July 27, 2013
Welcome to Sabbath Moments, the Saturday meme hosted by Colleen at Thoughts on Grace. Please join us and share your times of resting in the Lord.
For the past couple of weeks I’ve been battling a cold and cough that has sapped my energy and messed up my discipline of writing. Now that I feel better I’m glad to be back at Sabbath Moments to write a bit about some special encounters with the Lord.
Striking moments at and after Mass
A couple of Sundays ago I was kneeling to receive Holy Communion, the usual process we follow at the Traditional Latin Mass, when I glanced at the chalice on the altar. The angle of the light from the ceiling hit the gold just right and it reflected rays in the form of a cross with many other rays emanating from the center out to the sides. The sight was really beautiful and I wished I had a camera to take a picture right then. It brought to mind the perfection God has placed in mathematics and in physics, in the order of the universe which creates moments like these, fleeting and perhaps unrepeatable. I thought that no matter how many people cursed and denied God in this world, what He made, the very stones or in this case the golden chalice, cry out to glorify Him.
All week long I recalled that beautiful sight. Then one morning I realized that the cataract in the middle of my right eye must have played a big part in the gorgeous refraction of the rays. God used something I must get rid of fairly soon to show me His glory in a special way. If I would have had a camera, what it would have recorded wouldn’t have been exactly what I had seen. Just goes to show that God has uses for damaged goods.
The other moment happened after Mass. One family has a Down syndrome girl who is about 13 or 14 now. She has a passionate love for Jesus. After Mass I stayed to pray Vespers and saw her run across the front of the church to pray in front of a large wood carving of the Holy Family that hangs on the wall. Her father was with her watching over her and praying, too. When she was finished, she got up and patted Mary, Joseph, and Jesus with her hand before leaving. The devotion of that girl and her joy was really beautiful to see. The presence of her loving father said what a father should be in the spiritual life of the family. I was wishing that all families could have the love that family has with everyone in the roles proper to each.
I don’t go to Church to have the joy of striking moments like these but I’m grateful for them when they happen. It’s like God saying, “See, I’m here.” He truly is.
A lesson on hope
Lesson #248 of Divine Intimacy this week made me think a lot about people I know who are going through very difficult times and how blessed we are to have the surety of a God who loves us and looks after us. I can’t imagine facing life without God, but many people carry on about their business resisting accepting His presence and personal love for them, trying to get through everything on their own. When the inevitable rough patches come, they have nothing really to hold on to. Even we, who have experienced His care for us, at times feel as if He is very far away when we need Him. Father Gabriel writes this reminder for us:
The least act of hope, of trust in God, made in the midst of trials, in a state of interior or exterior desolation, is worth far more than a thousand acts made in times of joy and prosperity. When we are suffering in mind or body, when we are experiencing the void of abandonment and hopelessness, when we find ourselves a prey to the repugnances and rebellions of nature which would like to throw off the yoke of the Lord, we cannot pretend to have the comforting feeling of hope, of confidence; often we may even experience the opposite sentiment, and yet, even in this state we can make acts of hope and of confidence which are not felt but willed.
The theological virtues are practiced essentially by the will. When they are accompanied by feeling, the practice of them is pleasant and consoling; but when the act must be made by the will alone, then this exercise is dry and cold, but is not for this reason of less merit; on the contrary, it is even more meritorious and therefore gives more glory to God.
We should not, therefore, be disturbed if we do not feel confidence; we must will to have confidence, will to hope, to hope at any cost, in spite of all the blows God may inflict on us by means of trials.
Whatever trials God sends to us, they are always for our sanctification; always to get us ready to be with Him in heaven. I like to think of God as my personal trainer but He has a lot of advantages over the personal trainers people hire to get their bodies in shape. He’s free. He has perfect knowledge of what we need and has infinite patience with our slow learning curve. He is always right and always by our side even when we think He’s far away. Those are the times when we have to grit our teeth and make the act of hope, trust, and confidence in Him, pressing on through weariness and pain. Those are the times when our native willfulness, harnessed to the will of God, stands us in good stead so that we will reach the finish line as He intends.
Let Psalm 42 v. 5 speak for us:
Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted in me? Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.
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