Predigten von P. Martin Löwenstein SJ

Predigt zum Patricksday 2003

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17. März 2001 - St. Michael, Göttingen

1. Reality

  • What happened to Saint Patrick, 1600 years ago that made him leave his English home to go to Ireland? One thing certainly not: Irish culture or Irish Guinness. Both are to be considered only as a result of Saint Patrick´s efforts. It was only he who brought culture to this Island, together with Christianity. As a child he was robed by Irish pirates. He had to live as a slave in Ireland for years. So he knew what violence is, and the absence of faith and culture. At the age of 17 he managed to escape the Irish.
  • So what was it that made Saint Patrick go back to this island? From all we know it must have been something that is described in today´s readings. They describe it as a call. Definitely it was not a free decision. It was not out of the very self of Patrick or Jeremiah or any of the 72 disciples we heard from in the Gospel. On the contrary. It happened to them.
  • A vocation as we understand it from the Bible and the tradition is not so much my personal decision but something that happens to me: circumstances, facts, reality! [Read Stephen Kings "It" to understand what vocation means: To be at the wrong place at the right time and to listen carefully to reality.] Every true Vocation begins with the awareness of the need of my time.

2. Vocation

  • What do the Vice President of the US, Dick Chaney, and the German Kanzler, Gerhard Schröder, have in common? Both of them said from the very beginning of the Irak-Crises last summer, that they would not care about what the UN-security council would decide. Not that the security council is comparable to the voice of God. But the first step to vocation is the openness to reality. That includes the ability to react to change.
  • In my opinion this is precisely the one line in today´s political discussion that really matters.
    Those who deny reality can do it in two ways: They can say, whatever happens: "without us"; wherever injustice and violence is, "without me". This is the Schröder-Variation, interested in votes not in reality
    Or they can divide the world into "them" and "us", into "good" and "bad", ignoring that the world is far more complicated and that circumstances might chance. This is the variation of those who do not want to know what Mr. Blix found out. They want to fight their war.
    Both positions are beyond what is vocation.
  • Vocation always means not to focus apprehension on me and my interests. It means to be willing and able to change my own life the moment I see that there is something to be done - and to change my plans when I see that things have changed.

3. Discernment

  • Is vocation nothing but this sense for reality? No. God speaks to us through the people in need we meet - and in the context of the faith. That is why God revealed himself to us in the word of the Scripture and in his Son Jesus Christ. From this context - as a whole! - becomes clear, what calls me.
    People can show them self uninterested in what God calls them to. They are interested only in them self. But once you find out what vocation means, once you realize that God calls you for action by the sisters and brothers in need - you have carefully to discern: what is nothing but my own strategy and what is God´s will.
  • For example Jeremiah, hearing the word of God: "Now, I have put my words in your mouth. See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant." This can be misunderstood easily. It could fit perfectly into the self-understanding of a man, who thinks he has the vocation to rule the world - and send his troops to defend his interests. Such a man forgot to say what Jeremiah said and Patrick might have felt: "I do not know how to speak; I am only a child."
  • But God wants this child, wants us in our weakness to fight. "To destroy and overthrow" the selfish, "to build and to plant" the Kingdom of God. To resist the evil not by causing new evil but by proclaiming the one Lord, the one God of all. Amen.