Sometimes I think how awesome it would be if I were born during the Renaissance, the height of the Roman Empire, or the roarin’ 20’s. But I wasn’t, ya know?
In pretty much every class I’m taking this semester, the first couple of weeks started out with a survey of the Old Testament and an overview of first century Jewish culture as it pertains to the topic of the particular class. We read the New Testament in light of the Old, and the Old as being fulfilled in the New. Sometimes I wonder what it would have been like to be a pharisee, living scrupulously under the Mosaic law. Or what if I was among those present to hear the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5 or the Eucharistic Discourses in John 6? Would I have believed or turned away? But I wasn’t born then, ya know?
A professor at Mundelein recently said something that has been in my head over the last week. He said, “Never lose sight of the fact that your being here is, in itself, a miracle.” He didn’t mean that Ryan Adorjan is God’s gift to the Church and, oh, what a miracle it is that I’m here. No, he meant that it really is a miracle that today in 2015 there is a place (lots of places actually) where 225 men have chosen to come and prepare to serve the Lord and his Church as priests. In the eyes of the predominant culture, we’re all nuts.
What’s more of a miracle is that I, Ryan Adorjan, this particular person, with all my talents and shortcomings, grace-filled moments and horrible pitfalls, the entirety of my being – the good, the bad, and the ugly – have been called here to this particular place at this particular time in the history of the world and of the Church.
“Your parents wanted a child, but God wanted you.” Thomas Merton
My parents wanted me insofar as they wanted a child, but they didn’t choose what I would look like or what kind of personality I would have or what I was going to do with my life; all of that (and lots more) was up to God. But God wanted me because he already knew me before he even created me in my mother’s womb. (Jeremiah 1:5) It is no accident, first of all, that I’m here (#duh), but more than this it is no surprise or accident that I, this person, am here, at this particular place, in this particular moment in history.
And as with me, so with all of us. You weren’t born at the wrong time, you are not a mistake; you are loved. My friend Fr. Paul Murray always says that you should “value yourself by what you have cost.” That somewhere, in the context of first century Judaism, a man named Jesus of Nazareth lived and suffered and died for you. “Value yourself by what you have cost,” Father Murray says, “and realize what you are.”
Be happy, be healthy, be HOLY, be you.