Monday, August 26, 2013

Raise Me from My Small Horizons

Memorial of St. Monica

By Beth DeCristofaro

Our exhortation was not from delusion or impure motives, nor did it work through deception. But as we were judged worthy by God to be entrusted with the Gospel, that is how we speak,  not as trying to please men, but rather God, who judges our hearts(1 Thessalonians 2:3-4)

Jesus said: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.  You pay tithes of mint and dill and cummin  and have neglected the weightier things of the law: judgment and mercy and fidelity. (Matthew 23:23)


“Who can free himself from his meanness and limitations, if you do not lift him to yourself, my God, in purity of love?
How will a person
Brought to birth and nurtured in a world of small horizons,
Rise up to you Lord.
If you do not raise him by your hand which made him?
You will not take from me, my God,
What you once gave me
In your only Son, Jesus Christ,
In whom you gave me all I desire;
So I shall rejoice:
You will not delay, if I do not fail to hope.”
        (Prayer of a Soul in Love, St. John of the Cross, “The Impact of God”, Fr. Ian  Matthew, Hodder & Stoughton, p. 50)


Jesus, St. Monica, Paul, St. John of the Cross shared an intensive, on-fire love of God.   God filled them not their own wants and desires.  Paul denies the “small horizons” with which the Thessalonians accused him of deceit and self-aggrandizement.  Jesus points out to the temple leaders the “small horizons” of their own suffocating hold on power.  In part Monica’s large horizons and faith brought her family and her son, Augustine to a true faith.  John of the Cross recognizes God’s limitless love for him and for us created beings.   God’s abundant generosity lifts us above our small horizons if we ask for God’s love which we constantly and misguidedly seek elsewhere.


This passage from Matthew ends with Jesus identifying to the Pharisees that they clean the visible, the public, outside of their cups while leaving the interior filthy.  Our own agendas muck up the inside of our bowls.  What desires and wants fill us up leaving less room for God to fill us?  Pray with St. John of the Cross to be raised above our small horizons.  Then act on it, even if you don’t yet feel the difference.  Be love to someone in a way which challenges your own wants and desires.  Be Jesus to her.  See Jesus in him.

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