God Embraces Vulnerability

Thoughts and continued prayers for all students currently sitting state exams. I find it interesting, regarding people’s recurrent dreams, top of the list are exams. Life at times can indeed be challenging and difficult. Throughout the scripture, there is a deep sensitivity to the vicissitudes of life. Spirituality and faith, offer comfort and consolation, particularly in times where vulnerability and a feeling of fragility may be our reality. Perhaps at our most vulnerable, God himself is at his closest. It was on the cross where Jesus felt abandoned and yet as God, deliberately embraced our wounds so that truly we may all be healed.

During the month of June, the church focuses with loving reverence on the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This devotion stems in part to church approved private revelations our Lord gave St. Margaret Marie Alacoque, a French Nun in the 17th century, in which He made known to her His desire for us to show love and devotion to His Sacred Heart. For starters, God doesn’t just love. He is love! (1 John 4:8). He sees each of our souls as if they were High-Definition images with nothing hidden. And He desires to love us just as intensely! Christ sees us in HD and loves us in HD! We can requite our love for Him through partaking of his graces in communion and confession, and through prayer, fasting, and following His commandments. If this sounds like too tall an order as you deal with life’s daily struggles and difficulties, remember that you can always say a short prayer to God, even in your own words or just talk to Him as you would a friend. Tell Him you love Him. Ask for His help in doing His will. Express your gratitude for His blessings. Or tell Him about all your frustrations over everything going wrong in your life or in this crazy world! Mother Teresa once said that God did not call her to be successful, but rather faithful. That applies to all of us as well! The main thing is to keep in touch with Him and keep trying to live in His love!

There are a few lines in one of Eliot’s Four Quartets, The Dry Salvages, where he refers to the edge between land and sea. “…. The sea is all about us; the sea is the land’s edge also, the granite into which it reaches, the beaches where it tosses its hints of earlier and other creation…”. I have always been fascinated by the shoreline, this ever-changing definition between the land we walk on and the water which can be turbulent with winter storms or calm in a summers evening, water we can journey on and, now and then, enter to swim. It is the place where the detritus from the sea is washed on to the land, jumbled and broken, there to be picked over by seagulls or to be explored by the lone walker. Time and again, we find ourselves in a marginal space, where, swept by life’s experience, we are tossed to the edge. Surety is lost as we find ourselves asking questions to which there appear to be no answers, this edge land within our experience. It can be a lonely place to inhabit. I remember once walking a shoreline between a vast expanse of sand dunes and open swathes of sand on the Northern coastline and the sea’s edge, ever changing, and meeting no one for what seemed like ages.

Such a place can encourage prayer; it can also leave you with a sense of your own insignificance in the huge expanse of creation. Throughout the short passage of our passing our life in faith, there will be times like this, when being at the land’s edge can be perilous and we seem like just another piece of driftwood tossed up by the sea, insecure and of little consequence. That can indeed be a lonely and painful experience. Renewal and reassurance come from the Spirit that is within us and from those we meet who are willing to put an arm of encouragement round our shoulder and walk a few steps with us. Henri Nouwen, a man of Spirit and great honesty, collected some fine pieces in his book “With open hands”. He concludes one chapter with a short prayer. “Dear God, Speak gently in my silence. When the loud outer noises of my surroundings and the loud inner noises of my fears keep pulling me away from you, help me to trust that you are still there, even when I am unable to hear you. Give me ears to listen to your small, soft voice saying: ‘Come to me, you who are overburdened, and I will give you rest…for I am gentle and humble of heart’ Let your loving voice be my guide”. He then poses a question “Why do I avoid silence?”, a challenge that asks us to face up to our difficulties. Having just celebrated the feast of Pentecost may we be open to the Spirit and may we help and sustain each other on the journey.

Jesus Help Me
“Jesus, Help me!” In every need let me come to you with humble trust, saying, “Jesus, help me!”. In all my doubts, perplexities, and temptations, “Jesus, help me!”. In hours of loneliness, weariness and trials, “Jesus, help me!”. In failure of my plans and hopes: In disappointments, troubles and sorrows, “Jesus, help me!”. When others fail me, and Your Grace alone can assist me, “Jesus, help me!”. When I throw myself on Your Tender Love as a Father and Saviour, “Jesus, help me!”. When my heart is cast down by failure at seeing no good come from my efforts “Jesus help me!”. When I feel impatient, and my cross irritates, “Jesus help me!”. When I am ill, and my head and hands cannot work and I am lonely, “Jesus, help me!”. Always, always, in spite of weakness, falls and shortcomings of every kind, “Jesus, help me!”. And never forsake me!”.


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