Monday, May 28, 2012

Wither goest thou...Lord?

Quo vadis Domine?
According to Christian tradition, Saint Peter was fleeing from likely crucifixion in Rome, and along the road outside the city he meets a risen Jesus. Peter asks Jesus "Quo vadis?", to which He replies, "Romam vado iterum crucifigi." ("I am going to Rome to be crucified again"). Peter, thereby gains the courage to continue his ministry and returns to the city, to eventually be martyred by being crucified upside-down.

Christian walk requires a constant status update from the Almighty- are we are going where we want in the Lord's name or are we are going where the Lord wants us to go.

The first statement implies a good intent, a desire to do good and the second implied God's work. What the difference, you ask?


All of God's work is good, but not all good work is from God's. Sounds heretical? Let me show you why not.

Saul was a devout, learned Pharisee rather (in)famous for his persecution of the followers of 'The Way' in Acts 8:1-3. Not only were they perverting the Jewish religion, they were deceiving thousands of Jews into their new community. He was doing a lot of good work...for God.

But was this really God's will? God's work? 

We all know what happened next. The Damascus moment...course correction...and finally, St.Paul, Pillar of the Church. God's work brings forth good fruit.

This dilemma is a particular plague for those of us who love to serve and find great joy in giving. We tend to take on more good causes, missions, ministries than what we have been called to do. God doesn't like deceiving you. He let's you have your way till you realise that things are getting too much and you don't know what you have done wrong. Where are all the fruits of my labour?

Of course, this must not be confused with those who are called to tireless service. St.Anthony of Padua, Blessed Mother Therese of Calcutta, St. Terese of Avila, in fact lot of the saints have been called to labour deep and long in the Lord's vineyard. The difference between them and what I am referring to is a) it was the Lord's calling (not just one's good intent alone), b) because it is the Lord who calls, he provides you with adequate strength and grace to carry out the appointed task. He goes ahead of you and prepares the field for you to sow the good seed. A mission from the Lord always brings forth the Fruits of the Spirit and strong virtue takes deep root.

On the other hand, a classical sign of just plain 'ol good work is, if after all the good work you have done you find yourself worn-out, perpetually tired, grumpy, irritable, with no time or patience for your spouse and family. That would be a good time to ask, "Quo Vadis, Domine." 

...and take the course correction, of course.