by | Aug 5, 2023 | Presence

Just as you do not know how the life breath enters the human frame in the mother’s womb, so you do not know the work of God, who is working in everything.

–Ecclesiastes 11:5


“Mystery” is a word often heard in the Catholic faith. We ponder and partake in the mystery of Revelation, the mass, the Sacraments, and of God. The mysteries of our faith are not secrets intentionally known by only a privileged few. These are the supernatural truths that are incomprehensible to us. And while we cannot comprehend God, He chooses to make Himself known to us so that everyone can enter into His dynamic of Trinitarian love.

Too often, dealing with life’s challenges and our relationships with others doesn’t resemble this dynamic at all. We lose sight of the spiritual reality within which we, and they, exist. Seeing only our misery, one can be lonely even when surrounded by people. Helplessness too easily devolves into hopelessness. Yet just as our Father sent angels to Jesus to comfort Him in His agony at Gethsemane, we too are never alone even though we may feel so. His Spirit sends us angels and saints to assist, but He also works through the good people around us. Sadly, in our attempt to avoid vulnerability and by putting up defenses against the situation causing desolation, we also avoid being vulnerable to receiving help.

But they soon forgot all he had done; they had no patience for his plan. They forgot the God who had saved them.

–Psalm 106:13, 21

In these times, St. Ignatius advises to remember past consolations and blessings that He has given. These bring hope and trust that this desolation has purpose and also acts as a reminder that it will eventually end. When examining your day, look to see if you find yourself abiding in the serenity of His blessings or wallowing in anger at things which did not go your way. When those small moments of blessing are pondered in prayer, the soul can only stand in awe of God’s mighty love. The gratitude that naturally follows is a returning of love to Love Himself.

Christ said, “I am the Truth;” He did not say “I am the custom.”

–Saint Toribio

It is a literal reality that Jesus came to earth to bring us a new existence in Himself. The trouble is that, because we do not perceive it through our senses (seeing His loving gaze, touching His hand, hearing Him preach etc.), we grasp onto worldly things that feed our passions. The spiritually dead live in the darkness of their passions. We seek people who are like-minded instead of the One to whose likeness we are made. Those people will tug at our emotions or intellectual curiosity as we decide for ourselves what “the way, the truth, and the life” means to us. The virtues and gifts infused into our soul by our baptism lie dormant, awaiting to be invigorated by the light of Glory once again.

The Creator of the heavens obeys a carpenter; the God of eternal glory listens to a poor virgin. Has anyone ever witnessed anything comparable to this?

–Saint Anthony of Padua

This brings us back to mystery. Ironically, perfect human knowledge is inferior to incomplete knowledge of the Trinitarian mystery because of its source and certitude—God. The reason it is mystery is due to our weak human intellects, not any deficiency in God. So, rather than seeking answers that are agreeable or affirm us, if instead we seek Him then knowledge and understanding will be given to us in time. His teachings speak directly to the willing heart and His Spirit desires to share Its wisdom. As the struggle with our own will to ‘figure out’ His ways begins to cease, we increase in awe of the very mystery which had previously confounded us. We are saved from ourselves by Wisdom Himself.

Scarcely can we guess the things on earth, and only with difficulty grasp what is at hand; but things in heaven, who can search them out?

Or who can know your counsel, unless you give Wisdom and send your holy spirit from on high?

Thus were the paths of those on earth made straight, and people learned what pleases you, and were saved by Wisdom.

(Wisdom 9:16-18)

Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam 😊


(Image by Simon Berger on Unsplash)

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