Sunday, July 31, 2022

Depending on Him Alone

If we only knew the gift of God. If only we knew; if only we understood Jesus’ desire to refresh us. For even as he invites us to come to him with our thirst, it is he who is thirsting for us to thirst for him. His thirst is his unending desire for us.

 Christ Jesus longs to fill us with himself, to heal and console and “mercy” us. But there’s a hitch; we have to remember who we are- sinners, who are indescribably loved by God in Christ and desperately in need of his sweet mercy; parched, thirsting, longing for the water that he is. If as Pope Francis reminds us over and over, we are to go to the fringes to be with the poor and forgotten, it is first of all to the fringes, the frontiers of our own poverty, sinfulness, and brokenness that we must travel. For down there in the dry, dark recesses of our broken hearts, we will discover just how thirsty we are; there we will discover the breadth of our desire, our need for a Redeemer; discover how dry, how barren and desolate we really are. We need to get down there and bear in peace the reality of our poverty. Our poverty makes Christ Jesus happy, not because he wants to make us sad, but because it allows him to fill us with himself, which is all he really wants to do. And our unending work is to let ourselves be defenseless, utterly defenseless, in the face of such love; utterly nonresistant to Jesus’ desire for us and so discover him continually thirsting for us.

 Jesus desires to surrender himself to us. It is the secret we were born for. If only we realized God’s gift and who it is who is thirsting for us, we would ask him over and over, and he would give us the living water that he is. The only condition is desire. Indeed, to “come to the living water of Christ, you do not need merit, all you need is thirst.”1 I invite you to be disarmed by God’s desire for you, “the intensity of His blessed longing for you; for he longs to be longed for, loves to be loved and desires to be desired;”“he thirsts to be thirsted after.”3 We know this is how St. Ignatius concludes the Exercises, in the “Contemplation on Divine Love.” There he asks the retreatant to ponder “how much the Lord desires to give himself to me”: Quanto el Señor desea dárseme. Probably this was what filled his heart with such gratitude that he would often sob and sob at the altar during Mass.

Our prayer affords us the extravagance of luxuriating in our helplessness and utter dependence on God, our confidence in a God who loves and loves. Indeed, the love of Jesus for us is unmanageable. And most of all it is the unmanageability of Jesus’ desire for us that is most baffling. He can’t help himself. God is helpless, hopelessly in love. He has fallen in love with what he created.4

Reflection by one of our monks. References: 1. Guerric of Igny, 2.  Maximus the Confessor, 3. Saint Augustine,4. Catherine of Siena..