Wednesday: Daily Callings
With all the noise in the world, do you hear the voice of God? Your calendar tells you what to do, but do you remember who you are? Being comes before doing. This is a call to put first things first. Return to the Lord with this daily pattern of prayer and devotion. Set aside this time as a sanctuary. Find a space free of distraction and follow this pattern.
Make the sign of the cross, and say,
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
If you have an advent wreath, light the first candle and pray:
Jesus Christ is the Light of the world. The light no darkness can overcome.
Jesus, open our eyes to your light and our ears to your words of hope. Come, O long-expected Jesus. Our hope is in you. Amen.
Word: Luke 2:21
When eight days were over, they did the religious act of becoming a Jew on the Child. He was named Jesus. This name was given to Him by the angel when Mary was told He was to be born.
As a baby, Jesus is brought into the Temple by his mother and father—"as was the custom"—and there the relatively insignificant family is spotted by the aged and holy Simeon. Somewhat surprisingly, I imagine, the old man takes the baby into his arms and prophecies. Perhaps it was originally as we find it, in the form of poetry, or song. Or perhaps the message was later worked into a song as early Christians found that what Simeon had said echoed some of their own deepest thoughts about Jesus. Either way, Luke gives us one of the most touching "canticles’ in the Bible, and tensions in the story that are worth pondering.
The first is the tension between holding on and letting go. As Simeon draws the baby close to him he, at the same time, releases himself to God. He senses that once he has seen the "hope of Israel," that is the Messiah, he can let go of life and "depart" this world peacefully (2:29). Simeon might have laid his hands on the child, or simply spoken a blessing. But he takes him up in his arms, signifying a heart that grasps hold of Jesus. At this very moment, he is able to surrender control of his own destiny. We naturally do the opposite: grasp hold of our destinies and, in so doing, let go of Jesus.
Next, there is a tension between the glory that Jesus will bring to his people (2:32), and the pain he will bring at the same time (2:35), and no one will experience this inner tug-of-war as deeply as Mary herself. I can imagine Simeon giving her a knowing glance as he speaks this prophetic word: "a sword will pierce through your own soul also." But the simple fact is that Jesus was, and will always be, controversial. Having him in our life will always bring both "agony" and "ecstasy."
Prayer for Daily Callings
· For my occupation, workplace, coworkers.
· For my work to be good for others, an extension of God’s love and care.
· For the unemployed.
· For growth in my career; not to work for a paycheck but for you and others.
· For discernment, if I should pursue another job or direction in life.
· For my callings at home as spouse, son/daughter, brother/sister.
· For schools, teachers, classmates.
· For eyes to see God’s work around me this day. For the courage to participate in it.
· Not to be comfortable in my callings, but to be useful.
Heavenly Father, we live in a world full of tension. In your son you hold all tensions in perfect balance, justice and mercy, agony and ecstasy, law and Gospel. Create in me deeper faith in you in the midst of tension. Amen!