Redemption. I know I can only speak for myself, but I know this is something I crave. The past few years have been a journey towards this in my life. I have beaten myself up about many mistakes of the past and the hurt it has caused. But this is not what God wants for me, or any of us. Through my 19th annotated retreat last year and this first year of the Ignatian Spirituality Institute I have had the privilege of digging into Gods word on a much deeper level. Not just the word itself but the theology and study behind it, not just from pastoral input but from a scholastic view. This view, while one might think it would lessen the belief has only strengthened it. Praying with scripture has saved my life. God’s word never fails to be on time, to confirm my beliefs and my direction. Letting go of past sins is not an easy task, God forgives, even if others may not, including and more importantly, ourselves. But again, God does not want us to live in this shadow of life. HE is the light, to purge us out of darkness, if we only subject ourselves to him and understand his magnanimous love for us. He loves us so much he sent his only Son to dwell among us, love us, teach us, pray with us, and forgive us. Jesus is the word made flesh so we have a living example of obedience. And he is enough.
“I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger,
and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” JN 6:35
But redemption is a daily task, sometimes hourly. The dark spirit of sin can imprison us, blind us, and devastate us. Conversion is the key. We must love, ourselves, others and especially our enemies. It is only through this love we can escape the walls that contain us, that keep us from joy and from spreading that light in our hearts with the world. This is no easy task, but I am reminded daily in the word, and by living examples that prayer is the answer. God listens to our pleas, he is with us in our suffering and he can gently guide us out of despair. We have to allow Him to do this, we have to be willing to let go. Letting go is not enough though, we have to be repentant. We have to acknowledge we have sinned against God. When we move forward toward God we leave the past behind, sometimes we leave others behind that are not able or willing to accompany us on the journey. But I’m not here to impress the world; the only expectations I have to fulfill are those of my God. Not the worlds, not others, not even myself. And again, today, God’s word delivers.
“My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.
As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways above
your ways and my thoughts above your thoughts.” IS 55:8-9
Father Thomas Merton has a quote in today’s Magnificat reflection worth sharing. “The root of Christian love is not the will to love, but the faith that one is loved. The faith that one is loved by God. That faith that one is loved by God although unworthy – or, rather, irrespective of ones worth!” This is a beautiful thought, I am a loved sinner, and continue to seek the way., day by day.