Wednesday, June 13, 2007

73 Reasons To Say "Yes" to God

Been thinkin' all day about the mission of the 72 sent out by Jesus (Luke 10:11) and also the mission of St Anthony of Padua. There are some common threads here, which remind me of a child-like faith and excitement.

Openness to Movement and Change

Jesus sends the 72 missionaries out on what is apparently an imprompteau road trip to announce the kingdom of God. What is important is their flexibility... willingness to move around and respond to each missional situation as it presents itself. Do they accept you? Rejoice and stay! Do they reject you? Rejoice and move on. The single constant was the approach of God's Kingdom through change. This was a small band of gospel guerillas on the move. A road trip for Jesus! Only the young at heart could enjoy such upheaval.

How like St Anthony, who started out his religious life as an Augustinian and ended up as a Franciscan. Anthony wanted desparately to minister among the Islamic peoples in Morocco. Sidelined by illness, he tried to retire to the solitary life in Italy, only to be reclaimed by Francis as a teacher and preacher. Anthony ended up being instrumental in the Church's renewal in other parts of Europe and in the long and dismaying fight against the heretic Cathari who, like the Coneheads of SNL fame, inhabited the wilds of southern France.

Simplicity in Joy and in the Lord

What was to keep the 72 gospellers from dispair or discouragement in their long and only partially successful trek around the cities of Palestine? Only the joy of God's reign and presence. They certainly didn't have much else. Just God and each other. Like a baby from the womb, they didn't come here with much to offer or possess, except the future out of which God approaches them..

Similarily, St Anthony drew courage from the simplicity of the Franciscan lifestyle. He embraced joyfully the spartan ways which characterized his fledgling order. They followed hard after the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and service/obedience. Yet they and he did so joyfully, thus accounting for the winsomeness with which they were received by the people of that day. Who could resist someone in love with God and so totally heedless of the cares and worries of this world?

Not I.

So today I face my daily cares with a little of that child-like spirit. Wherever you go, there preach the Kingdom...


Anonymous said...

Well said, thank you!

Phil B. said...

You're welcome!