“All through our life Christ is calling us”

All through our life Christ is calling us. He called us first in baptism, but afterwards also; whether we obey his voice or not, he graciously calls us still. If we fall from our baptism, he calls us to repent; if we are striving to fulfil our calling, he calls us on from grace to grace, and from holiness to holiness, while life is given us. Abraham was called from his home, Peter from his nets, Matthew from his office, Elisha from his farm, Nathanael from his retreat; we are all in course of calling, on and on, from one thing to another, having no resting place, but mounting towards our eternal rest, and obeying one command only to have another put upon us. There is nothing miraculous or extraordinary in his dealings with us. He works through our natural faculties and circumstances of life. He calls us again and again, in order to justify us again and again—and again and again, and more and more, to sanctify and glorify us.

It were well if we understood this; but we are slow to master the great truth, that Christ is, as it were, walking among us, and by his hand, or eye, or voice, bidding us follow him. We do not understand that his call is a thing which takes place now. We think it took place in the Apostles’ day; but we do not believe in it, we do not look out for it in our own case. We have not eyes to see the Lord; far different from the beloved Apostle, who knew Christ even when the rest of the disciples knew him not. When he stood on the shore after his resurrection, and bade them cast the net into the sea, “that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, It is the Lord.”

Now what I mean is this: that they who are living religiously, have from time to time truths they did not know before, or had no need to consider, brought before them forcibly; truths which involve duties, which are in fact precepts, and claim obedience. In this and such-like ways Christ calls us now. There is nothing miraculous or extraordinary in his dealings with us. He works through our natural faculties and circumstances of life. Still what happens to us in providence is in all essential respects what his voice was to those whom he addressed when on earth: whether he commands by a visible presence, or by a voice, or by our consciences, it matters not, so long as we feel it to be a command. If it is a command, it may be obeyed or disobeyed; it may be accepted as Samuel or St. Paul accepted it, or put aside after the manner of the young man who had great possessions.

We need not fear spiritual pride in following Christ’s call, if we follow it as people in earnest. Earnestness has no time to compare itself with the state of others; earnestness is simply set on doing God’s will. It simply says, “Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth; Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” Oh that we had more of this spirit! Oh that we could take that simple view of things, as to feel that the one thing which lies before us is to please God!

Let us beg and pray him day by day to reveal himself to our souls more fully; to quicken our senses; to give us sight and hearing, taste and touch of the world to come; so to work within us that we may sincerely say, “With your counsel you guide me, and at the end receive me with honor. Whom else have I in the heavens? None beside you delights me on earth. Though my flesh and my heart fail, God is the rock of my heart, my portion forever” (Psalm 73:24-26).

John Henry Newman

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1 Response to “All through our life Christ is calling us”

  1. dianelos says:

    That’s very nicely put.

    I would only like to observe that when we speak of God’s commands, we should think of a general commanding their soldiers or an owner commanding his slaves – but of a parent counseling her children. And doing so out of love and the desire to see them grow well. And the parent’s direction operates in the context their children’s freedom, and indeed has meaning only within that context.

    Indeed, consider the excellent words of the psalm quoted: “With your counsel you guide me, and at the end receive me with honor. Whom else have I in the heavens? None beside you delights me on earth. Though my flesh and my heart fail, God is the rock of my heart, my portion forever”. (Whoever wrote this had certainly seen God.)

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