“No, you’re not a household name, but you are called to spread His word and love in your circle of influence. We’re not expected to be remembered by generations to come, but certainly you can leave your mark on your own generation.” – Cindy Clefisch
As All Saints Day brings the stories of the heroes who have gone before us, I sometimes look at my life and decide mine doesn’t measure up. I haven’t given mercy to the poor like St. Theresa of Calcutta, or hear the Lord’s voice like St. Anthony and St. Francis of Assisi. I’ve never performed a miracle or given my life for His sake. How can someone such as myself, so ordinary, so small, so little leave a mark on history? And then I remember a poem that my mother had taped to the pantry door, an adaptation of “One Solitary Life” by James Allen Francis.
He was born in a stable, in an obscure village from where he traveled less than 200 miles.
He never won an election. He never went to college. He never owned a home. He never had a lot of money.
He was betrayed by a close friend and all his other friends turned away.
He was unjustly condemned to death, crucified on a cross amongst thieves, on a hill overlooking a town dump, and when dead he laid in a borrowed grave.
Nineteen centuries have come and gone. Empires have risen and fallen. Mighty armies have marched and powerful rulers have reigned.
And no one has effected man as much as He.
He is a central figure of the human race. He is the Messiah, the son of God, Jesus Christ.
If we were to read this poem without the last line, we would think that this person’s life was surely insignificant. He traveled in a small sphere, not quite as long as our state is north to south. He would have been known by the people in that area and he did tend to attract a lot of attention where he went, but he touched only a small fraction of the population at that time. Jesus wasn’t popular, powerful or wealthy. He would have been educated enough to read and understand the Torah and the rest of his education would have come from his father’s trade. Joseph was a carpenter. Have you ever thought about how much wood would have been available in the cradle of civilization where they lived?
The rest of his life reads like a bad novel. In the end, it almost seems as if he encountered a serious case of bad luck. This “King” was treated like a loathed criminal. No one would want to leave this legacy. Was his life for naught? We know better.
Think of everything that has happened since then: the inventions that man has made in our quest for evolution, the waves of civilizations that have swept the globe and tried to annihilate others, plagues and illness, natural disasters. And the 20th century has been filled with powerful men who specialize in death: Stalin and Hitler to name only two. And this little traveled, unpopular, poorly educated by our standards, barely known son of a carpenter is the one who changed the world for all time. His death lead to the possibility of eternal life for us all.
So what about you? I’m guessing you are educated and, more than likely, have achieved the American dream of owning your own home. Where have you traveled? How many friends do you have on Facebook who hear about your everyday happenings? You may not be rich, but I’m betting you are wealthy enough for a bank to deem you worthy of a loan. Have you already made plans for your funeral? Do you have your own plot?
I bet you know what a friend’s betrayal feels like. No, you’re not a household name, but you are called to spread His word and love in your circle of influence. We’re not expected to be remembered by generations to come, but certainly you can leave your mark on your own generation.
The next time you think your life is insignificant, think of that poem and our Lord who was born in a cave meant for livestock.
Copyright Cindy Clefisch, 2018. All rights reserved.
Author: The Well
The Well is a vibrant women’s ministry rooted in prayer, evangelization, and charitable action. We exist to gather women together, to celebrate spiritual friendships, and to build up the local Catholic community. Just as the Samaritan woman encountered Jesus at a well, we pray the work of this ministry opens doors to a deeper and sustained encounter with Jesus for those who gather with us.