Lord Jesus, fulfill Your delight and fill souls that trust in You with Your mercy. Guide each one of us to sanctity by a road known to You alone. You are the spiritual guide of my soul.
We can learn to love God with all our strength. We can choose to follow Christ and travel the path of spiritual maturity. We can resist temptation and grow in virtue. We can make a difference in the world, building Christ’s kingdom and encouraging others to do the same. If we couldn’t, none of the New Testament letters would have been written, since they all contain passionate encouragement to make practical, daily choices worthy of our Christian calling. If knowing the truth were sufficient for our spiritual growth, and if we were not free to choose to live according to that truth, St Paul, for example, would never have written this: “Put to death, then, the parts of you that are earthly: immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and the greed that is idolatry…Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do. And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection…And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:5, 12–14, 17). Then our hearts desire God above all things, and our emotions are joyfully subject to an intellect enlightened by faith and a will strengthened and aligned by grace, we can truly love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, just as Jesus commands.
The existential philosopher Martin Buber tells the story of the carpenter from Lubin in Poland who had a dream in which he saw a vast treasure reserved for him alone. After years travelling the world to find it, he returned home at the end of his life to find that the treasure had been there all the time beneath his own hearth, where he had warmed himself before the fire each evening. Like him, we can spend a lifetime searching elsewhere for what is here, where we are now, wherever that might be – in this present moment. The love, for which we were created and which Christ came to impart, can only be received here and now in the present moment, and at no other place than where we are. Now is the moment to harness all the time and all the effort, that could be wasted searching elsewhere, to abandon ourselves without reserve to the One, who first promised, and then sent, the love that can make all things new, beginning with ourselves.
The outpourings of the love of God that took place on the first Pentecost day, did not just happen in the past, two thousand years ago, it is happening continually, but we can only receive and experience it here and now in the present moment. We can receive it now, because the baptism that once symbolised our personal reception of the Holy Spirit, is not just an event that once took place in the past, any more than the events that happened on the first Pentecost. They both symbolised that the very personal and infinite love of God, is at this moment and at every moment being transmitted to us here and now, wherever we happen to be.
What happened at his resurrection was that the Jesus, who was once limited by the space and time world in which he had chosen to enter, was limited no more. His resurrection meant, and means now, that the love he received from his Father is continually pouring out to fill all who choose to receive it.
What his love had meant for the first Christians, the love of his Father had meant to Jesus throughout his life on earth. That’s why every moment of every day was the moment when he was opening himself to receive his love in his relentless daily prayer and in the way in which he served those for whom his Father had sent him. There was no moment, therefore, in which he was not open to receive the love of his Father. It was therefore in imitation of him, that the first Christians, did likewise. This enabled them to ensure that every moment of their day would be a moment to receive his love. Then this love would enable them to be drawn up into his continual and abiding presence, so that in, with and through him they would give glory to their Father in heaven, as he did and does now. What they would receive from God in return would enable them to experience something of that glory for themselves, and then show something of that glory to the world in which they lived, as it infiltrated and shone through everything that they said and did, as pure unadulterated goodness.
– David Torkington