Thursday, September 23, 2010

Caught in Suspense

“His people are in suspense about returning to him; and God, though in unison they cry out to him, shall not raise them up.” Hosea 11: 7

All of us sin. All of us turn away from God in a myriad of small and large ways throughout our lifetimes. All of us go through periods of desert wandering, like the Israelites of old, just going in circles, caught in our own lies and pride and stubbornness. But at some point, either sooner or later (and hopefully not too late), we also realize our need to repent; our need to return to God. And the realization that we cannot make it in this life alone, or with our own efforts overwhelms us and like the Prodigal Son sitting in the pig sty, we realize there is more to this life that what we have and where we are at and we want it.

But do we really want it? Do we truly and completely desire with our whole hearts to return to God. Or do we sometimes go to confession thinking that we’ll just be committing the same sin within a day or two. Or worse off, do we only repent so as to somehow make sure our souls are covered in case we die, but deep down (or maybe even close to the surface) we still desire the sin we have just confessed? And so our lives become this pattern of grace and sin, a never-ending roller coaster of spiritual ups and downs. Isn’t the Christian life supposed to be more than this?

Yes! However, I think the problem is that sometimes we know what we want, but are hesitant to go for it. We are caught in the suspense of whether or not to turn back to God, or to give Him our whole lives, our futures, our desires, our dreams, etc. We stand at the door with one foot in the Kingdom, while looking back at what we are leaving or giving up. And we’re not sure if we want to go all the way. Fear is the cause of this suspense, this waffling, this straddling of the spiritual fence.

But when we stay caught in this suspense, we limit the power of God in our lives. We at one and the same desire to live for Christ, yet desire to live the way everyone else is. We think it is too hard to follow Him and be different. But listen to the words of Pope Benedict XVI in his first homily as pope when he addressed young people “Are we not perhaps all afraid in some way? If we let Christ enter fully into our lives, if we open ourselves totally to him, are we not afraid that He might take something away from us? Are we not perhaps afraid to give up something significant, something unique, something that makes life so beautiful? Do we not then risk ending up diminished and deprived of our freedom? And once again the Pope said: No! If we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing of what makes life free, beautiful and great. No! Only in this friendship are the doors of life opened wide. Only in this friendship is the great potential of human existence truly revealed. Only in this friendship do we experience beauty and liberation. And so, today, with great strength and great conviction, on the basis of long personal experience of life, I say to you, dear young people: Do not be afraid of Christ! He takes nothing away, and he gives you everything. When we give ourselves to him, we receive a hundredfold in return. Yes, open, open wide the doors to Christ – and you will find true life.”

Today let’s stop living in suspense and give ourselves fully to God by returning to Him completely and without reservation.

Dear Jesus, I hate being caught between living fully for You or living like everyone else. Please give me the grace to stop living suspended between these two realities by giving me the grace to open myself fully to Your mercy and love, desiring nothing but You. Amen.

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