July 6, 2017
“Next [Abraham] tied up his son Isaac,
and put him on top of the wood on the altar.
Then he reached out and took the knife to slaughter his son.
But the LORD's messenger called to him from heaven,
"Here I am," he answered.
"Do not lay your hand on the boy," said the messenger.
"Do not do the least thing to him.
I know now how devoted you are to God,
since you did not withhold from me your own beloved son…
"I swear by myself, declares the LORD,
that because you acted as you did
in not withholding from me your beloved son,
I will bless you abundantly." (Genesis 22:9-12, 16-17)
My dear brothers and sisters—
This text from the first reading is among my favorites from all of Scripture, and reminds me of a beloved book that taught me how to pray: I Believe in Love, by Fr. Jean C. J. d’Elbee. I recommend it for each of you; Fr. d’Elbee meditates on the life and writings of St. Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower, and her Little Way, which is the way for each of us.
Key to her disposition was the bare, simple truth that, if God has written certain commandments into your heart; if the Lord himself has written into your heart the commandment to love with everything you have, and everything that you are, and to love him more than mother and father, sister and brother—then it means that his own heart beats with one thirst: to manifest these truths! If only we knew, if only we could experience, the way in which the being of Jesus yearns for each of us! Our own beings could not receive the passion—none of us can love with the passion with which Jesus loves us. Thus, it is in the little things especially that the Lord himself frees you to say yes to him, and to prayer, and to the Mass, and no—perhaps—to those lukewarm friendships that bring into your life nothing but tension and the disintegration of sin.
Since the glory of God is man fully alive, as St. Irenaeus once wrote, since it is good for God to set you afire in love, to give you love, then what possible reason can you imagine for Jesus to not kneel in front of you when you come to prayer and to cup, with the utmost tenderness, your cheek, and say, “Oh, sweet, little one, how I love you! It is good for you to be here with me! Tell me how much you want to love me, tell me how much you need me, tell me about the distance you feel and see between us—and I will come to bridge it! I will come into your own heart and nestle with you, where you and I can speak, in the morning and in the evening, as you sleep and when you wake, and in every moment between!”
Bring your mind to the last moment that you stood gazing upon a choice: the world or Jesus, another or Jesus; or another before Jesus, instead of another in Jesus, the world in Jesus and through the eyes of Jesus. Perhaps think back to an entire trail, of many moments, that winds further than you can remember. Now, here, begin anew—go forth with the freedom that the Lord gives you in giving you Abraham: “…that because you acted as you did in not withholding from me your beloved son, I will bless you abundantly.”
That, because you took me on my Word, because you looked at my Son and you loved him, and yearned for an encounter with his Heart more than you yearned for the world, more than its fracture, I will bless you abundantly, says the Lord; I will meet you in Heaven, in this room that I prepare for you.
Desire nothing but love, love, love; we will be measured by it alone
A Gift for the Lord:
I give you my day, starting from the moment I awake.
“The heroic minute. It is the time fixed for getting up. Without hesitation: a supernatural reflection and...up! The heroic minute: here you have a mortification that strengthens your will and does no harm to your body.” —St. Josemaria Escriva
No other name
Can heal our bodies
No other man
Can set us free
No Other Name – Laura Hackett Park