Monday, June 14
Man "finds himself from the first moment of his existence before God in search of his own being... in search of his own 'identity'" (TOB 5:5).
1. The words "before God" really struck me in this quote. They made me think about something that Thomas Merton wrote in his book Seeds of Contemplation. I'm paraphrasing here: He says that God is closer to us than we are to ourselves and that our identity is so wrapped up in God that we cannot find ourselves apart from Him. It is astounding to me how necessary God is in the process of discovery who we are! But as Gaudium et Spes tells us, "Christ fully reveals man to himself and makes his supreme calling clear." How often do we (intentionally or unintentionally) try to divorce ourselves and our identities from God.
Food for prayer: Go before the Lord and ask, "Who am I?"
2. Our wonderful teacher, Bill Donaghy, pointed out that both the animals and human beings were created on the sixth day according to the first creation story in Genesis. But God only invites man, male and female, into the seventh day, the Sabbath. To choose not to enter the Sabbath (a life in the Sabbath) is to choose to fall short of our human nature and to liken ourselves to the beasts. Dr. Peter Kreeft writes, "Our nature is a task to achieve, not a fact to receive." We are the only creatures on earth who have to choose to attain our nature. A dog is a dog. It has no choice. But humans can choose to be sub-human by acting in ways that fall short of our human nature. How often do we justify a wrongful act by claiming, "Well, it's just human nature." No! That is a lie from the pit of Hell!! Human nature is to receive and give authentic, self-giving love. And God has stamped this call right in our bodies by creating us male and female and calling us to become one flesh. Now we live in a fallen world and we must deal with concupiscence every day; so to some extent, we all fall short of our human nature. But we are also redeemed by Christ! This means that with God's grace (and only with God's grace), we can reclaim this nature for ourselves. This is why John Paul II said, "Become what you are."