Today was a beautiful one weather-wise in Toronto. I hope it was the same for you who are reading this. A few young women spent the weekend with us. Yes, there are still some women who see religious life--being a Sister--as a valuable, viable option for their life's choice. Today's gospel reading from St. John tells of a miraculous catch of fish. That came after a hard night of no fish at all. Then the Lord said, "Cast your nets to the other side of the boat." The net was filled with 153 fish. After Peter hauled the fish ashore, all by himself, the Lord had breakfast ready and waiting. Then came a moment of decision for Peter. Three times Jesus asked him: "Do you love me." Each time the answer was "yes." After each affirmation Jesus gave Peter a task--really layers of responsibility: "Feed my lambs; feed my sheep." Peter's love would have a price. I recently saw the film called "Peter" so the characters in the gospel were vivid in my imagination today. (Omar Shariff portrays a convincing Peter in the full length feature DVD.) Love is freely given, but it requires sacrifice. That's what Peter would find out soon enough.
So all of us find out that love has its own costs, yet the rewards beat out the costs any day! The young women who came this weekend were discerning if this life of ours is where God is calling them to pour out their love.
Today during our hour of prayer before Jesus in the Eucharist, we were asked to present a symbol of ourselves at this moment. I brought up a map of Toronto and the surrounding area--the GTA as it is called--along with a lighted candle. The symbolism lay in the candle light representing the light of Christ in the Word we distribute as Paulines in this area; plus the light of my own life which is burning out slowly for the Lord. Years ago my sister had a prayerbook for young women. I would borrow it sometimes. I still remember a poem in it which started like this: "Rabboni, when I am dying, how glad I shall be, that the lamp of my life has burned out for Thee." An old, seasoned missionary priest once said, "There is a fire in everyone. It can be the fire of love of God, or the fire of love for self." So I hope this "fire" is the right one--for God!
I have a poster in my office with the words: "We have believed in love!" That epitomizes one who gives his or her life in love. I think of that 76 year old professor and Holocaust survivor who died saving his students at Viriginia Tech. He certainly proved his love for others.
The late Pope John Paul loved the expression taken from the gospel of today: Cast your nets into the deep. That expression would take the space of an entire blog. Yet, there are times when God asks us to take a leap of faith, and cast into the deep. May we be ready for that when the time comes....
May you have a wonderful, Jesus-filled week of peace.