Chapter Talk – 19th Sunday of the Year – August 7, 2022, cycle-C
Stay awake… for what? For whom? Be aware…vigilant…have your lamps lit…why?
Fears, anxieties, confusion, uncertainty…. silence.
Imagine an encounter: I and Christ…or Christ and I: fears, anxieties, confusion, uncertainty: in the living encounter of faith what happens to these ‘pulls’ of the heart, these pulls of life’s happenings? A voice in the present says: ‘Do not be afraid’…contained within the words of the Divine voice is the hope, the saving word. Imagine facing these emotional pulls with no ‘I-Thou’ connection. What is this experience like? We fall into a whirlwind of voices and thoughts that toss us into chaos. However, always there is the something more…the Divine voice is present…silence calls, silence bids us ever deeper. Into silent depths, holding on to a faith that may be tiny…still a tiny faith is strong…and this small faith as it passes through trials does become a great faith…We all have the possibility for great faith. But will we meet the uncertainties before us holding to the anchor of faith in the encounter with Christ?
Pope Francis, in commenting on this Sunday’s gospel (Lk 12:32-48) said: “Those who trust in God know well that the life of faith is not something static, but rather dynamic” (Angelus, August 11, 2019). If the life of faith is dynamic then this tells us that we will struggle with doubts not unlike Peter in the gospels, but these encounters, as we witness with Peter, only deepen faith, and deepen our understanding of God’s ways and movement in our lives.
“The lamp of faith requires being continuously nourished by the heart-to-heart encounter with Jesus in prayer and in listening to his Word,” said Pope Francis. ‘The lamp of faith’, the light of faith…faith brings light to the inner life…It shines the light of God’s presence in our human lives. Our gospel says: “Gird your loins and light your lamps and be like servants who await their master’s return…” So: be ready…light the lamp of faith…waiting for the encounter with the One who is coming, ever again…With this demeanor of faith what happens in the parable? There is a reversal to our normal way of thinking: the Master returns and begins to serve his servants, not the other way around! This is the transformative power of faith: the Master sees the heart, sees the servant’s total availability to God…And then God lavishes love upon us, graces us beyond our imaginings. The light of faith opens the heart for the living encounter with Christ. And faith gets stronger with each heart-to-heart meeting with God’s beloved Son. We miss the so many encounters with the Divine presence when the light of faith is not lit!
Thomas Merton wrote: “But above all, faith is the opening of an inward eye, the eye of the heart, to be filled with the presence of Divine light” (New Seeds of Contemplation, p.130). A beautiful image: faith opens the eye of the heart…and this opening enables the heart to see, to behold the Divine light with its wisdom, its sustaining love, its power to save and heal. Let us be vigilant before darkness, before all that creates darkness inside and out, and light the lamp of faith with our ‘yes’ to serve and love to the end, as we follow the Beloved One, who goes before us, always. Amen.
Sr. Kathy DeVico, Abbess