Friday, January 13, 2017

Responding to God’s Love

By Whitney Schieltz

This week we returned to Ordinary Time; and after spending the holidays with my family in Ohio, I returned to community life and ministry at the Border.  As I caught up with friends and coworkers, many expressed a relief and joy for things to be “back to normal” after the busy Christmas season.  For me, however, Christmas was the break from busyness, and getting “back to normal” is returning to that busyness.

Jesus Heals the Paralytic, by Harold Copping
As an introverted Enneagram Nine, I am not fond of large crowds and am inclined to live life at an unhurried pace.  So as I reflected on this week’s Gospel readings, it was challenging for me to imagine myself in Jesus’s place traveling from town to town as “people kept coming to him from everywhere.”  This was not a new thought, however, since the fast pace common to apostolic religious life has been an ongoing concern in my discernment. I often wonder if I will fall victim to exhaustion if I continue on this path to becoming a Sister.  I wonder how I should respond to God’s invitation to serve.

Pondering these questions, I remembered what Fr. James Martin, SJ, shared in his discussion of similar worries: “There is good news and there is better news.  The good news is that there is a Messiah.  The better news is that it’s not you!”  So looking back at 
Wednesday's Gospel, instead of identifying with Jesus, I looked to Simon Peter's mother-in-law for my cue of how to respond to God’s call.  After Jesus healed the woman, she immediately responded with an act of service.  God was not asking her to compete with the miraculous works of His son, only to spread His love by serving those around her.  She did in that moment what she was able to do.  And that is what God asks of us.

Christ Healing the Mother of Simon Peter’s Wife, by John Bridges
God’s love is also what we need to restore us in times of exhaustion and distress.  As Jesus was fully human, he too was no stranger to these feelings and needed time away from the crowds to recuperate.  After many healings, “he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed.”  Through prayer, and through his Father’s love, he was restored and able to continue in his mission.  He always responded—even when he might have preferred to be alone.  And God will always respond when we call out to Him.

So now I ask myself: Am I ready to step out of my comfort zone and into the crowds?  Am I willing to put the needs of others before my own desires?  Am I willing to risk exhaustion in response to God’s love?  Do I trust that God will restore me when I turn to Him in prayer?  
How am I responding to God’s love?


  1. Thank you Whitney for your frankness. I have always felt that God has need for all of us,each in our own special way. To share myself is always out of my comfort zone. It's much easy and safer not to share. But there is that one person out there that needs us to sit with them.

  2. Great article Whitney with some great insights and questions for all. Thank you

  3. Thanks for sharing with us Whitney. As a fellow introvert, I can assure you that there are many of us in the SC community and thanks to our call to daily prayer and reflection times we survived quite well. I will pray for your discernment.


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