Thursday, February 4, 2016

Poor Earthen Vessels of His Love

In this Jubilee Year of Mercy, we Catholic Christians are encouraged to meditate especially on the mercy of God, to receive His mercy through Jesus in the Church, and to do the works of mercy.

It is an invitation to rediscover and take up in a fresh way our Christian and human vocation.

The Jubilee is a time to focus once more on what is essential. We are presented with the possibility of remembering and encountering anew the astonishing bond that God has established with us through Jesus Christ. As Christians we place our hope in the mercy of God who has become our companion in Jesus. Jesus wants to be with us, to remind us that we are not alone in front of the enigma of existence. We struggle every day with life, its joys, its suffering, its mysterious and inescapable destiny, but we know that He is here to respond to our poverty with His divine and human compassion.

And as we experience this compassion, we are called to proclaim it, to share it with one another and everyone in need. The call of God's love and mercy extends beyond ourselves; He burns with love for every person, and He longs to enkindle that flame in our hearts. For this reason the Christian is called to live and to manifest something new in the world.

This is our poor world, confused, struggling and seeking, full of human persons who have been created in the image of God and redeemed by Christ, and who travel along broken paths searching for the One who loves them and calls each of them by name.

It is a world in which many do not yet know Him, or do not know Him enough, or perhaps hold onto Him mysteriously in the depths of their hearts but without knowing all of the beautiful ways He wants to help them, strengthen them, and be a light to their steps. It is also a world of many who have rejected God or who ignore God, even as He continues to passionately seek them out and draw them to Himself. God's mercy works secretly in their hearts, but it also works through us and wants to manifest itself and give itself through us.

God wants the beauty and the glory of His mercy to shine through us, so that those who are weary and heavily burdened by the riddle of life's meaning may see that God Himself has brought something new into history that answers and indeed overflows superabundantly all the depths of the human question.

Here we are, poor earthen vessels of His love. We ourselves are so much in need of healing and of experiencing His love and mercy. Our mission is not one of winning over the world to our party, as if the fulfillment of human existence somehow came from our own selves, our ideas, our projects--as if it were the construction of our own brilliance and coherence, the assertion of our own power.

No. Being Christian means knowing that we are weak and broken, that we depend upon His mercy in every moment. We are sinners. We are not called to isolate ourselves and condemn the rest of the world. Our mission is to let Jesus win us, and win the world with us and through us.

The conversion of the hearts of others is linked to our continuing conversion, our growing in love for Him and our solidarity with all our brothers and sisters--our willingness to suffer and share with compassion all the pain and longing of being human, and to bring it all into the merciful heart of Jesus who is our healing and our hope.

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