Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices,holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship. 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. 3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. 4Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7 If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8 if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you;bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
In Romans 12, we are challenged to take the ordinary and develop the extraordinary, to shift from having a fixed culture to being open, and to embrace every possible situation that life has in store for us. Up to this point in my life, I have often asked myself “How am I to fully embrace the world that God has given me?” Although this cannot be done but over an entire lifetime, it is important to periodically reflect on how we can advance ourselves as Christian human beings. For me, I find the advancement in embracing all that God calls us to be.
When reflecting back to grade school until now, I see a slow but sure progression within myself towards the very things Roman 12 asks of us. I was born and raised into the Catholic faith beginning with grade school. I came from a community in which if you did not have certain variables, you were an outcast, an outsider. As I began to meet new people, travel new places, and introduce myself to new ideas throughout high school and the entry of college, the very narrow mindedness began to dissipate. It had all been so new to me! I was charged to put myself out there with an open mind and heart to discover some of the truths and experiences that the world has to offer. The problem is that these very truths and experiences are not ones that simply pop up in front of us to take part in. They are ones in which we have to actively seek out.
For me, coming to La Salle University was nothing short of a blessing. This institution has challenged me to go out and try new things, associate with different social groups, establish new connections and to do such a thing with an open mind and heart. I have been made vulnerable, uncomfortable and nervous by some of the new endeavors I was taking part in. An environment had been created for me so that I could be proactive and embracive of God’s world. I would never, in a thousands years believe that I would be coordinating a service trip to the Dominican Republic to build a home and hope with a community of beautiful human beings. I would never in a thousand years imagine being that guy who was emotional or crying on retreats and reflections.
I challenge all of you to be go-getters in this world that is all too stagnant and fixed. Actively seek the truths and experiences that will cause you to have an open mind and heart. Do something different today, influence someone new tomorrow, change perspectives the following day, and then do it all over again. Once we begin to do this, the potential for a chain reaction comes into play. We must always be influencing each other to discover news things, reach bigger goals, and live diverse lives. I want all of you to be uncomfortable with your prospective endeavors, whether it is making conversation with someone unlike yourself, participating in an event you never would or taking up a new thing that opens your eyes to the way of the world. I think being uncomfortable and being embracive of such has the potential to ground you in such profound ways that it will in fact place the life you lead before God. Take control of your life, embrace it, challenge it, love it, and most importantly, live it.