|Photo Credit: taliesin from morgueFile.com|
“Are you available?” That’s a question you might have asked or been asked somewhere along the way. Are you available this weekend to help me with a project? Are you available on Friday evening for dinner? Are you available to chat because I need a listening ear?
There is a masterpiece of a quote in Dynamic Catholic’s Confirmation program that I want to share with you: “For thousands of years, God has been using ordinary people to do extraordinary things. God delights in dynamic collaboration with humanity. He doesn’t necessarily choose the people who are the best educated or those who are good-looking; He doesn’t choose people because they are in positions of power or authority; and He doesn’t always choose the most eloquent and persuasive. There is one type of person that God has used powerfully over and over again throughout history. It is the prerequisite for mission. God does incredible things with the people who make themselves available to Him.”
Man, I just LOVE that! How AVAILABLE are we?
Saint John Paul II once said, “It is Jesus who stirs in you the desire to do something great with your lives, the will to follow an ideal, the refusal to allow yourselves to be ground down by mediocrity, the courage to commit yourselves humbly and patiently to improving yourselves and society, making the world more human and more fraternal.”
“What you are…is God’s gift to you. What you become…is your gift to God.” (Hans Urs Von Balthasar)
As I reflect on many of the uplifting words shared in the Decision Point Confirmation program, I am continually inspired. I was especially motivated, energized, and encouraged when I read this one: “You were made for mission. You have a unique blend of talents and abilities that are perfectly suited to carry out whatever mission God has assigned to you. You have been placed on this earth at this time to fulfill a specific mission. If you don’t embrace and fulfill your mission, it will be left undone. Nobody else has been assigned that mission. Just you.”
Um…no pressure, there, huh? Seriously, when I read that, I am thrilled to think that God has a mission that was designed just for me. Wow. Just for little ole me. God also has a mission created just for you. Matthew Kelly says, “Find your mission and it will change your life.”
Matthew Kelly also reminds us that the most common preface to any sentence in the Bible is: “God said…” The wonderful news is that God hasn’t stopped speaking to us. Perhaps we’ve stopped listening, but He hasn’t stopped speaking. God continues to speak to us daily through prayer, the Scriptures, the sacraments, through other people, circumstances, and events.
Speaking of events, there was an incredibly memorable one this past Sunday called, “St. Baldrick’s at Schroeder Hall.” The event was held to raise awareness for pediatric cancer research and I truly felt God speaking to us while we were there. I’m sure that everyone felt it. And, I’m certain that each of you will feel it when you watch L-Ann Imaging’s video that captured the day’s moments.
The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is a volunteer-driven charity committed to funding the most promising research to find cures for childhood cancers and give survivors long, healthy lives. On their website, it says, “We do one thing and we do it well: fund childhood cancer research. We take great care of the funds raised by our generous volunteers and supporters to direct every possible dollar to carefully selected research grants.” They say that they’re crazy enough to believe that shaving heads can find cures for childhood cancers. I know one thing…all those who braved the shave on Sunday believe it.
However, it was so much more than men, women, and children shaving their heads to support those little ones undergoing cancer treatment. Each one of the shavees gave a part of themselves that day in a very special way. There were tears. There was oodles and oodles of hair. And, there was love.
One thing that really amazed me was that the coordinator, Dina, has dedicated a countless number of hours to put on this event for the last seven years. She’s raised tons of money and she’s shaved her head. And, guess what? She’s doing it all in honor of a friend who lost her son to cancer seven years ago. She doesn’t have a child with cancer. But, what she does have is…mission. She made herself available to God to be used as an instrument to bring hope to those who might have lost it somewhere along the way. Thank you, Dina.
Dina and all of those who supported the St. Baldrick’s event in any way said “yes” to the mission that God created just for them. Their yes was contagious and it was beautiful. Over $20,000 was raised that Sunday afternoon and 30 plus heads were shaved. The barbers donated their time and the use of the hall was donated. So many individuals said “yes” to their God-given mission that day. So many people made themselves “available” to bring a glimpse of Christ to someone else. I can’t thank them enough.
And, you better believe that our family soaked it all up and celebrated until the very end. I will never leave the second-oldest dance hall early. NEVER. Thank you, Chris, for the perfect boot-scootin’ music! Hope to see everyone there next year!
I’ll leave you with this…when God asks, “Are YOU available?”…what will you say?
Find your mission. Your life will not be the same.