by Tara K. E. Brelinsky
In his letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul instructed the new disciples to remain in whatever state they were called in. It didn’t matter whether they were circumcised or uncircumcised, slaves or freemen, according to St. Paul each man need only grow where he was planted.
Seeing as it’s January, the proverbial time for re-evaluting and resolving, we should take the time to consider where we’re planted and how we’re being called to grow there.
A Really Big Act of Kindness
Scrolling through social media, I happened upon a video that detailed the story of a modern-day Good Samaritan. Steve Hartman’s segment of On the Road documented the tale of Eugene Yoon, a young man who experienced a calling to perform one really big act of kindness.
An ordinary Joe by most accounts, Yoon said he felt a calling from God to do something outside his comfort zone.
I remember kind of just like looking up at the sky and saying, ‘God, are you sure about this? ‘Cause I’m pretty happy right now. It felt like a calling, but I tried to reject it for about 2 months ’cause it was just too outlandish. —Eugene Yoon
Although Yoon didn’t know what exactly he was being called to do, he opened the door to God’s Will. Then, Arthur Renowitzky, a man left paralyzed after a robbery, came across Yoon’s path. Renowitzky vowed to one day walk again and Yoon decided that it was his mission to make that vow a reality.
In the end, Yoon quit his job and set out on a hike (from the California-Mexico border to Canada) to raise the $80,000 needed to purchase an exoskeleton device which would give his new friend the freedom to walk again.
A Lifetime of Kindness
With this story still fresh in my memory, a friend told me about her recent trip to Detroit, MI. She’d been invited to attend the beautification of Fr. Solanus Casey, but said she hadn’t known anything about the priest’s history. In preparation she tried to find details about Fr. Casey’s life and works. The details were in short supply.
She discovered that Fr. Casey had lived a relatively uneventful life insomuch as he simply lived out his vocation as a Capuchin priest caring for the sick and poor close to home.
I have two loves: the sick and the poor. Thank God: That includes all of us! Don’t we all suffer both sickness and poverty in body, mind, or spirit at one time or another? -Fr. Solanus Casey
Blessed Fr. Casey had served God through countless little acts of kindness to his fellow man.
Balancing the Tales
Following the tale of Yoon it would be easy to conclude that God only works through extraordinary acts of heroism. Certainly, God uprooted Yoon at least for a time. But balancing his story against that of Blessed Fr. Casey, we can see that sainthood isn’t always a matter of monumental feats and permanent upheavals.
Rather, in both cases each man opened the door to God in his current position. Neither sought to be someone or something other than himself. Instead, they each allowed God to use their status (as a single man and as a priest) and grow them in the place He had planted them.
How might God be calling you to grow this year? Open the door to your heart and discover His mission for you in 2018.
3 Simple Ways to Grow Where You Are Planted
- Pray Daily. Dedicate time to prayer and scripture reading each day. Start out slow and keep the time doable (try 5 minutes to begin with). Increase your time as the year progresses. You cannot know God’s Will for you without tapping into His Word.
- Go to Confession Monthly. Strip away the distractions and negative attachments through frequent confession. Allow the Divine Physician to prune your heart and mind.
- Attend Mass Regularly. The Source and Summit of all life comes to you in Mass. Go as often as you are able (and always on Sundays and Holy Days of obligation).