Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Anxious and worried

"The Lord said to her in reply, 'Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her'." [Luke 10:41-42]
So many of us today are anxious and worried about many things. We feel the absolute need to control everything and everyone. When we sense a loss of control, we become overwhelmed with fear and anxiety and sometimes explode with anger, followed by regret and sorrow.

Jesus tells us that there is need for only one thing and that is to focus our eyes on Him. Our human nature is truly joyful and at peace when He is the center and Lord of our life. Since "All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be" [John 1:3], all things are designed by nature to be complete when in union with Him.

To make him Lord is to subject to him, every feeling and concern, every thought and action, from the smallest to the greatest, in the past, the present, and the future. It is to imitate Him in carrying our cross and being crucified to the world (Galatians 6:14). It is to be like Him in accepting and yes loving God's will in our life. Gradually we become transformed in Him and see the whole world through His eyes.

Because of our distorted human nature, this is not at all an easy task. In fact, it is a lifetime journey of growth. If it was not, God would not have shed His light on His Gospel through the writings of His saints like St. Catherine of Sienna, St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, St. Francis De Sales, and St. Therese of Lisieux.

The task of making Christ our Lord is not possible on our own. Christianity's dogma that only God can bring us to God is absolute. We have in us, through the gift of our baptism, One who is greater than us, the Spirit of the Lord who will gently work with our will, to free us from our bondage, and to empower us to make Christ our Lord. The transformation is gradual leading first to abundant joy and eventually to peace.

St. Paul tells us "For if you live according to the flesh, you will die, but if by the spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For those who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received a spirit of adoption, through which we cry, "Abba, Father!" [Romans 8: 13-15]

Christ has promised us His peace if we abide in Him: "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid." [John 14:27]. Take courage, focus on Christ and trust in God's mercy above all.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Look but do not see

"They look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand." [Matthew 13:13]

So many of us today live in a world of darkness, constantly occupied with endless meaningless dreams that keep us away from real life. Occasions of grace, such as love or loss of love, awake us into reality, but soon enough we plunge back into the darkness of deep sleep. We are in a hurry for nothing and to nowhere. Our eyes are blind to God's light, and our ears deaf to His word. Our hearts have no space for Him, and our thoughts no time. We live unaware that we are busy dreaming.

Through the Gospels, Christ calls us to follow Him and walk in His light: "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." [John 8:122] "Christ councils us to follow his life and way if we desire true enlightenment and freedom from all blindness of heart. Let the life of Jesus Christ, then, be our first consideration." [The Imitation of Christ 1:1]

Jesus came so that we "might have life and have it more abundantly." [John 10:10] To have life we must love like He loved us, and to love like He loved us we must deny ourselves and follow Him. True love requires sacrifice; our crucified Lord assures us of this reality. We need to reject the world of dreams and darkness and live in the light.

"Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few." [Matthew 7:13-14]

So many of us today, purposely ignore these words because we see them as burden rather than a blessing . We focus on the nice side of God and in doing so recreate Him in our own image. A god whose whole function is to serve our immediate needs. After all, we think the whole world owes us so much and exists to accommodate us. We go on assuring each other that most of us will easily drift into heaven.

Yet these words of Jesus above are words of truth spoken out of love for us. It is God's will that heaven is not reached by drifters but by those who love God with their whole strength, love others as themselves, and above all are dependent on God's eternal mercy.

St John of the Cross reminds us that even a small thread can keep a bird from flying- it does not take a chain. We must then with God's help renounce even the least of the obstacles that separate us from God. "Everyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple. Salt is good, but if salt itself loses its taste, with what can its flavor be restored? It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out. Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear." [Luke 14:33-35]