16 February 2006: Thursday of the 6th Week in Ordinary Time
Mark 8: 27-33: Who am I? Jesus asked Peter. “You are the Lord.”
Today we focus our reflection on our image of God. We ask these questions to help us focus our attention to our image of God: Who is Christ for you? What is your image of God?
The reasons for focusing on our image of God are the following. First, it will define our relationship with God. For example, if God is punishing and punitive, who seeks revenge when we do wrong, then our life is wrought in fear. We hide from God. We do not go to Church, because we know we have done wrong. Or, life is full of anxiety, because at some point in the near future, I would be faced with misfortune, fail, or something worse might happen as a punishment for my sins. However, if God is a loving Father. Then life is wrought in love. We seek God. We go to Church, even if we know we have done wrong. And life is full of forgiveness and mercy. We come to back to God and ask for forgiveness, knowing in one’s heart that we will be forgiven and God will accept us as we are.
Second, it will determine our actions. If God is punishing and punitive, then we will be punishing of ourselves. We will be self-inflicting. If we have committed a mistake, we would punish ourselves through many forms. A familiar way of being self-inflicting is working till you drop. In addition, we would not forgive others who have hurt us. We will seek revenge, if not, we celebrate when they undergo pain. We say: Mirisi, Gaba, Karma, Buti nga. On the other hand, if God is a loving Father. We would be appreciative of ourselves and our gifts. We would be accepting of our limitations. A person who fails picks up the pieces with a happy disposition. We would be caring and charitable towards other people and we would be at home with being loved.
Third, it will determine our prayer. If God is punishing and punitive, prayer becomes a list of achievements and good things about ourselves (we do not include the bad things). Conversely, prayer is all about our big sins. However, if God is a loving Father, we tell Him what we need, we thank Him for the graces we received, or simply be undisturbed when resting in the hands or embrace of the Father.
When we begin to know who God is for us, and we are able to label our relationship with him, it is like finding God. Fr. Pedro Arrupe SJ, our former Superior General wrote this which illustrate what happens to a person who finds God, who knows who God is in His life.
Nothing is more practical than finding God,
That is, than falling in love
In a quite absolute, final way.
What you are in love with,
What seizes your imagination,
Will affect everything.
It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning,
What you do with your evenings,
How you spend your weekends,
What you read, who you know,
What breaks your heart,
And what amazes you with joy and gratitude.
Fall in love, stay in love and it will decide everything.
* Loyola House of Studies. Photo by Neo Saicon SJ