"Have mercy on me, O God, in accord with Your mercifulness; in abundant compassion blot out my transgressions. Thoroughly wash away my guilt; and from my sin cleanse me. For I know my transgressions; my sin is ever before me. Against you only have I sinned; I have done evil in your eyes...My sacrifice O God, is a contrite heart, a contrite, humbled heart you will not scorn. 'From this Psalm 51 we see that humankind's need for mercy has been around for a long, long time. That need continues for us today because of who we are. We as "spiritual beings," are forever and always, having to face what "immersed in the human experience" is constantly revealing to us. Some of the revelations give cause to celebrate. We are the beloved daughters/sons of a Prodigal Father whose infinite-love- vision of us never changes. As we are immersed in the confining limits of a broken humanity we do not readily see, or believe all that is ours because of who we are. Because we, at least for me, are not able to be conscious of our inner dignity. We can live our lives in estrangement, not knowing what to do. We are lucky, however that our Prodigal Father, out of His infinite love for us, sent us His Beloved Son, Who became enfleshed, became incarnated, in the womb of the Virgin Mary. The historical Jesus, who became The Christ of God, was the revelation of fullness of the infinite, mercy-full, love of our God. Out of His personal love, for you and me and all of creation, He assumed our broken humanity. Why would The All Powerful One empty Himself of His divinity, and be immersed in a broken humanity? Simply put, through His life, His mission, His ministry the Prophet Jesus would model for us how to move from estrangement to oneness, to unity, and eventually to peace. By entering the human condition God "conferred on human nature immortal value." The Mystery of The Incarnation calls us, no, challenges us to see our humanity as evolving into an everyday, every moment, of newness. We are asked, and indeed challenged to enter this mystery, as we are with all mystery, with an attitude of reverence, and respect. We do this with the knowledge that we are never going to solve the mystery; we are however, going to be drawn deeper and deeper into, said mystery. This journey is endless in this life. We must not be discouraged by our limited knowledge, and vision. The Holy Spirit, The Wisdom of God, is in charge of this journey and She will make sure all that we need is right there before us. All that we will ever need will be there, when we need it and as we need it. Notice the word want was not used. There is such a difference between what we need, and what we want. "God takes care of our need, not our greed"( Ghandi). Our Shepherd God will make sure that we, His sheep, and lambs are going to be led to running waters, and green pastures. To the good grazing fields of mercy, compassion, forgiveness, reconciliation, and freedom. As we are journeying through the darkness of the valley, and this IS a certainty, we will have The Light of Lights to guide us securely on our way. We will never wander to a place where the Good Shepherd will not seek, and search for us. According to the scriptures it seems that the lost sheep get special care and attention. In The Cloud of Unknowing the author says that God seems to do His best work with HABITUAL SINNERS. "Where sin abounds, grace abounds even more." There is such hope and consolation contained in the healthy spiritual writers. We seem to have forgotten their tenderness, or choose to ignore it!!!
We do not have to know how this miracle of grace happens. It is none of our business. This is in the realm of The Divine. All of our God's workings are way beyond our ability to understand or comprehend. All we have to do is simply allow it to happen. Easy to do? No way. We will have to go to war; do battle with the egocentric ego, the false self takes. This false self, where The Father Of Lies makes his dwelling will offer what APPEARS to be a better way, a more attractive one. It will appear to be "An easier and a softer way." As a result we will stray, go our own way and get lost. How often will this happen? As long and as often, as it takes for us to wake up and admit, this way is not working, there must be a better way. Usually, we will slowly have to let go, the way of the false self, with all the pain and suffering which has become part of our so-called life. We are NOT living; we are existing. The way of the false self buys us nothing but a ticket to the dungeons, the hellish prisons of guilt, fear, and shame. We will have many encounters with that good old toxic trinity before we will awaken to the real truth, and follow the healthy way.
Sheep and lambs do not have to know the path; all that is necessary is that The Good Shepherd knows the trail. The sheep know, recognize The Voice that calls them by name and then follow. (That is the same Voice who is always calling us. Calling us by our unique name. A name that has been chosen for us. A name most of us will never know, so the mystics tell us. Pretty neat to have God personally choose a name for us.) They follow that voice even though the trail may be rocky, and steep. They follow knowing there will be rest, refreshment, and safety at journey's end. For the sick, the weak, the injured there will be comfort, care, and time to rejuvenate. All their care is provided by the kind, compassionate, mercy-full, loving, tender presence and actions of the shepherd who is good. That is what a good shepherd does. In his mission and ministry, The Good Shepherd showed Himself to be everything that one could expect from a good shepherd, and even more. Jesus showed Himself to be mercy-full, healing, comforting, compassionate, kind, accepting, The Presence, and The Revelation of Love. While on earth The Historical Jesus went before the apostles and they followed Him. Now that Jesus is The Risen Christ, He now travels with, and within each one of us. While on earth, He was not able to do that. We can say now that we have The Guidance System to guide and direct us through the darkness of the deep valleys, and its challenging trails, on our way to the eternal sheep-fold. Darkness is not dark to the One Who is Light. Such is shinning within our depths, lighting our way to the treasure, to the pearl of great price that is waiting for us to discover.