success stories

Posted September 20, 2003

Book: No One But You: Living Your Call in an Ever-Changing World
Author: Richard Gribble, CSC
Ave Maria Press, Notre Dame, IN, pp. 221

Excerpt from Jacket:

There is no time like right now, and there is no one like you. Be bold. Live your life the way you are meant to. Live your call.

Fr. Richard Gribble brings together a wide variety of people whose stories of courage and integrity challenge us to live extraordinary lives. Jim Thorpe, Albert Einstein, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Anne Mansfield Sullivan are among the people in this book whose defining moments inspire us.

Some stories will surprise you, some will reassure you, but all will cause you to look at your life in a new way. The vocation to Christian life is challenging, exciting, and daring. Embrace the vocation. Take the chance and live the call.

Excerpt from Book:

Like a shroud of darkness produced by the night, so a veil of utter silence enveloped him totally. What could be a worse fate for a composer of music? He was deaf and many times frustrated, but God, nevertheless, would not leave Lidwig van Beethoven alone. God pushed, sometimes gently and other times more forcefully, this often-reluctant composer, to produce his greatest work through perseverance despite many significant obstacles.

The composition of Beethoven's Missa Solemnis, a lesser-known but highly significant work, would prove to be the composer's testament of faith and perseverance. In 1818 it was announced that Beethoven's longtime friend and supporter Archduke Rudolf of Austria was to be raised to the episcopacy. Beethoven wanted to write a great Mass to celebrate the event. Most people who have studied Beethoven's life, including his most famous biographer, Alexander Thayer, have concluded that the great master was totally deaf by this time in his life. Can any of us imagine trying to compose great music unable to hear the notes played , save as a memory in our brain?

The composition of the Missa Solemnis took five years. Several things complicated matters for Beethoven. Two previous failures in composing church music had made him wary of a third attempt. He had family difficulties as well, especially a nasty custody battle over his nephew Karl. Additionally, Beethoven was writing his famous Ninth or Chorale Symphony simultaneously. Beethoven never gave up, however. He was a driven man.

Finally in May 1824 two sections of the Mass along with the Ninth Symphony were premiered in a grand concert in Vienna. The symphony was a rousing success, although the deaf Beethoven hardly realized the applause of the audience. The Mass was received wit less enthusiasm. Fortunately, through a patron the entire Mass was performed by itself one week later and received great acclaim. Over the years the Missa Solemnis has become a standard in the musical repertoire. Some musicologists call it Beethoven's magnum opus, not only because of its greatness in composition, but also as a testimony to the composer's beating the odds.

The story of the composition of Beethoven's Missa Solemnis illustrates how a person can come out on top through perseverance, despite difficult odds. Scripture illustrates this point on numerous occasions. Moses could be called a reluctant deliverer. I am sure he would have been more than happy, after his escape from Egypt, to live the life of a shepherd, raise a family, and be an ordinary person. But God appeared to Moses and issued a challenge, which Moses accepted.

In the New Testament, St. Paul writes to this friend Timothy (1Tm 4:2) and tells him, "Proclaim the message, be persistent whether the time is favorable or unfavorable; convince, rebuke, and encourage, with the utmost patience in teaching." We encouage many teachers along the road of life. Parents, relatives, mentors, educators, coaches, and others have been given a special ministry to teach. They are to do it whether it is convenient or inconvenient; they are never to lose heart. It is a difficult task to which all who bear the name of Christian are called. It is the perserverance that teachers show that will one day be demonstrated by those to whom they minister.

Let us also remember, however, that we do not take up this many times difficult task alone. In baptism we become children of God and members of the Christian community which calls each individual to help the whole group find the sometimes unseen God and answer the challenges which come our way. When we work together we can better negotiate the hurdles and obstacles, make straight the crooked paths, and find the hidden way.

We need to be persistent in our lives. Beethoven had an inner drive, the voice of God, which pushed him to produce a master work as a testimony of faith. Through perseverance the task was completed and w who live now are the benefactors of that persistence. We need to be persistent, whether it is convenient or inconvenient, in prayer, as teachers of the faith, and as models of Christian love to the world. Let us accept and persevere through the challenges of life so as to make the sometimes unseen God more visible today and each day of our lives.

Question: How much am I willing to pay to accomplish a task to what lengths will I go?

Scripture Verse: "Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you." (Matthew 7:7)

Table of Contents:

Section I: Responding to the Call
Chosen by God
God never gives up on us
It's never too late

Section II: Responding through holiness
Touched by the Holy
Does Jesus open our eyes?
Love will get us where we need to go
The heart of holiness
Commitment and recommitment in our lives

Section III: Responding as disciple
Baptism into holiness and discipleship
Teammates with Jesus
Jesus unchains us
Never counting the cost of discipleship
The trials of faith
Learning from the absurd

Section IV: Responding through love
If you love God show me
Evangelization: The act of loving one another
"Fear is useless: what is needed is trust"
Sharing the pain of others
Loving God in one another
Love means speaking the truth

Section V: Our Response of Service
Commissioned to do God's work
Mary' "Yes" to God
The hunger for justice
Completing the Master's work
Giving is the ultimate reward
The cost of belief

Section VI: Responding to an ever-changing world
Answering God's call
Persistence rewarded
Growing through the challenges of life
Perseverance wins the day
Bearing the Cross with Jesus
Strength through weakness
Accepting the unexpected
God Challenges us
Responding to God's call