Saturday, October 25, 2008

'Little Christmas' Reflection at Midday Prayer

The Cost of our Redemption
by Sister Paula Schmidt, OSsR - Prioress

“God so loved the world that he gave us his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” John 3:17.

Jesus loved the Father, and the world so much that he gave us his very self, on Calvary, and in the Eucharist.

Recently I was sitting in the chapel, reflecting on the presence of Jesus in the Tabernacle. Yes, You are there Lord, but you are not limited or contained there, as I am, or any of us here are. We are here and nowhere else, even though our minds might be ranging around the world. The Jesus we adore is present here, and in our whole world, and in the whole universe. And in the Mystery of God.

And how is Jesus present? As love. As the Incarnation of God’s love. As God’s love in human form. This is the One who fills our chapel, and fills each of our hearts and lives.

I don’t know about you but I find that I can become so unaware of that mystery in which we live, unaware of the love that embraces and permeates us. That fact doesn’t seem to change things on God’s part. I don’t believe that Jesus asks us to understand, or comprehend his love. He does hope that we will believe and receive his love.

Jesus was on a Mission during his earthly life. And he is on a Mission still. Jesus set no bounds to what he would be willing to do during his earthly life to live and be God’s love among us. Now Jesus calls all his followers, each of us here, and everyone throughout the world, to live God’s love and be God’s love.

Each Eucharist we celebrate, each Communion we receive, links us with God’s love, and the mission of Jesus today. As individuals we may be very small, very frail, but we are invited into a community of people, and a universe networked in Love, God’s love made ours in Jesus.

Looking around us today we see a world that doesn’t seem to be a world infused with Love, founded on Love, created by Love. Yet our Christian faith, the Christian Story which we believe, assures us that a God of Love is in our midst.

We see a world filled with violence, greed, lust for power, selfishness. The world of Jesus’ time wasn’t much different. In the Incarnation God’s love was made so vulnerable to human indifference and callousness. All the evil in the world of Jesus did its best to destroy him. Ultimately it crucified him. But Jesus’ death wasn’t the end of the story. The Resurrection that followed is The Good News. Death is not the last word for any of us anymore.

Each of us here, as believers in Jesus, and even more as vowed religious, share the work of Jesus to transform our world through Love. We won’t be asked to literally die in the process, as Jesus was, but learning to love as God loves, as Jesus loves, will involve dying. Dying to selfishness, to prejudices, to convenience, to preferences, etc. etc. all in the service of promoting fuller life for all others, and ultimately for ourselves.

God has need of us. The work of Jesus has need of us. We each have a special place in the plan of God. Each 25th of the month, as we celebrate the mystery of the Incarnation, we are reminded of why we are here, and what we are called to do, by the God who came among us and pitched his tent among us, that we might all one day enter fully into the mystery of Love that God is.

In the words of William Blake: “And we are put on earth a little space that we might learn to bear the beams of love.” To bear the beams ourselves, and be bearers of those beams to others, if we let God use us.

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