Devotional Thought for our Day:
12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who gave me strength because he trusted me and gave me this work of serving him. 13 In the past I spoke against Christ and persecuted him and did all kinds of things to hurt him. But God showed me mercy, because I did not know what I was doing. I did not believe. 14 But the grace of our Lord was fully given to me, and with that grace came the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 1 Timothy 1:12-14
5 Lord, we are glad to find ourselves in your wounded palm. Grasp us tight, squeeze us hard, make us lose all our earthly wretchedness, purify us, set us on fire, make us feel drenched in your Blood. And then, cast us far, far away, hungry for the harvest, to sow the seed more fruitfully each day, for Love of you.
We are in a time of “spiritual myopia and moral shallowness” that try to impose on us as normal the “culture of lowness,” where there is obviously no place for transcendence and hope.
A friend reaches out with a hand that is shaking, another’s bright gray eyes water as her hand to reaches out. Another refuses to look at me, his hand and arm stretched out to desire that which he knows is his, yet knows it shouldn’t be possible. An old man will stand up a moment later, and as he returns to his seat, his hand brushes up against the baptismal font. His hand lingers there, caressing it, in awe of the grace given him at another font, some 90 years before, on another continent, in a time even more turbulent.
I often wonder and even get anxious about a question that arises from such moments, How long does the sense of transcendence last? How long does this blessed moment, this peace, this awareness of the glory and love of God last?
Are the people aware of what I see happening to them, do they realize what they are experiencing?
It is well described by the Apostle Paul, as he talks about the grace completely given to him, this incredible ability to depend on God, assured of His presence, completely aware of His love for us. It is what Josemaria also writes about, as he pictures us, as he wants us to see ourselves, firmly held in the nail shattered palm.
It is such faith, such love that calls us to want to be thrown into this broken world, wanting people to know this grace. Not just out of duty or obligation, not because of the gift that was given to us. The awe that makes us wonder, and then become amazed, as we find ourselves alive, transformed. We need these times, whether life is oppressive, or going easy. Whether we lack any hope or have hope that is found in this world, the kind that is too fleeting and fragile.
This is what the church has meant by transcendence, this time when we are more sure of the presence of God that we are of our own existence.
it is why sacramental time, whether times like Baptism and the Eucharist or time of meditation and prayer are so needed in our day. But when do we take the time?
As a pastor, do I teach about this, model it, encourage it? Isn’t this where I am to shepherd people into, the realization that they dwell in the presence of God, who loves them, cares for them, and will cleanse them and restore them?
As I work on my sermon and worship – and Bible Studies – this needs to remain in my mind…..
and by His grace, it will.
Escriva, Josemaria. The Forge (Kindle Locations 249-252). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Pope Francis. A Year with Pope Francis: Daily Reflections from His Writings. Ed. Alberto Rossa. New York; Mahwah, NJ; Toronto, ON: Paulist Press; Novalis, 2013. Print.