In honor of St.Matthias

Today is the feast of St. Matthias, who was elected to replace Judas as one of the Apostles. In his homily for the feast, Archbishop Wuerl pointed out that before Matthias became an apostle he was a disciple and so all of us have that in common with him. If we are disciples than we are people with a mission and all of us share the same mission–to bear Christ to the world. What makes discipleship so beautiful is that all of us do that in quite different and unique ways.

Sharing in the teaching ministry of Christ

A few months back I wrote about nominations for the Golden Apple Award which recognizes excellence among Catholic School teachers. Last night I was able to join the celebration of the ten educators who received 2010 Golden Apples.  Each of the recipients are pretty impressive, from the  twenty-two year veteran in the kindergarten classroom to the former volunteer with Blessed Theresa and the Missionary of Charities who now teaches Catholic social teaching at Archbishop Carroll High School. All of the winners spoke of their job as a vocation and Archbishop Wuerl commented on a second common characteristic–they all share in the teaching ministry of Christ.

Chipping away until there is nothing but Christ

Archbishop Wuerl told the story of the students of Michelangelo who asked the great master how, when he faced the huge block or marble that became the Pieta,  did he ever imagine the figure of Christ. He is said to have replied, “I chipped away until I had nothing but Christ.”  The Archbishop suggested that the teaching vocation is in part the work of forming disciples by chipping away all that is not Christ.

The universal call to holiness

This “chipping away” is not just the work of teachers, but of all who take seriously the spiritual life. Some of our un-Christ-like attitudes and habits can seem as impenetrable as a piece of marble and yet if we can carry in our minds an image of the Christ who lives within us, we may be more brave about picking up the chisel.  Chipping away also reminds us that the spiritual life is a work in progress, we ought not to rush it by seeking that “big moment of conversion” or become complacent that we have arrived. Imagine if the Pieta was just the figure of our Blessed Mother?

Read more about our Golden Apple winners


3 Replies to “In honor of St.Matthias”

  1. This is a great post. I remember once with my own vocation a patient asked me about my job. I told her that I love what I do, even with all the bad points, but I do get very burnt out. She responded that I am burnt out because I care. I care about my patients, job training, my coworkers, etc. I had never looked at my burnout that way before. She also went on to tell me that if I didn’t love what I do, I would be on another path by now. That is very true. My patients are at times wiser than my coworkers and I. It’s the ones that are inspirational like that, that really keep me going.

  2. Thanks Katherine, we need to be much better about helping people trust their ability to live and serve as disicples. As your co-worker points out your bring something more to the job–that is what maks it a vocation.

  3. Susan
    Wonderful post. I have a survey out to our Catechetical Leaders as to the theme they would like for their Lenten Retreat… coming in at number one is Christ: The Heart of Ministry….. The image you offer via Archbishop Wuerl is excellent. Thanks!

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