Saint Francis de Sales, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Memorial)
. . . that they might be with him.
Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection was a seventeenth-century lay Carmelite who devoted his life to “practicing” the presence of God. In other words, he tried to accomplish every task, even the most mundane, with an abiding awareness of God’s presence.
In his own way, Brother Lawrence captured the heart of today’s Gospel reading (Mark 3:14). Jesus brought his disciples away from a big crowd and chose twelve of them to be his special messengers. Yet as Mark describes it, Jesus didn’t start by giving them all sorts of power or by telling them to get out there and work hard. According to Mark, their first call was simply to “be with” Jesus (3:14).
This doesn’t sound very glamorous, does it? The disciples were probably used to being in the middle of the action, watching people get healed and delivered. And yet Jesus knew that they couldn’t maintain their pace—or retain their sense of peace—without spending time with him.
Have you ever felt the call to just “be” with the Lord? Sometimes, it’s a nudge to simplify your schedule to focus on the important things in life. But most of the time, it comes in the subtle twists and turns of life. Maybe you have experienced this when your children went away to college or when you left your job to spend more time with family. Or maybe it happened when you struggled with an extended illness. All of a sudden, there was a lot more space in your schedule and a lot less activity. These life changes can be very challenging for any number of reasons. But in the midst of them, you can listen for God’s still, small voice inviting you to spend more time with him.
Today, you might be feeling like the disciples did when Jesus took them away from all the activity of the crowd—perhaps a little hesitant and reluctant. We like to be busy and active. But just remember that Jesus is calling you to something even better, something that will make you even more effective when the time comes to serve again. So listen for his call, and when it comes, simply say, “Lord, I want to be with you. Help me to draw close in this season of stillness.”
“Lord, help me to learn to rest in you.”
1 Samuel 24:3-21
Psalm 57:2-4, 6, 11