Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Restless, Broken and Longing for Peace

What is the source of satisfaction?  When we feel so empty, broken, and unaccomplished, where do we find healing and comfort?  For whom do we turn to carry us when we are most weak?  Who do we ask of assistance when we are left vulnerable? 

Most often, we search within ourselves to fill the void of emptiness.  We find comfort in food, in material possessions, in sin, relationships, or even physical pain as a means of escape.  We turn to self satisfaction to provide temporary distractions ultimately separating us further from what we're truly searching for.  

Scripture tells us that we were "made in the image and likeness of God" (Gen 1:27)  Psalms 139 tells us "My bones are not hidden from you, When I was being made in secret, fashioned in the depths of the earth.  Your eyes saw me unformed;  in your book all are written down; my days were shaped, before one came to be."  Another favorite is Jeremiah 1:5 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you."  

In your inner most being within your very existence, your creation, your soul, your deepest thoughts, your most intimate self, you find a imperishable yearning to be content.  What does it feel like to be truly satisfied?  How glorious it must be as your thirst is quenched, and your every hope fulfilled.  Where can we find such incredible joy?  

When we are hungry, we long to be fed. 
When we are lonely, we long for comfort.
When we are cold, we long for warmth.
When it is dark, we long for the light.
When we are in despair, we long for hope.
When we are tired, we long for rest. 

"You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you." - St. Augustine
(The Confessions of St. Augustine)

In our creation, we were formed with purpose, dignity and constructed with the love of God.  Like a child is sculpted from genes of both mother and father and born with a unique mix of both, so too are we perfectly formed from our parents but by the hands of the Holy Spirit and in his own image.  God resides in every ounce of our being.  This is why we are constantly in search of nourishment.  We are searching for comfort, for warmth, for light, for hope and for rest in the Lord.  We can only find the peace we so greatly desire when we find it in Him.  

Some run from Him. 
Some ignore Him.

Some rebuke Him
Some doubt Him

There is one truth.  Truth exists because it is the truth.  It is not changed by culture.  It continues to exist even if the world doubts it.  It can't be watered down.  It can't be adjusted because it's inconvenient.  You can ignore it but it still remains. 

The Lord freely gives his presence to us as grace.  Our encounter with Christ provides us with incredible grace because it is is very self given to us.  We can't earn it, we don't deserve it and yet it is poured out to us when we ask of it.  How does Christ give himself to us?  As Catholics, we believe to receive him when we are in a state to receive him, and his grace is primarily distributed through the Sacraments.  Every time we receive the Eucharist, we receive his true self. 

Jn. 6  "The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us (his) flesh to eat?"Jesus said to them, "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me.This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever."

Jn. 26:26   "While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples said, “Take and eat; this is my body.”

Every time we receive Jesus in Eucharist, we are fed, we are clothed, we are brought into peace.  His grace cannot be bought.  It cannot be forced.  We cannot expect it, we can not demand it, we do not deserve it.  When we approach him with humility and genuine desire to know Him, he promises his very presence.  When we approach him with apathy, disinterest and distractions, the ability for him to be intimate with us is limited - NOT because he can't reach  us, but because we're basically saying we are disinterested in reaching him. 

2 Peter 3:9  "The Lord does not delay his promise, as some regard “delay,” but he is patient with you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance".  

The Lord wants nothing from you except to give you incredible comfort.  His desire is to grow your heart towards him and cultivate your gifts for the benefit of the world around you.  Everything scripture tells us about God is about forgiveness, love, patience, faithfulness, compassion, joy and peace.  In our sin, we are choosing to go against love by being unloving.  We choose to be haste instead of patient.  We are dishonest instead of faithful.  When we choose things not of God, we separate ourselves from Him, his love, his comfort, his peace and His grace.  We are then left empty as a way for us to recognize our need for Him.  We can fill the void with darkness or we can expose ourselves with a vulnerable cry for help and turn to the one source of completeness. 

Romans 12:2-3 Says "I urge you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship.  Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect. For by the grace given to me I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than one ought to think, but to think soberly, each according to the measure of faith that God has apportioned."

May we all turn to Christ as sinners in great need of a savior.  May we all find his peace and comfort when we call for him.  May we receive His grace, and become His hands and feet as we walk about the world as living examples of His very presence.  "Be imitators of me, as I am of ChristI praise you because you remember me in everything and hold fast to the traditions, just as I handed them on to you."  1 Corinthians 11:1

Mark Knox

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