Posted by: fvbcdm | August 2, 2013

Feast of Saint Alphonsus Liguori (1 August 2013)

In yesterday’s Mass, we had the parable-in-action from the book of the prophet Jeremiah in which God tells Jeremiah to go to the workshop of the local potter. As he watched, he observed the potter “throwing” pots as they say. Every once in a while, the product wouldn’t turn out the way he wanted it, so he would mash the clay into a primal lump again and start over. God gave this message to Jeremiah for the Jewish people: Can I not do to you, house of Israel, as this potter has done? Indeed, like clay in the hand of the potter, so you are in my hand, house of Israel.

Now, let’s apply that beautiful parable to ourselves. The art of pottery, or ceramics as we call it now, is a highly diverse skill. The potter makes everything from very humble flowerpots and roofing tiles up through ordinary plates and cups and saucers to be used when we’re not expecting company, to more elegant dishes like Limoges and Royal Doulton and Lenox, and then on up to very beautiful works of porcelain art like the Della Robbias of renaissance Florence to the beautiful LLadro figurines of today which are exquisite.  Abraham Lincoln said one time: “God must love common people; he sure made a lot of them.” What is a common man or woman? One whose talents are not so outstanding that what he or she does attracts the attention of the world. On the other hand, we have the geniuses or people of great gifts and abilities in the fields of art, music, sports, inventions, military genius, engineering, architecture, statesmanship, commerce—their names become household words and their works are often recognizable by their style. Every artist knows a Van Gogh painting; every architect recognizes Frank Lloyd Wright building. Baseball enthusiasts can quote ball scores of people like Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Hank Aaron.

God has intended some of us to be outstanding; others to be “common.” But he has intended all of us to be saints. When the potter is shaping the bowl or cup or vase at his wheel, or a statuette or figurine on a stationary surface, he pushes and prods and pinches and squeezes and shapes until he gets what he wants. And so God with us: there is much prodding and pushing. But all of that is his way of caressing us and shaping us by his loving hands to make of us what he wants. He wants us to be like his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the perfect model of all human life. God gives us the grace; some of us accept it all and make good use of it; some of us allow some of it to produce effects in our lives; some of us reject it totally. The more responsive we are to the work of our divine Artist, the more like Jesus we will become, like clay in the hands of the potter. Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.

Note:  This message was composed some years ago.

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