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Graziano Marcheschi, M.A. D.Min.,author, lecturer, and storyteller, Graziano speaks nationally and is Vice President for University Mission and Ministry at Saint Xavier University in Chicago, Illinois. Formerly, he served as Director of Ministerial Resource Development and Archdiocesan Director of Lay Ministry Formation for the Archdiocese of Chicago. He has been adjunct faculty at a number of institutions, including the Institute of Pastoral Studies, Loyola University Chicago. He has authored books on Scripture and proclamation skills as well audio and video works and a collection of stories and poetry, Wheat & Weeds and the Wolf of Gubbio,and he contributed commentaries on the Pentateuch, Gospels and Acts for the Catholic Bible, Personal Study Edition (Oxford University Press). He created and presented a major performance-prayer event in Phoenix, AZ during the 1987 pastoral visit of Pope John Paul II. Graziano hosts a local cable-TV program, The Church, the Cardinal and You and co-hosts the Archdiocesan morning radio program Catholic Community of Faith. He and his wife, Nancy, have two daughters and a son.
by Graziano Marcheschi, M.A. D.Min
The best armor one can give anyone sent on a mission is a clear sense of identity. The road is always difficult and times of discouragement and self-doubt lurk around every corner. What sustains under such circumstances is a clear knowledge of who sent us and what we were sent to do. Lacking that, one easily slips into confusion, maybe even into listlessness and fear.Wemight not be sure of the Servant’s identity, but the Servant himself is quite clear about who he is: He is God’s chosen instrument, called from the womb to serve in good times and in bad. And the times have not been all good. The Servant is now God’s prophet with a tongue as sharp as well-honed steel. God has been his helper and protector during his service, but there is little to show for all his toil. However, the Servant is not demoralized by his outward failure. He still knows whose he is and in whose name he serves.
In truth, not much else matters. When we experience worldly failure, we can wallow in depression and allow the world’s judgment to define us, or we can remember whose opinion really counts. The Servant knows: “I am honored in the sight of the Lord, / and my God is now my strength.” It is so easy to lose heart when it’s the world’s opinion that we value, so easy to surrender when others mock or shun us. If only the Servant’s vision could be ours: God called me from the womb, he says, and my recompense is from him!
With the balance such vision provides, the Servant is able to hear a further, greater call from God that will send him down a road as difficult as the one he trod before. It is not enough for you to bring my word to Jacob and Israel, God tells him, “I will make you a light to the nations.” That the entire world would know the salvation of God was a startling truth that Israel was unprepared to hear. But despite scorn and abuse, the Servant will bring God’s message to kings of all the nations and they will hear and heed his word. Through the centuries, that word has reached our day and touched our hearts. And through us it will continue to spread “to the ends of the earth.”
Have you ever let the awareness that God has known you from your mother’s womb penetrate your heart? Does the realization bolster your confidence or does something in you deflect it?
God’s Servant is a “suffering” Servant. Why do you think suffering is so often a reality in the lives of God’s chosen ones?
When you think of the suffering you have endured, do you perceive a salvific component in it?
When dealing with struggle and failure, what helps you to remember that God’s opinion of us is far more important than the world’s?
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