Domine, ut videam.
I am going through the spiritual exercises with my spiritual director. This morning during prayer, I was meditating on Mark 12:28-34, when Jesus is asked which commandment is most important.
Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
As part of the exercises, I was asked to think about how I resist loving or being loved.
This answer was easy–I struggle to love others. I’ve known this most of my life. I can be very critical and judgmental, and it’s hard to love others when you’re busy focusing on and criticizing them for their faults.
What took me a little longer to learn was that I don’t love myself. I am very critical of myself. Long story short, I DO love my neighbor as I love myself–which is, hardly. I’m very hard on all of us.
It is hard to love when you have very little love inside of you.
But God is good, and over the past few years under the direction of the Holy Spirit, I have been learning and accepting that God loves me very much. I have been doing my best to empty myself, and all of this has given God the space to fill my heart with His love, which then bubbles over onto those around me.
It is so easy to love when you are bubbling over with God’s love. I think that’s the key to sainthood. Love, they say, makes you do crazy things. The saints show that God’s love enables you over come everything.
So, this morning, as I sat, coffee in one hand and kleenex in the other, I read my old prayer journal entries and thought, “Wow, Jesus… how long is this all going to take?” There is so much for Him to heal, and I know I am just at the beginning.
My meditation time came to an end, and it was time to go to Mass, but because God loves me so much, even though my meditation time was over, He still had some things to say to me, and He was louder than normal.
At Mass, we celebrated Quinquagesima Sunday, the last Sunday before Lent. The first reading was the ultimate reading on love: 1 Corinthians 13.
This reading is always such a great reminder that no act of worship or prayer is of value without love. That is how important love is to God.
As I sat there, thinking, “I have so much to work on,” Father began the gospel, the story of the blind man at Jericho.
As I listened to Father read this in Latin, I began to meditate on these words:
“And they understood none of these things and this saying was hidden from them, neither did they get to know the things that were being said.”
Jesus told them, as plainly and directly as He could have, without parable or simile or story, what would happen to Him in Jerusalem.
“He will be delivered to the Gentiles, and will be mocked and scourged and spit upon; and after they have scourged Him, they will put Him to death; and on the third day He will rise again.”
And they understood NONE of it. He might as well have been speaking Chinese.
How do we know this? Look at what did they when it all came to pass!
They ran. They hid. Peter betrayed him. Judas betrayed him and killed himself. (Judas was there when Jesus said these words! He heard Jesus say this. too!) When Jesus was crucified, they hid in the Upper Room for days until Jesus showed Himself to them, and even then, some of them didn’t believe it–even though He told them what would happen.
This is why I love the Apostles. They were so human. They were just like us.
As I sat in church, thinking of this, I thought back to my morning meditations.
I was complaining that my healing and spiritual maturing was taking so long. Why wasn’t I a saint yet, God? Why haven’t I stopped committing sins? Why am I still like this?
The Apostles spent three years in the daily physical presence of the Son of God, and STILL didn’t understand these plain words… that made me feel better.
Why didn’t they understand Jesus?
Because God didn’t want them to just yet.
They weren’t ready. They needed the Holy Spirit to completely get it.
They couldn’t even understand Jesus’ words using their own brains–they needed the grace of God.
So… why am I not healed yet? Why do I still commit the same sins? Why do I still struggle…? Why am I not yet a saint?
There is a reason that God knows and I do not.
His grace is enough for me.
But God still wasn’t finished, because, after the confused Disciples, came the blind man at Jericho, and what did he say to Jesus?
Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!
Iesu, fili David, miserére mei.
And Jesus asked,
What would you have Me do for you?
And he said, Lord, that I may see.
Dómine, ut vídeam.
And Jesus said to him, Receive your sight, your faith has saved you.
Here I was, lamenting my blindness, and Jesus answered me.
Where is your faith?
Have you asked to see?
Your faith will save you.
Eventually, the Disciples’ blindness was healed, and they saw Jesus in His Divinity, and they saw God’s plans for them. They emptied their hearts of their own wishes and desires for the Messiah, and instead, allowed Him to fill their hearts with His love, so they could go to the ends of the earth with His message.
That is what God wants for all of us.
We just have to empty ourselves and ask to see.
A few years ago, I wrote this prayer for Lent. I will pray it this year, as well, and I will trust that, in God’s time, I will be the saint He made me to be.
Until then, His grace is enough.
I seek nothing more than to please You and grow closer to You.
Purify my heart and my intentions, Father.
Bring me closer to You.
Prepare a place in my heart and home for silence and solitude,
so I can hear Your voice and know Your will for me.
Help me fast from the things that threaten the health of my soul
and body, which keep me attached to this world,
and which create noise to prevent me from hearing and knowing You.
Enlarge my heart so I can be generous, like Zacchaeus.
Open my eyes, so I can see, like Bartimaeus.
Open my ears, like you did for the deaf man.
Heal me, like You healed the paralytic.
Dispel the demons that surround me, as you did for the Gerasene.
Bring me back from death, as You did to Lazarus.
I seek nothing but Your will, Lord.
I know that I can do all things in You.