Did you know that God loves each of us individually?
This week’s chat room discussion considers Jesus’ sacrifice of love on the cross and how that love is particular to each of us individually, not just generally as for all of humanity. We also get into topics such as free will and predestination, the impact of the coronavirus, and even barefoot nuns.
If you like this chat, check out the Living Jesus Chat Room of the Visitation Sisters. Join us! We read a passage of St. Francis de Sales and gather at 7:30 p.m. ET each Sunday online. Great insights and sharing!
Jesus Gave of Himself
Visitation Sister: Question 1: Jesus offered himself for the Church, for each of us individually. What compelled Jesus to give his life for you?
Visitation Sister: The first question might seem a bit personal; I know at one time chatters felt we should keep to the more objective questions. We know our dear Lord gave His life for all of us so we could be redeemed and saved from sin.
Sr Jennifer: Because Jesus loves us.
Visitation Sister: So deeply, yes.
Visitation Sister: It will be so powerful to know Him ever more intimately, especially in heaven, but even here, in prayer, in the Eucharist, in adoration.
Visitation Sister: So hard to think Churches are not open in many places and Tabernacles with Jesus unvisited.
Sr Jennifer: In every moment of our lives, Jesus is with us.
Diana: I have a hard time with this question. I have a harder time because of question 4. God is so great and perfect and powerful, why did there have to be such a horrible sacrifice?
Visitation Sister: Saints often desire suffering to truly prove their love for Jesus. So, Jesus being so far beyond any saint in holiness must have a way to convince us He loves us.
Visitation Sister: There are things about God’s plan we just don’t understand now.
Cindy: It seems to me that one of the ways Jesus saves us is by teaching us to love. He is the ultimate example of Love. A crucial part of demonstrating love is sacrifice. The depth of His sacrifice shows us the depth of His Love for each and every one of us… even those most affected by the consequences of sin.
Sr Jennifer: Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 615: Jesus atoned for our faults and made satisfaction for our sins to the Father.
Denise: Thank you, Sister.
For Freedom Christ Set Us Free
Visitation Sister: Question 2: Saint Francis de Sales says that God “determined” the hour of his life events. Does this mean that everything is pre-configured by God and that we have no free will?
Cindy: We DO have free will, but perhaps God in His omnipotence knows how we will use it and where we will stumble.
Sr Jennifer: The U.S. Catholic Catechism for Adults says this about freedom, “Human freedom is more than the capacity to choose between this and that. It is the God-given power to become who He created us to be and so to share eternal union with Him. This happens when we consistently choose ways that are in harmony with God’s plan… Ultimately, human freedom lies in our free decision to say ‘yes’ to God.”
Diana: Thank you, Sr. Jennifer, I know he opened heaven to us. And now we have the choice to follow his plan by using the free will He generously gave us.
Visitation Sister: There is no time in God, so a “determined hour” refers to our time.
Visitation Sister: Jesus would never say no to His Father, though we might.
Sr Jennifer: Freedom comes to us as a gift; Christ makes us free by offering Himself in the sacrifice on the Cross and by sending us the gift of the Holy Spirit. St. Paul writes (Gal 5:13), “Remember that you have been called to live in freedom — but not a freedom that gives free rein to the flesh. Out of love, place yourselves at one another’s service.”
Sr Jennifer: The gift of freedom requires a response on our part, an ongoing response sustained by both faith and reason, and supported by God’s grace.
Cindy: Galatians. That’s a beautiful point for meditation. Thank you, Sr Jennifer!
Sr Jennifer: You are most welcome.
He Calls Us by Name
Visitation Sister: Question 3: Saint Francis mentions how in the Old Testament the High Priest would symbolically wear/bear the names of the children of Israel, and he mentions that Jesus does this for all of us. How might Isaiah 43:1 tie into this? “I have called you by name, and you are mine.”
Denise: Not specific, but I think the OT is a foreshadow of the NT, the Gospels.
Diana: He is our High Priest and he knows each of us, cares for each of us, in a very intimate way.
Rebecca: Names . . . they are so important. “I have called you by name; you are mine.”
Rebecca: And, in Revelation 2:17, there is a passage that says, “To each I have given a new name known only to that person and to God.”
Sr Jennifer: “I have called you by name, and you are mine.” This is being very personal, and we need not worry that there are so many billions of people who have lived or are still living on this earth that how could God possibly know who I am.
Visitation Sister: I know a priest who emphasizes this all the time: God knows us by name.
Visitation Sister: “You are mine.” Just think of that! Each of us are His!
Sr Jennifer: There are billions of people but there is also an intimacy where each person is known personally and by name.
Visitation Sister: So intimate and personal.
Sr Jennifer: “The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.” (John 10:3)
Diana: He knows every hair on our head. He stands by us all day and all night. And His sheep know his voice…
Cindy: He not only cares for us more than the most devoted human parents; He also KNOWS us infinitely better than the most attentive parents… AND, even knowing us as He does, He Loves us exceedingly … perfectly.
Rebecca: We each long to be known by at least one other and accepted. Jesus in telling the woman at the well “everything I ever did” was not so much condemning her but just matter of fact saying he KNEW her.
Rebecca: And then he offers LIVING WATER.
Sr Jennifer: “You have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name.” (Exodus 33:17)
Denise: I have been meditating some on Hosea 3:14, “Therefore I will allure her and bring her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her. And there I will give her vineyards” … and on.
Denise: But…the woman at the well. The living water… this is intimate.
Rebecca: And in that place the wilderness was ordinarily a barren place.
Cindy: The living water is prayer, which is most often what draws us into intimacy with Him.
Sr Jennifer: Let’s pray that we all will find ourselves in that wilderness lost deeply in God.
Denise: Yes, Amen.
Rebecca: I live in a place that, by New York State law, is “forever wilderness” — but it is a beautiful, lush wilderness, at least from around May to September. I feel that God led me here. And my former spiritual director and friend — God rest her soul — used to say, “Grow where you are planted.”
Denise: Yes, Rebecca! well, the sisters here I learned to see where God had put me. It greatly helped me to settle in.
He Came to Give Us Life
Visitation Sister: Last question. I missed one, I think. Question 5: When we think of Our Savior’s desire to die for us, so that each one of us “may not perish but live,” how does that cast light on the world’s worries today over the threat of the coronavirus?
Denise: Memento Mori!
Rebecca: The threat of COVID-19 is a powerful reminder that we all must die — some of us a bit sooner.
Cindy: A favorite quote from Sr Francoise Therese: “Come soon, Heaven, for in this exile we can only stammer.”
Visitation Sister: Yes, not perish but live also refers to our soul - it’s eternal life.
Visitation Sister: You have shared many interesting points tonight. Thank you!
Visitation Sister: May each of you stay well and let’s continue praying for each other.
Sr Jennifer: Nice meeting all of you. Stay well and God bless. Good night
Diana: Thank you, Sisters and new friends. Stay well.
Cindy: Quick thank you for your prayers for Ellie last week- She was glowing and very much at peace… a beautiful role model of a lay woman so devoted to Our Blessed Mother and devoted to serving others… soon to have her rebirthday into eternity!
Denise: Thank you, Sister. God bless you, Sr Jennifer and our chat sisters.
Cindy: Thank you, everyone. Have a blessed week!
A Few Extra Words
Rebecca: The other day when I saw the shelves of Aldi bare — like I’d never seen them in this country before (and then discovered that it was like that in other stores, too), it became clear that people were preparing for a possible long quarantine or self-isolation. And while I tried on a pair of hiking boots, I chatted with a store clerk who was consolidating what little was left for the anticipated new delivery.
Denise: ….a good plan to buy new hiking boots!
Rebecca: I didn’t buy the boots; I still want to let my toes have their space!
Denise: Were they too small?
Rebecca: I had a size 8 and a size 9, although most of my life I’ve worn a 7 or 7 1/2. They were too narrow.
Denise: Oh yes. I have noticed this also in sizes, so I try to buy wide.
Rebecca: It’s the feet getting broader along with our understanding!
Rebecca: The clerk and I chatted. And she was surprised and a bit amused that I had — although I am at higher risk than many — just signed up to help e.g. to deliver food and beverages and medicine, if need be, to the homebound.
Rebecca: “I’ve had a good life,” I said, as if it did not matter whether I lived or died.
Denise: There is an order of nuns in Fort Wayne, sorry I do not recall more. But they are barefoot, weather permitting. They go about the neighborhood to visit those in need. Full habits and barefoot. I enjoyed reading about them.
Rebecca: Discalced Carmelites? Discalced means shoeless.
Denise: Perhaps. I will look them up again and let you know. They made their own habits, I recall dark blue. also, they went to full cloister for one year they said, I will look them up and see.
Rebecca: Carmelites usually wear brown and white. And even the Discalced order generally will wear sandals.
Denise: The governor said today all those over 65 are to self-isolate. And he closed many more places.
Rebecca: Yes, the Bishop gave a blanket discretionary dispensation for the emergency conditions.
Denise: Here as well. Plus, our priest issued his own: no weekday Mass. I suspect this will change even more.
Rebecca: So far no one in the Adirondacks, except one on the edge, in Lowville, have been diagnosed with Covid-19. But just about all meetings are cancelled.
Rebecca: Even our retreat last Saturday — last minute.
Denise: Down the mountain from here were 15 new cases just today. none here in town, but this will change. The schools will be closing this week, restaurants, bars. We have medical and grocery open now.
Rebecca: Oops, looks like we are here alone again, Denise.
Denise: We are. enjoy chatting with you. Be well, God Bless you. and thank you.
Rebecca: Catholic Register has published a novena for protection against Covid-19. Stay well. God bless you. Good night.
Denise: Good to know. Goodnight.
Rebecca: Good night. God bless you.
If you liked this chat, check out the Living Jesus Chat Room of the Visitation Sisters.