Lord, You Want Me To Preach on What?
Devotional Thought fo the Day:
7 You seduced me,* LORD, and I let myself be seduced; you were too strong for me, and you prevailed. All day long I am an object of laughter; everyone mocks me. 8 Whenever I speak, I must cry out, violence and outrage I proclaim; The word of the LORD has brought me reproach and derision all day long. 9 I say I will not mention him, I will no longer speak in his name. But then it is as if fire is burning in my heart, imprisoned in my bones; I grow weary holding back, I cannot! Jeremiah 20:7-9 NAB-RE
If vocation comes first, if the star shines ahead to start us along the path of God’s love, it is illogical that we should begin to doubt if it chances to disappear from view. It might happen at certain moments in our interior life—and we are nearly always to blame—that the star disappears, just as it did to the wise kings on their journey. We have already realized the divine splendor of our vocation, and we are convinced about its definitive character, but perhaps the dust we stir up as we walk—our miseries—forms an opaque cloud that cuts off the light from above.
In the passage I am preaching on this week, there is what is called a gospel imperative. In other words, a command of God that only can be realized and heard within the fullness of the gospel. It has to be heard in a life of prayer, a life which realizes we stand on Holy ground.
“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good” Galatians 6:9
The first quote, from scripture above, is one of my ten favorite passages in scripture. It probably could be described as my life verse, at least it is one I experience a lot. For working in God’s kingdom is as wearing as building stone walls, or managing a university bookstore in the first weeks of class. It is worse, physically tiring, mentally exhausting and spiritually draining.
If a pastor neglects God, if he is too busy for time in prayer, if he is too busy for devotional time (as well as the business of studying scripture to preach and teach it) he will reach Jeremiah’s position quickly. We can reach the point that St Josemaria describes, where the dust we stir up in our journey distorts and even eclipses our view of Christ, our understanding of His love for us.
Of course, this isn’t just about pastors, for we are not the only ones who do good. It is true for every believer, for every perosn who trusts and depends on Christ. For that is what the faith is, need to cling to Christ (Jeremiah describes it as our being as clingy as underwear!) because He is our source of life, and of serenity and joy.
The answer to burnout, the answer to not seeing Christ is to know Him, to know the fire of the Holy Spirit that burns within us. TO depend on that rather than what we see and observe. It is what saints and mystics call the interior life, This is why St John of the Cross advises staying where we are at, making no dramatic change. We are to keep praying, to keep receiving the sacraments even when the storms of life blind us, when Satan assails us. We need to be patient and seek God, remembering that He is our refuge, our fortress, our sanctuary.
It is from this place that we can find His strength, where we find the dynamo that is the Holy Spirit indwelling in us. For dwelling in Christ we can keep on doing good, we can keep on loving the unlovable, we can be patient with those struggling, and guide them into the very presence of God.
For we know where He is… we know where Holy Ground is. We know where He has put His Name… fo we have met Him at the cross and been united to Him there.
Escriva, Josemaria. Christ is Passing By (Kindle Locations 1146-1151). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Posted on June 29, 2016, in Christ is Passing By, Devotions, st josemaria escriva and tagged Abiding in Christ, Clergy Burnout, meditation, pastor, Pastoral Care, prayer, presence of god, shepherding, spiritual death, St. Josemaria Escriva, the De-churched. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.