Come After Me

Several times this week, the Gospel featured the various “call” stories from the synoptic gospels…but the one from Mark always strikes me with its “call” being done in the context of urgency or immediacy.  Jesus’ coming is a NOW EVENT and calls for a NOW RESPONSE.   Sometimes I think in this individualistic society that we live in, we are even encouraged to take our time and “think things over” before we make any decisions……yet if you read the “call” stories from the Gospels, Jesus tells the first of his Apostles to “come after Me” or “come, follow Me” and they immediately leave their nets, their own worldly entanglements we might say, and follow Jesus….that we could do the same.

So often, I know my own willfulness, pride, and even fear gets in the way of dropping my nets of worldly entanglements and just setting off freely to follow Jesus.  Yet the more I think about it and view the newly fallen snow outside my window, I begin to feel that it must be a truly freeing experience to be able to say “YES” to Jesus’ call.  It’s so pure and innocent like the white fields that I am looking at, and yet, I hesitate. I wonder why?

I begin to think of all those things that I will have to leave behind….and yet, in the end, when Jesus calls me home one day, won’t I be doing just that….leaving all behind to follow him into the great mystery of Love that awaits all of us…..I pray that each day I may become more and more free of those nets that keep me giving a free and complete “yes” to Jesus….. I promised that once on the day of profession…..it’s good to remind myself each day of what that promise means….to be like the Master because he became like me…..Lord, help me keep taking that step that follows yours.

Father Michael T. Collins, O. Praem.

Today was a sad day for us at Daylesford Abbey as news spread through the Abbey about the death of Father Michael Collins.  He died suddenly in his room and obviously this was a shock to all of us here at the Abbey.  He touched many lives during his years of ministry, especially at Archmere Academy where he was a teacher and Dean of Students for many years.  Father Mike was always very kind to all of us in formation here at Daylesford.  He always had words of encouragement for us along with reminiscing about his days in formation.  May he rest in peace.

 

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Rev. Michael T. Collins, O. Praem.

 

Ordinary Time

As we begin a new year, we continue to make improvements on our website.  Our Vocation Blog started several months ago and now we have added the feature of comments being posted.  Feel free to summit your comments on any of our postings.  Now that the Christmas season is over, all of our decorations are coming down at the abbey.  I always enjoy the beginning of Ordinary Time, even though this year Ash Wednesday in just about a month away.  During this first week of Ordinary Time, we hear the early chapters of the Gospel of Mark being proclaimed at daily Mass.  These readings always cause me to reflect on what was the core of Jesus’ preaching ministry… to call us all to repentance and to faithful discipleship.

The Silent Mystery revealed

Walking through the Abbey Church in the silence of the early morning during these days of the Christmas find myself drawn more deeply into the mystery of the LOVE that is at the center of the Christmas season and the mystery it enfleshes.  The smell of the evergreen wreaths, the nativity scene mounted on the wall and the glowing of the four candles of the Advent wreath all seem to let me sink deeper into the mystery of God’s love for us by incarnating the Son in the Virgin’s Womb.  The quietness of the Church and Chapels, the soft glow of the candles burning on the Advent wreath, and the stillness of these early mornings make me ever so aware of God’s limitless love for us, a love so great that God actually became one of us…there was a popular song in the 1990’s entitled “What if God were one of us” and God IS one of us….what a mystery of ponder, a silent yet powerful mystery that will bear fruit during the Passiontide.

Yet one doesn’t even think of Passiontide as one gazes at the red roses and the poinsettias.  I am filled and awed at the God becoming human aspect of the silent mystery of Yuletide and even though I know that the Crib and the Cross are intimately connected, right now I can only ponder the wonderful love God has for me because God has  become like me.  What gratitude enters my soul and heart and I respond to the call to return that love by seeking to love God in the best way that I can, now and in the seasons to come….Perhaps you can feel that pull of God’s love calling you ever more deeply into the silent mystery of Christmas and hopefully you will respond to that call to serve God and God has served us….I think this is what Jesus means when he tells us that he has come to serve and not be served.

I hope these days of the Christmas season and the New Year will be a time of new beginnings for you and a time for you to re-connect with the mystery of the Incarnation..  May it be a time of searching one’s heart in the quiet stillness of the season and letting your heart respond to God’s call to conversion and an ever deepening of your being part of God’s plan of salvation.  The Cross will certainly come but for now let us rejoice in the Crib which signals the unfolding of God’s love for us.  O Come, let us adore and let us to tell it on the mountain that Jesus Christ is born and lives in your hearts.  God’s Peace be yours.