September 30, 2016
When I was growing up I took my faith for granted. There was a crucifix in every room in our house. There was a crucifix in every classroom at school. There was a big crucifix above the altar at Church. There was a little crucifix on my rosary. I understood that Jesus died for me and I was grateful for this sacrifice.
But as too often happens when cradle Catholics grow up, I started to wonder and question my beliefs. The stumbling block for me was the Crucifixion, the crux of our faith. I shudder to think that I ever doubted the Crucifixion!
It’s not that I doubted Jesus died on the cross…but why? After 12 years of Catholic school, there should be no ‘whys,’ at least not regarding the Crucifixion of Our Lord) this unselfish giving of Himself. His every drop of blood was poured out for us, but there it was, a terrible big why. I remember being taught that God can do anything. God is omnipotent. I reasoned if God created us then God could have saved us after the fall. I didn’t question why God failed to prevent the fall of mankind from grace. I accepted that God gave us free will. I rolled this around in my mind off and on over the years. But here’s what I’m now certain of.
Facts: Mankind fell from grace due to the original sin of Adam and Eve. We could not save ourselves. Old Testament Jews tried by presenting God with sacrifices and burnt offerings which they called sin offerings, but it was insufficient. God is infinite we are finite. Only an infinite being could return finite man to God’s grace.
Restoring us back to the grace of God seems impossible. But remember all things are possible with God. The Jews understood this. In spite of all their animal sacrifices, they knew God would send a Messiah to save them, and so they waited and waited and waited for Jesus. Then it happened! “And the word was made flesh…!” John 1:14 Hosanna!
It took me a long, long time to really get it. I went through hot and cold and lukewarm stages of faith most of my life. I accepted what I was taught but not without doubt and confusion.
This morning during his homily Father asked us if we only see the finite. He reminded us that we are surrounded by the infinite, yet too often we limit ourselves to the finite. I wrote down my thoughts, “We can have so much more. Why do we limit ourselves?” And later during adoration I was reminded again of what Father said and I wrote: Do we only see the finite? Even though we know God, worship God, praise God, and trust in God, is it too hard imagine God’s world? A world without time or space, with no beginning or end. God invites us to share this world with Him. Pope Francis explained, “The wisdom the Holy Spirit grants is the grace of being able to see things through God’s eyes. It is seeing the world, situations, problems, everything, with the eyes of God.”
What is restricting us? Our minds are full of wants, wishes, desires, craving, misconceptions, fears, and delusions. What I call ‘wrong thinking.’ Without realizing it, we place a priority of importance on this life rather than our eternal life. “Thus says the Lord: What fault did your ancestors find in me that they withdrew from me? Went after emptiness and became empty themselves?” Jeremiah 1:5 Is God saying this about us as well?
To think outside time and space enables understanding our true life. To understand this finite world, we must open our minds to the infinite that surrounds us. Prayer and attending Holy Mass, more often than the week-end obligation if possible, is the best way to accomplish this. Heaven is infinite. We experience heaven at every Mass. “Yet I insist that we do go to heaven when we go to Mass, and this is true of every Mass we attend…The Mass – and I mean every single Mass – is heaven on earth!” Supper of the Lamb by Scott Hahn
When we realize that our heaven starts now, passing from our earthly life to our heavenly life will be a smooth transition. May it be no surprise when you come into your glory and you simply proclaim, “Here I am Lord!”
Great peace is in store for us when we set our minds on the goodness of God. Great joy is in store for us when we learn to see through the eyes of God. Wonderful Quote on the result of turning our wills over to God, “It is this that the angels sang at the birth of our savior: Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men of goodwill. Who are these men of good will but those whose wills are in harmony with the supremely goodwill of God.” And this turning over our wills to God is what heaven is about.” Trustful Surrender to Diving Providence by Reverand Jean and St. Claude
And as I write this, sitting before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, I wonder who I’m writing for. The answer is always the same. I’m writing for myself. For an increase of faith. Which explains why I have such a great desire to write every chance I get. Holy Scripture and other spiritual reading and spiritual writing go hand and hand. And if I’m given an opportunity to proclaim the Good News out loud, I consider this a heavenly blessing of tremendous proportion!
So I need to pay attention. I need to find quiet time every day to listen to God. I need to ask the Holy Spirit to help me see through the eyes of God so I may see beyond the finite and embrace the infinite.
“We are made for the Infinite: to know God in His intimate life and to love Him above all things. That is why nothing in this world can really satisfy us and why we are free to respond or not to the attraction offered by finite good. Each time we experience within ourselves the limitations and the poverty of these perishable things, we should give thanks to God; for it gives us the opportunity, amounting sometimes to an urgent necessity, of pondering on the infinite riches, the infinite fullness of truth and goodness that are in Him.” Providence by Reginald Carribou Lagrange