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Sunday, February 26, 2012


One of the things that seem etched into Man's heart is a sense of calling, something that pulls beyond what is immediately obvious, that there should be something more to life than whatever there seems to be. I grew up on stories with heroes in them, from the fictional to the historical, from the Old Testament heroes like Samson and David, to brief stories of the saints like Christopher and Francis of Assisi. And the mythical Norse heroes to the Greek, Arthur and his knights, Charlemagne, Roland and the paladins. Lapu-lapu, Rizal, Bonifacio and the heroes of more than a century ago. They all had callings of significance, and I could feel it in my bones that I had mine. Probably not the same that they had, probably not as big, but just as exciting and full of adventure and surprises.

Jesus calls Levi, painting by Hendrick Terbrugghen 17th century It is probably just as well that I encountered St Josemaria Escriva at some point, and I learned the most amazing thing that makes incredible sense: the call to do ordinary things extraordinarily well -- supernaturally well, in fact. This Lent calls me to an opportunity to be returned to myself (not for me to return to myself, as I'd misstated below). To what do I return? For one, that I am called, to sanctify what is ordinary, by turning it into prayer, asking the Holy Spirit to therefore infuse the mundane activities of everyday with supernatural grace. Father and husband. Teacher, thinker, tinker. In today's readings, Isaiah proclaims God's call to holy ordinariness in acting with justice and compassion, reverence and faith (Is 58:9-14), and Jesus calls sinners to repentance, but also, as with Levi, to be his disciple (Lk 5:27-32). And this Levi is renamed Matthew, and goes from tax collector to apostle, doing ordinary things, really. Yet how many authors have had their book copied, reprinted, cited, read aloud, translated into dozens of languages, over a period of about 2000 years? Quite a boast, and it started one ordinary day at the customs house, with one extraordinary call!

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