Saturday, December 12, 2020

It's Not Over Yet

Perhaps one of my favorites lines from a movie is from The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, when Lord Elrond says to Aragorn, "Put aside the Ranger, become who you were born to be." 

Up until this point in the story, while Aragorn has helped lead Frodo, Sam and the Fellowship of the Ring in their quest to destroy the ring, he has hesitated to claim his rightful role as the King of Gondor. As a result of this conversation with Elrond, Aragorn claims the throne of Gondor, unites the various groups battling the forces of evil and assists in the ultimate destruction of the ring.

I find this moment in J.R.R. Tolkien's tale so moving because I think that most of us - myself at least - hide  our true selves and settle for a lesser version of who we were created to be. There is something, most likely our fallen nature, that holds us back from being the person that God created us, and the world needs us, to be. 

We all need to put aside our version of the Ranger in our lives - the shadowy, mysterious, lesser version of ourselves - and claim our rightful role as children of the one true King, Jesus Christ. 

This means that we have royal blood coursing through our veins. 

We are made for greatness, built for holiness and destined for sainthood. It is time to become who we were created to be. 

Today's Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is a wonderful reminder that God's not done with us yet in His quest for us to become who He intended us to be. 

First, in the today's Gospel, Mary goes to visit her cousin Elizabeth. Both she and her husband Zechariah had all but given up hope of having children. When the angel Gabriel comes to visit Zechariah and tell him the good news of his wife's pregnancy, Zechariah responds in disbelief, claiming that both he and Elizabeth were too old to have children (Luke 1:18). In addition to this great blessing, Elizabeth responds with joy over the visitation of her cousin, "And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy" (Luke 1:43-44). 

Elizabeth and Zechariah, despite their disbelief, are swept up into God's plan for salvation. To me, this is a wonderful reminder that God isn't done with us yet. 

Second, the apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico in December 1531 also speak to this theme. Juan Diego, the person to whom Our Lady appeared, was a poor, 57-year-old widower. God wasn't done with him yet. 

Our Lady also brought about the conversion of over 9 million people in a relatively short period of time as a result of these apparitions. Not only did this bring out cultural changes in the Aztec practice of human sacrifice, it also stood as a rebuke to the methods of the Spanish missionaries. When we look at otherwise hopeless situations like the rise of the nones (those with no religious affiliation), abortion, the death penalty, systemic racism, and abuse of all kinds, we have to remember: God's not done with us yet. 

He is moving. May we have faith enough to trust that and to allow ourselves to be moved. 

May we keep becoming the people that He created us to be. Decision by decision. Moment by moment. No matter our state in life, no matter how old/young we are, no matter how far off from God's plan we might find ourselves, we can still become who He created us to be. To once again quote C.S. Lewis, "(E)very time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different from what it was before" (Mere Christianity, 1952). 

Remember: you're not finished yet. And neither is God. 

It's not over yet.