March 9, 2013

Grace: A heartfelt knowledge of Jesus Christ who became man for me, that I might follow Him more closely and love Him more dearly.

This week we have been praying for a deeper knowledge of the God who became man for us. Specifically, we’ve begged for the grace, “to have heartfelt knowledge of Jesus who is the Son of God and my brother, so that I may love him more fervently and follow him more closely.” Because of the incarnational nature of our faith, we desire more than a mere intellectual knowledge of the Lord. What we seek is a transformation of our entire being—body, soul, and spirit—through an encounter with the living God. As Benedict XVI taught us in his encyclical Deus caritas est, “Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.” The God whom we adore is not the God of the philosophers but the God of love who took on flesh in order to save us. In the memorable words of Gerard Manley Hopkins, Jesus Christ is “infinity dwindled to infancy.”

St. Ignatius of Loyola would have us to reflect on this marvellous truth by recalling that the Second Person of the Trinity took on so many hardships, perils, and sufferings not only out of a general love for humanity but, in a deeply personal and intimate way, He did it all for you. He lay in a crèche in Bethlehem bound in swaddling clothes out of love for you. He and His mother and father suffered persecution and fled the wrath of Herod out of love for you. And he lived for thirty years laboring as any ordinary man in anonymity in Nazareth out of love for you. All the while, he prepared for the ultimate expression of His love for you in His passion and Cross.

As you look back on the meditations from this week, where was your heart most touched by the love of God? Where were you able to “flesh out” your knowledge of God by encountering the Word Made Flesh as a child or as a man living His hidden life? Return to one of the moments where you found the most fruit in prayer this week and linger there a while with the Lord who, though divine, took on flesh in order to redeem you.

March 9th, 2013