Posts Tagged ‘being open to Christ’s presence’

John 8:12-20Missing God

Monday, March 13, 2023missing puzzle piece

Jesus once again addressed them: “I am the world’s Light. No one who follows me stumbles around in the darkness. I provide plenty of light to live in.”

If this is so, then why do we miss God when God accompanies us in joy and sorrow?

The Pharisees objected, “All we have is your word on this. We need more than this to go on”.

If this is our thinking then we miss God’s presence just as many religious leaders did in Jesus’ day, and as many do today.

Jesus replied, “You’re right that you only have my word. But you can depend on it being true. I know where I’ve come from and where I go next. You don’t know where I’m from or where I’m headed. You decide according to what you can see and touch. I don’t make judgments like that. But even if I did, my judgment would be true because I wouldn’t make it out of the narrowness of my experience but in the largeness of the One who sent me”.

If this is so, then we will want to move out of our narrowness and into the largeness of the one who creates us. If this is so, then we will want to dwell with Jesus’ words for a time, and allow them to sink into the marrow of our bones. If this is so, then we have much to forget and much to learn. If this is so, we want to offload all that constrains us and encourages us to judge; and we will want to open our hearts and minds and very selves to welcome this big and generous God.

Today we continue this week’s Lenten practice as we open ourselves to the enormity of God’s light and promise. Rather than thinking: “I will set all things right in God’s kingdom,” let us think instead, “I will strive each day to follow Jesus’ example of forgiveness, mercy and love”.

Tomorrow, dead end. 

HOW BIG IS YOUR GOD? Watch this short video by Fr. Paul Coutinho, S.J., and smile with the images he creates in this brief video, and reflect on how we might be missing God’s generosity and enormity each day. We may also find refreshment with his delightful book HOW BIG IS YOUR GOD: THE FREEDOM TO EXPERIENCE THE DIVINE.

When we use the scripture link to spend time with various versions of these verses, God becomes big enough to hold the multiverse. 

Image from: https://www.istockphoto.com/photos/silhouette-of-missing-puzzle-piece

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Numbers 33Stages on the Journey

Monday, December 3, 2018

Written on January 15 and posted today as a Favorite . . .

We have a clear map of this passage from slavery to freedom, from dependence to independence, from darkness to light, from sorrow to promise.  We might take time to reflect today on our own journey of faith and the many stages we have traversed.  There have been many crossings, fearsome turnings, alarming hazards, and disturbing encounters.  But there have also been beautiful awakenings, sustaining way stations, welcoming bridges, and warm pillars of fire in the night.  Each of us has a record of our crossing out of confinement into freedom – and it is likely true that each of us has been exhausted at various places along the way. At each of these obstacles we will have heard God’s voice or received God’s word in various ways.  It is absolutely true that we all have received the Word itself, Christ.  And we have received him without an intercessor.  We have only to open ourselves to his presence.

God is our constant strength, Jesus is our constant shepherd, the Spirit is our constant love as we move from darkness to light, from sorrow to promise . . . through the stages of our journey.

Isaiah 40:11: Like a shepherd [God] feeds his flock; in his arms he gathers the lambs, carrying them in his bosom, and leading the ewes with care. 

From one of today’s MAGNIFICAT Mini-Reflections:  Jesus is both the Lamb of God and the Good Shepherd.  He has walked the path of life before us and is one of us in his humanity.  Let us put complete trust in him and confidently follow him wherever he leads us.  Amen. 

A re-post from October 31, 2011.

Image from: http://www.herdingontheweb.com/french-herding.htm

Cameron, Peter John. “Prayer for the Morning.” MAGNIFICAT. 15.1 (2011). Print.  

Also see Journeys of Transformation

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Matthew 5:38-48: The Inverted Kingdom – Part VIII

Wednesday, January 18, 2017rest-in-christ-150x150

Adapted from a Favorite written on December 4, 2009.

The Presence

Today’s reading gives us the core of Jesus’ message: Resist evil and take no revenge; love our enemies . . . intercede for those who do us harm.  This is a difficult teaching, a complex lesson that unfolds to us as we live each day.  When we unwrap the bundle of fear and anxiety we feel, we begin to understand pain and suffering and because we might be consumed by it, we want to step away . . . but we cannot. We must open ourselves to transformation by our willingness to be vulnerable just as Jesus does.

It struck me this morning as Mass began that of course God comes to us an infant needing our care and attention.  He submits himself to our ministrations – no matter how adequate or inadequate – and by this example he shows us how we too, are to live.  And if we allow him to subsume our entire being, we will realize that this presence of Christ in us is The Presence we continually seek.

From this morning’s mini-reflection in MAGNIFICAT:  The lowly will find joy and the pure rejoice.  Why?  Because of a Presence that even a blind man can sense . . . because it is the Presence we have been waiting for all our life.

Because Christ brings us a message of inversion, he comes to us as an extraordinarily powerful sovereign and creator in the form of a human infant.  This is a revolutionary idea.  It is an existence that challenges all that has gone before.  It is in this humble form that Jesus first draws us in . . . to later invite us to intimacy with him.

It is this intimacy, this presence, that we know we are missing – and that we try to fill with immediate pleasure and satisfaction.

It is this communion, this presence, that we constantly seek in all of the places that we will not find in the emptiness of success, money and power.

It is this love, this presence, that manifests itself – and that asks us to manifest our own selves – by praying and by acting on behalf of our enemies.

I have read the prophet Isaiah many times and yet this morning as I read out the first reading at Mass, I was struck by this verse (29:24):  And those who err in spirit will acquire understanding, and those who find fault will receive instruction.  Learning about Christ and learning how to live in Christ is a continual process into which we are always welcome to enter . . . at any time . . . in any circumstance.  Even those of us who come late to the lesson, or those of us who come with unwilling heart will eventually arrive at accepting the message we do not want to hear . . . which is: We save ourselves by loosing ourselves to Christ; we fill ourselves by emptying ourselves of all that is worldly; and we find The Presence we have always been seeking when we rest and act in the love that is Christ.

Cameron, Peter John, Rev., ed. “Mini-Reflection.” MAGNIFICAT. 4 December 2009. Print.

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