Saturday after Ash Wednesday

Saturday after Ash Wednesday

Today is a blustery day in Saint Paul! I am not a fan of the wind. It messes things up, makes my hair go crazy, makes things dusty and seems to make it harder for the birds to fly and yet I know it also moves the seeds, helps with pollination and can provide nice relief when the temperatures are hot but too much wind and we have hurricanes, tornados and tsunamis.

I recently read that the Hebrew word for spirit, ru’ahh, literally means wind; “the wind that follows a prescribed path each season. By extension, ru’ach means the wind of a man or what is usually translated as spirit. A man’s wind is not just a spiritual entity within a man but is understood by the Ancient Hebrews as his character.” (www.ancient-hebrew.org/27_spirit.html).

Does the spirit, like the wind, follow a prescribed path each season? Does my spirit, my character, have a prescribed path? Something to ponder…

The focus for my silent time comes from todays responsorial psalm: Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth (86) and the gospel reading Luke 5, where Jesus says to Levi, follow me.

My question is, “What does it mean to follow you and to walk in your ways?” As I listened, two references came to mind: Psalm 53 and John 17. I waited a bit thinking there was more to come but nothing so I checked them out.

Here is what spoke to me today.

Psalm 53 is rather dark and brief. The Jerusalem Bible labels it “The godless man.” God is looking down upon the human race, “to see if even one is wise, if even one seeks God. All have gone astray, all alike are perverse. Not one does what is right, not even one…they do not call upon God.”

John 17, on the other hand, is very beautiful. It is called the “high priestly prayer” and is the longest prayer of Jesus in the scriptures. Jesus is directly addressing God as his Father, (not the disciples) and it is a prayer of petition, for the disciples now and of the future. It is too much to quote it here but to highlight a couple of verses. Jesus says, “I glorified you on earth by accomplishing the work that you gave me to do. Now glorify me, Father, with you, with the glory that I had with you before the world began…I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the evil one. They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth. As you sent me in to the world, so I send them into the world. And I consecrate myself for them, so that they may be consecrated in truth.”

Boy that is a lot to unpack! I think Psalm 53 is more about God’s disappointment with the people, “The fool says in his heart, ‘there is no God!’” No one is seeking God. As it relates to my prayer, “what does it mean to follow you and to walk in your ways?” I think it is the opposite: those who do not walk with God turn aside and forget to seek God for answers. This is clearly not the way to follow God!

John 17 deeply touches my heart. I am sure I have read this before but I felt like I was seeing this chapter for the first time. In one of my readings today, there was a reference to the motto of the Society of Jesus, given by its founder, Saint Ignatius of Loyola: Ad majorem Dei gloriam (For the greater glory of God). It continues, “Here is the proper motivation of the Christian life. The same message is given in the Divine Office where we read: ‘Let mind and heart be in your song: this is to glorify God with your whole self’”(Hesychius).

Jesus begins his prayer in John 17, “Father, the hour has come, glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you,..I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work which you gave me to do, and now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory which I had with you before the world was made.”

Doxazo (Greek) means glory – to praise, honor or give glory. The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible says that this verb doxazo is used 23 times in John and 38 times in the New Testament. “From a biblical perspective, the glory of God is the weight and magnificence of his Being. John shows that Jesus, the eternal Son, possesses the divine glory of his Father. This glory shines through his miracles and especially through his loving acceptance of the Cross.”

My prayer: “What does it mean to follow you and to walk in your ways?” We are called to remember to seek God; not to turn away. Perhaps we are also called to claim the motto “for the greater glory of God” – to accomplish the work we are given so we may always try to work for the greater glory of God.

What if my personal motto was “To work for the greater glory of God.”?  What if we all had this as our motto? Would selfish desires, egos and power positioning fall away? Alas, we are all human so probably not but I am going to spend my time reflecting on what it means to work for the greater glory of God.

Blissfully, Susan

1 comment (Add your own)

1. Justin wrote:
I thank you humbly for shirnag your wisdom JJWY

Wed, October 16, 2013 @ 11:45

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def. Bliss: -noun Supreme Happiness, Utter Joy/Contentment; the Joy of Paradise!