The Land of Your Anointing
What is the "land of your anointing?" The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that "the symbolism of anointing with oil also signifies the Holy Spirit, to the point of becoming a synonym for the Holy Spirit. " (CCC 695) The anointing of the Holy Spirit was symbolized by oil in the Old Testament, when people were anointed priest, prophet, or king. King David was all three.
Yet, what does it mean to be "in the land of your anointing?" Just as a person can be anointed to do, or to be something, so God can anoint a person for a particular place. In Genesis 12:1, God says to Abram, "Go forth out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and out of thy father's house, and come into the land which I shall shew thee." The Prodigal Son, in the New Testament, however, was not anointed to leave his father's house, but prospered only when he returned. Jesus said, "I am sent only to the lost sheep of the tribe of Israel." (Matt. 15:24) St. Paul desired to preach the Word of God in Asia, but "the Holy Spirit had prevented them." (Acts 16:6) People told him not to go to Rome, because there he would be killed, but it was God's calling for him, where he was anointed and would bear much fruit, even though he would eventually be martyred. He had to be obedient to what God was telling him.
It All Depends on What God Has Called You to Do.
God is so specific, although sometimes (usually) He doesn't show us the full picture in the beginning. Even the prophets are not shown everything right away, even though "the Lord God doth nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets." (Amos 3:7) Jesus said that "no prophet is accepted in his own country." (Lk. 4:24) Yet, He had a mighty, powerful ministry in Israel...nearly every place except his home-town of Nazareth. The saying goes, 'familiarity breeds contempt.'
I know of a story of a seminarian from a foreign country, who was applying to attend seminary in Canada. The bishop of his diocese was informed that this seminarian may be running from his past, or his family ties back home. However, this was unfounded, as the seminarian's father attested to in a letter to the bishop. It was simply that he had been called there. This is what happened with Fr. Fernando Suarez- Mother Mary had appeared to him when he was young, telling him he would live in a "cold and windy city." When he arrived in Winnipeg, he did not realize that it is known as "the cold and windy city" of Canada! Yet, he was also called to return home to the Philippines, and ministered powerfully there, becoming a household name and affecting thousands of lives.
Where are you called to be? When you are in ministry for any stretch of time, you may notice different areas where you bear more fruit than others. See, the Bible says, "blessed is the man who meditates on the law of God both day and night...whatsoever he does, prospers." (Psalm 1) It's not that we will prosper, no matter what we do, no matter where we go. When we meditate [הָגָה, hāḡâ, "to moan, growl, utter, muse, mutter, meditate, devise, plot, speak," (link) literally, to chew as a cow chews over and over, digesting its food through four stomachs] on God's Word to us, we can hear what He is really saying to us, personally.
Discover Your Calling
People can go through life, assuming they are doing God's will, but never actually doing it because God never really told them to do it! They wonder why they are unhappy...it could be a seminarian who assumes he is called to the priesthood because his mom and/or dad told him to become a priest, or a priest who assumes he is called to serve in a certain area, or a teacher who has taught the same subject for years, or is just teaching for the money when they feel called to do something else entirely, which involves teaching, but is not being a teacher in a school.
God promises in the Scriptures that "a man's gift enlargeth his way, and maketh him room before princes." (Prov. 18:16) What is your gift- that is, what gift has God given to you that will make a way for you (financially, spiritually, blessing to your family, etc.)? Everyone was created for a specific purpose, which will not only make us happy, but end up saving souls and leading them to Heaven, as well. This is why we are on the earth.
"Do not be afraid to say 'yes' to Jesus, to find your joy in doing his will, giving yourself completely to the pursuit of holiness, and using all your talents in the service of others!“ (Pope Emer. Benedict XVI)
The tragedy is, most people don't spend enough time with the Lord learning what it is...maybe they are afraid of what God may ask them to do, or like Jonah they simply want follow their own plans. Jesus Himself spent thirty years before beginning His ministry...why? Perhaps He was discovering His identity and His calling? St. John the Baptist discovered that he was the one Isaiah prophesied about, "the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, prepare the way of the Lord." (Isaiah 40:3)
We close with an encouragement to be open to the voice of the Lord in our daily lives. This is the importance of daily meditation on the Scriptures, calling on the Holy Spirit to help us understand what God is saying to us, personally. Pope Benedict also said “I would like in particular to recall and recommend the ancient tradition of Lectio Divina: the diligent reading of Sacred Scripture accompanied by prayer brings about that intimate dialogue in which the person reading hears God who is speaking, and in praying, responds to him with trusting openness of heart [cf. Dei Verbum, n. 25]. If it is effectively promoted, this practice will bring to the Church – I am convinced of it – a new spiritual springtime.” (link)
For instructions on how to do lectio divina, click here.
In the Father's Love,
Dan Devine, M. Div