I almost constantly live in something called a “Straddling Strategy”. By that I mean, I try to straddle Home and Work, Travelling and Parish Ministry, Secular Culture Awareness and Theological and Biblical Formation, Friends and Family, and I straddle a number of other options as well. I often feel at a loss for time and productivity because I try to commit to many things. I feel the need to be all things to all like Paul talks about in the 9th chapter of Corinthians. I find myself overtaxed. I find myself over burdened. I find that I have taken on too much. It seems that as much as I want to be like Paul that I am doomed to fall short.
The time between the liturgical and calendar New Year are a very special time for me as far when it comes to addressing this challenge in my life. What could be a natural time of straddling is actually a time of great clarity for me about what I love most and, often, what I should love more. It is a period of time where my primary culture (A Catholic Christian) takes clear dominance in my life. Things get dark. Things get quiet. I light candles. I focus in. I see the ways that I am failing in the soft light of a new life. I see the beauty of simple things done well, done with love, as an overwhelming mandate. I get angry about the distance I have to go, but I take refuge in the fact that it is not as long of a journey as it was yesterday.
I realize that Paul failed, I realize that there were moments that he got knocked down, and that he never really got it right on the first try. What Paul did know, what I continue to learn, and what the Blessed Mother intimately understood is that it is all about just one thing. It is all about just one man. It is all about Jesus.
I have to view my life in terms of this reality. Travelling and Parish ministry are not really two different things when viewed with this end in mind. My ministry to my family is strengthen by and strengthens my work when viewed through this lens. My love of culture and of Church are not at odds when they are ordered properly. My friends and my family are just one things when they are encompassed by the Mystical Body of Christ. There are things that fall outside of this paradigm. There are things I have to get rid of to live out my calling. There are distractions that pull at me, responsibilities to be put asides, and times to say no to invitations or tasks.
There is just one thing. There is just one question, “Tony do you love me?”, He asks. More than anything I want to answer, “Yes Lord. To everything you ask of me, yes.”
Help me to say Yes to you oh Lord.