Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Prevenient Courage

It seems the needier we are, the more impossible our impediments, the greater the opportunity for Jesus’ graced entrée, for God longs to be ordinary. Why else would he choose to be a child, why else a carpenter and a wandering teacher? Why else allow himself to be done in by thugs and jealous bureaucrats? Why else choose to be hidden in a morsel of bread on our altars? It is why Jesus has come, God with us, near us, in us. Our messes personal, communal are charged forever with his kind, incessant presence. God longs to encounter us there. Jesus has come to stay with us, now right now. His mercy finds us here over and over again. Eternity is always interrupting. The amazing yet ordinary things- the beauty, the sorrow in human experience and in all of creation- beckon to us and draw us to him, who is constantly seeking opportunities to engage us, here and now, without fanfare.

It has seemed to me sometimes as though the Lord breathes on this poor gray ember of Creation and it turns to radiance - for a moment or a year or the span of a life. And then it sinks back into itself again, and to look at it no one would know it had anything to do with fire, or light ... Wherever you turn your eyes the world can shine like transfiguration. You don't have to bring a thing to it except a little willingness to see. Only, who could have the courage to see it? .... Theologians talk about a prevenient grace that precedes grace itself and allows us to accept it. I think there must also be a prevenient courage that allows us to be brave - that is, to acknowledge that there is more beauty than our eyes can bear, that precious things have been put into our hands and to do nothing to honor them is to do great harm. Marilynne Robinson, Gilead.

Photograph by Brother Brian.