Fullness of Time

In the fullness of time. God renews and makes everything beautiful in His time. I just love this image of God and the world He has created. I imagine it taking place with the blast of trumpets and colorful fanfare and pageantry. But often, these things just slowly and almost imperceptibly creep on us. The autumn equinox last week was the official start of the fall season. It came quietly and for the most part unheralded. But the trees know that it is time to start shedding their leaves and all of a sudden I will wake up one morning to see the wild explosion of colors of the autumn leaves.

I often wait for the fullness of time, the right moment to follow Jesus. I sometimes imagine myself going through my own road to Damascus, or experiencing a mystical vision, or even standing up for my faith and suffering a martyr’s death. In preparation for this grand event, I come up with all sorts of excuses to delay following Jesus. I will start out on my road to Damascus after, I have made sure all my sons are stable and secure on their own. Meantime, they still need me. I will be truly a prayerful and visionary ascetic once I have put all my affairs to order and have simplified my life. I will stand up and witness to Jesus once I have built up enough strength and courage for the task.

Today is the feast of St. Therese of Lisieux. She never travelled far from where she grew up and never had a Damascus experience. And yet, she has been declared the co-patron of the missions with Francis Xavier. She was not a mystic nor a visionary. But she was very prayerful, making every little act of hers a form of prayer. She never wrote any scholarly tract. But she has declared a Doctor of the Church. In her simple and ordinary life as a nun, she has stood witness to God’s life and, through the years, she had inspired and influenced millions to follow Jesus.

The time to be holy is now. The place to begin following Jesus is here. Mine is the God of History. He had moved the earth and people in the past. Mine is the God of the Resurrection. He hold out a future to us that is full of hope and promise. But above all else, mine is the God of the Here-and-now. He presides over the unfolding of life in the ordinary events of everyday. He takes a seed and transforms it into a majestic tree. He takes a shoot and makes it bloom into a beautiful flower. He takes ordinary me and weaves yet another wonderful story.

Let my prayer come before you, Lord.
Psalm 88

As Jesus and his disciples were proceeding
on their journey, someone said to him,
“I will follow you wherever you go.”
Jesus answered him,
“Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests,
but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”
And to another he said, “Follow me.”
But he replied, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.”
But he answered him, “Let the dead bury their dead.
But you, go and proclaim the Kingdom of God.”
And another said, “I will follow you, Lord,
but first let me say farewell to my family at home.”
Jesus answered him, “No one who sets a hand to the plow
and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God.”
Luke 9:57-62

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