February 21, 2022
Monday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, the deep undercurrent of our readings is about the power and difficulties of faith.
James talks about how our faith can be choked by the weeds of “bitter jealousy and selfish ambition”. These chokers make us “boast and be false to the truth”. They fill us with a “pretend wisdom” that is not from the Holy Spirit.
Praying with this passage, I asked myself why we allow these ugly constraints to grasp our souls when the alternative James describes is so beautiful:
… the wisdom from above is first of all pure,James 3:17-18
then peaceable, gentle, compliant,
full of mercy and good fruits,
without inconstancy or insincerity.
And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace
for those who cultivate peace.
The Gospel helped me with an answer.
Unconditional faith is scary. It requires us to give control over to God. It asks us to let go of fear and to trust God’s Spirit within us. It needs us to empty our hearts of pretense and self-protection in order to make room for God’s transforming Mercy and Love.
This kind of faith will change us. It will make us “foolish” and insecure in worldly terms. It will cause us to live from a Wisdom the world misunderstands and mocks.
It’s hard to live that kind of faith. The dad in today’s Gospel admits it. He wants to have a faith that invites Christ’s power into his life. But he’s afraid. What if God wants something different for him and his son? What happens if he gives control over to God?
We all find ourselves within that plea sometimes in our lives. It’s a faith of “if”, “maybe”, and “but” – all of which are hardly faith at all. Unconditional faith is “Yes”, no matter what. It is the place where Faith and Love merge.
Our faithful “Yes”, as the e.e.cummings poem might describe it:
love is a place
& through this place of
(with brightness of peace)
yes is a world
& in this world of
Music: When we live this “Yes Faith”, God’s love, God’s heart lives in us. This song by Michael Hedges, based on another poem by e.e.cummings, can be a prayer for us. We may be unused to calling God “my dear”, “my darling”. But a loving name for God can be helpful to our prayer. And it is an ancient practice of mystics like St. John of the Cross. Use whatever might feel natural for you. Don’t be hesitant about being in love with God❤️
I Carry Your Heart – Michael Hedges (Lyrics below)
I carry your heart with me
I carry it in my heart
I am never without it
Anywhere i go you go, my dear
And whatever is done by only me
Is your doing, my darling.
I fear no fate
For you are my fate, my sweet
I want no world
For beautiful you are my world, my true
And it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
And whatever a sun will always sing is you
Here is the deepest secret nobody knows
Here is the root of the root
And the bud of the bud
And the sky of the sky
Of a tree called life;
Which grows higher than the soul can hope
Or mind can hide
And this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
I carry your heart
I carry it in my heart