Journeying with Jesus
SPENDING TIME is a serious business and every business has its cost. It feels good to be active and useful but we know we need loopholes too, where we can stop and let things be – let them all tick over without us for a while – a rhythm of action and rest. Yet more often than not we have too much of one and little at all of the other. And even if things were ideal and we could switch on and off at our wills it still wouldn’t be alright, for the pattern and freedom would become too familiar and we would be searching for a change.
No, in the end, we just have to stick at the grind and work through it – the boredom, frustration and fatigue, the sheer apparent non-meaning of it all. Somewhere beyond lies the equilibrium, tasted eventually perhaps, though but briefly, but hoped for as our eternal repose.
But ‘repose’ in heaven will not be inertia. Our ‘activity’ will be perpetually and restfully fulfilled in an eternal rendering of praise to our Creator, with our being reposing in His. So whether our days are fraught with activity, or seem to drag wearily away, our all-important business in this life is to learn to spend our time in prayer.
Our days are meant for the praise of God, Father, Son and Spirit – for thanksgiving and just being glad that God is God. Rightly, we shall need to repent of our wrongdoings and plead for the needs of the world and of ourselves, but all of this is in order to praise, so that life may become a perpetual thankoffering, behind and beyond whatever happens – a never-ending Eucharist.
We can only do it in Jesus Christ, by the power and enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. Our praise and our self-offering in Him to be made one with the perfect offering of Jesus our High Priest. Incorporate in Him, we and all creation together are to be offered in thankfulness and adoration to the Father.
We begin therefore IN JESUS. An old anonymous hymn expresses it thus:
You (Jesus) are our archetype,
the mind which ordains
and the one who steers;
you are the way and the door
that opens into light.
You are the image of justice;
you are ever our shining star.
Jesus is in fact God and so is Himself completely worthy of our praise and trust, of our total allegiance. We can only become an offering to the Father in Him, because as God He created us and we are in origin made in His image. He became incarnate so that it should become possible for His image in us, marred by sin, to be restored to the divine likeness. Hence, Jesus is doubly our archetype, supremely our guide, and our way through to the light.
Thus, in order to be able to adore the Father in Spirit and Truth, we must learn first to adore Jesus:
To you we render thanks, praise and blessing.
Before you we bend the knee,
and we ask, with trust, that we may be made holy.
Yes, we dare to ask this, and to mean it and to act on all the consequences implied in being made holy (not by ourselves but by the Lord). This is the perfection of prayer and praise – all of life becomes holy, by and in Jesus.
It is going to require a great deal of us so we need to ask for many graces. This too to part of our ‘praying always’:
Grant that we may be ever strong in faith,
sound in mind and body.
So that we can live a little longer and enjoy our-selves? Hardly. No. much more..
to sing forever and without ceasing your praises, that you, the Immortal, the Infinite, the Eternal may be celebrated in every place.
What a tremendous vocation. Our feeble attempts at praise and thanksgiving here on earth somehow or other become part already of the one great chorus and hymn of eternal praise. It’s worth everything weave got to perfect our offering to start getting it ready now.
Let us then be brave enough to believe that all we are reading in these words is actually true, and for us. Let us make a great gamble — If it is true, well then it requires that …
Let Cyprian of Carthage put it into words for us..
If Christ In the true sun and the true day,
no hour should pass for the Christian without adoring his God;
and so, we who are in Christ,
that is, in the sun and true day,
should spend the whole day in prayer;
and when the sun draws nigh to its setting
and night follows after,
he who prays cannot fall into any evil;
even then, in the night,
there is light for the sons of light.
How can we be without light
when the light shines in our hearts?
When can we be without sun
if Christ himself is our sun?
A Sister of the Holy Cross Convent Rempstone