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Sunday, August 20, 2017

Sunday Meditation: Back in the Saddle, but moving slowly...

Jesus is always there for you, even in the darkest moments.
Remember when Peter, James, and John were on the mount of the Transfiguration and Peter wanted to make tents for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah and remain there? That's the way I feel after retreat. Five days of silent Communion with the Lord and His Mother was a little bit of heaven, and I confess I wasn't eager to return to the valley of tears or, in the words of the Spiritual Exercises, to the plain around Babylon where Satan and his minions are gathered. All I had to do to see the smoke and smell the sulphur was to turn on my computer and read what's been happening in my absence.

Like Peter, I wish I could plant my tent on the mountain top and stay there.

But a major focus of the Ignatian retreat is to answer three questions: What have I done for Jesus? What am I doing for Jesus? What will I do for Jesus? I am called to a life not only of praise and reverence, but of service. We are called from the mountain top back to the battlefield.

Every meditation of the Spiritual Exercises begins with the First Principle and Foundation: I was made for the praise, reverence, and service of God so that I might attain eternal salvation. After that the focus is on the love of God revealed through the meditations, a love to which most of us have responded with a cold soldier, gross personal sin, and negligence. Jesus loves me? Ho-hum, I'd rather stick with my attachments to pleasure. Jesus keeps knocking, but how many answer?

I picked up a little book when I got home called An Easy Way to Become a Saint by Fr. Paul O'Sullivan, O.P. Like St. Augustine, he establishes the rule of love. "To be a saint is to love God." St. Augustine says, "Love God and do as you please." Because, of course, if we truly love God, we will long to please Him. And if we know Him and His great love for us, how can we not love Him back? Francisco of Fatima in his great love for Jesus wanted to console Him. That was Francisco's vocation, to console the "hidden Jesus." He frequently lamented, "Love is not loved." Why don't we love Him? Because we don't know Him and are blind to His great love for us.

If only we knew the love of Jesus, we would never want to offend Him again. Ask Mary to show you
Jesus and help you understand and experience His love for you. She will take you by the hand and lead you straight to her Son and teach you to recognize His love in the breaking of the Eucharistic bread and in His stretching out His arms in the great embrace of the cross. What loving mother doesn't hurry to feed her hungry little one? What father isn't willing to suffer for his endangered child? Jesus does this and more. Can we truly look at Him and not love Him back? Come away to a quiet place and rest in His love for you praying:

Father God, I come into your presence so aware of my human frailty and yet overwhelmed by your love for me. I thank you that there is no human experience that I might walk through where your love cannot reach me. If I climb the highest mountain you are there and yet if I find myself in the darkest valley of my life, you are there. Teach me today to love you more. Help me to rest in that love that asks nothing more than the simple trusting heart of a child. In Jesus name, Amen
Pray this prayer often. It is one that Jesus will always answer. And if you want to learn to love Him even more quickly ask Mary for help. She, who loved God perfectly is your most powerful teacher.

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