An Essay on Ignatian Freedom and Purpose

All things are gifts from God. He created all things and set them free.All things are, therefore, created to honour and glorify HIM. Involuntarily, we see and hold in awe the wonders of His creation; marvelling at a world bathed in beauty and perfection. It is in this freedom given to us that we behold and interact with objects, visible and invisible. Therein lies the crowning glory! We are not are not slaves to the majesty and power, but co-creators, cooperating in the unfolding of the grand phenomenon. He does not NEED acclaim or creature reverence for no creature could devise an adequate response of gratitude. His satisfaction is in that we use His gifts correctly and in unison with His will to progress the glorious plan.

His glory and love cover each inch of a vast expanding universe. Every being that breathes, all matter that exists, reflects the glory of the master craftsman. Through the intricacies in form and mass and in their glowing radiance, the Holy One communicates with Creation: free gifts that would add greater grandeur to what is already perfect. We are not mere spectators to the panorama. We are creatures who must use these gifts,and be used, making perfection more perfect. Our consciousness and applied will join in fit offerings to delight the grand artist, the Creator! We must have eyes to see and ears to listen to the urgings of the Holy One. God continually fulfils Himself and having accomplished a moment, moves further on to perfect His perfect self.

Even the littlest of His creation, yields itself to that eternal benediction. When we use we are also in use for the master plan. Our interdependence making us equal in importance to all things great and small. How can I take a part away from the whole for personal aggrandisement? An object could mesmerise with its God-given splendour. Greed and possessiveness tend to transcend ethical and spiritual considerations. Yet, the possessor and the possessed are subjects of time – finite things. That which is designed to lend its beauty to the world is trapped in attachment; attachment is a mere illusion. It jeopardises the vital link creatures have with the divine. Humans may control things put for their consumption and use but they cannot posses them. As custodians they must learn to use and let go, respecting the other entity. Wise people call this detachment. The ultimate detachment being in seeing the Lord in all things and treating each with the respect we ourselves expect. Love is not possessive.

In love we share our inmost selves with the beloved. In loving God we surrender to Him completely, returning His unconditional love. Love must expand to embrace all living things, even where apparently inert. To each we show our love and help them to fulfil their own destiny in God. I love my neighbour as myself.

A Beginner’s Examen on Mercy

Glory to God in the highest. In His mercy and compassion He has blessed this day. From the glory of the rising sun the Lord has blessed me. My eyes beholds His wondrous world. Celestial music fills my ears drawing me into the eternal l hymn of glory. Divine fragrance of the created petals fills my mind. His love pierces my heart and I feel His holy consolation in the marrow of my being. My every breath tastes the milk of paradise.

Despite the heavenly blessings, ingratitude stiffens my neck. I am prone to wander away from His green pastures, deluded by wavering mirages further away. They offer stones instead of bread, wealth and possessions that rust, and mind- boggling vanities, based on false premises and promises. In my arrogance I have tested fate, my salvation, my all. Through it all, faithful in love, He guided me, silent parent to the prodigal son. With love and compassion He revived my soul, drawing me ever closer in His mercy. Despite my stubborn bend He welcomes me, my Beloved.

Why does He bother? I, a speck a filing from His creative engine; no greater than the little flower beside the road that knows only to offer Him benediction for a single day. I do not deserve this love and mercy that is showered upon me. Despite my faults, bloated ego and pride, he sets me free to wander or to ponder His wonders and this undeserved flow of steadfast love.

He never forces me, nor asks for allegiance and any form of rhetoric. He is a giving God. The strength of this undeserved love ignites reciprocal flames of love,gratitude, compassion and mercy. In doing so I love my self and all manifestations of love around me, especially those with whom I share my humanity. When I accept mercy, mercy extends from me to others. I am an instrument of His will. I see Him in all things. And, all things with me glorify the One from whom we come.

“Lord, help me to make room for you. Help me to clear out every nook and cranny of my heart and soul and to let go of all things that are not of you. Come into my heart. Give me the grace to respond to you freely and trust you completely. Fill me with your love and your grace. I know that you are all I really need, so please help me to choose you—every time. Let every movement of my heart and soul bring greater glory to you, Lord. Amen.” (apologies to the unknown source).

Lectio Divina,16 Dec 2015

Today’s Lectio Divina offers further insight through John The Baptist. The mission to his disciples prefigures the words from the cross, “My lord, my God. Why have you forsaken me?”

John may be seen as having feelings of doubt in the middle of his own passion and suffering. “Has it all been in vain? I seem cut-off in the middle of my work.My tent is set to the wind. Little is accomplished. Herod still rules the land. Evil, fornications and persecution of the poor still seem to flourish. Please, reassure me that my work has indeed been accomplished.” And the message is not only a personal query but also intended as a lesson for his own disciples, to whom he had said, “One mightier than I is to come.” Jesus’ response reinforces these words through the echoes of tradition already manifest in Jesus’ words and miracles.

What points the Evolution?

Some people they say, the universe is evolving to an omega point. But I say, “Not me”. For to say there is an end point is to assign human finitude to the work of one who is beyond measure or comprehension. Much better to say, in Merton’s language, that we are at both the centre and periphery of the cosmos.  In those terms today – the now – is the point to which billions of years are pointing. And, God, having fulfilled Himself, moves on with His creative design, to another, much higher level, from which to manifest His creativity, beauty and love.And, so on…..

Pondering Today’s Gospel Text

Lectio Divina shines a new light on today’s gospel text (Matt 9:27-31). The miracle of the blind men has aways been a story about Jesus’ compassion for suffering people, and the gratuitous gift of healing. Today a new message uncovers another gem to ponder.

The men naturally blind also had a false understanding of who Jesus was. They held the traditional image of the messiah as a descendent of David; a king who would redeem the earthly kingdom from oppression, and restore Jerusalem to its former glory. Jesus had tried to play down this idea when he reminded his disciples that David was mere human, who addressed Yahweh as “Lord”. David could not be greater than him.

During his life Jesus was addressed in many ways. But, He called himself the Son of Man and addressed God as Abba. It is this nature that he wished  to emphasise. Those who understood this also understood that his kingdom was not of this world. For God to assume human nature was humbling and an act of love. And, he chose to become human, even to the extent of being born into the simplest of humble forms. His message does not concern success and earthly power but teaches repentance and the seeking of the kingdom of God.

Thus, Jesus overlooks that address reserved for the earthly messiah, and instead  asks, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” The answering “Yes”, is an act of faith. It is this faith that Jesus refers to in his ironic, “According to your faith let it be done to you”. The doctrine that the blind men believed in was flawed. Yet, Jesus cures them based on their faith. Jesus is God capable of all things, including the curing of blindness. He who believes in truth shall see the true light and be cured. Jesus allows the imperfect doctrine to run for the moment. Because, as he said at his baptism, all righteousness needed to be fulfilled. His time was yet come.