Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Answer the Call: Permit God to Be with You

In today's Mass readings, the angel greets Gideon, saying,
The Lord is with you, O champion! (Judges 6:13)
Something similar was said to Jeremiah when he was called:
A prophet to the nations I appointed you..I am with you to deliver you. (Jerimiah 1:5-8)
This greeting is similar to the angelic salutation to Our Blessed Mother Mary,
Hail full of grace! The Lord is with you! (Luke 1:28)
This is also similar to the many different encounters that the disciples had with the Lord Jesus:
Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid. (Matthew 14:27)
What you see in all of these different callings and encounters with God is that he invites the person to be in his presence, or rather, in his awesome and ineffable humility, he asks the person for permission that he may be present to them. Everything else, all the directions and graces come after the divine presence is manifested.

In the Gospel for today, Jesus speaks about the calling to eternal life, saying that it is easier for a camel to enter the eye of the needle for a rich man to enter into eternal life. Without going too much into detail, we know that there is a gate of Jerusalem called the needle and that those on camels had to dismount of their high position on the camel and divest themselves of all their traveling gear to enter into this gate.

The eternal presence of God is not something that we must experience only after death. It is something, according to the Lord Jesus, we enter into when we come to know the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
This is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ. (John 17:3)
Knowledge of God comes from experiencing him, from dwelling in his presence. Yet God waits for us to give him permission. He will not force himself upon us, but will BE with us as much as we permit him. If we are up on our high horse, or high camel, that is, if we are rich in our own presence, our own thoughts, words, actions, self, we cease to permit God to be God and dwell in our presence, our thoughts, words, actions, our very beings. Many times people think a calling is about a position, a work, an apostolate, when really it is first and foremost about giving God permission to be present to you.

Drawing near to the Most Holy Eucharist, either in Mass or in Adoration, is the place par excellence to allow God to be present to you. It is however important not to present God with your riches, telling him about all the wonderful things that you are doing for him, but rather to divest yourself of all your heavy burdens, planting your feet on the ground. It is in your misery, your poverty, your need for him as little child that you will allow him to manifest his deepest presence to you, which is the presence of Divine and Tender Mercy.

May Our Lady, who allowed God to be God more than any, prostrating herself before his awesome and eternal tenderness in her littleness, help us to hear the voice of the Lord clearly, "I am with you."

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