I don’t often use the word peculiar. It’s a funny one to roll off of the tongue. Peculiar. Not a word with the best connotations. I always think of the common definition: something a little off, strange, unusual, weird even. But because I am in graduate school to become an English teacher, I did something I advise my students to do often. I looked it up. The second definition, there under the one I know off-hand, is “belonging exclusively to.”
In today’s First Reading, Moses tells the Israelites they are to belong exclusively to God: “a people peculiarly His own.”
Exclusive is another one of those words I don’t often apply to my relationship with God. In the world of modern dating (something I am not good at), “exclusive” gets tossed around a lot. “Oh, you’ve been seeing each other for a while! Are you exclusive?”
At first glance, I am taken aback thinking of myself exclusively belonging to God. Am I not called to relationship and community no matter my vocation? Don’t I need to be open to people? But it’s not that complicated. If I am dating someone exclusively, I don’t cut everyone else out of my life. I still have my girlfriends and guy friends, my family, my students, my classmates, my coworkers, my BiS sisters—the list goes on. But I don’t date other people or flirt with other people. I am first committed to the person I am dating, exclusively.
Exclusivity with God means that He is the first one I turn to—because I am peculiarly His own. Before the guys I date, before my family, before my students. First, I am God’s.
Examine your heart today. Is God first?
Brigid Hogan is a midwestern graduate student who finds peace in lakes, the Mass, and fiction when she isn’t ensconced in schoolwork. Find out more about her here.