“This is my commandment: love one another as I have loved you.” ~ Jesus of Nazareth
“Who are You, my dearest God? And what am I but Your useless servant.” ~ Francis of Assisi
I was seventeen when God first spoke to me. No, I didn’t hear a voice from the clouds, nor did I see a vision, but I heard God clearly nonetheless. I knew in that moment that God had a plan for my life. Most of the years since then I’ve struggled to live out that plan, and have done a pretty poor job of it. I’ve tried to drown out that voice many a time, but God has a way of just not going away, a stubborn persistence that she will not be denied. So how can I really refuse his desires? They’re pretty simple after all: tell our story.
I’ve tried to do that in different ways over the years, in word and deed. I wish I could say that all of my deeds have been honorable, even the failures, but unfortunately I cannot. I am ashamed of a good number of them. It would be easy to say we all feel that way, but that would be a rationalization. I’ve done things that are evil and sinful, yet God still wants me to speak for it. I can’t explain it, but I can’t deny it either.
As for my words, I’ve written a fair amount, but most of it just feels like drivel. Perhaps that was a product of where I was in life at the time, or maybe I was just trying too hard. A lot of it comes from trying to define all of this: God, me, our relationship, life, etc. Society likes labels for things; God does not, at least not when he’s talking to me.
I was raised Catholic. I will always be Catholic, at least by my definition. But the words that I share here are not Catholic, Christian, or any other organized religions. They belong to God, not humans.
Jesus is not savior or god to me; he’s just my brother, and a misunderstood brother at that. My relationship with him is complicated, too much so to explain in a sentence or two. He is a part of who I am. But these words are not specifically about him. I’m not continuing his mission; God’s given me my own job to do.
And that job is to share these words with whoever will listen. They are God’s new revelation of love for his people. They are a call to recognize that we are all her family, whatever creed or truth we cling to. They are not an invitation to join a new community, but a plea to rebuild the one that we have ignored for too long. Will you listen to the voice that I first heard so long ago in 1988? And if you hear it, what will you do with it?
June 11 & October 15, 2011