to God, if we so will it. We are able to do everything for the glory of God.

We rejoice to dedicate this weekend to our participation in the Cardinal’s Appeal. By the grace of God we are diverted from our selfishness and made aware of our ability to address the needs of our brothers and sisters. We do not have time to complain or even notice what we lack. We are busy, busy indeed – busy doing everything for the glory of God.

Monsignor Smith

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