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“God loved the world so much…..”(Jn.3:16)

BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD.

 Be in your prayer space, follow the usual steps and settle into silence.

Take a couple of gentle, slow and deep breaths…becoming aware of your breath going in and out… stay focused on this breath of life……

Breathe in all that is of God and from God…all that is true, honest, pure, admirable, noble, decent, virtuous, worthy of praise, good, loving, kind – all that deserves respect..

Settle into silence, into peacefulness, into profound silence, into pure joy. Keep listening in quietness, stillness and serenity. Come to that place, that space within, that place of deep silence – Solitude…to just being here and now, without having to accomplish something.

Now I invite you to consecrate your time and all that come with this moment….in your own way, in humble, simple, may be even inadequate words………..

Every day that we wake up is a good day. Every breath that we take is filled with hope for a better day. Every word that we speak is a chance to change what is bad into something good….every moment of the day brings new opportunities and possibilities.

May this moment and all other coming moments open new doors for you and may God bless you with wisdom and courage to walk in faith, as you continue your journey of life!

This meditation is on the transforming power of God’s love. His Love transforms even forces of evil into agents of healing and Grace. Our Scared Scriptures give us many examples of the transforming power of God’s Love.

The book of Numbers describes fiery serpents causing severe burning sensations and death itself. The people interpreted their pain and suffering as God’s punishment for complaining about their living conditions (Numbers 21:4-9). Forgetting the abuse of slavery in Egypt, they began to remember how the food supply was good and began to curse God and his prophet Moses in the wilderness. In spite of the ungrateful complaints of the people, God heard the prayer of Moses and transformed the sources of evil into agents of healing.

The Prophet Isaiah spoke of the servant who suffers innocently at the hands of the wicked. He says that death cannot hold him and that healing will come through his suffering (Isaiah 52-53). The suffering servant of the Lord shatters all human expectations. The servant lacks what we consider to be the source of power: good looks, popularity and a well-trained tongue. Yet the Lord gives all that is necessary. The Lord will work through him and bring about the Salvation of many. Even suffering was transformed into a source of Grace and Salvation.

Trust in the transforming power of God. God transforms even forces of evil into agents of healing and wholeness.

Isaiah also spoke of a time when the Lord will turn swords into ploughshares (Isaiah 2:4) and spears into pruning hooks. The Lord transforms instruments of war and violence into agents of life, love and peace.

There is an ancient story about an old man saving a scorpion. While meditating under a tree on the bank of the Ganges, an old man saw a scorpion floating helplessly on the river. He stretched himself out and reached out to rescue the drowning scorpion. The scorpion stung him as soon as he touched it. The old man kept trying in spite of being stung over and over again. A passerby, who witnessed it, asked the old man why he was saving a creature that was stinging him. His reply was, “it is the scorpion’s nature to sting, but it is my nature to save”. Whatever the hurt, the old man was going to remain faithful to his nature to save. He was going to save a creature that was fighting back.

God has reached out again and again even when we continued to strike back. It is God’s nature to save. It is God’s nature, God’s character, the very essence of God’s being to redeem, to save, to love and to heal. We fail to respond, we often strike back like the scorpion in the above story and we remain ungrateful.

God does not simply love…God is love. “God loved the world so much that he gave his only son…..” (John 3:13-17). “The son of man must be lifted up so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” and He was lifted up on the Cross. The cross, the sign of punishment and scandal became the sign of salvation. God uses even the signs of punishment and scandal as agents of healing, redemption, salvation, love and Grace.

St. Paul tells us: Jesus “emptied himself, taking the form of a slave…becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:6-11). Even being a slave and death in a cross gained new meaning and transforming power. Death is no longer the end of everything, but threshold to fullness of life and love. The cross became sign of redemption, channel of blessing, grace and peace.

We remember Jesus dying on a cross (Mark 14:1 – 15:47). We remember Jesus giving himself totally in life and in death…….obedient unto death on the cross. In the cross, we meet Jesus, the one who took away the sins and overcame death in dying for us.

We see much more in this cross. We see the infinite value of human life – we see Jesus dying out of love for humanity, we see redemption, we see glory – we see the one who left the glory of heavenly home and entered into our life and into our death.

In the cross we see hope, we encounter love. The cross tells us that in the love of God nothing is lost. We remember the cross, the sign of shame and punishment, becoming the symbol of sacrifice, healing, unconditional love, total giving, redemption and salvation. We remember and relive the passion, the cross and the death of Jesus. The cross, the suffering, the pain, the sacrifice, etc. have been transformed into agents of healing and transformation of life.

God is found in the most unexpected places and situations. No one expected to find the Messiah on the cross. But that is just the way God revealed the power of His generous, unconditional, unconquerable, benevolent love.

Paul recognized the struggle between good and evil, tension between body and spirit and the difficulty in being faithful to the spirit. In chapter 7 of his letter to the Romans, he speaks of his deepest desire as the desire or longing for the good – the heart is in the right place, in a good place. The spirit is willing but weakness is in the body. He humbled himself acknowledging his failure to do good and doing the opposite of what he really wanted to do. This is the weakness that everyone must strive to overcome. Paul affirms his faith that only in and through Jesus, through God’s Grace, this freedom from weakness becomes possible (Romans 7:18-25).

Do not get discouraged. Trust your goodness which is God’s gift to you. And be faithful to the gift God has given you. He will transform your weakness. Paul heard the voice of the Lord, “My Grace is enough for you” and he found comfort in this assurance.

Paul speaks about how vulnerable and weak human nature is and how often we are dominated by this weakness (Romans 8:1-11). He says that there was a time when we were at the mercy of our sinful, weak human nature. Even the law has not helped us overcome our sinful nature. Now we are in the spirit. We are filled with the spirit of Jesus and are under the influence of the spirit. Because of Jesus and his perfect obedience, we are filled with a power that is not our own and are offered a life not dominated by the flesh, but by the spirit of God.

Jesus said: Blessed are the poor in Spirit…the kingdom of God belongs to them (Mathew 5). Poverty was seen as a curse and punishment and wealth was seen as a blessing. Poverty became a channel of Grace and so, many have chosen the way of poverty as their way of life.

Remaining unmarried and not having children was seen as a curse. God did not bless a person with children to carry on his name and his heritage. Not bearing children meant emptiness, nothingness and a shame for generations to come. Emptiness was filled and nothingness was transformed into greatness. Today, men and women find meaning and purpose and direction in choosing to remain unmarried and childless and to fill their emptiness with love for God and God’s people.

Mary sang: My soul magnifies the Lord; my soul rejoices in the Lord my savior, because he has looked down on his handmaid in her “nothingness”. Nothingness has been transformed into greatness, emptiness has been filled……..

This meditation remains incomplete….for you to continue for a while and find your own completion, sing your own song, pray your own prayer……..

Fr. Gus Tharappel, msfs