“Let yourselves be charmed by Christ, the Infinite who appeared among you in visible and imitable form. Let yourselves be attracted by his example, which has changed the history of the world and directed it toward an exhilarating goal. Let yourselves be loved by the love of the Holy Spirit, who wishes to turn you away from worldly things to begin in you the life of the new self, created in God’s way in righteousness and true holiness. Fall in love with Jesus Christ, to live his very life, so that our world may have life in the light of the gospel.” (Excerpt from St. John Paul the Great’s Message for the Annual World Day of Prayer for Vocations, November 1, 1991)
I read this several times to let it sink in. What a powerful passage — each sentence alone could be a focal point of prayer! St. John Paul the Great’s words grabbed my attention and encouraged me to take a deep breath, sit in silence, and become aware of the Lord’s presence and love. The line that spoke to me most today was “. . . turn you away from worldly things to begin in you the life of the new self.” I began reflecting, how much do I need to turn away from worldly things? How can I live like Jesus and make a living for my family? How do I keep the Lord first in my life? What am I doing well and what do I need to change? What are my priorities?
Lots of questions. Lots of reflection. Followed by lots of peace. Jesus is enough. Seek him first. Fall in love with him.
Some ways we each seek him are the same — the Eucharist, the sacraments, prayer, Bible studies, spiritual reading. Jesus also reveals himself to each of us in different ways — throughout our specific calling in life, our jobs, our families, and those we encounter.
If I do my best to listen to God’s will, make decisions in prayer, and pay attention to the yearnings of my heart, I know that I can have peace that I am living the life God wants me to live, and I can be content and grateful. I sometimes find myself wishing I had this or that, desiring what a friend has that I don’t, or worrying about finances. But if I keep my eyes on Jesus and seek him first, those thoughts and feelings wash away into gratitude, humbleness, and openness to the Lord, asking him to make me the person he wants me to be. I want to “begin . . . the life of the new self” and continue toward my eternal home.