It is startling to encounter words that easily puncture what troubles us, in a moment aching for the holy iconoclasm of the poetry of Madeleine L’Engle.
“I am anxious about what the church may look like in the next few months. I am constantly preoccupied and thinking about what we need to do. This often leads me to feel overwhelmed and inadequate, as I try to anticipate what we need to be doing next.”
The Psalmist says that a person who builds his or her life on the Word of God is like a tree planted by streams of water, which basically means that their lives are deeply rooted and healthy. Their lives are nourished, marked by lasting stability and fruitfulness.
And so you teach me:
Certainty has become my idol.
That looks like faith to me:
I ask, knowing that you can.
Simply put, “For Ignatius, the ebb and flow of consolation and desolation is the normal path of the Christian life.” There will be times of consolation – when there is a sense of noticeable, personally experienced growth or blossoming, when God’s presence seems close and the means of grace seem easy and quick at hand. There will also be times of desolation – similar to the “dark night of the soul” – when, whether from wrongdoing, or attacks of the enemy, or times of struggle or challenge, God’s presence seems distant or even simply absent, when our growth seems stalled or the habits that sustain us feel unusually heavy.
And in our gospel passage, Mary of course – like all of us on this side of death – is not yet fully awake. She makes first contact with the resurrected Jesus, and it’s about as awkward as Peter embarrassing himself by trying to pitch a tent on Mount Tabor. Mary’s problem is that she thinks Jesus is dead, and when she sees that he’s gone, she consoles herself by saying, “they have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.”
“Providence does not mean that we have no free will. God’s providence does not rule out human freedom. Providence is not opposed to cooperation with God. Providence does not mean we are off the hook or that we have no sense of responsibility when it comes to spiritual growth. Rather, we cooperate with God as we grow in our faith by practicing spiritual disciplines or the means of grace.”
When Joseph has the opportunity to look back over all he had been through, his summary comment was, “God meant it for good.”
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