Preparing ourselves for the Bridegroom
A reflection for the Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A
by Rebecca Dussault
If an average man today wrote a WIFE WANTED ad, it might read something like this: ISO wife who works well with children, keeps a clean home, cooks from scratch, is low-maintenance, takes great interest in the affairs of her workplace where she matches my income, handles hunting season and all my buddies like a champ, and uh, I guess she can keep her last name if she must.
Proverbs 31 sets us up to see this same tidy, independent, and hard-working woman, but more than anything, it shows us how great and prosperous are those who take their "self" stewardship seriously. The woman written about is a very disciplined steward of herself and her personal property. It details the great impact that it likewise has on others with whom she comes into contact. Her management of affairs is exceptional and noteworthy.
This proverb also indicates the benefit a fit and faithful woman is as she humbly wields poise and power in home and community. She is called strong, capable, wise and happy – something becoming more lost on worldly women. I think the man advertising in the want ad would be thrilled to find her! She need not be a dying breed. We read:
"A capable wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.
Her children rise up and call her happy;
her husband too, and he praises her:
'Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.'" (Proverbs 31:10-13, 28-29)
The observations in this proverb are the workings of a woman who is in the world, but not of the world, fully employing her godly talents even to the extend of multiplying them. She is not hiding herself in shame, shirking responsibilities, idling by and lacking resourcefulness. Not in the least! I think we all ought to take a page from her playbook.
We all have been given talents, some for teaching, some for healing, others for serving. We all really need to do our own talent search and recruitment efforts because the kingdom of God is coming and is now here. It is in the now that we must realize we’ve got to lean into life more sacramentally, prayerfully, and actually, to begin our heaven now…otherwise, we begin our hell.
A best practice of living our talents daily as Catholics is to be very aware of our times and live a certain preparation for them. St. Amma Sycletica says, “Our body is the armour and our soul is the warrior. If we train both, we will be ready for what comes.” We can’t hope to endure the heavy lifting of persecution if we haven’t lifted with quality repetitions the daily weight of our own crosses and built those muscles. We can’t wait until the hammer of spiritual trial is heavy upon us to see if we’ll remain faithful if we haven’t been faithfully meditating on Christ.
Let us then not bury ourselves in the holes the world digs for us. Be on the lookout for all its offerings to become soft and distracted as pleasure seekers. Take up the "distaff and the spindle" to create goodness, truth, and beauty – in the home, in the workplace, in the church, in the heart, and yes, even on social media.
God is absolutely and always asking us to "find our forward" and use, use, use our talents. Our growth and effectiveness will be measured not with the string of comfort but with the stick of greatness! Did we care to lead great lives? Did we sacrifice daily to do the next right thing and the next hard thing? Was holiness our main objective? Did our buying, going, and doing look explicitly Catholic?
Do today what our body and soul stewardship rightly asks of us. We must do today what puts us in motion and do tomorrow what sustains that motion in our wisdom.
When Our Lord comes on that day of reckoning, asking for our talents to be handed back, will we have equity for doubling them to save souls or will we be stuck face down on screens, having buried them in our deeply distracted and ineffective living? The love of our Master lets us choose freely. Let us choose wisely!
Christ our Bridegroom has placed his want ad ISO us. How will we respond to it?
The readings for the Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A, are
Proverbs 31:10-13, 16-18, 20, 26, 28-31
1 Thessalonians 5:1-6
Rebecca Dussault, Olympian and World Champion, is a Catholic health coach helping women optimize their faith, fitness, and food. She is the owner and operator of Fit Catholic Mom and is a superfoods entrepreneur helping others achieve detoxification and weight loss. She pivots lives in health and holiness!