Our personal history is a story of God’s love
Our Lord is resurrected! In this beautiful Eastertide our mass readings provide peeks into the mind and heart of the apostles, both in the Gospels while they were with Jesus and after the resurrection in the Acts of the Apostles. The Gospel for May 3 included this passage:
Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we shall be satisfied.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know me, Philip? (John 14:8-9)
Do you ever feel like Philip? I did once. Baptized, going to Sunday mass, receiving the Eucharist, popping into the confessional now and then…a ‘catechized’ Catholic. As far as I was aware, this is the entirety of ‘the faith’. But there always seemed to be a void; something I could sense but not quite put my finger on.
That void was relationship. We can be around Jesus and know of Him, but that isn’t quite the same as knowing Him. I spent too much of my life being around Jesus rather than being with Him. Because God is Love, and we are made to His image, it means we are created in, and for, loving relationships beginning with the Trinity. Who we are at our core, our authentic self, is found in this relationship (John 14:8-10). This is how Easter, the new creation, is lived out in communion with others.
“If we, the image of God, direct ourselves, our intellect, our gaze, our spirit, towards Christ, then we experience our personal history as a story of God’s love, which in every instant can transform us. Thus there is a reciprocity, a dialogue in which we are never alone.” (Fr. Marko Rupnik, SJ)
Just like any relationship, it doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time, with silent prayer and the daily Examen. St. Ignatius of Loyola considered the Examen the most important prayer of the day. How beautiful to sit with God and reflect together upon our history for this day as a ‘story of God’s love’. My understanding of that story continues to develop slowly and transform me. Making resolutions to keep up my end of the relationship, and then spiritually self-monitoring during the day, maintains the ongoing dialogue with Him.
The Examen also helps me see with whom I am really ‘dialoguing’ in my thoughts throughout the day. If I am thinking of God, am I talking at Him or listening to Him? Too much of the former I’m afraid. Again, the examen is not an intellectual pursuit following a formula. It is “a true encounter with God in Jesus. …It enables us to see ourselves in His presence, united with Him and others.” In doing so, we relive the memory of Him in our day and re-establish proper relationship with both God and the entire created world.
“In assuming our human nature in the incarnation, Christ established an entirely unique relationship with every person. In Him, every person can find access to every other person; the relationship with the other that Christ established. Christ becomes the gate (Jn 10:7) through which one can enter into communion with all human beings.” (Fr. Marco Rupnik SJ)
Who would have thought my little examen was so important not just to me but to harmony within all of creation? So to live as an “Easter” person, I need to recommit to my daily 10-minute conversation with Him plus time in silence afterwards, and allow His grace to ‘mold me’ as St. Ignatius advises.
“Christ…is the image in which we are able to recognize ourselves because we remember who we truly are.”
(Fr. Marco Rupnik)
Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam 😊
Image: Taryn Elliott from Pexels
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