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Lately it has become more and more difficult to listen to the events going on in the world around us. Sadly, there are times when I even turn my head because I just can't take hearing another word or seeing another image. Why is this??
I've spent some time wondering why I struggle with this so deeply, and I believe that some explanations have finally begun to surface. And, aware that I am not the only one combatting this issue, I thought I would share some of my personal revelations in the hope that perhaps they may provide a sense of solidarity in thought and prayer.
Perhaps first and foremost, I find that the biggest obstacle for me is the awareness that so much of the pain, suffering, and misery that occurs is so unnecessary. In case you are wondering how I could feel I have the right to make such a comment, I believe it is because I sadly join the ranks of those who have been there, those who have experienced these particular kinds of suffering - the kinds that occurred because of our connection with sin.
I admit that I happen to hold a bit of a checkered past, and not in a good way. I hurt people and let them hurt me. I fell face-first into the culture of darkness and understand well its draw.
However, I also now understand something that goes far deeper: the needless and completely unnecessary pain and misery that exists in this culture. This pain that I am referring to would not be considered redemptive per say, although Jesus has the power to make it so if we, on our part, were to actually offer up this suffering. The kind of misery that I refer to is that which is the direct result of sin.
Yes, I recognize that technically all suffering is the result of sin. But I'm not referring to the suffering that occurs so directly due to the sin of our first parents, like sickness and death for example. What I am pointing out is the suffering that is more recent, more acute, as a result of the act of sin, the environment of sin, and being surrounded by a climate of brokenness that filters in its dillusion mostly sadness and heartache.
And I think that this is where my problem begins. My heart aches for these people - my people. I long to reach them and show them that there is another way.
It is so easy for us to get angry and denounce those that we hear about on TV and cyberspace, especially in our current political climate. Thoughts of "Are they crazy? Can't they see what they are doing? They claim to be Christian or, at the very least, American, but their actions are horrific and prove otherwise" can't help but pass through our minds. And this is the cruz: in a way they are crazy. But not necessarily crazy in its immediate interpretation. Their hearts have been crazed with a sickness of dillusion that the devil has done well to deceive. He is the master at it, and without exposure and a full dousing of extraordinary grace, these people are lost to it. Many of them, if not most, have no clue that there is even another way. And, if they have heard of any, they believe that we are the ones suffering from a dillusion. How could anyone find happiness in something or someone that can't be seen and demands so much?
Likewise, if they are tempted to believe at all, this knowledge would demand change, and their already hardened hearts either confound them from figuring out where to begin, or convince them that change would be impossible.
I have mentioned before that I have been attempting to spend more time in getting to know the Holy Spirit in a more intimate way. Astounding things have happened in my life since I have begun doing this, with one in particular that directly affects this topic. As I spend time with the Holy Spirit as I would a friend, I have several times been completely filled with an intense love for those who do not know Him. The Holy Spirit has revealed in astonishing clarity the depth of His love for those who suffer needlessly. When I experience this, I long to run out and tell everyone I meet about this boundless, unconditional Love - yes - Love with a capital L. I want to run to the city streets and hug every soul I see in the hopes that each hug would somehow communicate even a small drop of this Love, because it would be all they would ever need.
I know...for some of you I may have just appeared to go off of the deep end. When I was younger (or maybe even a few years ago), I might have felt concern or doubt in hearing such words myself.
However, there are really no words to actually explain what happens when one experiences the Holy Spirit in like ways. I can say that I do understand Pentecost more profoundly now. Leaving the room where they had been hiding, the Apostles were compelled to rush through the streets, speaking the truth as the Holy Spirit prompted them. No longer were they confined by their fears. The result? Thousands were converted, starting an avalanche of conversions that would continue to present day.
The Trinity is in love with each of us. We often experience and discover the love of the God the Father. We hear about the indescribable love of Jesus Christ the Son. And we have been told about the boundless love of the Holy Spirit that we have experienced through the Sacraments. Each of these realities of love are considered separately on a regular basis.
But, I propose a new reflection for some: Imagine being loved to such an unfathomable degree by three Persons! Have we really spent time thinking about it in this way? I know that I haven't.
And I have been missing out all of these years.
Such reflection may be almost impossible to grasp, but if we were to even understand it minutely we should be greatly comforted.
May the Love of the Trinity be made known to each of us. May it inspire us to believe that change is possible and needless suffering can be eased. May our lives that bear the mark of the Holy Spirit be not afraid to proclaim His name to the rooftops, prompting an avalanche that will touch every soul.
And may the Holy Spirit rush in an avalanche over this battle-torn world, filling every crevice with His healing and exhilarating promise of new life!
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