Monday, September 5, 2016

Those tangled up in the thorns of life.

Jesus taught us, saying: ‘Which one of you with a hundred sheep, if he lost one, would fail to leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the missing one till he found it? And when he found it, would he not joyfully take it on his shoulders and then, when he got home, call together his friends and neighbors saying to them, “Rejoice with me, I have found my sheep that was lost.” In the same way, I tell you, there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner repenting than over ninety-nine upright people who have no need of repentance.’ Luke 15:4–7

Both Francis and Clare of Assisi lost and let go of all fear of suffering; all need for power, prestige, and possessions; any need for their small self to be important; and they came out the other side knowing something essential—who they really were in God and thus who they really were. Their house was then built on “bedrock,” as Jesus says (Matthew 7:24).

The cross was Jesus’ voluntary acceptance of undeserved pain as an act of total solidarity with all of the pain of the world. Reflection on this mystery of love can change your whole life. –Richard Rohr

Yesterday, like I do almost every day, I made my way to Mary Anne’s prayer room to chat over the day. And for some reason I noticed the painting on the
wall. I don’t know whether it is new or not or where it came from, but it gripped me so much I couldn’t even really concentrate on our conversation. And her painting has much more blue stormy wind and rain tones that this sort of glorious golden hue, but it is the same general idea, The Good Shepherd stopping at nothing to seek and save the one who is lost.

Letting go.
Leaving it all.
Not to do His will, but the will of Him who sent Him.
For the joy set before Him.

And when the grumbling and disputing thoughts enter my head, I have been turning to the St. Francis prayer, Most highest, glorious God Cast Your light into the darkness of my heart Give me right faith, firm hope, perfect charity, and profound humility With wisdom and perception O Lord, so that I may do what is truly Your holy will.

And I know what His perfect will is, every time: not to condemn the world, but to be part of the restoration, the seeking and the saving.

Today’s liturgical refrain echoed this again and again: It is not the healthy who need the doctor, but the sick . . . And indeed I did not come to call the virtuous, but sinners.

Last night we celebrated the three-day weekend with popcorn and the 1982 Jane Seymour and Ian McKellen version of The Scarlet Pimpernel on the living room wall. And yeah, it was the made-for-television version with lots of odd pauses, especially towards the end, for commercial breaks.

But it has also lots of vivid images of seeking and saving. And it’s not that the French aristocrats were so noble and innocent, but it was because they were lost, totally lost in the fetid prison of the world, spinning out its crazy brokenness and injustice.

For the joy set before Him.

Reflection on this mystery of love can change your whole life.