May 01, 2012

MISSION MATTERS: God's Plan and Work

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By Fr. Paul Stark, S.J.
Vice President for Mission and Ministry

This week we celebrate the life of José Maria Rubio, the "Apostle of Madrid." Born in the middle of the 1800s to a large farming family in Spain, Rubio studied for the priesthood and was ordained at age 23. Though he felt a desire to enter the Society of Jesus, other circumstances prevented him. For 22 years, he served in Madrid and the surrounding area, well-known for his insightful homilies and spiritual direction. Finally, the circumstances and barriers prohibiting him from becoming a Jesuit changed, and at age 45, he entered the Society of Jesus. Until his death 20 years later, he lived and worked his motto, Do what God wants and want what God does!

The people of Madrid and all of Spain will celebrate the life of this simple but important man who worked with and for them. We all can join this celebration honoring the example José gave us.

As we near the end of our semester, some of us might be discouraged that it hasn't gone exactly the way we had planned. Circumstances, and our own decisions, more often than not, may have become barriers to our own desires. We now find ourselves in situations and places that seem far away from the original hopes we had dreamed, the first plans we had made, and now we're discouraged.

We see in the life of Saint José Maria Rubio, that our plans, not fulfilled, should not lead us to be discouraged, or to give up. Like St. Francis Xavier, who planned to visit China, but who died only within sight of his goal, Rubio learned that God's plan and timeline may be different than his own—a good lesson for all of us. The important thing in life is to seek what God wants in our life and world. God's plan and actions are bigger than our simple and often short-sighted plans and ideas, and if we remember that we're just a small part of this considerably bigger plan, then our goals become better placed.

As we finish this semester, with all its successes and other opportunities, let's remember we are all part of God's work, part of the much bigger scheme of things. Let's remember that God's work is also our work, but that we are not in charge of the plan. As long as we keep moving, we fulfill our part of what God does...

Circumstances and barriers notwithstanding, we can all ...

Do what God wants and want what God does!

Higher purpose. Greater good.
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