Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Words From Fr Ed (From May 22nd, 2011 Bulletin)

Jesus the Way
“Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.”

Do you ever wonder which way to turn? Philip is baffled by Jesus’ claim on the night before His death that the disciples know the way to where He is going. Philip does not realize that he already knows the way. The way is a person, the person of Jesus Christ. If we have seen Jesus, we have seen the Father. Too often the presence of Jesus is right under our noses, so to speak.

I’m reminded of one of our pilgrims to Assisi who became distraught not being able to find the departure gate at SeaTac. She could see A2 and A4, but began to panic when she couldn’t find A3, the gate for the flight to Philadelphia, the first leg of our trip. After a few futile trips up and down the terminal she discovered that A3 was right in front of security, the closest gate to where we came past security. It was too close for her to see it.

Jesus is similar at times, too close for us to see. Our intellects can be dull, not looking for Jesus in the right places. We have to foster an appreciation for what may seem invisible to us today. Notice a blind person’s sense of hearing. They can appreciate every sound because they have to rely on their hearing. It is possible for sighted persons to develop a similar aptitude, but it takes practice. Last week I referred to Brother Lawrence’s “Practice of the Presence of God.” He made a conscious effort to seek God’s presence in his daily life. I want to return to this worthwhile quote and practice:

“The holiest and most necessary practice in the spiritual life is that of the presence of God. It consists in taking delight in and becoming accustomed to his divine company, speaking humbly and conversing lovingly with him all the time, at every moment, without rule or measure; especially in times of temptation, suffering, aridity, weariness, even infidelity and sin.”

Another passage from Scripture that we heard during Lent was, “bring with you words” when you come into the presence of the Lord for the sake of repentance. The Lord loves to hear from us. For His own sake? No, for ours. When we speak to the Lord a conduit is opened to our heart. The more heartfelt the words the more open the conduit. The Lord can then make sense to us of His commandments and ways. Otherwise we are lost and confused.

If our hearts are open then we can more easily see the Lord in our day to day activity. Is He in your prayer time? Yes. Is He in your relationships? Yes. Is He in your workplace? Yes. Is He in your hobbies? Yes. Is He in your Church? Yes. But are we present to all these circumstances? There is a spiritual form of contraception that exists today where people are afraid to enter fully into relationships both with God and neighbor. We are present physically but not spiritually. We hold back and thereby prevent ourselves from seeing the Lord.

It is similar to a lesson a friend gave me in downhill skiing. She was a skilled racer so I could only trust what she was saying was true, but her advice was that one needed to lean downhill in order to control your skis. That was the opposite of what I wanted to do. In my fear of falling I wanted to lean back, but this only accelerated the skis uncontrollably. As I took that risk of leaning forward down what seemed like a precipice I found that she was right and it was delightful.

When we ‘lean forward’ in the spiritual life we may feel frightened or vulnerable. Will I be disappointed? Will God deprive me of things or people I love? Will I be called a fool? As we lean with love into the God of love we find love, infinite love. As St. John of the Cross said, “Where there is no love, put love, and you will find love.” God is there. That is the one thing we can really count on.

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