May 19, 2015

A Missionary Disciple and the Gift of God

The disciples of the Risen Lord are missionary.  They are sent out by Him into the world to be messengers of Divine Mercy, and their teaching is not their own. They know that they have been entrusted with a pearl beyond price, the mustard seed, the one thing that does not fail when all else fails around them. They declare what they have heard because what they hear has turned their whole world upside down and given them ground on which to stand, rock on which to build, "If you knew the Gift of God."

They are sent out because the One sent to them commands them.  Raised from their sight, and at the same time, always mysteriously present in new and surprising ways, they follow in the footsteps of their Crucified Master.  Their mission is to reveal His love in the face of alienation and hostility, to bring action filled words of hope into hopeless situations, to propose and re-propose faith for eyes yet unable to glimpse the glory of God. In all this and so much more, they long to satisfy the great thirst by which Christ cries out, "If you knew the Gift of God."

The One who conquered death asks the Father to send Tongues of Fire to these disciples whom He has sent. Thus, this Mysterious Breath from the Heart of Father and Son breathes in them, sealing the deepest interior of their hearts with the freedom to offer their lives in love. The Father and the Son have always delighted in this excess of joy because in sovereign freedom They forever seal their own love with this Consuming Fire.  Now in pure jubilation, because the Risen Lord has asked it and because all things are given Him, the frailest creature can also know this Uncreated Gift until one's whole being echoes, "If you knew the Gift of God."

Missionary disciples live by breathing in the Holy Spirit's animating presence through which with great delicacy He lavishes on them spiritual gifts of every kind. New and unfamiliar wonders bathe these souls as their whole existence aches with both the exultation of heavenly canticles and the heart-piercing cry of the most vulnerable, the very same music resounding in the depths of God. In this symphony of truth, the true disciple discovers how to rest in the tenderness of God and, even more, how to be so tender with God that He might rest in them, "If you knew the Gift of God."

The intensity with which the Fire of God's Love burns in them is the same intensity that propels them out into the most painful of life's problems.  Into the dangerous peripheries of society and into the troubled heart of a family, for the sake of both friends and enemies alike, the missionary disciple is not afraid to enter with the peace of Christ. Animated by the Spirit, these disciples breathe forth a hidden fruitfulness so super-abundant, this life is too short and limited to hold it all.  Even in their dying breath, one can hear them sing, "If you knew the Gift of God."

A missionary disciple is a soul lit ablaze, a fiery icon of love and truth, a window through which the joy of heaven shines with life saving splendor. By making of their bodies a living sacrifice, true spiritual worship, such missionary souls offer divine warmth, light and life to a cold, dark and dying world. Through these generous souls, even when brutally rejected and scorned unto death, the joy from on high is revealed here below, especially where it is most needed.  Because they have sung sealed with the Holy Spirit, others now sing "If you know the Gift of God." 

May 3, 2015

The Risen Lord Waits for Us to Call on Him

Jesus, the Risen Lord, is truly present in this moment. In the midst of difficulty or rest, sorrow or joy, He is with us, fully alive, more real than all the rest of reality combined.  He is present with great humility and respect: asking as if He were a starving beggar, seeking as if He were the one who had lost something and knocking as if He had no right to enter.  He is here, in this moment and in every moment, above all space and time, over all circumstance and trial, waiting for us to open the door.

The Victor once and for all, He has been raised and set apart to judge the living and the dead, not in the distant future, but now in the present moment. Only those who are pierced to the heart by love can accept the judgment of His justice and truth, and how I long for my own heart to be pierced so that at last I might know that freedom of love that He alone can give.

Spiritual freedom flows from His touch and even now He holds out His hands towards us.  Those who believe in Him find forgiveness. Even as we confess our sins and repent of our rash judgments, He silences the voice of condemnation that cries against us.

He has suffered death and passed through hell to restore peace to our troubled consciences because He did not create us for self torment.  He has come Himself because He alone has the power and authority to liberate us from such a hellish burden.  In Him, we discover that the power of misery is not absolute and that evil does not have the last word.  Darkness vanishes before His light.  He reigns unconquered and invites us to join Him.

Who will separate us from His love?  Who can prevent us from living the life that He has come to give?  Worldly powers could not silence Him. Suffering could not diminish Him.  Death could not contain Him.  Every knee is bent before Him and every head is bowed in His presence.  He rules forever at the right hand of the Father.

Against all falsehood, he shines forth forever true. Though winds of false teachings and all kinds of myths seem to hold sway, He is a sure anchor, a safe-harbor in the storm.  In the midst of a changing sea of confusion, He stands as the sure reference point of life and every decision.  In the midst of rancor and contention, whether within our hearts or in our communities, He is the only true source of peace.

The Word of the Father is the Love that is stronger than death.  He is Truth unvanquiahed.  He is the living waters of the deep dug well of salvation. He calls in whispers that thunder in our hearts. He gazes on us with love though we have done nothing to deserve it. He hopes in us and rejoices when we raise our eyes to Him if only for a moment.  The Lord of Life longs for us to share our hearts with Him freely and to share His heart with us completely in that moment which will have no end.