Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Empty Yourself to Be Filled With God

By Beth DeCristofaro

(Christ Jesus) though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped.  Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and, found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. Because of this, God greatly exalted him… (Philippians 2: 6-9)

The master then ordered the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedgerows and make people come in that my home may be filled.  For, I tell you, none of those men who were invited will taste my dinner.’” (Luke 14:23-24)

Almighty God, you have generously made known to human beings the mysteries of your life through Jesus Christ your Son in the Holy Spirit.
Enlighten my mind to know these mysteries which your Church treasures and teaches. 
Move my heart to love them and my will to live in accord with them.
Give me the ability to teach this Faith to others without pride, without ostentation, and without personal gain.
Let me realize that I am simply your instrument for bringing others to the knowledge of the wonderful things you have done for all your creatures.
Help me to be faithful to this task that you have entrusted to me. Amen.       
Prayer of St. Charles Borromeo

What awesome wonder! What God chose to do for me – put aside Godness, become human with all limitations included, choose a humiliating and excruciating death – just to show how much God loves me and wants me to choose God, choose salvation rather than death and sin.  In an inspiring essay, Fr. Michael Patella, OSB, examines Paul’s lyrical epistle and points out that we are part of Christ’s body, the church, as we choose to pour ourselves out to others just as Christ did for us.  “Yet we cannot give what we do not have, and so growing with God’s grace into our own selfhood and becoming fully the persons God created us to be is the necessary first stop.  Anything less is self-annihilation and not self-sacrifice.” [i]

Part of growing into my own selfhood is looking at the less-than-perfect and knowing that God loves me in spite of those deeds.  God doesn’t want me to beat myself up nor be irresponsible and make excuses because I fail.  Rather I ask forgiveness, be more aware and empty myself a little more in outpouring love the next time.  In doing so I allow myself to edge ever closer to that awesome wonder that is my God, my Lord, my Savior.

Pay attention:  How often have I averted my head when someone was in distress?  Slow down, look again and allow God to show me how to meet the need.  When I begin to speak with spite, gossip or venom, search instead for words of love.  How often have I judged someone else because of my preconceived notions or opinions?  I ask myself, are my views and attitudes so godlike that I may sit in judgment?  Find room within my busy day to be open to those in the hedgerows and highways “bringing others to the knowledge of the wonderful things (God) has done for all God’s creatures.”

[i] “Within the Word”, Give us this Day: Daily Prayer for Today’s Catholic, November 2014, Liturgical Press, p. 37.

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