Our dear Heavenly Father’s creation always holds amazement before my eyes. Surely one of His motives in the immense work of the whole universe was to provide that flowers be given to the Immaculate Conception. She, more than any of us, can appreciate His enthusiasm, if I might be permitted to use such an anthropomorphism for God as the Scriptures sometimes do.
While I like to think I am amazed, I know that my vision is more than just somewhat jaded. But she had clear vision, even while standing under the Cross. She saw all the beauty of our Heavenly Father’s love in Jesus her Divine Son, and in comparison saw all the horror of our sin without losing sight of love. She was of one heart and mind with her Son, in perfect syntony, if I am permitted a radiophonic expression.
Such humility as the availability of attentiveness and respect demands, together but individual, neither reactionary nor oppressive, is driven by the powerful engine of love.
As it is, this is not about one individual’s own love and respect for another individual, and then all individuals, no no. This is about one living truth of love which is present in all from the same source. In heaven – please God we make it there – we will see the good of the other as our own good because that good will in fact be our own good, that is, the Most Holy Trinity dwelling in us.
The angels will rejoice that we are all of one mind and one heart as they behold the Most Holy Trinity directly, even while the Holy Spirit brings us through, with and in Jesus as a gift to our Heavenly Father.
In the face of such beauty, the question in spiritual direction that always comes up is how we, upon this earth, suffering all the weakness consequent to original sin and our own sin, can participate in being of one heart and mind with Jesus and our Blessed Mother. There are a few things to keep in mind:
- Don’t be a self-absorbed Promethean neo-Pelagian setting goals for yourself so as to lift yourself up by your own bootstraps, seeking to become, you know, more balanced, more nice, more whole, more whatever, you know, so that you are without any weaknesses at all, no consequences of original sin or consequences of your own sin, coming up with – mirabile dictu – your own new economy of salvation other than what our Lord Himself provided for us: no cross and without need of any grace of His Truth and His Love. If you set goals for yourself, imagining this or that, you will only arrive to where you are now, only worse off than ever, having fooled yourself into thinking you’ve made progress only to find excruciating frustration, then depression, then sin, then despair. Not the way to go.
- Be the tiniest little child before Jesus, no matter what the weakness, no matter what the suffering, no matter what the cross. Run to Him and trust Him. He bears the wounds of trustworthiness, offering us also a love that is stronger than our weakness, stronger than suffering, stronger than death. In other words, don’t for a second depend on a strength you yourself do not have. That only leads to excruciating frustration, then depression, then sin, then despair. Not the way to go.
- Do keep up with the sacraments of Confession and Communion, and prayer, and almsgiving, and penances, but not as a way to prove something to yourself, to your neighbor or to Jesus. It’s all about the friendship of humble thanksgiving: Thank you, Lord, for forgiveness of my sin which I could fall into at any time if I turn my back on your grace; thank you for bringing me to life in you; thank you for keeping my close to your Heart. Humble thanksgiving is already a most beautiful prayer which brings us to almsgiving because Jesus redeemed us all and wants us to share the greatest love of our lives first of all with our actions. Humble thanksgiving would have us begin and end penances like fasting with friendship with Jesus. Thus: Jesus, you know that I get crabby when I go without, and this puts me face to face even if only in a superficial way with how weak I am, but, please make it that before this reality I no longer merely ask for your help (leaving myself in charge of my spiritual life), but asking right out that I be crucified to the world, the flesh, the devil, and my own desire to control my spiritual life, so that, dead to myself, I live for you, rejoicing.
In other words, it’s all about being of one mind and one heart with Jesus, and humble thanksgiving wrought in His love and truth is just the way to be right there. In Jesus’ grace, this humble thanksgiving, an active friendship, is what has us rejoice in purity of heart and agility of soul, ever attentive to others, of one heart and mind. Amen.