I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day.
This Lent there have been a number of us reading and discussing the book, Tattoos on the Heart by Fr. Greg Boyle. In his very first chapter Fr. Boyle says, “God can get tiny, if we’re not careful.” He goes on to tell how he received his touchstone image of God by way of his spiritual director, Bill Cain, S.J.
Years ago he (Bill Cain) took a break from his own ministry to care for his father as he died of cancer. His father had become a frail man, dependent on Bill to do everything for him. Though he was physically not what he had been, and the disease was wasting him away, his mind remained alert and lively. In the role reversal common to adult children who care for their dying parents, Bill would put his father to bed and then read him to sleep, exactly as his father had done for him in childhood. Bill would read from some novel, and his father would lie there, staring at his son, smiling. Bill was exhausted from the day’s care and work and would plead with his dad, “Look, here’s the idea. I read to you, you fall asleep.” Bill’s father would impishly apologize and dutifully close his eyes. But this wouldn’t last long. Soon enough, Bill’s father would pop one eye open and smile at his son. Bill would catch him and whine, “Now, come on.” The father would again, oblige, until he couldn’t anymore, and the other eye would open to catch a glimpse of his son. This went on and on, and after his father’s death, Bill knew that this evening ritual was really a story of a father who just couldn’t take his eyes off his kid. How much more so God? Anthony De Mello writes, “Behold the one beholding you, and smiling.”
God would seem to be too occupied in being unable to take Her eyes off of us to spend any time raising an eyebrow in disapproval. What’s true of Jesus is true for us, and so this voice breaks through the clouds and comes straight at us. “You are my Beloved, in whom I am wonderfully pleased.” There is not much “tiny” in that.
This coming Wednesday, March 18th, we will have our Parish Reconciliation Service at 7:00 p.m. If you are not able to make this Service, Our Lady of Presentation will have their Reconciliation Service on Sunday, March 22nd, at 7:00 p.m. Pope Francis reminds: “God never tires of forgiving us…No one can strip us of the dignity bestowed upon us by this boundless unfailing love. With a tenderness which never disappoints, but is always capable of restoring our joy, he makes it possible for us to lift up our heads and to start anew.” There is not much “tiny” in that either. You are invited to come and encounter God’s great love in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.