Thursday, August 04, 2016

Daily word, 04 Aug 16

St. John Vianney, Memorial (04 Aug 2016)
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J., 8-day Directed Retreat
God’s Heartbeat
I’m convinced Sts. John Vianney and Ignatius Loyola enjoy one another’s company in heaven’s dwelling places.1 They reminisce how on earth both struggled with studies. Neither let his weakness or his limitations drown his desire. Both desired what God desired. God’s desire is God creating us each moment to be our true selves. A person’s deep de-sires—desires in sync with what is life-giving and fulfill-ing—draw us onward toward growing more complete. If Ignatius did not have a roommate who tutored him in Greek, he probably would never been able to earn his Master of Arts. An education was the only way for him to be who God created, a master teacher of prayer and discernment. Similarly St. John Vianney long wanted to be a priest, yet he withdrew from seminary because he could not understand Latin lectures: all lectures were in Latin. John sought private tutoring. More than being ordained John became who God created: one who, with key helpers, raised girls out of poverty; and who was the most patient and energetic confessor.2

For us our scriptures more keenly focus Christian desire language. Our desire for God and God’s creating work on our behalf is pure gift. Jeremiah expressed God’s desire; hear God address us: I will place my law within you…I will write it upon your hearts; I will be your God, and you shall be my people. …All, from least to greatest, shall know me, says the Lord. God desires intimate nearness with us; God creates us each moment with God’s longings within us. As we grow more aware of them some of our deep longings cause us to wonder, worry—even be frightened.

I can feel a question bubbling inside someone: why do we have such great difficulties when God creates us this way? Jesus put it crisply to Peter, who represents us as he represented the disciples and speaks for us: we are humanly wise not wise according to God’s heart. For Peter it revolved around suffering: Peter desired no suffering for Jesus. Later did Peter freely desire what Jesus desired: to collaborate fully with God’s heart, with God’s ever-creating, live-giving desire. What of us?

We are close to God’s heart the more we want what Jesus wants. In touch with God’s desires Jesus felt his desires more strongly, more clearly, and he lived from them. Such a relationship scripture names faith—keeping ourselves in the orbit of God’s creative, healing presence. Modelling our faith on Jesus’ faith frees us to respond to others like the One who was fully free, integrated and alive. Wanting what Jesus wants allows us to engage our corners of the world—including to struggle, to face our fears, even to suffer—by doing all things in ways fully worthy of humans. Doing all things in ways fully worthy of humans is the way the world learns God’s heart. With Jesus we are God’s beating heart in our world. We embody God’s desires for the sake of our world and one another.

  1. John 14.2.
  2. A brief synopsis of the saint the Church celebrates.
Wiki-image by Klapi of Vianney statue CC BY-SA 3.0

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