Friday, December 26, 2014
Joy and Exile
“The office of prophet was due to a direct call from God. It was not the result of heredity, just as it was not a permanent gift but a transient one, subject entirely to the divine will”. (Senior 877) Today joy comes upon us from the depths of fear experienced by a people lost and roaming . . . as we rejoice in the coming of the Messiah.
Baruch, the well-known secretary of the prophet Jeremiah, records beautiful verses in both poetry and prose that present a prayer for displaced people. Viewed in this way, the words help those who are lost or misplaced, those who suffer during this time of year when so many others celebrate. When contemplated in the silence of personal exile, these ancient words might set lost feet down on ground once thought unstable; they might give a new horizon and a clear path to those living abandoned or in pain. On this day following the arrival of God in our midst, we take time with these words and rhymes . . . as we listen for God’s message of hope, healing and joy.
Take off your robe of mourning and misery . . .
God says: Your days of loss and suffering have come to an end.
Bear on your head the mitre that displays the glory of the eternal name . . .
God says: Decide to stand in the joy I shower on you . . .
God will show all the earth your splendor . . .
God says: I know that you believe I have abandoned you . . .
You will be named for God forever . . .
God says: Yet I have never left your side, I have never left your heart . . .
Look to the east and the west and see your children gathered at the word of the Holy One . . .
God says: Do not despair that all of your energy and work have been lost for in this you are incorrect . . .
Led away on foot by their enemies they left you . . .
God says: You have been apart and separate for a time but you have not been alone . . .
God will bring them back to you . . .
God says: All of your lost hopes are not, in fact, lost. They live on in all those whom you have touched as you have traveled your road of exile and sadness. Do you not see how many ripples you have sent out upon the waters?
For God has commanded that every lofty mountain be made low, and that the age old depths and gorges be filled to level ground . . .
God says: Have I not just done the impossible . . . arrived as God yet as a human babe?
For God is leading you in joy, by the light of holy glory, with mercy and justice for company.
God says: Remember that I have done all of this and more. I continue to hold you in my own heart and plans. You continue to be more important to me than you imagine. Each time you show mercy despite your painful circumstances you tell the world about my love for you. Each time you stand for justice despite your littleness you show the world the great love I have placed in you. Each time you live in me, my heart bursts with happiness in you. Remember all of this and know that I love you . . . and know that I always will.
Today we give thanks for God’s constant attendance on us . . . even in those times when we have felt alone. If the holiday season is a time of trial, spend time with Baruch today.
Listen to an interview with Fr. James Martin, S.J., conducted by Krista Tippett and posted at www.onbeing.org Allow all feeling of separation and abandonment to become joy in “Finding God in All Things”. Listen at: http://onbeing.org/program/james-martin-finding-god-in-all-things/7121/audio?embed=1
For more about the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises, click on the image above, or visit: http://sacred-texts.com/chr/seil/
Also visit: https://thejesuitpost.org/2012/03/the-exercises-the-ignatian-adventure/?gclid=CjwKEAiA_NmkBRCe3ubC1aWAtEcSJACxkkbq2_vDdXCBma8StGvC_eeJP2AQRzAgPHbsU0oHgiQDExoCPrXw_wcB
If this week’s Noontimes call you to search for more ways to encounter Joy or urges you to investigate the New Testament, click on the word Joy in the categories cloud in the blog’s right hand sidebar and choose a reflection, or enter those words in the blog search bar. You may want to visit the Joy for the Journey blog at www.joyforthee.blogspot.com.
For more information about anxiety and joy, visit: http://riselikeair.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/anxiety-joy-a-journey/
Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990. RG 323. Print.
Read Full Post »