Answering The Call

 Caravaggio: The Calling of St Matthew

I love conversion stories, and St Matthew's story is one of my favorites. What strikes me is how Matthew himself tells his story in today's Gospel (although he doesn't tell it in the 1st person). He [Jesus], said to him, "Follow me." And he got up and followed Him. Matthew left everything he was doing at that moment and with his life and followed Jesus. From that moment on there was no going or looking back for him.
It seems to be that way for many of us who have had deep and powerful conversions. When we are so stuck in lives of sin, we may not always want to admit it, but something in us knows that things should not be the way they are; we are waiting for someone to show us a better way, and when we have seemed to hit our lowest point, that's when we hear it: "Follow Me." For it is only at those very low and dark points that we seem to be ready and able to hear the Savior's words. He has and is the better way.
I am not sure if at that moment Matthew had any idea what was ahead of him; I'm sure he didn't, but he knew his life as it was before those words was not working for him. He heard the call and he answered it. That was all that mattered because from then on Jesus would take him the rest of the way.
It is the same for each of us. We too have received a call; we have heard Jesus' words to come and follow Him. It is up to each of us to answer. Each person's response is different, but Our Lord knows what it is that He has called us to do. He knows how He would like each of us to spread the Gospel. We just need to be like Matthew and simply get up and follow Jesus.
Today on St Matthew's feast day, let us ask him to intercede for us in answering Jesus' call.


Mary333 said…
Oh yeah! This post certainly struck a chord with me! God surprises us by showing himself in some manner and we do an ABOUT FACE! After that, nothing is ever the same.
Robert B said…
"We just need to be like Matthew and simply get up and follow Jesus." Yes, Karinann, there is much wisdom in your last sentence. It is all so simple. We need to resolve to follow Jesus and nothing else.

We can be so wavering, so inconstant and indecisive. In ourselves we are weak and can do nothing, but in Him we can do everything. The folly of the Cross is the strength and wisdom of the saints. All we need to do is listen to the Lord: "Come, follow Me."

I pray to St. Matthew that I receive God's grace so as to follow his example. Thank you for this lovely post and tribute to this Apostle.
Anne said…
It surprises me that Matthew seems to change so easily-there is nothing to say that he even questioned or flinched for an instant, just up and followed. You give a nice little background to that with your explanation that he had already known that something wasn't right in his life.
Karinann said…
Thanks Mary, Robert and Anne for your comments and thoughts on this. I think sometimes the initial "yes" to follow Jesus is easy; it's the staying with Him that sometimes gets difficult, but it's definitely worth it. He never said it would be easy.
paramedicgirl said…
It is a huge grace from God to have that conversion experience. It takes work, though, to keep at it. That first powerful grace of conversion may not be followed by (obvious)daily grace to keep steering a person on the right path. When we wake up in the morning, we're not going to hear God say, "Okay, today, here's what you need to do to avoid sin." It takes prayer, much prayer, to keep a conversion experience guiding you to holiness.
Karinann said…
Thanks for your thoughts on this, paramedicgirl. What you say is so true. Our relationship with God cannot grow without prayer.
God bless!
Saint Basil calls Matthew's sudden conversion a result of "a particular inspiration and motion of divine grace." This very much fits into what you have shared with us Karinann.

But for the rest of us, however,Saint Basil has this warning: "When we hear the Voice of God calling us to virtue, we must not delay. The devil does not advise us to turn entirely from God, but only to put off our conversion to a future time. He steals away our present time and gives us hope of the future. But when that comes, he steals that also in the same manner; and thus by giving us present pleasure, he robs us of our whole life."

WOW! No doubt that is very intelligent deception. Only our Lord can help us see through this.
Karinann said…
Thank you for sharing St basil's warning for us. We need to remember that the devil is the father of lies!His promises are empty. As you say- only God can give us the grace to see through this.
God bless!
paramedicgirl said…
I should have added that, according to the saints, the grace of perseverance is only given to those who ask. St Alphonsus Liguori says we must ask the Blessed Mother every morning on awakening to obtain the grace of peseverance for us. She is the treausurer of all graces; all graces pass through her hands.

If we neglect to ask for this grace, we may become like the apostate children of whom Jesus speaks when He says, "Woe to you, apostate children." (Isaias 30:1)- Woe to them who begin to walk in the way of God and afterward forsake it.
Karinann said…
Thank you for the addendum, paramendic girl. Our Lady is Mediatrix of all grace and she will always lead us to her Son.
Colleen said…
Great post. I think we are called to conversion everyday. Sometimes we have the WOW kind and sometimes it is very quiet and subtle. I pray that I answer God's call everyday with a resounding YES! Hugs!