Make Room for Jesus
I have been in a spiritual battle lately, and discovered in the wee hours of the morning today that the source is- surprise surprise- pride. One of the many forms of pride is not forgiving others for what you perceive as an affront. I've had an issue with our parish priest which has led me to not wanting to go to daily Mass, although nothing can keep me away from Sunday Mass. This issue stems from my dislike of being told what to do- and our priest comes from a culture where the man is dominant and is accustomed to getting what he wants. That didn't sit well with our whole parish, a lot of feathers were ruffled and it has been an ongoing battle here. Although things leveled out, as they tend to do over time, we are still being told, instead of being shepherded. As someone who works with animals a lot, I understand the value of suggestion and direction instead of dominance and coercion.
The new changes to the Mass have been a further source of stress, not because of the wording, which I embrace as a more faithful translation of the Latin, and bringing back reverence for the Real Presence, but being asked to stand after Communion has caused a great deal of upset, not just to me but to many in our parish, even to the point where one person has refused to attend Mass. However, there is a movement afoot in Canada that many will continue to kneel, as this is not forbidden by Rome, and in fact is recommended- it's just the Canadian Bishops who think it's a good idea to stand. And of course, our priest is trying to enforce this.
Anyway, getting back to the wee hours of the morning, which is my best time for spiritual reflection, I was thinking of my sister, Sharron who had been killed by a drunk driver at the age of 16, and it would have been her 61st birthday this month, on Dec. 11, which is Gaudete Sunday, a time of joy and hope. I discovered that I hadn't really forgiven that drunken man who took her life at such an early age, and by the grace of God, at that moment I forgave him, from the bottom of my heart, and prayed for his soul. Perhaps he was the instrument God used to call Sharron home before her soul fell into mortal danger, perhaps she had to go so that I could be saved- who knows? But that act of forgiveness opened my heart to my own weakness and the realization that I can overcome my pride which causes me such angst- but only if I open my heart and soul and empty it of the attachment to that sin. It was a revelation to me, that once empty, there is room for Jesus; but not wanting Him to come into a place so recently stained, I could invite Mary in first, and just as His first dwelling place on Earth was the womb of Mary, so her presence in my soul acts as a barrier to any stain of sin that remains in me; it's as if she has spread her mantle over me in pure gossamer beauty that I can see through.
All this reminds me of the innkeepers who on that night so long ago said "no room!" when St. Joseph came knocking, seeking a place for Mary and the Babe in her womb. How long I have been like that innkeeper! How many times I have turned Him away through my stubborn pride, through sin!
Here I would like to thank all the people who have ever prayed for me, for this grace is not something I could have done on my own. Thank you, and now, if you will excuse me, I have to get ready for Mass, where I will pray for you.
St. Joseph is knocking.