Sunday, November 14, 2010

Remain in His Love Reinforcement

Praise be to God, remaining in His love!  Reports come in from various members of the Body of Christ:  Remaining in His love is being actualized in their lives!  Some report joy in suffering.  Another shares spontaneously breaking into smiles, remaining in His love.  Others notice deeper attentiveness during Mass and note from Scripture many references to remain in Jesus' love.

This is about union with Christ.  Yet some mention challenges to remaining in His love, or experience some darkness or upset.  How can this be?  Are we not persevering in the desire of our hearts, simply doing as Jesus asks:  Remain in My love?  The desire for His light soon reminds us.  With a prayer, calling upon the Lord Jesus in present moments, we are brought back into His beautiful, bounteous, breath-taking love.

I awoke the other night being reminded of a hurt.  I thought about it briefly.  Then another thought entered, a frustration.  A third agitation followed, and I realized the mind was invaded negative thoughts threatening to disrupt my soul.  Lying in the darkness, already wounded by these thoughts, I repeated aloud two or three times, "Lord Jesus, help me remain in Your love."  I drifted back into sleep.  Demonic dreams were contrasted by a vivid scene in which I was given a beautiful male infant to hold in my arms.  Then I was given a bottle to feed him.  The love, the closeness, the pure innocence of this baby filled the dream.  Upon waking, the demonic aspects faded from sheer dynamism and light of the sweet infant sequence.  

Thanking God for the gift of remaining in His love, it came to me that the dream consisted of two lessons.  One is that the devil would like to impose dark thoughts or make any attempt to disrupt us from remaining in Christ's love.  He is not pleased when we return over and over to Christ, asking to remain in His love no matter the stumbling.  The devil tries in our waking or sleeping to keep us from remaining in His love.  The other lesson so vivid in the dream is that Jesus gives Himself as an innocent baby, wanting us to hold Him tight, wanting us to feed Him with love.  His love becomes Our love when we simply remain in His love.

If this seems simplistic or a gimmick--to learn and practice remaining in Christ's love--or if the effects seem silly, read the verses of St. John's Gospel, chapters 13-17.  Or, as the renouned Scripture scholar Rudolf Schnackenburg writes in Jesus in the Gospels: A Biblical Christology (p. 251)"Through the gift of life the one who was sent by God already brings a turning point in the present (John 5:25)*; through him and in him a new possibility of life is revealed and an approach to God opened (John 14:6-7)**."  This is truth!

We must be attentive to the thoughts that enter our minds, as well as repeatedly turn to the Lord Jesus for help in remaining in His love.   Reinforcement of this is found in the writings of St. Hesychios the Priest (8th or 9th century) "On Watchfulness and Holiness" in The Philokalia.

"We should strive to preserve the precious gifts which preserve us from all evil, whether on the plane of the senses or that of the intellect.  These gifts are the guarding of the intellect with the invocation of Jesus Christ, continuous insight into the heart's depths, stillness of mind unbroken.... In this way the demons will not steal in undetected; and if we suffer pain through remaining centered in the heart, consolation is at hand.

"The heart which is constantly guarded, and is not allowed to receive the forms, images and fantasies of the dark and evil spirits, is conditioned by nature to give birth from within itself to thoughts filled with light.  For just as coal engenders a flame, or a flame lights a candle, so will God, who from our baptism dwells in our heart, kindle our mind to contemplation when He finds it free from the winds of evil and protected by the guarding of the intellect."

Borrowing St. Hesychios' simile, we should pray to Jesus to help us to remain in His love, "repeating over and over in the heart as flashes of lightning are repeated over and over in the sky before rain."

And as many of us have found, who have been learning and practicing remaining in Christ's love, "all the sins which formerly beat upon the intellect as thoughts and which, once admitted by the mind, were turned into outward acts of sin, are not cut off by mental watchfulness."  For Jesus Christ does not allow the dark thoughts to enter our minds and hearts, our very souls, if we remain in His illuminating love.

"They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings and soar aloft through the power of the Lord" (Isaiah 40:31).  

"As you sail across the sea of the intellect, put your trust in Jesus, for secretly in your heart He says: 'Fear not, my child Jacob, the least of Israel; fear not, you worm Israel, I will protect you' (cf. Isa 41:13-14).  If God is for us, what evil one is against us (Rom. 8:31)?  For He has blessed the pure of heart and given the commandments; and so Jesus who alone is truly pure, in a divine way readily enters into hearts that are pure and dwells in them....But let [the soul] not tire in calling upon the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, day and night until the time of its departure from this mortal life, and He will speedily avenge it in accordance with the promise He Himself made...."

Let us persevere in learning and practicing remaining in His love.  Why do some not seem interested if we tell them about the very transformations of our souls from simply remaining in His love?  Perhaps it is because they are already in His love?  Or perhaps it has to do with our desiring something more than what we were experiencing with our life trials and sluggish souls.  Something was missing in our spiritual lives, and the dearth deepened into darkness.

So it has to do with our great need, our desire, our now knowing to believe in Jesus as the one sent by the Father to bring light, to remove us from this darkness.  He has come to lead His own, those who believe in Him of His Body, who desire His love, ask His help, obey His command to love one another as He loves us.  He is light come to people into God's sphere of light and life (Jesus in the Gospels, p. 250).

Let us never cease believing, desiring, praying, obeying in love His command, and simply to remain in His love.

John 5:25 - "Amen, Amen, I say to you, the hour is coming and is now here when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live."

John 14:6-7 - "Jesus said to him, 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, then you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him.'"

1 comment:

  1. 11/15/10 Have missed you :) . Will be back in the neighborhood tomorrow. <3. aspiring...


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