“Faith widens our lens of our limited human understanding, giving us the graced view of eternal perspective to see that all is well in God. It’s the unveiled revelation of living faith that allows us to see Christ in the midst of our pain, as our hearts open up to anchor themselves in the promise of life beyond the grave, which is the ground of hope.” Mary’s Way the Power of Entrusting Your Child to God by Judy Landrieu Klein
Are you operating in a box? Are you open to the possibilities God has for you? Are you constantly looking back or dwelling in your past, unable to move beyond it?
I love these sentences from the book Mary’s Way the Power of Entrusting Your Child to God. The Blessed Mother through her faith and trust in God had an openness when she was visited by St. Gabriel and he told her she would carry the son of God in her womb. So what about us are we able to place so much trust in our faith and love of God, to be this open to say yes to whatever direction He may be guiding us to, to whatever path He is leading us on?
Today’s readings I find interesting to unpack in relation to my life, especially after reading Inner Compass by Margaret Silf. In the first reading “Elijah set out and came upon Elisha, son of Shaphat, as he was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen.” In her book, Margaret Silf writes about this very passage. One of her dear friends asked her to meditate on it. To his surprise, her reflection was centered around the eleven team of oxen plowing ahead of Elisha. She goes on to describe the skill of plowing. When a farmer is plowing, he finds a fixed point to focus on and steadily moves towards it. She says that when she reflected on this passage, she realized the fixed point in the spiritual life was Jesus and that the oxen teams ahead of us represent those in our life that are guiding us on our journey to the point of reference, Jesus. In other words, the oxen represent our spiritual friendships, saints, anyone or moment that provides a beacon for us to move forward towards Jesus. I love this visual because I can see my own yoke of oxen in my life, those that do keep me focused on Jesus.
This morning upon the very great advice of one of my spiritual friends, I meditated on this reading and today’s Psalm 16:11 – “You will show me the path to life, fullness of joys in Your presence, the delights at Your right hand forever.” As I sat there reflecting on these verses in silence waiting for God to reveal what my “path to life” is, where are my “joys in His presence,” and how will I be able to “delight at [His] right hand forever,” tears were pooling in the corners of my eyes. As I felt them, I asked God what they meant? I guess He thought I needed more tears because that question opened a flood gate of tears. I’m like “really God, not sure that’s an answer.” As I continue to wait for Him to respond on the tears, I could sense that these readings were really talking to me and the last few weeks of me flipping rocks or should I say boulders over in my life that have buried deep feelings within me. My realization in that moment was that these tears were a piece of letting go and opening myself up to a new season in my life – a season of discovery.
I have the beauty of the most amazing spiritual friends, my oxens. They keep me in check and guide me in my journey – whether they know this or not. They help keep my eyes fixed on Jesus as they help me carry the load in my journey. When Jesus says Matthew 11:30, “my yoke is easy, and my burden light,” I think He helps us to bear the load by placing these people in our life that keep us focused on Him. This is a very important reminder, another message I was reminded of by one of me spiritual friends this past week.
I also think a key for me today is that with a wide open lens through my faith, there is “life beyond the grave” – this is the “delights at [His] right hand.” And it is the ground of hope that inflames my faith in my heart. So this new season for me becomes a season of discovery, discovering a new path of my life, not looking back at my past but pushing forward with the oxen in my life keeping my eyes fixed on Jesus, the one who will always give me joy in His presence. Perhaps the tears during my meditation were tears of dumping, cleansing the burdens of my past that have filled my vessel so that I can begin to press forward in searching who I am in Christ and what my path of life will unveil. Part of me is excited to begin this new search, yet a little afraid. I am blessed that God has given me a gift to turn over the boulders and look deep within myself and recognize that I have a process that isn’t complete. I also know now why the song “God’s not done with you” by Tauren Wells keeps playing and flooding my eyes when I’m in my car. God isn’t done with my story. My story thus far has had a lot of pain, yet a lot of growth and love. The hands of God have swooped in my life in many ways and taught me there is life beyond the cross, the sun does shine above the clouds. Now I am ready to begin this new journey of finding myself and moving beyond my crosses. I embrace what they have taught me and where they have brought me in my faith journey. Now it’s time to let them go and discover new life, new crosses and new growth.
My dear sisters and brothers, I invite you to allow your faith in God to open your lens and be open to what God has in store for you – may be it’s a new path, may be it’s growth and discovery on the current path. Whatever it is, be open and obedient, keeping your eyes fixed on Jesus as you plow through life with your set of oxen that He has given you to be yoked together, lightening the load. I think this will guide you in seeing your path to life, joys in Christ’s presence and hope in awaiting the delights at the right hand of God. Blessings on this day the Lord has made.