Saturday, 3 January 2015

Here! I'm Here!

Listening leads to hearing, and hearing leads to response. When we become attentive to the Word of the Lord, and that word of grace begins to resonate in our souls and wake us up, we find our spirits crying out in response.

It's hardly surprising: the call of grace is so attractive. The Rule of Benedict imagines God inviting the soul in the words of the Psalms:

"The Lord, seeking his labourer
in the multitude to whom he thus cries out,
says again,
'Who is the one who will have life,
and desires to see good days?'"
(Rule of St Benedict, Prologue)

Who would want to turn down an offer like that? So often we imagine that the basic religious choice is between what is right and what is fulfilling. Religion seems so tedious, so life-denying, so unimaginative. Well, much of what passes for religion often is mundane and uncreative, even downright nasty and oppressive. Of course. It's done by people, and people are messed up.

But Benedict is reminding us that the real, most fundamental choice is whether or not to accept the good life being freely offered to us by God. "Life in abundance," is what Jesus called it (John 10.10). A free and wholehearted yes to grace is the only way to joy, to fulfilment, to life itself. Every turning from grace is a turning into darkness and negation. It's a no to life.

Jesuits sometimes encourage people to reflect each day on the day's experiences and ask what has been life-giving and what has been life-denying. In a twist on that, ask yourself as you go through the next few days: what in me - in my choices, in my response to the world around me and to God - what in me is life-giving? And what is life-denying? Listen to the yes or no being spoken every moment in your own heart.

Image: Teo Sze Lee via Wikimedia Commons

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