Saint Gregory the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church (Memorial)
Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men. (Luke 5:10)
There’s a story about the British evangelist Smith Wigglesworth (1859–1947). He was riding a train to Wales one day. As the train neared his station, he got up to wash his hands in the restroom. While there, he prayed for just a few moments. When he returned to his seat, someone noticed that his face seemed to be shining with an extraordinary glow. “Sir,” he said, “you’ve convinced me of my need to repent!” Soon after, others in the carriage were exclaiming, “Who are you? You’ve convinced us all to repent!”
The reaction of these travelers to Wigglesworth sounds a little like Peter’s words to Jesus: “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man” (Luke 5:8). It wasn’t that Peter wanted Jesus to go away. It was that he was overwhelmed by Jesus’ power and goodness.
It’s natural for us to react like this when we encounter the Lord. Perhaps the encounter has shown us our sin, and we are moved to repentance. Perhaps we are not accustomed to experiencing such an abundance of unconditional love. Or maybe we sense that God has a new calling for us, and we are afraid to take it up. As the Letter to the Hebrews says, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31).
But look at Peter. He allowed himself to fall into Jesus’ hands, and it changed his life forever. No longer just a fisherman, he became a fisher of men and women as he grew into his role of leading the Church and encouraging his fellow apostles. It was a rocky road at first, but over time, Peter became a heroic, humble servant reverenced by millions of believers down through the ages.
God has an adventure set aside for you as well. It may not entail world travel or a place in the limelight, but it does involve a life lived for more than just yourself. He wants you to take up the call to catch people for his kingdom. And as you do—whether through evangelization or a life of intercession—you’ll find your horizons broadening, your heart growing warmer, and your life more purposeful. Who knows? Maybe your face will even shine as brightly as Smith Wigglesworth’s!
“Here I am, Lord. I don’t want to live just for myself. Make me into your servant.”~wau