“The glories of the Lord and his might
and the marvelous deeds he has done.”
|Genesee Path 2013|
Everything I was has been absolved by God's merciful love. Greater than the love of this mercy is the love that wounds in recognizing that even while seemingly apart from Him, I was always His. This belonging remained near to me even as I remained far from Him. That we are His is reason for rejoicing and inspiration for ongoing conversion through the Cross. To know our eternal belonging is the beginning of joy on earth and the sustenance to endure until we meet Him face to face.
If we are attentive to the inner transformation we experience in turning from sin to a life of striving to embrace and live according to God’s precepts, we quickly recognize how absolutely difficult this is if left to our own esteem, and if we have little love for God.
There is a necessity to return to the remembrance of God’s goodness, to reside in it so that we are constantly pulled deeper toward His reality and will for us, rather than to the baseness of our passions and sinful inclinations.
To see ourselves in light of God’s love should inspire our wonder. The amazing realization that we indeed belong to Him should continue to motivate our desire to fit the mold of what this belonging implies. To recall the “marvelous deeds he has done” does not need to take us solely into Scripture and study, but into our very hearts, and into reflection of our own life.
This remembrance should not inspire a dwelling in the muck of sinful memories or the lowly places where we may have lurked before, but motivate an honest account of the loving grace that helped out-root this way of life, and it should never be forgotten. We should be cautious as to not become scrupulous in this process, but work instead toward cultivating a deeper gratitude to God for His mercy, for His love, to remember His faithfulness and the power of transformative grace.
It is when we loosely remember the glory that God personally brought us, the mercy He so lovingly extended to us, that we forget the need for obedience to Him presently. When we are weak to remember His goodness to us, then the good we do for Him and the glory we bring to Him becomes weak also. To recall God’s goodness encourages our perseverance in the Christian life, and primarily our endurance in love of what is truly good, and makes more possible our loving of another. How often we can quickly judge those we deem “sinners” neglecting our own, and worse forgetting from where we came and our shared potential for sin.
As my birthday approaches each year since my conversion and “lightening bolt” God moment I find myself more reflective than usual about my past. It is a source of great humility for me, and one of renewing my understanding and gratitude for God’s unconditional love, and the power of His mercy.
I live with the thorn of my past in my side. Not in a scrupulous way, but it reminds me time and time again of God’s goodness and mercy in my life. It reminds me of the ongoing journey of conversion. I used to fear encountering those who knew me before I began practicing my faith. I was worried about their judgement and truthfully a bit self absorbed in how “they” would see me, or remember me. Over time I began to recognize the amazing way God’s transforming grace spoke through in these encounters and eventually brought great joy. Hearing “there’s something so different about you” reminded me of the Someone greater than all of us that knocked me off my horse! The memories, not so glorious have been healed by our Lord, but every now and then there is the grace of a thorn prick to remind me Who God is and who I am not. A prick that corrects my judgement and allows me to recognize that being perfect is not important to serve God. The prick of the thorn reminds me to see others through the lens of my own brokenness and not with partiality.
May we always remember God's mercy to us so that we will renew ourselves in love.
“God shows no partiality (Acts 10:34). He does not take account of nobility of birth, length of time in his service, or the number of our good works. What counts with God is a devout soul’s increased fervor and more ardent love. He does not consider how you once behaved, but what you have now begun to be.” – St. Bonaventure