Emily | A Year of Living Adventurously
This is one of those mysteries that you can ponder for a long time and never quite finish pondering it. The “preaching of the kingdom” covers just about everything in the gospels: the Sermon on the Mount, the parables, the cures, the Loaves and Fishes, the Bread of Life discourse–all of Jesus’ preaching and activities. In that sense, it’s an easy mystery to pray, because you can pick your favorite image or story or event and meditate on that.
But I think it’s also fruitful to use this to ponder our own sense of mission. For nuns and sisters, it’s their prayer and their apostolate that is their preaching. For married women, it’s their married life, and growing in holiness with their husbands; for a mother, it’s taking care of her family, and raising her kids to know God and to be devout Catholics. For the single, it can be a little harder, but we are all called to holiness, to prayer, and to bringing that to the world.
In the Dominican order (of which I am a part), we believe that you must fill your own well first, then bring it to others. St. Thomas Aquinas gave us the phrase ‘contemplate and share with others the fruit of your contemplation.’ So we have to pray, study, and live the Gospel ourselves before we can go out and give it to others. In secular parlance, you can see it as having to take care of yourself, before you can take care of others.
We can see this clearly in the second Greatest Commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” As yourself. How do you love yourself? Do you take care of your spiritual, physical, and emotional needs? Do you beat yourself up constantly, thinking that everything you do is wrong, that you are unlovable?
Meditate on this mystery and realize that God loved us so much that He sent His Son to us. That is immense, unchangeable love! God loves you as you are. You are so important to Him. Go to Him in prayer, in study, in lectio, and fill your own well. Realize that God has placed you here to serve Him and preach to others in your own unique way.
St. Teresa of Avila said that she found God among the pots and pans. In that same way, Jesus went among our pots and pans–our daily lives–and ministered. He preached everywhere He went. He used the basic things of life–loaves and fishes, bread and wine–to work His miracles.
In our own lives, we can preach in the most basic things. Doing our jobs well, making dinner for our family, even having coffee with a friend and providing a listening ear. Everything we do can be sanctified, and we don’t need to pass out tracts to do it.
Holiness is attractive–real holiness. That’s something we can work toward.Jesus preached the kingdom to us so that we could know it, know HIm and His Father, and then follow Him. Following involves telling others what we have heard and seen.
In 10 days we’ll celebrate Easter. Mary Magdalene on that morning ran back to the Apostles and said that Christ has risen. She brought them news of the kingdom, indeed. Let’s realize how much God loves us, and use that love to motivate us to preach the kingdom in our own small corners of the world.