Lately, I’ve been feeling the tug – perhaps that supernatural prompting from God to come into closer communion with Him. My only problem is that I find the world and myself in the way. If I could go lock myself in the chapel, and never come out, all would be good. However, I’ve not been called to a cloistered life. Eventually, I must come out of the chapel, and face the world – go back to work and responsibilities. While I know that it is not possible to completely achieve this complete union with Him while here on earth, I also know that if God puts holy desire in the heart, He will surely lead the way if we engage in prayerful discernment.
Why is it that the world is so hard to overcome – things, situations, time, selfishness, temptation, etc? God is calling us to be “beacons on a hilltop” – shining brightly in order to draw others to Him. In these times when the world has all but forgotten God, these beacons are critical – critical to those who are still trying to find their way to safety in darkness. What if some of the “seats” in heaven are left empty, because our lights were not bright enough? How do we intensify our light? We cannot do so ourselves, but Christ can illuminate us when we empty ourselves and allow Him to fill us.
In order to be filled with Christ’s light, we must first be emptied. How do we empty ourselves? Sometimes, in my own experience, I compare this process to using a measuring cup to bail water from a bathtub – a slow, painstaking task, requiring persistence and patience - Prayer, prayer and more prayer.
Mother Mary was the first to empty herself in order to be filled with Christ’s physical presence in her womb and in her heart. She did so with a simple, “Yes.” It seems that no matter how sincere I am with my own, “Yes,” it remains somehow fearful – incomplete. I suspect that Mary could be the key to this emptying. Since she has experienced this herself, she could certainly point the way for those of us who are struggling.
Another key to being an effective beacon is the strengthening of the gifts of the Holy Spirit within us. We must plead for an increase in these gifts given to us at baptism. Here’s a refresher (in case you’ve gotten a little bit rusty)!
wisdom – The truths of Christian belief are more important than the things of this world, and wisdom helps us to order our relationship to the created world properly.
understanding – allows us grasp ( at least in a limited way) the very essence of the truths of our faith
knoweldge – helps us to determine God’s purpose for our lives and live it accordingly
fortitude – This is the virtue of the martyrs that allows them to suffer death rather than to renounce the Christian Faith – clinging to our faith through the difficult times.
piety – when we desire to worship God and to serve Him out of love – not just a sense of duty
fear of the Lord -gives us the desire not to offend God out of love for Him
counsel – The Holy Spirit guides us in defending the truths of our faith.
Father, You know me better than I know myself. Strengthen in me the gifts of Your Holy Spirit. Give me what I most need to be Your willing instrument – to fulfill the plan you have for my life and for the salvation of my brothers and sisters in this world.
Mother Mary, I know that I will never truly be happy until I give myself over completely to God’s plan for me, as you did. Help me to say, “Yes,” to God wholeheartedly and without fear. Bring me closer to your Son, Jesus, with each and every breath that I take. Amen.