Second Sunday of Lent – Cycle A
Reflecting on Genesis 12:1-4a
All we ask you, God, is to speak as clearly to us as you did to Abram. Tell us to get up and wander to a new land. We’ll pack today. Send us down to Egypt during a famine and we’ll book our flight. Show up at our door with two angels at your side and we’ll rush to make a huge meal for you. Just speak to us, God. We’re so confused.
How does one discern the will of God? God speaks to us through our own history, our memory, our understanding. St. Ignatius of Loyola counsels us to notice what gives us peace, what gives us energy, what makes us unhappy, or burdened with guilt. To paraphrase the old physical therapist joke, Does it hurt when you are cynical, or selfish, or lazy? Then stop doing that.
Does it feel good when you end a conversation that is sliding into gossip and meanness? Do that some more. Does your spirit rejoice when you are the first to apologize, or to reach out for reconciliation? I suspect you have wandered into the very heart of God.
Like Abraham and Sarah, we sojourn in a land that God unveils to us throughout our lives. It’s a land marked by mistakes and bitter regrets, but shot through with grace and gradual healing. Pay attention to what makes you truly happy, truly peaceful. Abraham, at 75, lived one hundred more years after he discerned God’s call. Let’s all keep listening.
At what times do you feel the most connected with God?
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I have come to light a fire on the earth; how I wish it were already burning (Lk.12:49).
Perhaps God always uses familiar language when He speaks to us, but His Mother does not. We know about St. Bernadette, whose report of meeting the woman who described herself as “The Immaculate Conception,” verified the apparition. St. Bernadette had no knowledge of the title for the Blessed Mother, so Church officials knew that she wasn’t making up the encounter.
I think we box ourselves in whenever we try to decide how God will communicate with us. We also don’t allow God to “think outside the box” of our limited understanding.
I feel the most connected with God when I teach religious ed. Working with kids or adults in the context of sharing something of our Lord is energizing. I can feel the Holy Spirit at work in me, giving me energy and words to share.
I pray that the Holy Spirit energizes me to share with the strangers in my life as well.
Amen, sister…My most constant prayer as an adult has been “show me your will.” But I often prayed that with the notion that I must not be doing it and I wanted change…That’s not a bad thought, but the truth is that God works through us all the time. And where we are and what we do is often exactly what God wants, even if it doesn’t feel like it to us…
When do I feel the most connected with God? I think of myself more like Job then Abraham, I want to be strongly connected all the time, but I am a Human and therefore a sinner so there is that roller coaster feeling in my relationship with God, sometimes I feel soooo connected with every fiber in my body, other times He seems a million miles away. My priest says this is normal. I know it is were I am in my journey, He is never really leaves me. My very next breath of air depends on God with out Him there is no life. How I have broken it down in my simple uneducated mind is He is a Father, and like our dad or any parent, there are time when they step back and let us stretch our steps, we may fall on our backsides like a baby’s first few steps but He know how to be close and yet veiled each time I fall in faith I think I stand back up a little braver and stronger. Each time I come back to the Holy Eucharist after a fall I am a little more connected.
I like your paraphrase of the physical therapist’s question. Somehow it put me in mind of what our visiting mission priest said last week. The liar in you can see the liar in someone else. (Substitute any fault for the word “liar”) In other words, we can identify other’s faults because we have the same faults! It reminded me to try to judge myself before I judge others, to see if I am being as “good” as I expect them to be.
I feel most connected with him when I imagine hearing “Well done thou good and faithful servant” after laboring in the ministry – – that unique sense of spiritual gratificaiton. – – Cris
Do you think that God spoke to St. Paul on the road to Damascus through his own history, memory and understanding?
Don’t make God behave in the limited ways you can understand.
Throughout Lent I feel alone in the desert of my little life. I feel humanly and spiritually hungry and thirsty.
Teaching those who also spiritually thirsty; walking with them on their journey. Opening the Scriptures for them.
The evening of the Easter Vigil, when our Catechumens and Candidates receive the sacraments. It is on this night after walking with Jesus, praying with his suffering and the suffering of this world. The light of the Easter candle pierces the night. This is when I feel most connected to God!
Kathy, I think this commentary is so perfectly descriptive of understanding how God speaks to us. To say that God calls us through “our history, our memory, our understanding” does not LIMIT the newness of the encounter with God. Quite the opposite! It just means, as you say, that God’s voice resonates in our hearts BECAUSE we have already experienced his presence, and because we have recognized him before.
Your reflection gave me a whole new appreciation of this week’s gospel, which I have always loved. The Transfiguration made such an impact on the apostles not just because Jesus was revealed to them in glory, but the MEANING of that glimpse was rooted in their deeply rooted understanding of the God of Israel. The central pillars of their religious tradition were the Law and the Prophets, so of course they understood why Jesus appeared with Moses, the giver of the Law, and Elijah, preeminent among the prophets. Their history allowed them to understand something more about who Jesus is. And because their tradition told them that the place of encounter with the divine is marked by a sacred tent as when they first wandered in the desert, they were prepared to enshrine the Transfiguration on the spot. But when Jesus instructed them to rise and continue with him in his ministry, they learned the deeper call: that Christ is truly present among us and cannot be forced into the safe and familiar places where we expect to find him, even if it is a place of reverence. What a lesson!
So my lesson this week is precisely what you invited us to do: find in my history, my understanding, my memory where I know God to be present, and attend to the actions that bring about that experience, that might lead me to a new understanding of God’s call. One important item on that list would include struggling with the Word each week through this forum and letting all of the comments help me make a connection between the Story and my daily life.
And Donna,thank you for that beautiful reflection! I can honestly say that participating in the liturgy, particularly the gorgeous prayers and patterns of the Triduum celebrations, is one of those times that I also feel closest to God. You capture the spirit of that moment so compellingly! Your words are water to the thirsty. God bless you on your Lenten journey.
As always, beautifully stated. Thanks, Kathy, for the blessings of prayerful challenge. You are a gift to us all!!!
There are times when I look at who I am and notice how my heart is warmly open or definitely shut tight. When I am open, I am in the place of waiting, expectation and freedom. I know that God is present and is touching/will touch my life, even when I don’t recognize the touch. If I’m really at prayer, then I am open to the Mystery, to the Presence, to the Movement. But I don’t even have to be praying for me to be connected with God because I can go to sleep and believe as the psalmist says, God “gives to his beloved in sleep.”