“all creation groans and is in agony even now”
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!
Our meditation today is on the inner and urgent longing, the hunger and the thirst for freedom, for liberation from those conflicting and binding forces. It is based on the letter of St. Paul to Romans chapter 7 and 8.
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, 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.
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.
Prayerfully reflect on these thoughts for a few minutes.
Paul tells the Christians in Rome that they are sons of God and so they cannot live according to the flesh, but must live in the spirit (Romans 8:12-17). The spirit empowers us to call God, “Abba” (Father). We are children of God. New life, as children, has come to us in Jesus and we must live that new life. If we do not live in the spirit, we die. The spirit helps us to put to death evil desires and tendencies.
We are sons of God, led by the spirit. Listen and learn to live in the spirit.
Paul had taught the Christians in Rome that they were no longer under the influence of sin, but were filled with the spirit of Jesus and were 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. Paul says that he considers all the sufferings as nothing compared to the glory of being sons of God, freed from the corruption of sin. In fact, the whole creation longs for this liberation…. “all creation groans and is in agony even now”. Our longing is that we will live the redeemed life in peace with God and experience a world transformed by the spirit of Jesus (Romans 8:18-23).
Paul tells the Christians in Rome that God knows all our weaknesses, even how difficult it is for us to pray. So he gives us his spirit to help us in our weakness. Since we do not know how to pray as we should, the spirit prays in us, expresses our innermost longings (Romans 8:26-30).
God makes all things work together for the good of those whom he has called. So listen to the spirit and move with the spirit as the spirit moves.
After much discussion about his inner struggles, Paul spoke about the presence of the Holy Spirit in his life, the spirit that empowered him to love God and to proclaim the Gospel through difficult times. He raises many questions, such as: “If God is for us who can be against us… who will separate us from the love of Christ? ….” His final answer to the question was that “nothing will separate us form the love of God.” A man, who spoke of a war inside between desire for good and the tendency to do evil, is finally able to say, “Nothing will separate us from the love of God” (Romans 8:35, 37-39).
There is a longing, a hunger and a thirst, deep within every person, for fulfillment….to find the truth, to find goodness, to reach the end, to reach perfection, to reach and meet his creator, to find God, etc. This hunger manifests itself in many different ways, sometimes even in unhealthy ways.
Once a young man came to Buddha seeking the true way of life, the path of deliverance, the path of salvation. Buddha led him down the river. The young man followed believing that he was going to undergo some kind of ritual purification. After some distance, Buddha grabbed him and held his head down under the water until he gasped for breath and broke free from Buddha’s grasp using all of his strength. Buddha asked the young man, “When you thought you were drowning, what did you desire most?” The man gasped, “Air”. Buddha then said, “When you want salvation as much as you wanted air, you will get it.”
We find what we really want to find and we do what we really want to do.
Jesus said to his listeners: Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for holiness: they shall have their fill. (Mt. 5:6)
Peter was asked a similar question, “Do you love me more than these? He had to make that difficult choice. The question for us also is the same, whether or not we love Jesus enough to part with those things that get in the way. We are faced with conflicting situations where we have to make choices. There is tension within and sometimes, it is war!
We are challenged to make that difficult choice: to choose wisdom rather than material wealth as Solomon did, to choose God’s life-giving word even when it costs us much, to choose the eternal rather than the immediate and the transitory…We can make difficult choices only if we really hunger and thirst, if we really desire!
If we really desire God and God’s ways, we will do those things that will help us find God and God’s ways!
Once, a good pastor corrected his friend for using profanity. His friend said to him, “Oh, well, I cuss a lot and you pray a lot, but neither of us really means what he says”. If we would only really mean…….really desire…..really hunger and thirst.
One day an old Native American grandfather was talking to his grandson. He said, “There are two wolves fighting inside all of us – the wolf of fear and hate, and the wolf of love and peace.”
The grandson listened, then looked up at his grandfather and asked, “Which one will win?”
The grandfather replied, “The one we feed.”
Get in touch with your own inner longings! Become aware of your deepest desires, the desires of your heart…bless yourself with liberating, freeing, redeeming desires.
Nurture good and holy desires that are of God and from God!
Fr. Gus Tharappel, msfs