In my bible study lesson this week a quote jumped out at me and I thought I would share it with you. It is a perfect summary of what I've been feeling lately.
"Those who live 'by the flesh' experience God's law as a burden, and indeed as a denial or at least a restriction of their own freedom. On the other hand, those who are impelled by love and 'walk by the Spirit' (Gal 5:16), and who desire to serve others, find in God's law the fundamental and necessary way in which to practice love as something freely chosen and freely lived out. Indeed, they feel an interior urge- a genuine 'necessity' and no longer a form of coercion- not to stop at the minimum demands of the Law, but to live them in their 'fullness'. This is a still uncertain and fragile journey as long as we are on earth, but it is one made possible by grace, which enables us to possess the full freedom of the children of God (cf. Rom 8:21) and thus to live our moral life in a way worthy of our sublime vocation as 'sons in the Son'."
Pope John Paul II
Veritatis Splendor, par. 18
Our journey of faith is life-long. It is not a one-time deal. We have to continue to choose Christ in the way that we live and love our neighbor. Sometimes our walk begins to distance us from Christ, but always He is there, calling us back to Him.
One Christmas I spent a significant amount of time searching for a very specific gift...it took alot of time because I was trying to get a more expensive item at a "sales price"...so I had to do quite a bit of shopping. Finally I found just the right one and was so excited that the person receiving this gift would be getting "more" than what I could really afford to get them since I found the item at such a deal. I gave the gift with such excitement and joy, and then was told by the person that I could take the gift back to the store because they had already purchased that item and didn't need my gift.
It was like someone had punched me in the gut. All the love, time and effort I had spent in choosing the perfect gift and it was rejected. My feelings were really hurt that they rejected the gift I worked hard to give. It occurred to me yesterday that in a much bigger way, that is how God must feel when we reject the gift of His Son. He offers us Jesus, his own Son crucified for our sins but we are too busy watching tv, spending too much time on the internet, partying, moving our way up the corporate ladder, or being overly concerned with money and material things to notice. Perhaps we accepted His Son for awhile, but then our heart grew cool and we gave that gift back.
While I thought about how God must feel with so many people rejecting Him, I felt overwhelmed with sorrow at how it must feel to God, as a Father to have your child, your only Son rejected. I thought about how it must feel to Jesus who suffered tremendously on the Cross for our sins so that we might receive the gift He offers. But so many don't even want the gift. Being a mother, I thought of Mary. How would it feel as a mother to watch your Son and Savior be crucified, and after what your own child went through to see Him still repeatedly rejected by the very people He has died for?
Oh Jesus, have mercy on us today and bring so many hearts to You this Advent season. Open our own hearts so that You may truly make our heart Your home, Your resting place. Cleanse us from our sin and bring us to a holier life with You!