Action or Contemplation? A false Dilemma

 “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. (Read Luke 6:20 – 49)

It is the second call of the disciples. In the first, Jesus called them to follow Him in order to make of them “fishers of men” (Mk 1:16-2o). To follow Jesus is the essence of Christianity. We follow somebody because we love him and desire to be with him. We dwell with him more with our heart than our body.

When we love we carry the beloved within ourselves and want to abide with the beloved in order to become one with him with the same feelings, outlook, acting and living: our being is the being of the beloved. Loving Jesus, the Son of God, makes us like Him: children of the Father and brothers and sisters of all. Jesus fishes us out of the abyss in order to bestow on us our name as children. This second call makes us discover our true name as children in order for us to communicate it to the brethren.

Jesus, after having called us to follow Him on the lake, now calls us on the mountain. In solitude, like to Moses, He reveals to us our name springing from His name, His identity and ours: our vocation that will be our mission as well. “He called those He wanted” ( = loved!).

In the beginning, there is love; Jesus calls because He loves. “And He made the Twelve,” His calling is the making. The Word creates and makes everything new. The Twelve, like the Patriarchs, are the roots of the new people. Within these twelve, we also are included, all equally called, loved and re-born by the Word. Aim of the call is for us to be with Him. With Him, the Son, we are ourselves: children of God. Our ultimate reality is the love of the Father who loves us as He loves the Son and the love of the Son who loves us as He loves the Father (John 17:23;15:9).

Contemplation is a source of effective action. We are with Him with our ears in order to listen to Him; with our eyes in order to look at Him; with our heart in order to love Him; with our feet in order to follow Him; with our hands in order to act like Him. This is why He gives us ears that hear, eyes that see, a heart that loves, feet that walk and hands that touch.

The listening to the Word that becomes contemplation and love, following and action, is the centre of our life. Already in the first community, among the many occupations, the choice of the Twelve is that of being with Him, persevering in prayer and in the service of the Word (Cf. Acts 6:4). To be with Him, the Son, is the beginning and the end of the mission to the brethren which consists in making all to be with Him. Nobody can give what he has not. Only if we are with Him, we are invited to go to the others in order to announce the Word that gives us freedom from evil and our truth as children of God.

To be sent “to announce and chase away, springs from our communion with Him: it is the fruit of the branch united to the vine (Cf. John 15:1 ff).  In the list of the Twelve, there is one surprise: we do not find anybody who has studied Theology or Canon Law. They are just common people. They are fishermen and sinners, collaborationists and freedom fighters. An impossible team made up of people incompatible among themselves. What brings them together as brothers is the experience of sin: one betrays, another denies and all the rest run away (Mk 14:5o). What saves them is “being with Him.” At any rate, He is always and anyhow with them — as they are — with a love stronger than death. As a matter of fact, He is not ashamed to call Himself their brother (Heb 2; II).    

Reflect & Share
– Is my action coming from my contemplation? How much time do I give to prayer and the Word of God? 
– Is my life a witness or a discredit to what I preach?

"Lectio Divina", a Latin term, means "divine reading" and describes a way of reading the Scriptures. Open ourselves to what God wants to say to us.

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Father Rubén Padilla Rocha