What human beings reject, God chooses as his own
Campus Ministry | Monday, February 18, 2019
How many times have we rejected something and/or someone because of his or her supposed “insignificance?” Recently in my Moreau class, my students were asked to reflect on a YouTube video about St. Andre Bessette. In the video, Fr. Steve Lacroix states, “Brother Andre is very special to Holy Cross because, of all the people in our congregation, God raised up this poor, very uneducated man to be our first saint.” As I asked my students to reflect on the significance Bessette in their lives, I found myself remembering and reflecting on another statement, or better understood as a principle, that I have carried in my heart for several years. The “Galilee Principle,” as it is titled by Fr. Virgilio Elizondo in “The Galilean Journey,” posits that “what human beings reject, God chooses as his very own.”
Bessette was seen as “insignificant,” seen as having little value, or as Elizondo states, as a “nobody.” However, God raised up and through his obedience he did great things for the sick and distressed. Perhaps these “nobodies” of the world are the true models of holiness, the ones that God raises up and through whom God fulfills his mission. Throughout Scripture and modern history, we see how God chooses the “rejected” and “meek” as His own. We see how God seeks solidarity and union with all who are tossed aside. It is with, in and through them that He shows His unbound love, mercy, care and almighty power. The rejected and marginalized of the world are chosen as His agents. They help us see how God makes great things happen if we are willing to see them as He does — as His own. Lacroix’s reflection and the Galilee Principle hold universal implications for us as individuals, as a nation, and as a Church.
This is especially pressing given that there is so much in our world that we reject and judge as insignificant or of little worth. We have immigrant children being kept in cages and their families demeaned as criminals; we have prenatal babies being aborted; young black men being beaten and/or killed for their skin color; Jewish men and women killed in the midst of worship because of their faith; men of the cloth abusing those left in their care; and on and on and on. We are not seeing the face of Jesus and we are rejecting that which God sees as His own.
In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus says “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me (Matthew 25:40).” In caring for those forsaken, the righteous discover that their acts of compassion for them are the same as if done for Jesus himself, “you did it to me.” Therefore, the greatest implication of injustice and oppression is not being able to recognize our kinship to each other. This, ultimately, distances ourselves from God and from the promise of His kingdom because of our continued rejection of the risen Lord, Jesus Christ.
Part of our University’s mission statement says that God’s grace should prompt us to assist the world in creating justice grounded in love. So, as we reflect on the gospel of Matthew, the “Galilee Principle” and Bessette’s life, we must ask ourselves and discern; how are we creating justice grounded in love in ourselves, in our Church and in our nation? How are we choosing to love and care for those whom are being rejected? How are we raising up the future saints in our lives? How can we follow Bessette’s example and be obedient to God’s call?
Becky Ruvalcaba serves in Campus Ministry as the Assistant Director of Multicultural Ministry and can be reached at [email protected]. Learn more about Campus Ministry at CampusMinistry.nd.edu.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.