7 Now you have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. 8 He will keep you strong to the end so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns. 9 God will do this, for he is faithful to do what he says, and he has invited you into partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. 1 Corinthians 1:7-9 (NLT2)
We must try to perceive Christ in the interruption of our plans and in the disappointment of our expectations; in difficulties, contradictions, and trials. No matter what happens, “We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him”
Daily in the mass we sing, “Heaven and earth are full of your glory” [Isa. 6:3].26 Why do we sing this? Because of the many blessings for which God must be praised, although this is done only by those who see the fulness of them.
As I read Keating and Luther this morning, I knew I had to reconcile that which I copied and pasted above.
I need to see God’s glory, His incredible love, for it surrounds me and those I know who love Him. (It even surrounds those who do not – though they cannot see it at all)
While I know it is there, I need to see it where Luther found it, in the interruption of our plans, in our failed expectations, in all the experiences in our lives that would appear to be negative. It is not easy, to perceive God’s hand in those moments of frustration or fear.
He is there. I can see that after the moment—but during it is a struggle.
Which is why I need to look at St. Paul’s words to the church in Corinth. I need to be reminded of God’s faithfulness. I need to be reminded of His promises, and that we work and walk, hand in hand with Jesus through our lives.
It is easy to see this partnership, this communion at the altar, as we receive His body and blood. TO be honest, there are weeks where that is all that gets me through. But I have to look up at the altar – and see the cross. I need to remember what Christ endured – and how that worked out for our best. Remembering that, I can turn to Him in prayer, and trust in Him.
He will reveal the hard times as beautiful, but that won’t be as important as simply knowing the Lord is with us.
Thomas Keating, The Daily Reader for Contemplative Living: Excerpts from the Works of Father Thomas Keating, O.C.S.O., Sacred Scripture, and Other Spiritual Writings, ed. S. Stephanie Iachetta (New York; London; New Delhi; Sydney: Bloomsbury, 2009), 228.
Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 42: Devotional Writings I, ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald, and Helmut T. Lehmann, vol. 42 (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1999), 146.