March 26, 2011

What Draws God to the Human Heart?


Despite all the brokenness and misery that mark human existence, God is drawn to the human heart.  There is something about humanity that He patiently loves and profoundly respects.  He gently attempts to persuade us constantly but never imposes his omnipotence.  In the depths of our being, He knocks.  Ever confident that our indifference and rejection are not our last word, He awaits us.  If He humbly requests our hope, it is only because He hopes in us even more.  But why?  What draws Him?

It seems He knows, better than even we ourselves, the greatness of the human vocation.  To help us fulfill our great high calling, He pours out every spiritual blessing so that even our malice and hatred are taken up into his great plan for us.  And, this is true not only historically in the visible events through the course of time, but also mysteriously in the invisible recesses that run through the human heart.

To accomplish this, the almighty power of God clothed itself in weakness.  Vulnerable placing himself into our hands, He found a sure pathway into the depths of human poverty.  The closer He came, the greater we felt that primordial enmity.  The seed of distrust once sewn before the dawn of history had become a forest of ignorance in which we hid ourselves.  He continued with undaunted hope, ready to pay any price to restore our dignity so that we might be free to achieve the great purpose for which we were created.

Our supreme act of aggression against Him, when we tortured and crucified Him, He transforms into the means of all grace.  All we need is to repent, humble ourselves and accept his forgiveness - He gives us the power to live a transformed life, to do something beautiful for God, to make an offering of ourselves which is truly pleasing to Him.  Such is His divine plan, that we should, through following Christ in love, become the praise of his glory.

Elisabeth of the Trinity believes there is one person who did this in a singular way - someone who not only leaves us an example to follow but prays for us - that we might live so as to draw the Lord to us in new, unimaginable and beautiful ways.   Mary, the Mother of the Lord, is called in tradition "Faithful Virgin" and it is the faithfulness of the Virgin Mary which Elisabeth sees as dynamic.  She connects faithfulness to God in love with humility - the virtue by which we esteem ourselves rightly.  In our selfish and power obsessed culture, this connection for the spiritual life is even more relevant today.  Faithful and humble, Mary "drew down upon herself the delight of the Holy Trinity ...The Father bending down to this beautiful creature, who was so unaware of her own beauty, willed that she be the Mother in time of Him whose Father He is in eternity" (Heaven in Faith, 39).

These words about Mary contain a great truth for anyone who wants to serve the Lord.  Something about being faithful in our weakness is beautiful to God.  This is  the pathway to the cross, the threshold to union with Him.  It means to believe in love and to love, to not lose hope even in failure, but to strive, by God's grace, to rise again.  When we go on this pilgrimage of faith, we not only discover the the victory of good over evil in our own lives, but through our surrendered weakness and his indomitable hope in us, this triumph of love extends to the whole world.