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Weeks 671-680

Oratory of Divine Love Reflection 675: Discovering Jesus as the way, the truth and the life : A reflection on the Gospel of John (John 14: 6 - 14)

 

6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

 

7 If you know me, then you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

 

8 Philip said to him, “Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.”

9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?

 

10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own. The Father who dwells in me is doing his works.

 

11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else, believe because of the works themselves.

12 Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father.

 

13 And whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

 

14 If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.

When Jesus proclaimed to Thomas, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” - Jesus enlightened His disciples as to His identity and also His most sacred relationship with the Father. Clearly, He wanted them to know Him, the one they were following.

 

But, also, I believe Jesus enlightened these men to the experience of grace each had received. Here were men who, having been called by Jesus, left all to follow Him - it involved sacrifice, it involved trust - lots of trust - and they were doing it. Jesus gave them insight into the mystery they were living; He put into words their own wordless belief: “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” And each could say in his heart: “Yes, Lord, You are this - You are this for me! This is why I am captivated, held by You, to You - even with my questions, my fears I know I must follow You. You have spelled out the grace of my call!”

 

Behind all this, supporting all this Jesus was lifting them up into a clearer awareness of Him, raising them into a more profound relationship with Him. Nevertheless, they still lived their unique humanity with all its weaknesses and flaws - yet, bearing at the same time a growing faith, a strengthening conviction of Jesus as their Lord and Master, as the long-awaited Messiah “the Christ”.

 

He had spoken about Himself and at the same time, the Divine Word was speaking Himself into them - like the sower pressing the seed into soil. Jesus, the Divine Sower, because of their receptivity, was pressing the seed of His word, of Himself into their hearts where it will grow and bear fruit.

 

Each day, here at Mass or alone in our solitude, as we read, listen, reflect on the Sacred Word, the Lord is at work - pressing the seed of the Word, the seed of Himself into our hearts. He lifts us up, raising us to a greater level of seeing with faith, of believing with conviction, of loving Him with gratitude.

 

Each day, we are extravagantly privileged in the Eucharist, in prayer, in sacred reading to go to Him who has first approached us. The Lord proclaimed, “I have come that they may have life in abundance” and we can add what we believe: “Yes, Lord, You have come, do come to lift us up, to raise us up into Yourself. This is Your desire, Your passion, Your way.”

 

Because of this, we can say, “Lord, You are truly the way, the truth, and the life for me. Fill me with gratitude!”

 

Fr. John Denburger, OCSO

 

Prayer: Lord Jesus, you are the way, truth and life. Open our eyes to see the love that you have for each of us. Give us the courage to let that love transform us. As we do our best to walk the way you have laid out for us, help us when we struggle to love those around us.

Quote from a Saint: “Lord Jesus, you are the way, truth and life. Open our eyes to see the love that you have for each of us. Give us the courage to let that love transform us. As we do our best to walk the way you have laid out for us, help us when we struggle to love those around us.” – St. Thomas Aquinas

 

Questions for reflection:

  1. Do you believe that Jesus is the way and the truth and the life? Is this something that you have struggled with or maybe still have difficulty with? If so, bring this verse with you to your next quiet time of prayer.

  2. How well do you know Jesus? What have you done or are you currently doing to strengthen your relationship with Him?

  3. Is your faith growing or has it reached a plateau--or maybe even grown a bit stagnant? If the second two sound like your situation what are some things that you could do to start growing in faith?

  4. How receptive are you to the Lord? Is your heart open to Him and what He has to tell you? Do you listen for His still, small voice in the silence of your heart? If you hear it, do you act immediately?

  5. How frequently do you attend Mass? At least every Sunday? Could you add another Mass this week?

  6. Do your spend time in solitude with the Lord? If not, can you arrange your schedule so that you can at least spend five minutes per day with Him?

  7. How is your prayer life? Is it in need of some work?

  8. Is sacred reading or study part of your schedule? If it is not, begin this week and see if it helps you to form a deeper connection with the Lord.

--Benjamin & Kristen Rinaldo, CfP

 
Oratory of Divine Love Reflection 674: A Glimpse of Heaven : A reflection on the Gospel of John (John 20:1-9)

1 On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb. 2 So she ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.”

 

3 So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb. 4 They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first; 5 he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in.

 

6 When Simon Peter arrived after him, he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, 7 and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place.

 

8 Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed. 9 For they did not yet understand the scripture that he had to rise from the dead.

 

When we think of our liturgical year, the two feasts that really stand out are Christmas and Easter. And yet, one of those two feasts is much more ancient and much more important. According to Britannica, “the celebration of Christmas started in Rome about 336, but did not become a major Christian festival until the 9th century.” However, what we are celebrating today [Easter] goes back to the very beginning and is the Feast of All Feasts. As an article on “The Loop” said on Thursday, “Dating to the earliest days of the Church, the three-day liturgy is the summit of the Liturgical year for Catholics.”

 

We can’t help but ask ourselves why this is so. Before Christ’s Resurrection, people didn’t have a very rosy image of what awaited them after death. For the most part, Jews believed in a shadowy place called Sheol where both the good and the bad went. And in most cases the Pagan world didn’t have a much better hope, often even believing in the annihilation of the soul after death. Stop and think for a moment what that must have felt like and how it would color your day-to-day existence. The prospect of death would seem like such a tragedy, and the fear of death would always be lurking under the surface of our consciousness. 

 

But Christ’s death on the Cross and Resurrection changed all that. Heaven had been there all the time but there was no way for us to enter it. Its gates were closed to us. We didn’t even know it existed. 

 

Picture being in a big old house, maybe a castle over in Europe. We’re having our regular, day-to-day existence in a mediocre-type room, with our moments of joy and moments of disappointment. We know that we will eventually “time out” and have to go live in the dungeon in the basement where it’s dark and dank. And we’ll have to stay in that miserable place forever and ever. Who knows?--it might even have instruments of torture, like the rack. 

 

Meanwhile, right next to our mediocre-type room is a magnificent ballroom with all kinds of dancing and laughter, and celebrating. There are also endless tables in there with all kinds of delicious foods and drinks. But this room is separated by a soundproof wall with no door. It’s as if it’s a secret room in the house that no one knows about. 

 

Well, Christ came from that hidden room and he suddenly appeared in our room. He lived like us for a while and then, through his death on the Cross and Resurrection, he became the door which allows us to enter that blissful room. In those old-type houses, you could see through the keyhole of the door and peep in on what was happening in the next room. Christ’s Resurrection is sort of like that keyhole that allows us to peep into heaven. If Christ can rise from the dead, so can we. He gives us a quick glimpse of what awaits us. 

 

We take the prospect of heaven for granted, now, and it’s hard for us to imagine life without that concept. I guess it might be a little bit like the way we take flying for granted now. Not too long ago we read a book in our refectory about the Wright Brothers and all that went into the first flight for humans. All those principles of aerodynamics were there all along but the pieces had to be put together in the right way. Once they showed it could be done, people in other parts of the world started figuring out how to fly, too. Now, we think nothing of hopping on a plane with a couple hundred other people and flying to Europe. 200 years ago it would have been unthinkable. And we have great respect for that magical moment at Kitty Hawk on December 17, 1903, when Wilbur and Orville made it happen for the first time. In a very pale way, it mirrors the very first time a Human Being flew to heaven, and why we celebrate this Feast today with so much solemnity and why it is such a big deal. 

 

The Resurrection gives us hope. It proves death does not have the last word. It proves that our existence has far greater potential than the existence we know in this world here below. We need to keep our eye on the keyhole and the life it promises. We need to live for that world, not this one. As our second reading coaxed us, “If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Think of what is above, not of what is on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”

 

Fr. Stephen Muller, OCSO

 

Prayer: Christ is Risen: The world below lies desolate. Christ is Risen: The spirits of evil are fallen. Christ is Risen: The angels of God are rejoicing. Christ is Risen: The tombs of the dead are empty
Christ is Risen indeed from the dead, the first of the sleepers, Glory and power are his forever and ever.-
St. Hippolytus of Rome

Quote from a Saint: “Yes, Christ is truly risen, and we are witnesses of this. We proclaim this witness to the world, so that the joy which is ours will reach countless other hearts, kindling in them the light of the hope which does not disappoint.” — St. John Paul II

Questions for reflection:

  1. How does the thought of the Christian afterlife color the way that you think about life and death? How does the trend of post-Christianity in our society influence how people think of death? How should we, who hope in Christ, think about death?

  2. What is your impression of Heaven after getting a quick “glimpse” of it through Christ’s resurrection?

  3. Do you take the prospect of Heaven for granted? Do you feel like people in society take going to Heaven for granted? How are these people wrong?

  4. How can we help people who think there is no Heaven or Hell realize that these are very real destinations for us at the end of our lives?

  5. What did you think of the illustration about the hidden room and Christ becoming the door that lets you enter the ballroom?

  6. Which holiday does our contemporary culture put more emphasis on, Christmas or Easter? Is their emphasis misplaced? Is there anything that you can do to help change this?

  7. How do you celebrate Christmas and Easter? After reading this homily are you going to make any changes to how you celebrate them?

  8. Has the Resurrection changed your view on death? Why or why not?

--Benjamin & Kristen Rinaldo, CfP

Oratory of Divine Love Reflection 673: Putting on Christ : A reflection on The Book of Acts and the Gospel of John (Acts 4: 8 – 12 & John 10: 11 - 18)

[Acts 4]

8 Then Peter, filled with the holy Spirit, answered them, “Leaders of the people and elders: 9 If we are being examined today about a good deed done to a cripple, namely, by what means he was saved, 10 then all of you and all the people of Israel should know that it was in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead; in his name this man stands before you healed.

 

11 He is ‘the stone rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.’ 12 There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved.”

 

[John 10]

11 I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

 

12 A hired man, who is not a shepherd and whose sheep are not his own, sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away, and the wolf catches and scatters them. 13 This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep.

 

14 I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me,15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I will lay down my life for the sheep.

 

16 I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice, and there will be one flock, one shepherd.

 

17 This is why the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own. I have power to lay it down, and power to take it up again. This command I have received from my Father.”

 

Peter was sitting in the courtyard when one of the serving girls came over to him and said, “You too were with Jesus the Galilean.” He denied it in front of everyone: “I do not know what you are talking about!” In a short time, he was confronted two more times and in all, he will deny knowing Jesus three times. Jesus had predicted this and Peter wept bitter tears.

 

In the first reading for this Mass, we meet an altogether different Peter. Before the leaders, the men of power, Peter is examined, confronted about a miracle in Jesus’ name. However, This time Peter is not intimidated in the least and he answers courageously and honestly. From a profoundly personal conviction, he proclaims, “There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved.” Later Peter surely reflected upon all this, marveled at his own courage, his belief and he knew absolutely that this was a grace of the Holy Spirit. He knew, as well, that in the company of Jesus, he had heard the Lord proclaim His own divine convictions.

 

In the Gospel the very first words of the Lord flow from the convictions of His heart, from His identity as the Son of the Father: “I am the Good Shepherd.” On other occasions He had said, “I am the Resurrection and the Life” - “I am the Bread come down from heaven” - “I can only do what I see the Father doing.” We heard Jesus proclaim, as Peter did, something about all these convictions. “This is why the Father loves Me because I lay down My life in order to take it up again.” With passion, He repeats, “No one takes it from Me but I lay it down on My own. I have power to lay it down and power to take it up again. This command I have received from My Father.”

 

In those words Jesus tells us that belief, conviction is meant to be lived, not just held in the mind, not just spoken but to be seen, manifested in how we live. And Peter who heard these challenging words of Jesus will do the same. He will lay down his life in proclaiming the good news, he will serve his people with his life and one day be crucified for his convictions. In a word, he will have truly “put on the Lord Jesus Christ” in word and in action.

 

We gather as men and women of serious convictions, of profound beliefs that form our lives, that we are celebrating in this Holy Eucharist. We will audibly profess our convictions, we will hear one another say, “I believe in God the Father Almighty - I believe in Jesus Christ His only Son our Lord - I believe in the Holy Spirit - I believe in the Holy Catholic Church and we know these our beliefs are the gift of the Spirit of the Father and Son. This precious gift we hold in earthen vessels, in our humanity and the Lord Jesus tells us “Yes, you do hold them but they are only words, pious thoughts unless you live them.” And we pose a question, “How, Lord?”

 

The answer challenges us, confronts our excuses - by laying down your life in love that is truly service to others, by dying to all preoccupation with self, by reaching out to others in kindness, in generosity, in forgiveness. None of this is easy and one has to stretch, a deliberate act to extend self. Without the stretching, the extending of self our Catholic faith is little more than an artifact in a museum.

 

“The Gift (capital “G”) you have received, give as a gift!” The Gift of the Risen Lord Himself we will hold in our hand or receive on our tongue. That act declares our own personal commitment to lay down our lives. It is our “Yes” - a silent yes and we will be held to it!

 

Fr. John Denburger, OCSO

 

 

Prayer: “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God made man, that he suffered and died for my sins and rose from the dead in glory, and that it is only in him through the Holy Spirit that eternal life is given to us. I believe in all that your holy Church believes.”

Quote from a Saint: “The fruits of charity are joy, peace, and mercy; charity demands beneficence and fraternal correction; it is benevolence; it fosters reciprocity and remains disinterested and generous; it is friendship and communion: Love is itself the fulfillment of all our works. There is the goal; that is why we run: we run toward it, and once we reach it, in it we shall find rest." –St. Augustine

Questions for reflection:

  1. Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you did not want it to be known that you were a Christian? If so, what were the circumstances and what would you do differently now?

  2. Has there been a time when you were called to defend the faith or found yourself clarifying a Church teaching without time to prepare? How did it go?

  3. Put yourself in the place of the disciples when Jesus said: “This is why the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life in order to take it up again.” With passion, He repeats, “No one takes it from Me but I lay it down on My own. I have power to lay it down and power to take it up again. This command I have received from My Father.” How would you react if you were in their place?

  4. If it came down to it, would you be willing to lay down your life for the love of others or to proclaim the truth of the faith?

  5. Do you try to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ” in word and in action? What does that look like?

  6. Do you live your beliefs and convictions? Do others know that you are a Christian by how you live?

  7. Is your Catholic faith something that you live or is it “an artifact in a museum”? What is the difference? How can you make your faith more a part of your life?

  8. What do you feel when you receive the gift of our Lord in the Eucharist? Do you consider it a declaration of your willingness to lay down your life?

--Benjamin & Kristen Rinaldo, CfP

Oratory of Divine Love Reflection 672: Recognizing Christ : A reflection on The Book of Acts (Acts 24:13-35)

13 Now that very day two of them were going to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus,14 and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred.

 

15 And it happened that while they were conversing and debating, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them,

16 but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him. 17 He asked them, “What are you discussing as you walk along?” They stopped, looking downcast.

 

18 One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know of the things that have taken place there in these days?”19 And he replied to them, “What sort of things?” They said to him, “The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over to a sentence of death and crucified him.

 

21 But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel; and besides all this, it is now the third day since this took place. 22 Some women from our group, however, have astounded us: they were at the tomb early in the morning 23 and did not find his body; they came back and reported that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who announced that he was alive. 24 Then some of those with us went to the tomb and found things just as the women had described, but him they did not see.”

 

25 And he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke! 26 Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” 27 Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the scriptures.

 

28 As they approached the village to which they were going, he gave the impression that he was going on farther.29 But they urged him, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.

 

30 And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. 31 With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight.

 

32 Then they said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning [within us] while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us?”

 

33 So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem where they found gathered together the eleven and those with them 34 who were saying, “The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!”

 

35 Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

 

In the Resurrection narratives, a kind of pattern arises; Jesus is not recognized. He is a stranger as we chanted at Vigils on Good Friday. Mary Magdalene did not recognize Him; she thought He was the gardener until He called her by name.

 

Also, Cleophas and his companion did not recognize Him although like Mary Magdalene they knew Him well. Jesus, a stranger, a pleasant and very knowledgeable companion joined them in their journey to Emmaus and at their insistence joined them for a meal.

 

It will take an act on Jesus’ part to bring them into the light and so He did. St. Luke recorded that moment: “And it happened that while they were at table, He took bread, said the blessing, broke it and gave it to them.” In that instant the grace of faith, of sight flooded them and the bread of Life fed them - they were lifted up from despair, from shattered hopes, from a terrible darkness. Christ the Light illuminated their hearts.

 

And with that, their eyes were opened and they recognized Him but He vanished from their sight but not from their faith, from their memory. They had truly seen Him - the Risen Crucified One - and there was more - they received Him in the Holy Eucharist - the Lord Jesus literally gave Himself to them.

 

So with us, now, we gather to celebrate the Holy Eucharist and at this very moment we are being given the grace of desire to receive Him, the grace of sight to recognize Him as our Food of Life - these are graces beyond words, and beyond our understanding - totally gratuitous, totally merciful.

 

May this daily celebration consume us as it did Cleophas and his companion as it has consumed countless others so that you and I can say, “I know Him - He is no stranger to me!”

 

Fr. John Denburger, OCSO

 

 

Prayer: Lord, help me to see You in the lives of those closest to me. Help me to rejoice in Your presence and to grow in love of other and in love of You as I see You at work in their lives. Jesus, I trust in You.

 

Quote from a Saint: “How many of you say: I should like to see His face, His garments, His shoes. You do see Him, you touch Him, you eat Him. He gives Himself to you, not only that you may see Him, but also to be your food and nourishment.”--St. John Chrysostom

 

Questions for reflection:

  1. Has there ever been a point in your life when you did not recognize Jesus? Perhaps you did not see Him in the Eucharist or in the people that you encounter during your day-to-day life. What happened that allowed you to recognize Christ?

  2. Has Christ illuminated your heart so that you recognize Him in the Eucharist? Do your attitudes and actions during Mass reflect that belief?

  3. Have you ever contemplated the fact that the God of the Universe humbled Himself to become a man who was then rejected, mistreated, and murdered by His created creatures in order to save them? How about the fact that He humbles Himself once again to come to us mysteriously in the Holy Eucharist and Precious Blood? If not, take this with you to prayer.

  4. If we choose, we can receive Christ in the Eucharist every day of the week. How often do you go to Mass? Would it be possible for you to attend Mass on another day in addition to Sunday?

  5. How would you react if someone you knew had died suddenly and then appeared to you and those he knew? Meditate upon how the disciples must have felt after seeing the risen Christ.

  6. Are there people in your life that do not know Jesus? Have you been praying for them to be flooded with the light of God so that they can see and recognize Him? If not, start today!

  7. Do you feel as though you know Jesus or is He still a stranger to you? How can you become better acquainted with Him?

--Benjamin & Kristen Rinaldo, CfP

Oratory of Divine Love Reflection 671: Wade Out Deeper : A reflection on the Prophet Ezekiel (Ezekiel 47:1-9, 12)

1 Then he brought me back to the entrance of the temple, and there! I saw water flowing out from under the threshold of the temple toward the east, for the front of the temple faced east. The water flowed out toward the right side of the temple to the south of the altar.

 

2 He brought me by way of the north gate and around the outside to the outer gate facing east; there I saw water trickling from the southern side.

 

3 When he continued eastward with a measuring cord in his hand, he measured off a thousand cubits and had me wade through the water; it was ankle-deep. 4 He measured off another thousand cubits and once more had me wade through the water; it was up to the knees. He measured another thousand cubits and had me wade through the water; it was up to my waist. 5 Once more he measured off a thousand cubits. Now it was a river I could not wade across. The water had risen so high, I would have to swim—a river that was impassable.

 

6 Then he asked me, “Do you see this, son of man?” He brought me to the bank of the river and had me sit down.

 

7 As I was returning, I saw along the bank of the river a great many trees on each side.

 

8 He said to me, “This water flows out into the eastern district, runs down into the Arabah and empties into the polluted waters of the sea to freshen them.

 

9 Wherever it flows, the river teems with every kind of living creature; fish will abound. Where these waters flow they refresh; everything lives where the river goes.

 

12 Along each bank of the river every kind of fruit tree will grow; their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear fresh fruit because the waters of the river flow out from the sanctuary. Their fruit is used for food, and their leaves for healing.”

 

“I saw water flowing out from beneath the threshold of the temple toward the east” (Ezek. 47:1). Reading about the water flowing from the side of the temple brought to mind the water and blood flowing from the side of the crucified Lord. These waters flow out from Jerusalem and out into the world. Christ is the Temple from whom flow the living waters. Christ is the door, from the floodgate of his pierced side flowed the waters that refresh the world. Christ is the wellspring of living water that satisfies the thirst of the human soul. Like the prophet Ezekiel, we discover the works of God in stages. At first, the wonders of God are simple and delightful, so we wade into them, ankle-deep. The more we walk in the flowing waters, the challenges get more difficult, knee-deep, and waist-deep. The journey keeps taking us deeper and deeper until we find ourselves in waters that are over our heads.

 

Reading how the prophet waded deeper and deeper into the river flowing from the temple, I was reminded of a passage in St. Luke’s gospel. “Launch out into Deep Water and lower Your Nets for a catch” (Lk. 5:4). Granted, it is comfortable to wade in the shallows, but you can’t catch an abundance of fish there. Our Christian calling challenges us to set out into the deep water of God’s mystery. Saint Paul knew the wonder and awe of taking the plunge. “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how unfathomable his ways” (Rom. 11:33). Confronted with the mystery of God’s love, Paul came to know his weaknesses and accept his limitations. In the light of that knowledge, he sat at the brink and wondered at the depths. Paul knew that the ever-expanding flood was not for him alone. “I pray that you may be firmly rooted and securely grounded in love. May you have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ” (Eph. 3:17-18).

 

Eventually, Ezekiel came to the spot where the water was over his head. This is exactly where the Lord wants each of us to be, launching out into the depths. Jesus wants us to be immersed in the Spirit and his Word. The Lord wants us to walk in the waters until we need to cry out to him to stretch out his hand and pull us up. Many people stumble and get stuck because they keep trying to figure their Christian calling out, rather than letting God work it out for them. All the while, God keeps nudging us along until we can no longer feel solid ground under our feet. In the end, God wants us to depend on him and his abundant merciful kindness. While we may feel more secure in the shallows, the Lord is calling us to launch out for the deep waters. Only those who are willing to take the plunge can experience the saving power of grace. We need openness and docility if we want to plunge into the depths of God’s infinite mercy. When God finds a resting place in our hearts, by his word and Spirit dwelling richly in us, he can, and will, sustain us as we plunge into the depths. With his mighty right hand and outstretched arm, he will bring us safely to our heavenly home.

 

Fr. Jerome Machar, OCSO

 

Prayer: O Fount of Life, unfathomable Divine Mercy, envelop the whole world and empty yourself out upon us. O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fountain of Mercy for us, I trust in you!

 

Quote from a Saint: “Hold your eyes on God and leave the doing to Him. That is all the doing you have to worry about.”--St. Jane Frances de Chantal

 

Questions for reflection:

  1. Do you find yourself wading in the shallows of faith because it is more comfortable? What is the scariest part about going deeper?

  2. As you have waded deeper into the faith, what are some of the challenges that you have encountered?

  3. Why do you think that God wants us to get in over our heads?

  4. Why do we stumble and get stuck in our faith when we try to figure our Christian calling out? What is God wanting us to do when this happens?

  5. How do you relate to Christ as the Wellspring? Do you rely upon Him to quench your thirst?

  6. Have you ever read Saint Faustina’s Diary? Are you familiar with the image that she had created that shows the blood and water flowing from Jesus as rays of colored light? If not, look it up and spend some time with the image in prayer.

  7. How much do you trust God? Do you trust him in all areas of your life, or have you ceded Him control in only a few? What is holding you back?

  8. Do you fear plunging yourself into God’s Divine Mercy? Why or why not?

  9. Have you ever tried praying the chaplet of Divine Mercy? If not, find out how to pray it and give it a try.

--Benjamin & Kristen Rinaldo, CfP

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