Friday, June 9, 2017

Grounded on the Word of God

I heard someone speak recently about the importance of Scripture, and I decided that now might be a good time to check on my "grillwork.'

In our analogy, a "cloistered heart" is a person who wants to live totally for God with no ifs, no ands, no buts. Our life is our monastery. Our cloister, or "enclosure," is the will of God in which we choose to dwell.

Our "grille" is also the will of God, through which we seek to view and respond to all of life. Just as some who live in physical enclosures interact with the world outside through panels of grillwork, we can view and respond to each situation and every person through the "grillwork of the will of God"  as revealed in Scripture and Church teaching.

It is all very basic. It's all very simple. It is an analogy which has been developing for more than thirty years now, and I strive to live it. Yet how quickly my eyes can drift away from looking at everything through Scripture. It takes just one roll of the spiritual eyeballs, and my focus has changed.

Someone once told me of reading Scripture to a man who was in panic as he faced a dangerous surgical procedure. The man's countenance was seen to change as he was presented with the word of God. He was given grillwork!

I must have my grillwork. How do I make sure I have it, and that it's set firmly in place before my spiritual eyes?

I find and strengthen my grillwork by prayerfully reading Scripture. "Speaking of the importance of the word of God as nourishment for the spiritual life, Vatican C II says: 'Prayer should accompany the reading of Sacred Scripture, so that God and man may talk together, for we speak to Him when we pray; we hear Him when we read the divine sayings. The reading serves as a beginning, a point of departure for the interior dialogue: the written word then becomes a living word with which God Himself lights up the depths of the recollected soul, making it understand its meaning and its  practical application for daily life. Thus, the soul advances from reading to the attitude of Mary of Bethany, who, seated at the Lord's feet, listened to His teaching. This is the precious listening which Jesus calls the 'one thing needful... the good portion..,' meaning that an hour spent listening to the words of eternal life is worth more than a thousand worldly accomplishments. Then spontaneously, the listening opens into prayer, which is the response of the soul to the Lord's word and light: adherence, acceptance, renunciation, and an impulse of love for God, renewed fervor in serving Him, resolution to do good, and thanksgiving. Sacred Scripture, particularly the Gospel, texts of the missal and breviary offer most beautiful and useful themes for meditation precisely because they are the word of God and the word of the Church.'" (Divine Intimacy Vol II by Father Gabriel OCD, Ignatius Press 1987, p. 147)

I pray that God will provide His grillwork for all of us, that we may see and respond to every situation and every person through His will. I pray that we each shall know, love, embrace, hunger for, live His holy word.  

"The Christian faith is grounded on the Word of God. This is what places it in the sovereign degree of certainty, as having the warrant of that eternal and infallible Truth. Faith which rests on anything else is not Christian." (St. Francis de Sales, The Catholic Controversy, TAN, 1989, p 83)

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