SAINTS-IN-THE-MAKING: COME BACK TO YOUR TRUE SELF GRAVITY OF GOD’S LOVE
Pope Benedict XVI used gravity as the metaphor for the working of grace. “The Fathers of the Church maintained that human beings stand at the point of intersection between two gravitational fields,” he said. The Pope was pointing to the fact that the modern mind needs help in grappling with religious concepts that seem far removed from everyday experience. It must not be suggested that the force fields the Pope is talking about could be detected in the laboratory. They are neither literal nor imaginary—they are metaphorical and metaphysical; they refer to another reality. One gravitational field pulls us down, distancing us from God; the other is the gravitational force of God’s Love, drawing us towards him. “Man finds himself betwixt this twofold gravitational force,” said the Pope. “Everything depends on our escaping the gravitational field of evil and becoming free to be attracted completely by the gravitational force of God.”
Humanity tries to become God-like, elevating itself by its own efforts, but the more it tries, the further it slips back. The gravitational force of God cannot be felt by one’s unaided efforts. God himself has to intervene, and this intervention through Christ is recalled at Easter. Lent is the time to begin a serious reflection on this twofold gravitational force. It is evident that there is a decline in religious belief and practice in the West. But there is no equivalent rise in alternatives to religion. The real problem then is not outright hostility but INDIFFERENCE, a sense that religion has nothing to say that is useful or interesting. Yet people grapple daily with deep problems affecting their own well-being—their relationships, their security, their own happiness and prosperity. It is here that they encounter the twofold gravitational pull: one towards the better, one towards the worse. This is a mystery taught by life itself. Attempts to move to the better by one’s own efforts can easily prove counterproductive. People caught in quicksand sink faster under their own gravity the more they struggle to get out of it—unless the grace of God is also with them: the upward pull from outside. Here enter the graces of LENT. Coming home to our true selves is what Lent is all about. Just as the Prodigal Son would make the journey home to his Father, so we too have to come home to who we really are—God’s own presence within us.
This prayer might help: “Lord Jesus, gentle and wonderful God my Father, truly awesome and ever-present Holy Spirit: in my grief be with me and change my heart; in my anger be with me and change my heart; in my pain be with me and change my heart; in my doubt be with me and change my heart; in my wrongful passions be with me and change my heart. I am sorry for all my dark emotions, so change me into your likeness: change me into your likeness so that I may walk in your JOY; change me into your likeness so that I may walk in your PEACE; change me into your likeness so that I may walk in your SERENITY; change me into your likeness so that I may walk in your CERTAINTY; change me into your likeness so that I may walk in your RIGHTEOUSNESS AND HOLINESS. All these I humbly pray in the name of my most Blessed Lord, Jesus Christ, my mighty God and Father, and my ever-present Holy Spirit upon whom I can rely. Amen.”