God has, not had, a dream, an Aisilng, for you and I. His dream is that we would have life and have it abundantly. We would be able to share in His joy, and so bring our joy to completion. We would be offered a life to be lived out in freedom, not fear. Happiness was going to be a reality for us. Obviously we are not there yet. We are part and parcel though of it's becoming. We are the instruments through which this grand plan, which is also called, The Coming of The Kingdom, becomes a reality. There is a struggle within each one of us to allow this reality to happen, just as there is a struggle within society, and the church. We as it were, to use the scriptures, are all groaning as we await the reality. The tragedy of Tucson points out how far we have to go. Yet the prayer in last week's blog points to the power of God, who watches with care. He does not just watch, He watches with care. This not just care, this is infinite care. We all have been aware of the care the victims of the shooting received, and are receiving. Each caregiver has only a limited amount of physical. and psychic energy. There comes a time when everybody has to rest and sleep. The caring presence is not there. With one who is Watchful Care, he does not rest, he does not sleep. His is eternal, vigilance. How reassuring it is to know that He who created us out of His Infinite love, continues to love us with the same infinite love. A love we do not have to earn, deserve, or qualify for. No wonder we do not believe it. How can anything that is free be any good. Are not told to be careful of anything that looks too good?
That is why this week’s prayer is so great. We will pray, or have prayed,
"Almighty Father, the love you offer ALWAYS exceeds the furthest expression of our human longing, for you are greater than the human heart. Direct each thought, each effort of our life, so that the limits of our faults and weaknesses may not obscure the vision of your glory or keep us from the peace you have promised."
Last week it was the power of God that was presented to us, this week we are informed this is not just power , it is the power of love, infinite love. Why do we need such great love? Simply put, we are too darn good at pointing our faults and weaknesses, and constantly harping on them. We keep on picking at them, and harping at them that we move from a healthy guilt to toxic shame. Guilt is, I have made a mistake and need to change, or to use this weekend's Gospel we need conversion. Guilt is about what I do. Toxic shame is about who I am. Guilt is I made a mistake, and so can change. Toxic shame is I am a mistake, and it take a great deal of hard work to release the shame and embrace the unconditional love always and ever being offered to us.
It seems God does His best work with the good sinner. St. Theresa of Lisieux tells us, "God has two weaknesses that make Him lovable. He is blind...and He doesn't know arithmetic. For when the greatest sinner on earth repents at the moment of death and dies in an act of love, God does not count either the numerous graces that the sinner has abused or his crimes but counts ONLY his last prayer and receives him without delay into His merciful arms. She again has written the following, "God's justice..seems to me to be clothed in love. What a sweet joy it is to think God is just ,i.e., that He takes into account our weakness, that He is perfectly aware of our fragile nature. What should I fear then?" The following is the one I like the best, I wonder why? "Sometimes it happens that despite our best efforts, God allows some souls to remain imperfect because it would be to their spiritual detriment to believe they are virtuous". What great hope there is in those quotations. They with the opening prayer, and being complimented with last week's prayer, will be a source of strength for us who are weary, discouraged, and losing sight of the promises given to us at Baptism.
We need to recall to mind that wonder-full smile of Christina-Taylor Green. In that smile, she is telling us- I have not forgotten, yet, where it is have come from. I still hold bright the light that has been entrusted to me. I am here to remind you of who you really are, and who we are all called to be. You like me are to be the contemporary Christ. We are to reach out to those who have become dispirited, alienated, and discouraged. We all must be a beacon of hope so that all can say our God does watch over us all, is caring for us all. Just as His Son has to enter the shame and darkness of Calvary, so as to enter His new life, we too will follow in His footsteps. Footsteps, that will of necessity, lead to the place where there is no death, only the fullness of life.