Interlocking Yeses

I remember receiving the complete works of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow for Christmas when I was in my early teen years. I devoured his poetry, and one of my favorite poems at that time was “The Builders”, which includes these stanzas:
Nothing useless is, or low;
Each thing in its place is best;
And what seems but idle show
Strengthens and supports the rest.

For the structure that we raise,
Time is with materials filled;
Our to-days and yesterdays
Are the blocks with which we build.

Truly shape and fashion these;
Leave no yawning gaps between;
Think not, because no man sees,
Such things will remain unseen.

I loved the challenge of these words, the way that they called me out to do whatever it was I was doing to the very best of my ability and how they encouraged me to remember that “nothing useless is or low”.

This poem still goes through my head at times, and recently I’ve been thinking about it quite a bit. Not long ago, my Mom said something on the phone that startled me. She was sharing with me about a weekend retreat she and my Dad had made, and said that one of the things that she realized on retreat was that my “yes” to the Lord in my life made her more ready, more available to say “yes” to him in her own life.

Surprised as I was by this revelation, I took it to prayer. And as I dialogued with the Lord about it, I saw something very beautiful. It was, perhaps, true that my “yes” to my vocation as a religious sister enabled my Mom to say a deeper “yes” to the Lord’s work in her life. But it was also true that I was able to receive a vocation to this life because my Mom had first said “yes” to entering the Catholic Church (a courageous choice for her, given her family’s response to it). Her “yes” to the Lord’s invitation to enter the Church made possible my “yes” a few years later, when, on July 6, 2002, I was received into the Catholic Church and initiated into the sacramental life of the Church.

But the picture is so much more complex
even than this! My Dad’s “yes” to support my Mom in a decision he did not fully understand certainly figures in to the equation, as does my Grandmother’s deep “yes” to following Jesus in her own life and teaching my Mom to love and serve him. What is really mindboggling about this is that my Grandmother’s fidelity to the Lord supported in a very real way a decision that she would later resist! God used her “yes” to ballast a “yes” she would not have chosen!

No choice for the Lord is ever wasted in the Divine economy. Our tiny, apparently unseen efforts to be faithful to Christ are bricks and mortar, building materials with which the Lord is building the New Jerusalem. This sounds grandiose, but it’s true. The “yes” you say today to be steadfast to the people and the daily tasks entrusted to you by the Lord are being used in manifold (though often hidden!) ways to build up the Kingdom of God, a kingdom which is built of the interlocking “yeses” of his sons and daughters.

Rejoice with me as I celebrate 13 years in the Catholic Church – and thank God, too, for the many “yeses” that have brought you to him in the course of your life. 

You may also like

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.