As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him. (Matt 9:9)
Once upon a time, I used to be a CPA working in public accounting – a profession requiring attention to detail, organization skills, precision, and patience. I say “patience” because it is not uncommon to begin a tax return and then stop because of missing information. Long periods of time can pass without a sense of completion, of closure. I imagine Matthew, as a tax person, must have had some of these traits, making his decision to follow Jesus even more remarkable. He didn’t stay to balance his books, count his collections, or get a replacement. He got up, left everything undone and began a journey possessing none of the precision, predefined parameters, and economic safety with which he was familiar. There was something quite remarkable about Jesus, about the way he looked at Matthew and said, “Follow me” – something so remarkable that Matthew resisted his accountant’s impulse for order, precision, and completion. That “something” was the power of God’s love to transform human lives and relationships in unimaginable ways – a love so profound that we allow ourselves to be undone by God and created anew. Discerning a vocation to consecrated life is as challenging as Matthew leaving his collections post. Questions shroud the discernment process: I can’t leave my family and friends; they need me; I’m afraid I’ll be asked to forget the training and education I received for my chosen profession to do something else; what about my freedom – must I give up everything? On my spiritual journey I have found great freedom in humble, trusting surrender of my life to God as a Benedictine monastic Sister. I left behind a lot, but I received so much more. What I left undone God masterfully used to transform and empower lives. Love empowers us to open our hands, let go of all that is our undoing, and receive what God desires for us. God’s love for us in Christ Jesus can never be outdone, no matter how much we leave behind or undone.
What…is more delightful than this voice of the Lord calling to us? See how the Lord in his love shows us the way of life. (RB Prol.19-20)