What moves you? That was the slogan at the company I used to work for. The point behind it was for employees and managers alike to identify those things, those key elements, those intangibles that move you, that motivate you to become a better employee.
But ironically, I found that what actually moves me could not be found at that company. Career-wise, I actually found what moved me at a different company.
But apply that question to life – what moves you? What moves you to be better?
In today’s first reading, we see Jonah was moved to preach to the people of Nineveh and inform them of God’s plan and what they must do if they want to be saved.
And then in the gospel, Jesus moves Simon, Andrew, James and John to drop what they are doing and follow Him?
God moving people, to motivate them to do His will. What must that have felt like? God filled them all with His Spirit, His love and His mercy beyond all we can imagine to move these men to the point where they chose – they chose to do His will. And leave everything behind. To sacrifice everything.
Now, the vast majority of us don’t get that direct experience with God where He comes to us directly and fills us with His presence to the point where we are moved beyond all understanding to do the task that God has for us. Because let’s face it, to preach to the sinful people of Nineveh, or to simply leave our life behind to follow someone we do not know – there is a certain divine grace behind that.
But surely, you’ve been moved at some point in your life to do something for the better of someone else, or something you feel that God was calling you to do, or simply to do the right thing.
Or maybe it’s to simply see the good in something, and apply it to your own life.
What moves you to do that? What moves you to be like the disciples today, or Jonah, and be Christ’s light to others?
What moves you to be a better person, or as Matthew Kelly would say, the best version of yourself?
It’s God. And the thing is, we often don’t even realize it. He’s there in the daily mundane tasks, the job we hate, our sickness, and our friends that lift us up. He’s there in the natural beauty of this earth and in the people we interact with every day.
I think about what moves me.
Beautiful music. A beautiful symphony. Johann Pachelbel’s Canon in D… The soundtrack to Les Misérables. Gregorian chant. The Monks at St. Meinrad singing Adoremus Te Christi during Mass. The Beatle’s. Great Country music. And everything in between. When we attended the Papal Mass in Philadelphia in 2015, the Mass was beautiful, but oh my, when you heard the music, and then 1 million people singing “Taste and See” in unison during communion – it was Heaven on earth.
Conversations with people. I’m an introvert. I’m not one to strike up conversation, but when I am with someone who likes to talk, and who has stories to tell, I’m like a starry-eyed little boy, yearning for them to tell me more. A decade ago it was with my wife’s grandfather as he told me about his experience in Normandy in World War II. Or with my dad, late at night, simply talking, listening to his experiences. And most recently, with my wife’s uncle in Southern Illinois, talking about his experiences in the coal mines and the struggles of people in rural, not-so-affluent areas.
Tragedy. Yes, tragedy. Of course, the heroism in events like September 11th, and various other terrorist attacks and tragedies and the love for humanity that just streams out of people in and after these events. The young kid I hear on the radio, terminally ill with cancer who prays intently for his parents and family, who talks about the things Jesus says to him. The woman who forgives the killer of her husband, who was just out for a morning walk. and the teacher who shields her students from the bullets during a school shooting. Yes, even though I don’t like them, and don’t understand why they have to occur, or why the innocent have to die in the way they do, at the young age they do, I am moved by these tragic events and what comes out of them. I want to become better as a result.
These are just a few of the things that move me to be better, to come closer to God. Things that happen every day, in every part of the world. Things that, no matter the situation, no matter how big or how small – God is there, calling to me.
God usually doesn’t come to us in the way He came to Jonah, or to the disciples, but He does come to us. He comes to us in the beautiful music of life, the people we meet, and He comes to us in the tragedy. He comes to us, to move us, to try to motivate us to be better people.
How is He moving you to be better? How can He move you, if you let Him?