Friday, January 3, 2014

Jesus Saves

What I love most about praying the joyful mysteries of the rosary is its undeniable pro-life, pro-individuality message. I think about Mary, theotokos, Mother of God. She was created specifically without sin and formed to be the mother of Jesus. She had the free will to refuse the task, but being without sin I have to believe that she naturally, intuitively sought to fulfill the purpose for which she was created. For all time she is the mother of Jesus and the adoptive mother of Christians. I think of John the Baptist leaping for joy in the womb of St. Elizabeth, created to precede and announce Christ, from the womb fulfilling his Earthly mission. And there's Jesus. My God, my savior! Whose very name means "God Saves." What I haven't realized until now is that each person was created for an ongoing mission, and not only a one time event. Jesus's "saving" of people is often more of a process than an ultimate destination.

I'm not sure I can really explain what I'm talking about to anyone else, but I wanted to write this down in my words lest I forget. If I'm to live my life in abandonment to divine providence, then I have to believe that every moment is a gift of grace which God can use to make me more holy. I just have to look to Him and trust Him to teach me in each situation. I have to follow the nudges from the Holy Spirit.
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27
He is my shepherd. He continues to lead me and direct me. I just have to listen for his voice, trust in his Divine Mercy and continually give thanks. Salvation is a journey. Not an easy journey, but a journey none the less. Over and over again I see that He has been leading me, even before I wanted to be led. I was a dumb, oblivious ewe who thought she was a smart, independent one. Now I am the same dumb ewe looking for direction rather than wandering off after treacherous, tempting pastures. I know I can still go astray after whims and fancies, but I hope that I am more aware of that now.

When I was looking into Quakerism I sought to listen to the Light. I tried to be aware of inspirations. Several times while I was listening for the light in silence I got the urge to kneel. I couldn't understand it as Quakers don't do that sort of thing. Still, I kept getting that urge and I tried to ignore it because it didn't fit with my preconceived Quaker notions. Another time I was driving toward the Quaker Meeting in San Antonio and I had this huge urge to pull into a church that I passed along the way. When I drove past and saw that it was a Catholic Church I brushed it off and thought, "surely, God can't be calling me in there." I never did stop in.

Today I was researching places to attend a traditional Latin Mass in San Antonio and saw that it's celebrated at the same Catholic Church that I passed that time on the way to the Quaker Meeting house. I had to laugh a little, and then I saw that the Mass is celebrated by a priest from the Mission of Divine Mercy in New Braunfels. The Divine Mercy third order is called "Amici Christi", friends of Christ. Quakers call themselves "Friends". Wouldn't it be funny if God was calling me to be Amici Christi someday, and I could be a Friend, but in a different way than I ever conceived? All I can ask is that my God, my God who saves, keeps leading me even when I am clueless and deep in "important" sheepy business.

P.S. I just found this quote from John Henry Newman. It basically expresses everything that I was thinking, except he says it, you know, clearly. 

1. God was all-complete, all-blessed in Himself; but it was His will to create a world for His glory. He is Almighty, and might have done all things Himself, but it has been His will to bring about His purposes by the beings He has created. We are all created to His glory—we are created to do His will. I am created to do something or to be something for which no one else is created; I have a place in God's counsels, in God's world, which no one else has; whether I be rich or poor, despised or esteemed by man, God knows me and calls me by my name.
2. God has created me to do Him some definite service; He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission—I never may know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. Somehow I am necessary for His purposes, as necessary in my place as an Archangel in his—if, indeed, I fail, He can raise another, as He could make the stones children of Abraham. Yet I have a part in this great work; I am a link in a chain, a bond of connexion between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good, I shall do His work; I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it, if I do but keep His commandments and serve Him in my calling. 
3. Therefore I will trust Him. Whatever, wherever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him; in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him; if I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. My sickness, or perplexity, or sorrow may be necessary causes of some great end, which is quite beyond us. He does nothing in vain; He may prolong my life, He may shorten it; He knows what He is about. He may take away my friends, He may throw me among strangers, He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide the future from me—still He knows what He is about. 
O Adonai, O Ruler of Israel, Thou that guidest Joseph like a flock, O Emmanuel, O Sapientia, I give myself to Thee. I trust Thee wholly. Thou art wiser than I—more loving to me than I myself. Deign to fulfil Thy high purposes in me whatever they be—work in and through me. I am born to serve Thee, to be Thine, to be Thy instrument. Let me be Thy blind instrument. I ask not to see—I ask not to know—I ask simply to be used.
P.P.S. I found this passage as I was reading Divine Mercy in My Soul about 45 minutes after writing the above:
"A noble and delicate soul, even the most simple, but one of delicate sensibilities, sees God in everything, finds Him everywhere, and knows how to find Him in even the most hidden things. It finds all things important, it highly appreciates all things, it thanks God for all things, it draws profit for the soul from all things, and it gives all glory to God. It places its trust in God and is not confused when the time of ordeals comes. It knows that God is always the best of Fathers and makes little of human opinion. It follows faithfully the faintest breath of the Holy Spirit; it rejoices in this Spiritual Guest and holds onto Him like a child to its mother. Where other souls come to a standstill and fear, this soul passes on without fear or difficulty." -St. Faustina. 

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