Brothers and Sisters:
In the humility of the spirit, I seek to give the Lord’s counsel, so that you and I both may know Him according to human life and according to the life beyond this world. As such, I have preferred His call to the call of the world, whether born of money or of fame, of notoriety or of luxury. But in all of this, I have come to understand myself as neither a separate prophet, nor as a messenger of God set aside from creation. I do not have, with God as my witness, more gift than any of you: this, I will always profess.
Yet, this ordinariness with which I now become intimate, begs in me the answer to a most serious question. That is, who is the elect of God that, being bearers of a higher sacrifice, should shine above the work and goodness of all of God’s chosen? Is there such a person? For we have heard it said as it is written: God comes to call the lowly and the insignificant, to make His wisdom heard by the tongues of those forgotten in this world. Does He then choose the dejected alone for such sacred work? Or are the faithful mundane also among His chosen?
I speak, perhaps, according to a hierarchy God does not assign. For what is it if some men are more than others, that they are called to bring faith to faithless and hope to those in shadow? It petrifies me; it suggests that some are truly of greater good than others. And this most potent possibility, undoes the very belief which I have, for so long, sung. Namely, that there are those who have willed according to their calling more and far better than others. And then, in the human wont of order, it is feared that some are found to be better in the eyes of God.
How may I reconcile myself to this possibility, beloved? For it is my firm faith, from the beginning, that all men and women were gifted with the love and grace of God, enabled to do His work in all ways diverse, each contributing a special quality to the body of Christ, that is, the unified world. How, then, each part integral to His manifestation, can one contribution be greater than others? Does it make some innately better? Or is it merely the choices that divide us? For God would not set us apart from birth, some being higher and others lower. We are all innately charged with the power of God; it is how we use this that we are judged: what choices we make, and what gifts to the imperfect world we offer.
So, then, am I better than those who have not written? Am I less than those who have given their lives to God in pain and physical suffering? He knows, surely, my desire to sacrifice in His name. That I have not been given the circumstance to fulfill that desire, should I be called neglectful? Am I of a lesser good? But no; for God is the Judge of sacrifice, and of sacrifice there are many kinds. Some sacrifice according to history’s beloved terms; that is, a physical devotion to the Lord regardless of the pain they endure. Others are called to a diurnal ministry, whereby the sacrifice is to family and friends. For is it not difficult to be constantly a man or woman of God, day after day, under the weight of many minor temptations? Is this not a sacrifice that God would love? So it is. Let us not judge its grandness or its seeming insignificance. We sacrifice as God calls; we live, as we will, charged by the spirit.
And what of those whose lives are the dramatic and inspiring gifts to the love of God? What of the sacrifices that are eminent in the eyes of world, raising up in the many – faithful and unfaithful – springs of new love? Shall this be seen as better than our own contributions? If it is so, it is not a judgment on us, but a call. It, of itself, is Christ calling us to our opportunities of sacrifice. Give as you have been called; see how it is with those have given according to God’s will; do as you have been called, and be as intimate with God as the mind cannot, nor heart, nor soul, fathom.
Let us then, brothers and sisters, do as the Holy Father commends: take up the cross of Christ, however it is prepared for you. If you should see yourself as less than others for the lack of sacrifice, see to your calling. Do not judge, but take time to understand what your life is, giving in the name of God. If it falls short of what He asks, however He may ask it of you, then act accordingly. Do not, however, think yourself indolent for sacrificing according to a different way than martyrs do. There are many ways to love.
Am I, then, a lesser man, a lesser prophet for my trite enunciations and my insignificant letters? Never, beloved: for just as you have manifest, and continue to manifest, your own good, so I seek to do with the gifts I have been given by God. Let none of us rank the other as though there were a preferred devotion to the Lord God, but rather, let us encourage each other according to our strengths, though they always be different. For in this creation, He has anointed each with diverse greatness. Let such color arise in the tapestry of the earth, that the world may shine with the infinite love of Jesus who is Christ.
Give not as you would according to the judgment of the world, but of God. Be not but in God; there is no other way to live, and to live eternally.
Forever your brother, son, and friend; in grace, I leave you. In the Lord, I love you.