Saint for the day: Elizabeth Ann Seton (1774 – 1821)
1 John 3:7-10 – Psalm 98 – John 1:35-42
“What are you looking for?” (Today’s Holy Gospel according to St. John)
If the scriptures don’t raise questions in our thoughts then we are not really hearing them in any deep sense of the word. The scriptures are meant to explode in ways that draw us deeply into following Jesus in all ways.
In the early 60’s the Western Dominican Province acquired a southern California “Dude Ranch” to be established as our novitiate. Over the main entrance, the name of the place, “Comancious” was carved into the lintel. Most people pronounced the word as, “co-maa!- che-us” but it was really supposed to be pronounced, “come and see us!” We didn’t ever change that since it seemed appropriate for a novitiate where young men asking the question, “how can I find fulfillment in my life” “come and see us” for themselves.
Today, the Church quickly switches gears from the Christmas celebrations to the call and meaning of “discipleship” and asks and answers the question, “What are you looking for?” with the answer, “come and see us.”
Behind this question is my oft quoted saying of my friend, Fr. Richard Roah, “Where your thoughts go in your idle moments … there is your treasure!” Scary, isn’t it? I often tell people that when I close my eyes – say in prayer – it’s like fireworks flashing with all kinds of thoughts bouncing off the walls of my brain: some very wonderful and pious; others of a much lower caliber. This is where we need to work on those words of St. Paul, “let your minds be renewed in Christ.”
“What am I looking for?” “How do I answer that?” These are the questions of the day. Today’s “saint,” Elizabeth Ann Seton got to a point in her life where she faced – and answered – these questions in a remarkable fashion. But she didn’t do that just on her own. Her conversion and success in founding a religious community and establishing the parochial school system in the US began with her belief and focus on the Eucharist. She “went to Jesus,” found where He lived. And stayed with Him. We can look at any of the lives of saints and find this same pattern. Most of us don’t even ask that first question and therefore don’t go to “check it out” and wonder why we are not making headway in our Christian walk. Today, I pray that Jesus would transform the “fireworks” inside my head into a “theophany of God’s loving presence” and keep me on the path to the Kingdom. Bottom line: “what are we really looking for?”