By JENNIFER BURGIN
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Brothers and sisters: On the subject of fraternal charity you have no need for anyone to write you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another. Indeed, you do this for all the brothers throughout Macedonia. Nevertheless we urge you, brothers and sisters, to progress even more, and to aspire to live a tranquil life, to mind your own affairs, and to work with your own hands, as we instructed you.
Today is the Memorial of the Passion of Saint John the Baptist. Most of us are very familiar with the story of John the Baptist's beheading. We read it over and over again throughout the liturgical cycle. However, we can still harvest new meaning with every read.
Saint Paul speaks to the Thessalonians about aspiring to live a tranquil life, minding our own affairs. It is way too easy for us to blame others when life is messy and chaotic. We may meddle in other people's business in order to compensate for our own inadequacies. A tranquil life is free from resentment and anger; gossip and meddling; envy and jealousy. A tranquil life flourishes when we trust in the Lord and follow his teachings. Sculpt and mold ourselves into better Christians through compassion and charity - not apathy and laziness.
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI wrote the following as presented in Magnificat's"Meditation of the Day:"
"The task set before the Baptist as he lay in prison was to become blessed by this unquestioning acceptance of God's obscure will; to reach the point of asking no further for external, visible, unequivocal clarity, but, instead, of discovering God precisely in the darkness of this world and of his own life, and thus becoming profoundly blessed. John even in his prison cell had to respond once again and anew to his own call for metanoia or a change of mentality, in order that he might recognize his God in the night in which all things earthly exist."
What struck me about this quote is the call for metanoia - a change of mentality. Saint John the Baptist experienced a transformation as he accepted God's will despite thedifficult situation he was in. In the darkness of the world, light shines through as we accept life's uncharted courses.
Many times we go through our routines as if on automatic pilot. We work 8+ hours a day. We spend the weekends attending sporting events with the kids. We surround our lives with a bunch of activity, but do we make time for God? Do we make it a priority to pray every day and to attend Mass every Sunday? Are we catechizing our children in the Catholic faith? Are we setting aside time away from all of "fun" stuff in order to thank the Lord for his abundant blessings? I think it's time for each one of us to go through a mental "check" in terms of our spiritual health. If our faith is out-of-balance; our beliefs off center; or our trust in God in decline it's time for real change. Just think if everyone adopted the "change of mentality" challenge maybe we'd see more people in the pews, less shootings on the television, less rates of divorce, a decrease in addictions, and a greater respect for all human life.
Saint John the Baptist, Pray for Us!
This meditation was written by Jennifer Burgin. Please visit her blog: Jennifer's Spectrum of Spirituality