I’ve been meditating a lot lately on what it means to choose people. Not to choose them for something – not to choose them for a job, or choose them for a project partner, or for a spouse – but just to choose them.
I think especially as a woman, there’s this desire to be chosen, and then to be cherished, by a future spouse. But that’s such a specific way of being chosen, and I think we women are maybe tempted to get stuck on it and not see how we’ve already been chosen by so many others in so many ways, and indeed, to not see how perhaps we’ve failed to choose them back.
For example, every Person has two parents who effectively chose to become parents by engaging in the conjugal act which has the miraculous power to bring forth new Life. But some parents will actively choose to be a parent, either by raising their children or enabling them to be raised well by giving them up for adoption; while others, who are made parents biologically, do not choose their children, either by neglecting them, or – God help us, and have mercy on us – by denying them the chance to live beyond a few days / a few weeks / nine months.
We choose our parents; sometimes, the parents we choose are not the ones under whose roof we happen to live. We choose to be children to places, to things, to good or bad influences; we choose to be children when we choose to sit at someone’s feet, and that someone may or may not be the Someone who gave birth to us.
We have our siblings which our parents gave us in love, but we see in the world siblings who are best friends and siblings who are strangers; the ones who have actively chosen each other as siblings, and the ones who have not.
And we have our friends, but even among our friends, with whom we have undeniably spent enough time to have made it past simply being acquaintances, there are those we have chosen and those we have not. It is not how long we have known them or how many hours we have spent in conversation or how many meals we have shared.
Who has chosen us whom we have not chosen back? Have we chosen to be sons and daughters of the parents who gave us Life? Have we chosen to be brothers and sisters to the siblings with whom we share our living spaces? Have we actively chosen the people with whom God has willed for us to cross paths?
What is the measure of our choosing? The answer is not Time.
Mt. St. Mary’s just shared this photo of their largest group of seminarians in 33 years.
It is incredible to ponder how God has chosen these men. I have also been pondering how, in responding to God’s call, these men have chosen us.
These men do not know where their vocation will take them or how they will be called to serve. They school and they train to serve as our shepherds, but there is no telling who will come to them for spiritual direction, what new [old] heresies they will be called to fight, what new [old] persecutions they will be called to endure, who will move in to their parishes and who will move out. They choose us, their flock, without knowing us, as we might think it necessary to know a body in order to choose them.
It gives a whole new meaning to Jeremiah 1:5, Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and causes me to meditate also on what it meant for Our Blessed Mother to conceive Christ in her soul even before she conceived Him in her womb.
The measure of their choosing is Christ, Who Is Love. And so should ours be.
So thank you, seminarians… Thank you Mike, Chris, Matt, Marty, Henry, Jake, Colton, Sam, JP, Patrick, Joe, Ben, Peter, Ryan… Thank you for choosing us in Christ, in Love. It’s so, so incredible. Praise God.