This evening I gave an allocutio inspired by Ch. 28, Section 5 of the Legion handbook, which is a very dry chapter on a particular higher governing body of the Legion. Basically, the home base in Dublin. What was inspiring about it, after several subsections on correspondents, voting rules, etc., was a little quote from Blessed John Henry Newman at the very end. It wasn't the quote itself I appreciated, but the reminder of another of his (perhaps most famous) quotes, which I know I have written about somewhere on this blog. Anyway, below is the text of my talk, which was a lot of fun to give.
I would like to focus our allocutio tonight on the quote included at the very end of the reading, from Venerable John Henry Newman. Occasionally in our handbook, and especially these past few weeks as we get to know the various higher governmental systems of the Legion, we have seen a few quotes from Newman. I knew little of Newman until recently, when I began to see him pop up in our readings, so I wanted to learn more about him. I discovered this really nice quote of his:
“God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission. I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons.
He has not created me for naught. I shall do good; I shall do His work.
I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it if I do but keep His commandments.
Therefore, I will trust Him, whatever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him, in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him. If I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. He does nothing in vain. He knows what He is about. He may take away my friends. He may throw me among strangers. He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide my future from me. Still, He knows what He is about.”
I find this to be such a breath of fresh air; yet another example of a friend saint who can help us see the bigger picture. There were a few lines that stood out to me:
· He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another.
· I can never be thrown away.
· He knows what He is about.
This reassurance of our uniqueness and value is so critical. I find this idea of our uniqueness, but usefulness, reflected in the spirit of the Legion, and in the thought that everyone who comes to the Legion has something to offer. We have lots of works we perform, but individual personalities and talents which lend themselves to the tasks in different ways. And most importantly, God knows what He is about – He knows what he asks of us and why, and I think we can say the same thing for the Blessed Mother – she knows what she is about, and this is especially true when we perform our work and she is with us.
I enjoyed the readings from Monday, and see this idea reflected there. The readings told the story of Zacchaeus, who was a short in stature but determined to get closer to Our Lord. He could have given himself the excuse that he was small, unseeable, or unworthy, but he ignored what he didn’t have (height) and used what he did have (guts!). He climbed up the tree, made himself known, and Jesus ended up coming over for dinner. To add to that, Zacchaeus ultimately gave away half his possessions, which I doubt was his intent to begin with. In other words, he used what God gave him and ended up with even greater spiritual growth than he could have planned for. I believe the same is possible for all of us when we are able to trust in God, that He knows what He is about and what is best for us. And, too, when we live out the special mission God has for us. Further, we can emulate Zachaeus in his fearlessness in his approach to Jesus. He put everything on the line, because Jesus is worth it.
I have no advice for how to discover that mission other than prayer. You may already have an idea of your mission, anyway. Don’t be afraid of it. The important thing to remember is that even if it takes your whole life, as Newman said, you can never be thrown away. God is infinitely patient with us and waits for us, as we wait for him.