June 22, 2017
My brothers and sisters,
Earlier this week, I led a discussion at work on the development of understandings of “person” and “human dignity” in history. One of the things we discussed, and one of the things each person is meant to discover, is the place of personal experience in understanding objective realities: about himself, about the world, about God. To talk about “human dignity” without having ever experienced your own is to run into a hard, immovable wall.
In this same way, the event that is meant to shape our entire life is an encounter with Christ himself, with the living God. It is the supreme form of knowledge: an existential, experiential coming-into-contact with our destiny and Creator, the one who gives us our identity, an identity we cannot construct on our own. To try to construct—our name, our gender, our vocation, our place—is to burden ourselves beyond our capacity to bear, and God will go to no ends to shatter the illusions we may have.
I wanted to write today from a very personal space, in answer to the question that I’m sure lurks subconsciously for each of us: But what does any of this actually mean? It has taken me a long time to discover a deeper dimension to these words.
My own encounter with even the barest possibility of touching, of tasting, the person of Christ (and not just an idea, not just a moral code, but his person, his voice and his heart and his emotions) began in a dimly-lit church, in the confessional, in a moment that flipped everything upside down: I met a priest, and he saw me, and loved me, and spoke words of truth into my heart, and brought into consciousness a thirst that I had buried deeper than I could touch myself after years of trauma. True trauma, gritty trauma, has a way of breaking the most natural hope in the heart for happiness and for relationship. There is nothing like having the experience of truth pour into you when you come face-to-face with another who knows Jesus, whose entire being can speak to you a knowledge of Jesus. You walk away from the encounter, and your entire being cries, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus—where are you? How can I have more of you? Break through everything so that you may be my only One, my One and my All!
So an encounter? It opens the possibility. My entire being yearns with hope that you all have this fundamental encounter, and may it be an encounter that brings you to your knees before the crucifix. You want to encounter the spark, the thirst—because, once you thirst, once you thirst just once, you would have to lie to your very being, to your own heart, designed for truth, to turn away from it again. This is how we know Jesus lives. Once he finds us, even in the deepest cavern, he never—ever—lets us go.
And, better yet, we can then stop trying, stop scrambling, stop fighting—and just say, “Give me me. You’ve come chasing after me—to give me me.”
Do you wish to know more intimately Our Lady, who mediates our encounters?
I'm coming back to the heart of worship
And it's all about You,
It's all about You, Jesus
I'm sorry, Lord, for the thing I've made it
When it's all about You,
It's all about You, Jesus
The Heart of Worship – Matt Redman
(Cover by Tommee Profitt & McKenna Sabin)