On being God’s beloved, and a representative of Jesus . . .
Sister Kathryn Huber’s question to her retreat group — how in your busy life do you find time to be with Jesus? — hung in the air for a bit before one lady acknowledged, “I stink at it. It’s easy to excuse it away since you’re so busy. So for me, I’m going to take up your earlier suggestion to take 30 seconds before getting out of bed to be with God.”
Another person said she prays while she’s driving; she puts God on the seat right beside her.
That question, and the ensuing discussion, was one of several that gave valuable advice and insights as part of Sister Kathy’s presentation on “Living Our Baptismal Call” to 30 managers and directors of Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center of Jasper, Indiana.
The retreat’s messages applied to anyone who has been baptized. Sister Kathy began by reviewing the baptism of Jesus as an important event, as a basis for the Christian rite of baptism, and as the inauguration of Jesus’ earthly ministry. In the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Jesus’ ministry begins with his baptism, followed by the testing in the desert, then the proclamation of his ministry and call of his first disciples.
Sister Kathy included two major truths in her talk that are good to be reminded of – and often. One started when Jesus came out of the desert, where he recognized he was the beloved son and nothing could change that. “So Jesus tells his neighbors it’s time for all of us to grasp that God loves us, without limits,” said Sister Kathy. “We are God’s beloved. It takes us a long time to absorb that reality. It’s a lifetime journey, of listening, pondering, and consenting.”
She also told the crowd, “By your baptism you were made a representative of Jesus; you were chosen. When the spirit came upon Jesus in his baptism, his ministry began. That is where the ministry of service begins for every believer. You were commissioned into ministry by your baptism. “
Sister Kathy said it’s important for us disciples to be with Jesus as we go about our ministries. A simple prayer she uses is “Jesus, be with me,” as she prepares to serve others. Discipleship also means a willingness to love others with a sacrificial love.
“We Benedictines live by the Rule of Benedict,” said Sister Kathy. “We place others first. It’s always about service. Jesus said, ‘Love one another as I love you.’ So how can we love like Jesus if we don’t know Jesus? As Benedict says, we make this journey with the gospel as our guide.
“Discipleship includes all people who follow Jesus. It means a change of my attitude toward everything. It shapes my attitude towards property and wealth, affects relationships, gives a new meaning to love, and changes the way one understands success and personal fulfillment.
“It’s always good to reflect at the end of the day. Where was I conscious, or not, of God’s presence today? Where did I meet Christ in the people I met today? Sometimes it’s the patient who sees Christ in you. And that prayer at bedtime is very important. Thank God for the blessings of the day. Ask for forgiveness when you were not the kindest to others.
“See, we can find many ways to do our praying. If we’re going to be a follower of Jesus, we also have to be ready to serve. We must be receptive to the ways God calls us. So you might ask yourself, what changes might I need to make to follow Jesus more closely today?”