Take It All As Blessing
Consider the prodigal son. At the end of his time away from home he finds himself hollow, sad, and hungry. He recognizes the depth of his sin and his unworthiness of a place in his father’s house. This itself is grace.
To be a mystic is not to have constant extreme experiences in prayer, despite what we have led ourselves to believe. Rather, it is to be someone who experiences God in all things, and receives Him in all things. This will include prayer, of course, but God is not so limited that He can only reach us when we manage to make our way to an adoration chapel.
One of the great challenges of this truth is accepting that we are loved despite our sinfulness. Another challenge, though, and one on which I would like to focus today, is that not only I, but all others are pursued by God, just as much without reference to their sins as to mine. This holds true for the gravest sinner and the holiest nun, those within, without, and those who have never heard of the Church. This is the scandal of grace.
Today is the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the day we commemorate and celebrate most specifically His love for us, meditating on the blood and water which flowed from His heart when it was pierced on the Cross. Many people, including us here at Konza Catholic, have discussed the Cross as a love letter (for example, Suan’s piece here).
The sign of God’s continued pursuit of us in our sin is our stricken conscience. This is a gift from Him, and as with all gifts, we are meant to return them to Him. The psalms tell us that God will not reject a contrite heart, and we can trust that this is because He gave it to us, just as he sent His Son “while we were yet sinners”.
We often think of Mary in the domestic sense, caring for us as she cared for and raised our Lord, or we think of her as a regal Queen of Heaven, an image which gives us comfort and strength as we consider our powerful intercessor before the throne of God. We don’t, however, think of Mary as a missionary.
Perhaps the biggest problem presented to us as Christians is that we are called to “make disciples of all nations”. In fact, we are quite explicitly told this, that the point of being a Christian is not merely our own salvation, but that of the people God has given us.
I learned fancy french terms like “pas du chat” (which means “step of the cat”), how to turn without getting dizzy, and that actual ballerinas have to be really, really strong. Some more complicated jumps and turns took my days of practice to achieve correctly. Even after a lot of practice, I probably looked less-than-graceful. But the simplest concepts, like standing with proper form, proved to be a lesson all their own, too.
It’s a common saying around St. Isidore’s that in the church, the reward for good work is always more work. If you agree to help move chairs or set up for Mass, for example, there’s a real chance you may end up being asked to do that job next week as well. This seems to be a function of being as large and as much of an “all hands” type of endeavor as the Church: We rely on those able to serve being generous with those gifts.
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