Yesterday evening I attended ‘Pure at heart’, a very nice prayer group for ages 20 to 40!
We start with some praise and worship in front of the blessed sacrament and then we proceed to say the rosary in a variety of different languages! It’s like being at Medjuorje before an apparition (especially when Toni prays in Croatian)!
After the hour of adoration with praise and rosary we have a cup of tea, some cookies and time to chat after which there is a talk!
The talks are always varied and by someone different almost each time and yesterday’s was no exception!
A Ukranian priest spoke to us about the differences between the east and the west in terms of spirituality and rituals.
Broadly speaking the east is what we associate with the orthodox church while west is the latin church!
The main point he made was very profound, basically that the eastern church is more focused on the fact that Jesus is resurrected and that as a result we too are resurrected!
So we are a resurrected people with Jesus living in us and we have already been saved!
Consequently there is more prayer to the Holy Spirit and less talk of suffering for the sake of suffering!
In some ways it reminded me of catholic charismatic spirituality where again the emphasis is placed on the ressurrected Jesus and on the power in us through our baptism!
I do recall growing up in Ireland and everything seemed to be about penance and atonement. It seemed that we somehow had to earn our salvation and pay God back for our sins and so Jesus’ death made no sense besides perhaps “I died and suffered and so must you”!
But the mystics show us that redemptive suffering is a love based response to Jesus asking us to suffer for others.
It is an invitation and not up to us to make the first move!
Put more simply, not everybody is asked to suffer like Padre Pio did. He was given a special grace from God to do that and so he was able to do it joyfully because Jesus was doing it with him and in him and through him!
If he tried living like that without God’s help, he may well have died after a week!
So you see we are all called to let the resurrected Jesus live through us and this is why scripture says “come to me all who are burdened and I will give you rest for my yolk is easy and my burden is light”!
Now that’s not to say that you’ll have an easy life but with God’s supernatural grace you’ll be able to live a life that otherwise seems utterly impossible and have joy!
Think of mother Theresa as an example!
And so the importance of spiritual direction to discern what the resurrected Jesus living in me and you is calling us to do!
This is why all the saints spoke so much about the importance of obedience to a spiritual director because left to ourselves we could go very wrong thinking that we are pleasing God!
But whatever the call it is in prayer and through the sacraments that we will receive clarity, discernment and power to put into action what we are being called to!
We must remember at all times that we are simply asked to cooperate with grace. We are asked to do nothing by our own strength. We are unable to impress God alone and so the only way we have of impressing Him is being even more humble and submitting even more to His will!
You see God is in no need of our heroic deeds! He is however in desperate need of our heroic obedience to the resurrected Jesus in us through our baptism!
And so today, may the resurrected Jesus come alive even more in each one of us! May He live through us and may we come to experience that line of scripture “My burden is light”!
May we shine like lights of love, power, peace and joy for the whole world to see the magnificent beauty of being a catholic and may more and more people convert to christianity, the religion of the resurrection power!
Have a resurrected day!