19 Jan

“You have been chosen, and you must therefore use such strength and heart and wits as you have.” ~ J. R. R. Tolkien

Today’s Gospel passage at Mass is Jesus’ selection of the Apostles as reported by Mark.  Mark stated that Jesus went up a mountain and summoned those whom He wanted.  They came to Him and He appointed the twelve.  The selection is bittersweet, though, because as Mark reports the names of those whom Jesus chose, he stated the final name as “Judas Iscariot who betrayed him.”

Just because we are chosen does not mean we are going to do the will of God.  It takes not just God’s choice but our free will assent.  If God calls and we say no, His will will not be accomplished through us.  If we say yes but, later, betray Him, we can foil His plan for us.  God needs our cooperation.

That is the awful truth of free will.  Many people state that it would be much easier if everything were predetermined for us.  But God loves us so much that He wants to give us the chance to choose to love Him in return.  He is not going to force our love.  He is not going to force our service.  He is not going to force us in any way, shape, or form.

J.R.R. Tolkien put the words of today’s quote in the mouth of the wizard, Gandalf, as he addressed those who were chosen to be a part of the Fellowship of the Ring.  Gandalf knew full well why he chose the people he did and he was confident that they would use their strength and their wits appropriately. Gandalf saw things in the members of the fellowship that they did not see in themselves.

God is supremely confident in us as well.  God wants us to be happy and fulfilled.  Therefore, God would not choose us to do something that we could not accomplish.  He does not set His people up for failure.  He always helps us to succeed.  He sees what is in us and knows what we are capable of accomplishing, even if we do not see them.  Be confident, then, in the call that God gives to you.  Know that He has all the faith in the world in you.

FAITH ACTION:  Ask God to give you the grace that you need to do what He has chosen you to accomplish.