Our annual week-long retreat begins tomorrow, a time for greater silence and focus; a time of less work and more time for praying. As we prepare for this subtle shift in our rhythm, we remember why we have come to this place; we are aware of our desire and Christ's desire somehow coinciding. We share these reflections by our Father Simeon which speak to us at this time.
Like a sculptor or potter Jesus is creating what he wants out of the shapeless clay of our natural persons, choosing us and taking us just as he finds us. By going toward him we are entrusting ourselves fully into his creating and molding hands. This movement toward Jesus, a real paschal “exodus” out of our previous existence, requires courage and generosity because we know we shall not remain the same, and such awareness is, for our poor fallen nature, both thrilling and frightening.
By calling us to himself on the high mountain of his divinity, and inviting us to enter his own dwelling-place with the Father, Jesus is telling us that he intends to make us over, according to his own Heart. By the creating power of God, he is forming within us a new heart, a heart of flesh like his own, to be inserted into the place of our old hearts of stone; a heart capable of feeling, thinking and loving like God himself, a heart transplanted into us when Jesus breathes his Spirit upon us. How could we love in such a perfect, divine manner unless Jesus were himself doing the loving within us and out of us, but in such a unified way that his loving in and through us is also truly our loving out of him?
Jesus cannot freely do his work within us unless we become totally available to his shaping touch. By responding and going to him we are willingly moving into a great unknown, because who can guarantee that we will continue to cooperate in faith until the end? Who can guarantee that revolt and infidelity will not dominate us eventually? But this risk is infinitely worth taking, because we know that the power and the ability to be faithful until death are already given us within the call itself: our fidelity itself is not of our own making, but is itself a gift of grace. He who is all-wise would never have called us to himself unless he also intended to confer on us the gift of fidelity. Our fidelity must be born out of our total trust in his.