Grace to you!
A priest relished an experience he had when he was a young seminarian. He came in contact with an agnostic (somebody very skeptical about faith in God) and who believed life ends here on earth. What is important, the man said, is “Enjoy yourself. Maximize the limits of pleasure. Feel good. Die and that’s the end.”
This seminarian went home and seriously reminisced his conversation with the man. He prayed all week for him, asking God to make the agnostic see that life is more than what he believed and described.
When his prayers were over, the seminarian visited the man one more time. The encounter was more welcoming. The agnostic explained he never could imagine how people think of the concept of God and believe such things.
The seminarian was silent while asking the Lord to reveal God-self to this man. The man went on with his tirade of mockery of the faith. When he was done, the seminarian asked if he could try one simple thing.
“Could you possibly think less of your control of your will and ask Jesus Christ to help you understand the signs of the time? I recognize you don’t believe,” the seminarian continued, “how about ask God to fill your heart and delight your will.”
First came sinister laughter with a touch of mockery. The agnostic wondered why he would pray to “a thing that doesn’t even exist.”
“You wouldn’t be losing anything if you gave it a try,” the seminarian replied.
“You’re probably right” he said and accepted the challenge. Not simply because he believed anything would change, but because he felt the young man was nice and gentle.
Guess what? Weeks after, the simple challenge opened the mind of this agnostic to realities beyond eating and drinking. He realized that often it isn’t that God doesn’t exist. It is that we force God out of existence in our hearts. We simply, willfully abolish God in our lives and live the lie that God is dead.
Jesus (Luke 12:54-59) asked why many could predict the weather—Everyone seems to be a meteorologist by default—but they fail to see the signs of the time or realize the spiritual.
Developing our spiritual sense is key to witnessing God within and around us. How do we grow in our spiritual identity as God’s children and see things in their right perspective, not simply as a one-sided story?
A few thoughts for our consideration: If you are not already, become a believer in the fullness of the revealed identity of God in Jesus Christ. Allow God to welcome you into the communion of love of the Trinity. God will. Your will has to be attuned to the things of God also. You see those things that becloud your spiritual sight, remove them. Reassess your priorities.
Similarly, acknowledge that without the grace of God, you can’t get deeper, nor will you grow in the Spirit. Trust in God’s grace. Nourish your spiritual life with the Word of God and the sacraments—especially Confession and the Eucharist. Much intimacy happens at the level of the encounter of these Sacred Rites. They are unbelievable channels of grace.
I pray God would continue to open the eyes of our mind so we grow in communion through the Communion of Love. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
Fr. Maurice Emelu, Ph.D.
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.