When my kids were growing up we had a Siberian Husky named Jet. I would take Jet for daily walks and when I turned the corner of our block, I would unhook the leash and let her go. She would run to our house and about the yard. I enjoyed watching her run. It was a thing of beauty. After all, she was doing what she was meant to do. She had been a sled-dog but was small for her breed, so when her owner decided not to run her anymore, she became ours.
I couldn’t let her off the leash for too long though. Being bred to run, that is what she would do at times, taking off and running after a chance rabbit, running around the neighborhood as my children and I searched for her.
Now I have a puppy, Seamus. He is a lab, shepherd mix and not bred to run like Huskies. He is born to eat, but that’s another story. Still I love to watch him run playfully about the yard, doing what puppies do best. Again, it is a thing of beauty. He looks so happy!
In the same way, I think God loves to watch us when we are doing what we are meant to do, being who we are meant to be. When we are doing what we are meant to do, it is a thing of beauty. God loves to watch us at play where we are most ourselves. “Then was I beside him as his craftsman, and I was his delight day by day, playing before him all the while, playing on the surface of his earth.” (Proverbs 8:30-31a)
This Sunday the Catholic Church celebrates the Baptism of the Lord. Baptism is the sacrament of call, the first and foundation of the sacraments. It is a celebration of mission, knowing what we are meant to do and doing it. God looks down on Jesus and says, “This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.”
In the reading for that day from Isaiah, God says, “Behold my servant whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my spirit upon him, he will bring forth justice to the nations.” (42:1) “To be chosen is to be singled out for a purpose,” as one commentator states. Through baptism we are chosen and given a mission. Jesus’ mission, as he states at the beginning of his ministry, is to bring glad tidings to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives, recovery of sight to the blind and to let the oppressed go free, quoting from Isaiah.
Through our baptism we find meaning and purpose. When we find what we are meant to do, it is a thing of beauty; work becomes play. Our God delights in us!
What about you? What gives you the most joy? Have you found what you are meant to do? If not, why not? What’s holding you back?