Oh, that today you would hear his voice: “Harden not your hearts as at Meribah, as in the day of Massah in the desert, where your fathers tempted me; they tested me though they had seen my works.”
Psalm 95: 7-9
Do I really want to be tested? Does anyone? The answer to my Sunday morning rumination is obvious. “God, please don’t test me too much! Just enough to know I’m worthy of your love.”
When the Israelites left Egypt, their journey became more difficult than what they bargained for. Some wanted to turn back. And isn’t that us at times? When life takes an unwanted turn, we immediately want to know where God is and ask, “Why is this happening to me? How do I get out of this mess?”
I don’t pretend to know God’s will. None of us does. But we know that God is the source of all goodness and the foundation of our faith. We have the promise of Our Lord who, in teaching the apostles to observe all that he has commanded, added words that never fail to comfort me: “Behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20). The evangelist is reminding us of God’s eternal and ever reliable presence, no matter the challenge at hand.
Two practices can help you find the road “back home” when you feel that God is distant: I recommend prayer and meditation. Talk to God as you would to a close friend or confidante. Share your deepest thoughts. Then be still and listen. Think of prayer and meditation as important to your life as breathing. Take moments during the day to be in God’s presence so that you can accept the grace that is yours for the asking. Remember that God is with us always, ready to lift us above whatever challenge we face.
Friend, God has given us a great gift—the promise of eternal life. We are destined for glory one day with our Creator and all the saints of heaven. So the challenge is, how do we get there safely given all the ups and downs of life? St. Teresa of Avila says that prayer and meditation are not so much about thinking a lot, but loving a lot. So be a reflection of God’s love in all you do and know that God isn’t testing you or me or anyone. God is always near, ready to help welcome us home.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Father Raymond J. Finch, M.M.
Prayer for 5th Sunday
Lost, confused, frightened, and anxious
I wandered through the desert
of my own imaginings, O Lord,
feeling You had abandoned me
in my hour of need, uncaring or worse,
indifferent to my loneliness.
How I longed to return to the safe
security of selfishness and sin
from which You In Your mercy,
delivered me by Your love
life and death on the cross.
Fearful of this newfound freedom,
bought at so great a price,
I chose, instead, to wallow
in my unworthiness.
But You, infinite source of patience,
kindness and understanding,
came to be with me, despite my stubborn
foolishness and pride
to remind me of Your covenant
to remain always by my side
and with gentle prodding and humor
lead me home at last to You.
Prayer by Maryknoll Missioner, Father Joseph Veneroso