Citizens of Heaven
Reflections: Ephesians 2:19-20 & Colossians 3:1-4
We are all called to be holy - to know and share the Love that the saints knew - to follow the paths that Jesus' disciples trod. I do not say this lightly - and I meant it in both a spiritual and literal sense. Nobody could have ever prepared me for the overwhelming immersion of Love, Peace, Light, Happiness, Goodness, Grace, and Beauty flooding straight to a deep place within me that I never knew existed before this experience. I simply walked El Camino for a plenary indulgence for Grandaddy, who, rest his soul, will be 1 year old in his new life away from human existence... but that is where the first phase of my conversion happened. This was the way of St. James - one of the many 'ways to holiness'. All of a sudden, through my experience, I came to understand the true value of Life, and of Love... and Church teachings made so much sense to me, when they hadn't done before. There is a new dimension to me that is slightly outside my being, but still a very connected part of me. Why would God choose someone so lowly like me to have this most awesome experience? I do not know... I am just like you. I feel like a whole new person than I was before the summer... but I am nobody special. We are all equal. We are the same, and we are all loved by God equally, immensely, immeasurably. Perhaps what makes a difference is that I completely surrendered myself to Him on El Camino. But I tell you, God gifted us all with bodies, souls and spirits to come to know His Love - He did not just gift the converted with this... no! He gifted every single one of us with a great capacity to become Citizens of Heaven, and it helps to open our hearts to this citizenship.
God the Father, in Jesus Christ His Son, and through the Holy spirit invites us all to enlightenment. I encourage everybody to pray often - because it is in prayer that you are no longer 'strangers and aliens', but are instead, 'setting your mind on things that are above'; joined in communion with the saints and angels of heaven - adoring, loving and acknowledging the humble King, our Lord Jesus Christ. If you feel like a hypocrite for praying, please don't. God wants you to connect with Him, even if all you have to say doesn't seem very nice - HE LOVES YOU MORE THAN YOU WILL EVER KNOW IN THIS LIFE! And just that you would give Him that time of day is the first small step in the right direction! Give God a chance to set you free... for nothing on this earth ever could. We are restless until we rest in God, as St. Augustine says. Also, give it time. God doesn't always work straight away! It could take days, months, years, even decades. So keep your petitions, intentions, thanksgivings in daily prayer. Focus your mind, and seek things that are above. "Do not model your behaviour on the contemporary world, but let the renewing of your minds transform you, so that you may discern for yourselves what is the will of God - what is good and acceptable and mature." [Romans 12:2]. Let Christ reveal Himself to you, and the love you know will be transformed into the sacrificial Love of Christ. Drink of His life-giving blood and water, and you will never go thirsty again, except when you do not nourish yourself with the Sacraments and prayer.
There is no question about our citizenship being a free ride into Heaven. It is not. When the Love of God hits you, it becomes your greatest desire to do everything in your power to return that Love. When you falter, even unintentionally, you desire to pick yourself up, and begin again, because in some sense, you are willing to make that sacrifice. I faltered yesterday - I did not attend Mass - which is the key part of First Friday Devotions. It wasn't my intention to miss Mass, but I was too lazy to check my devotional, on this criteria... so my 5th Friday Devotions were not complete. I am so sorry to Jesus, that in my laziness, I did not fulfill my promise to devote heart and soul to His Sacred Heart, and that instead I prioritised myself above receiving His Body in Holy Communion. So I begin my First Friday Devotions again. I don't really know if God cares whether I falter 1 time, or 100,000 times; as long as I always return to Him - most especially through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, there is hope for me. At least that is how I see it.
Humble Lord of Mercy and Love, you forgive me my sins yet again. How much more can you bear my sinfulness? With my human patience, I would already be tired and irritated of me... but You are so good, so perfect, and so wonderful - if only the whole world knew what they were created to receive and to give! You took away my sins, and washed me clean so that I may love you freely again. The words "You let yourself get hurt" do not eat into my soul as they did this morning when I awoke because of them. You have granted me this über-tiny mini-miracle. I beg of you to heal the hurt of others too, and bless them with fresh hearts with which they may begin again to love with, so that upon the our hour of death, you may welcome us with arms open wide, as citizens of your Kingdom. Pour in me, Lord, a stronger spirituality, and by Your Will, plant in me a desire to pray more, striving always to reveal You to others.
P.S. I always wondered where in the Bible the reference to Jesus being seated at the right hand of God was. When I first heard this as a child, I was looking at Jesus on the Cross. I have been sitting in the left side of the congregation at Masses ever since!!! Silly... I know! But this is where I got it from!