Saturday, June 25, 2016

A daily journey (Michael Spencer)

   Jesus-shaped spirituality hears Jesus say believe and repent, but the call that resonates most closely in the heart of a disciple is follow me.  The command to follow requires that we take a daily journey in the company of other students.  It demands that we be lifelong learners and that we commit to constant growth in spiritual maturity.  Discipleship is a call to me, but it is a journey of we.

--Michael Spencer, Mere Churchianity

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Sunday Gospel Reflection, June 26, 2016: Follow me...

 If Jesus called you today, how would you respond? 

   In the First Book of Kings, the prophet Elijah is weary.  He prays for death, but God tells him he must identify his successor before he can be relieved of his responsibilities as prophet.  Yet when Elijah approaches Elisha, whom God has instructed him to anoint, Elisha stalls, asking if he may kiss his father and mother goodbye before following Elijah.  When Elijah indirectly criticizes this request, Elisha’s response is radical:  he sells his oxen and equipment and immediately follows Elijah.  It is an example of radical, wholehearted commitment to discipleship.  Like the psalmist in Psalm 16, Elisha knows he must set the Lord ever before him, without hesitation, rejoicing that God will show him the path to life, fullness of joys in God’s presence.

   In Luke's Gospel, Jesus likewise rebukes those who hesitate when asked to follow him:  Let the dead bury their dead, he tells one prospective disciple.  Following Jesus means giving up everything, without looking behind.  It is a difficult route to choose, but ultimately, this radical embracing of God’s Word is the path to liberation in the very best sense. For you were called to freedom, Paul tells the Galatians, so do as Christ taught you:  serve one another through love.  We are freed by baptism in Christ.  Though we may be haunted by sin, we know that we must constantly turn back to God, constantly endeavor to be all God intends for us to be.  We are to live by the Spirit, and be guided by the Spirit, Paul says – meeting Christ where we can, in all those whom we encounter, demonstrating our discipleship by revealing Christ to all, in every circumstance.  How should we respond to God’s call?  Go and proclaim the kingdom of God, so that all may know fullness of joys in the presence of God.

This post is based on OLMC’s Thursday Scripture class.

Image source:  Wordle

Monday, June 20, 2016

Longing to See God (St. John of the Cross)

   I live, but not in myself, 
and I have such hope 
that I die because I do not die. 
I no longer live within myself 
and I cannot live without God, 
for having neither him nor myself 
what will life be? 
It will be a thousand deaths, 
longing for my true life 
and dying because I do not die. 
This life that I live 
is no life at all, 
and so I die continually   
until I live with you; 
hear me, my God:   
I do not desire this life, 
I am dying because I do not die. 
When I am away from you 
what life can I have 
except to endure 
the bitterest death known? 
I pity myself, 
for I go on and on living, 
dying because I do not die. 

A fish that leaves the water 
has this relief: 
the dying it endures 
ends at last in death. 
What death can equal my pitiable life? 
For the longer I live, the more drawn out is my dying. 

When I try to find relief 
seeing you in the Sacrament, 
I find this greater sorrow:   
I cannot enjoy you wholly. 
All things are affliction 
since I do not see you as I desire, 
and I die because I do not die. 

And if I rejoice, Lord,   
in the hope of seeing you, 
yet seeing I can lose you 
doubles my sorrow. 
Living in such fear 
and hoping as I hope, 
I die because I do not die. 
Lift me from this death, 
my God, and give me life; 
do not hold me bound 
with these bonds so strong;   
see how I long to see you; 
my wretchedness is so complete 
that I die because I do not die. 
I will cry out for death 
and mourn my living 
while I am held here 
for my sins. 
O my God, when will it be 
that I can truly say:    
now I live, because I do not die? 

--St. John of the Cross, 
Stanzas of the Soul that Suffers with Longing to See God

Poem source (For an exploration of this poem, go to the poem source and click on the link at right.)