"Not so easily was I remade as made. He spoke and all things were made. But while he made me simply and at once by a word, he has in the remaking of me said many words, and worked wonders and suffered much." (St. Bernard)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A Paradise of Blessings

Since the beginning of the Lord’s mission here in Ecuador 2014 we have been moving, sometimes sprinting, to do all that the Lord is asking of us. There are and have been tremendous blessings, often blessings in disguise. For, ‘the fear of God is a paradise of blessings; its canopy, all that is glorious (Sir. 40:27)’. This particular passage came to me when we were praying at the waterfalls during our desert day. I looked around and realized that we are truly in a paradise, and we had found, or had been led to, this incredible hidden treasure. The wealth of God’s love and His mercy overflows and never ceases. Furthermore, it seems that if we desire to encounter something great, something that truly endures, real beauty, we must work hard and persevere through every trial, weakness and struggle that we surely will face as we make that journey. For instance, it was not easy task to get to the waterfall. We tracked through mud, uphill, sometimes slipping and falling. There were times when our hands were pierced as we caught ourselves on a tree with spines. How similar is the spiritual life!

Certainly, I have come to discover that in mission life those trials, weaknesses and struggles do not lack. Everything, whether hidden or in the open, good or bad, is under God’s canopy. Many little treasures await us, and many difficulties. Are we going to accept all that comes to us? Including those moments of great silence from Him, and when we ‘feel’ nothing… are we going to accept those too? They will make us holy. They are preparing us, sanctifying us. By accepting ALL from Him, we fear the Lord, trusting in His goodness and His Fatherly love. Everything is glorious with God, He who made all things. If we rightly acclaim that this paradise is glorious, then we rightly give credit to Him who is Glory!

This is real life. And it is incredible! Don’t let the world lie to you. You are not in chains; you are not incarcerated. You are free in Him! He who is life, the eternal fountain, provides water that will never cease to flow and if we come to drink we shall never thirst again. Yes… everything is a blessing, a gift from our Almighty Father. From shoving our way onto an overcrowded bus to the 8-year old kid selling candy and cigarettes in a dangerous city at night. This is real life. From the 10-year old girl telling me she is afraid of her father to the homeless lady and her daughter praising and thanking the Lord and kissing our hands because we prayed with her and gave her food. This is certainly real life. From the half-crazed man spitting obscenities at us to the powerful testimony of a father and husband who worked to change his life and leave alcohol behind. And how can I forget about the man with the knife. These may not all seem like blessings at first, but don’t forget about our true destination as Christians. It is our destination which we long for, towards which our eyes should be fixed, which transforms even the most tragic of evils into blessings. Praise God, He is so powerful! Through these difficulties (blessings) we must travel, for we are pilgrims. We have always been pilgrims since the beginning, traveling and wandering, knowing that this is not our permanent resting place. We should never permit this world to be permanent in our hearts. For, our true resting place is in His Sacred Heart. For it was His heart that was pierced, not ours, nor the world’s. The veil was ripped, the heart was torn, permitting us access to the One True and Living God, the fountain of eternal life. And we enter through Jesus Christ.

Sirach 40:27,  Hebrews 4:1,  John 4:14,  James 1:2-3