Donald Trump was visiting a nursery home for people with senile dementia during his electoral campaign. He spotted one resident wandering in the hallway and, getting close to him, Mr. Trump asked, “Do you know who I am?” The man answered, “I don’t know who you are but if you go to that kind nurse, she will tell you who you are.” This joke has some truth: we really know who we are when someone calls us by name, and with love.
Look at any baby. He gets to know his name and to know that he is loved by being named with love, by being called with love by his mother. Throughout our whole life, until our last breath, we learn who we are through the voices of people who call us. It’s as if a loving voice calls us not into existence, into fruitfulness. Remember the word of Jesus to the dead Lazarus in the tomb, “Lazarus, come out.”
Throughout my life, God has been placing for me people who were able to see in me what I could not see in myself. They were the voice of God, calling me, “Pierre, come out, I will be with you. Do not be afraid.” One of these voices came from Jean Paradis, a very gifted leader. He was heading a group of young Catholics who wanted to make a difference in a very poor neighbourhood of Montreal in the sixties. I was about 19 years old. Our group was going through a crisis. Many members were losing the focus of our group, its purpose and its spirit. As a group, we had lost sight of who we were, what our mission was. In the midst of our discussion, Jean Paradis stopped, turn to me and said, “Pierre, tell us who we are, what we are about.” I was hit by a lightning! During the whole discussion, I was burning with desire to dispel confusion and communicate that passion for the people in the community that were so dear to me. But I was paralyzed by timidity and lack of faith in myself. Jean Paradis saw it all in me. And I began to share my passion, my vision. The group was restored and rekindled into action and service for the poor. And I had discovered my vocation as a priest.
You, too, are called by God, at any age, in any circumstance! If you answer that call and accept to be sent, in the midst of your present life, you will know who you truly are, and find the joy of acting from within, rather than from under the constraint of external circumstances. You will know yourself as God knows you.
“Each baby is born with a unique message for the world that only he can say, with a song for God and the world that only he can sing.”
Re-read today’s Scriptures and ask the Lord to speak to you.
God bless you,