Fall weather is with us, at last! We have endured the heat. We are now ready for the good days to refresh us, and renew us. That seems to be the pattern of the life we live out on this earth. There is struggle, some rest, and then we go back to the struggle again. I see the same thing in the hike up a mountain. There is the struggle, then you have a switch back, more struggle, and then there is another switch back. Aren’t those switch backs great? To my way of thinking, our weekend mass is a wonder-full spiritual switch back. Each liturgy provides a resting place, a place of renewal, a place of refreshment. We, as it were really take Jesus up on His invitation to come and rest in Him. We also come to rest with Him. We come to find REST, for the journey. He does not promise a FIX. He promises us rest. I love that prayer we sing, "I am here, standing right beside you". What comfort, encouragement, and strength, there is in those words. That is why we are in the constant need to be reminded of God's faithfulness to us.
We are in the constant need of being reminded that it is NOT our love for God, but his love for us. It is all God’s doing. It is He who has sought us out. We search for God. Why? Because he has found us. Not only found us, but has drawn us into a covenant love. This covenant love is all one sided, it is on God's part. This is His dream, His Ashling, not ours. We are told that His thoughts are way beyond His thoughts, and His ways are not our ways. Let us say a collective, "thank you God for that". We are caught up in a world of checks and balances, that is the world of contracts. God is not there. A real love relationship is not, contractual. His covenant has to do with no conditions, no restrictions and no reservations. His love in the love of, The Beloved. A love that we cannot, even if we want to, earn, deserve, or qualify for. WE have to be reminded of the fact that covenant love is, of its essence, a gift.
So the opening prayer , of this weekend's switchback experience,draws us, again, deeper in the mystery of God's love and who we are, as we exist in We will pray at mass to Him in whom we live, and move and have our being.
"There is no power for good which does not come from your covenant,
and no promise to hope in that your love has not offered.
Strengthen our faith to accept your covenant,
and give us the love to carry out your command."
We have to, or at least I have to, pray that again and again. Each time a little slower to allow the full meaning and impact to penetrate into that place where it will nourish, strengthen, revive and heal me. I ask for the faith that will overcome the fears of my insufficiency, limitedness, faults and failings.
I must be ready to accept no good comes from me. Any love in my life is that which comes to me, first, from God's love. I am simply the channel through which it flows. I am responsible to for the upkeep of the channel. When there is garbage in the channel I have to pray for the wisdom, and strength, to face that reality. It will be grace, and only grace, that will empower me to do what is necessary to unclog that space. I have the guarantee, from my Baptism, that I will never, and I mean never, be alone. I will never have to rely just on my so called strength, I have the pledge that My God will ever be there to strengthen, guide, and direct me. That is what it means to be anointed, which we all are in that sacrament.
We are then open to be strengthened to be who we are called to be. E.E. Cummings wrote; "It takes great courage to grow up and become who we really are." That which is necessary will be provided. We will have to face our fears, but we hear,
"Be not afraid I go before you", and "Fear is the only true enemy, born of ignorance and the parent of anger and hate". We then have a choice to make. Every moment we are given on this spaceship, we call earth, we make the choice of living in the freedom of being the beloved. We will of necessity be life givers, to all we meet. We will not be death dealers. Death dealers, are those who refuse to recognize and accept their essential dignity. Their essential goodness. This is what it means to be wounded. We all have to accept there is that wounded part of each one us. That must be told of the Good News. We must claim we are the beloved again and again until it brings God’s healing to that wounded part, and so join in the great celebration of life. We will also fulfill the command of God, and love as He loves.