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.
– Tagged "Catholic"
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.
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.
Pray without seasoning. This idea has been cooking (pun intended) in my mind for a while, but prayer is such a personal thing, that I hesitate to write much about it. However, I realized that is precisely why I want to share these thoughts with you. Prayer is a unique experience for everyone and it does not follow a one-size-fits-all mold. We should have the freedom to pray in the ways that we are most aware of God and of His movements.
The past year has provided ample opportunity for wrestling matches with God in my spiritual life. I never thought that I’d find the long-elusive definition of hope here; I’ve often searched for it instead in optimism and resignation. But, as I have learned to bring my desires honestly to the Lord, I have also learned truer consent to His will than ever before. As with Jacob in Genesis 32: 23-33, the Lord is not afraid of the most tender places of our hearts. If your relationship with the Lord looks like a wrestle right now, I invite you to look for hope in the strength of His nearness.
I heard a story once about a group of mischievous boys. They would go into a nearby confessional and invent ridiculous sins to tell the priest, wasting his time. The tired priest eventually told one of the boys to go to the Corpus Christi and tell Jesus something along the lines of “You died for me, and I don’t care!” The boy stood before the Corpus Christi and shamelessly said, “You died for me, and I don’t care!” At first, he could keep a smirk on his face. The second time he said it, however, something began to pierce his heart. The third time he said it, he began weeping and left the church.
Have you ever thought about what the first Christians were doing in the period between the Ascension and Pentecost, or what you would do in their place? It’s a fascinating exercise, to be confronted with the question “Christ is alive, what are you gonna do about it?”
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