(When an article is posted on this blog, it is immediately sent out to those who subscribe to email distribution. I, like many of you, received it via email on Tuesday. Unfortunately, and for some reason I do not understand, it was not posted to the website. So I am attempting to post it again. To to those of you who received this on Tuesday, I apologize for the duplicate. All I can think is that God must have wanted you to see it again. God bless, Anne)
Today we celebrate Tuesday of the sixth week of ordinary time – a day, in many ways like many others. No special feast day, just an ordinary day. Our quest as Catholics is to make the ordinary extraordinary by infusing it with the love and purpose of God.
Our daily Mass Old Testament readings since last Monday have been from the beginning of the book of Genesis, starting with the beautiful story of creation, moving through the fall of Adam and Eve and the murder of Abel by Cain to the promise of Noah, today.
Yesterday at Mass, the priest preached about these stories, and he said one thing that slew me. He talked about the Fall being caused by Adam and Eve losing confidence in God. They didn’t believe that He was enough.
They had everything they could ever need or want– even above what we have because they lived with preternatural gifts. They possessed a relationship with and knowledge of God that most of us will only know in heaven. They had everything, but they wanted more. They desired the one thing they were told they couldn’t have. I must admit, I find that so difficult to understand, and yet…
How often do we find ourselves in that place, where God is not enough? How often, when our faith is put to the test do we crumble and rely on our own meager might? Sad to say, if you’re like me, you’ve been there many times. The consequence of Adam and Eve losing that confidence has left an indelible mark on the human race. We share the same fate in the aftermath of making that same decision: “You are not enough.” We don’t say it in exactly that way, but whatever way we say it, its essence remains.
Jesus questions his apostles in today’s gospel:
Do you not yet understand or comprehend?
Are your hearts hardened?
Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear?
And do you not remember,
when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand,
how many wicker baskets full of fragments you picked up?”
They answered him, “Twelve.”
“When I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand,
how many full baskets of fragments did you pick up?”
They answered him, “Seven.”
He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”
We are the apostles in this gospel. We have the fullest revelation of God in Jesus Christ and the Church, but again and again, we “still do not understand.” Or probably more truthfully, we do not choose to believe in all we have heard and seen that demonstrates God’s sufficiency.
Caryll Houselander writes in The Reed of God, “For us poor creatures it is easier for us to trust someone who shares our insufficiency than to trust God, whose values are still past our comprehension.” (p. 41) When times are good; when times are bad in whom do we most trust and to whom do most quickly turn?
Scripture tells us, “For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the Lord, plans for good and not for evil, plans for a future and a hope.” (Jer 29:11) Too many times we respond like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, where towards the end of the movie, the wizard is giving gifts to the scarecrow and the lion and the tin man, and Dorothy says, “I don’t think there’s anything in that little black bag for me.”
God’s little black bag has some very specific promises – promises for each one of us individually, and He is a Father who keeps His promises:
God will fully supply whatever you need, in accord with his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:19)
We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. (Rm 8:28)
God is faithful and will not let you be tried beyond your strength; but with the trial he will also provide a way out, so that you may be able to bear it. (1 Cor 10:13)
My grace is sufficient. (2 Cor 12:9)
Notice, an exemption for suffering does not exist, but a promise of the power of His grace does.
I really believe this is the secret to becoming a saint – complete abandonment to the Will of God, complete trust in His love and mercy, and complete surrender to His providence. Boy, do I have a long way to go!!!
Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta stated it most perfectly: “Holiness does not consist in doing extraordinary things. It consists in accepting, with a smile, what Jesus sends us. It consists in accepting and following the will of God.” — (Mother Teresa: In My Own Words)
If I really believe that heaven is my home, and that I want to be there for eternity, then I must fully embrace God’s sufficiency in everything and in every moment. In that way, I will make the ordinary extraordinary, and I will walk one step closer to heaven.
As I departed for Mass this morning, I found myself somewhat befuddled by what to write today, having started it early yesterday, and experiencing a bit of a block. When this happens, I’ve noticed that God usually has something particular waiting for us. The opening prayer caught my attention. It spoke directly to me, but it wasn’t the opening prayer for today’s Mass in my Magnificat. It is for this coming Sunday. Would you join me in praying this beautiful prayer today and in the days ahead?
Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Faith in your word is the way to wisdom,
And to ponder your divine plan is to grow in the truth.
Open our eyes to your deeds,
Our ears to the sound of your call,
So that our every act may increase our sharing
In the life you have offered us.
Grant this through Christ our Lord.
(Alternate opening prayer, seventh Sunday in ordinary time)
O, Mary, Seat of Wisdom, pray for us! Anne
Heavenly Harmony, Songs for the day: Still by Watermark (one of my meditative faves). This morning as I activated voice control and said, “Play ‘Still’”, my iPhone played, “O Magnum Mysterium”. Go figure!!! So I thought that might just be the Lord’s way of asking you to ponder this “Great Mystery.” (Click here for translation text.)
To learn more about the preternatural gifts, read this excellent article by Fr. Hardon.