called and loved by name
"Greetings from Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called..." —Romans 1:1
Paul was very conscious of being "called to be an apostle" (Rm 1:1). He was also quite aware that he was writing to those "called to belong to Jesus Christ" (Rm 1:6) and "called to holiness, grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ" (Rm 1:7). Being called was so important to the early Church that the root meaning of the word we translate "church" is "the called out." The early Christians considered themselves to be the elect, the specially chosen, "the called out," called to a special love of the Lord.
For human beings, to be special implies exclusivity, not inclusivity. If everyone's special, no one's special. Therefore, we may not feel specially chosen, because we know that God loves everyone. However, the Lord is not bound by our limitations. He can love everyone with a personalized, individualized love. He made each of us as one-of-a-kind. He knows each of us so much better than we can ever know ourselves. He loves each of us not with a generic love; rather, He calls, knows, and loves us each by name (Is 43:1). He has numbered the hairs of our heads (Mt 10:30) and counted our tears (Ps 56:9). He knows and cares about our comings and goings (Ps 139:3ff).
Each of us is called — specially, uniquely chosen for the Lord's love. Live in His love (Jn 15:9). Answer the call!
Prayer: Father, I thank and praise You for Your personal, intimate love for me.
Promise: "At the judgment, the citizens of Nineveh will rise along with the present generation, and they will condemn it. For at the preaching of Jonah they reformed, but you have a greater than Jonah here." —Lk 11:32
Praise: Many believers in Africa rise in the middle of each night to hear radio Scripture teachings that are only available at that hour.
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, March 22, 1997
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, March 26, 1997