I had arrived to the Oblates of the Virgin Mary a few days early before the Aug. 20 deadline so I can ease into things. That has been true to the most part. I had set up my things in the room, changed my address on my online accounts, figured out the routine at the house and brought my car to the mechanic to discover the needed fixes before it could be sold.
Then God interjected a lesson for me.
On Aug. 19, the novices were helping Father Greg move his things one floor down. I helped carry, sort and arrange things. I was deeply impressed by the love shown by the Oblates to Father Greg. I had known about his medical conditions during previous visits. This spring, a novena was offered for him because of the seriousness of his condition. But everyone’s generosity here had made me pause.
Paul, a former nurse and one of the novices, is leading the move and his care. Father Greg came into his old room after his morning appointments. The novices helped him into his chair, asked whether he was comfortable and took care of any medical needs. We stood around as Father recounted a conversion story I was familiar with on EWTN’s “The Journey Home.”
God was showing me love, not love that was just a feeling but a love that must be willed. It’s a call for love that forces each of us to break out of our comfortable shells. Jesus stressed that point in listing care of the sick in the last judgment. Most people would turn away and shut down. Activists would jump in and stress the need for euthanasia, physician-assisted suicide, compassionate end-of-life care or whatever term they invent to make suicide on demand palatable.
But I’m grateful to be shown this opportunity of love. I want to grow and love God more. That requires being uncomfortable, being challenged and being called.
God is calling me to love a little bit more. He had revealed the wall that I must climb over. Am I ready? I don’t know. I try to help out Father Greg in the refectory. I hope it’s good enough. But I need all of God’s grace for me to conquer it.
Jesus, who have opened yourself to the world on the cross, help me to open up a little more to give love and receive love for the most vulnerable among us. I ask this in your name. Amen.