I celebrated my first Christmas at Mass in my new parish. Almost my whole family, all my kids, was together at Mass which made me very happy. As I gazed upon the altar, I found my eyes raised to contemplate the infant Jesus in the Holy Family statue that sits above on the high altar. I was drawn so I couldn’t take my eyes off of the toddler Jesus form before me. I was so moved, in fact, that every day for the next week, I prayed with a prayer card of the child Jesus which confused me somehow.
Because I cherish being a mom and particularly loved it when my kids were in the toddler stage, I sensed that Jesus was just loving me through my human experiences in a way that allowed me to reach deep within myself to make an offering of my life to him. He spoke “my language.”
Sometimes I can fall prey to an expectation that if I was truly spiritual, I would be able to just let go of the particulars of my human life and sail on grace to God. When I sit down to pray, my mind can wander and my body gets restless sitting down to pray. God must know this for He comes to me in a way that best captivates me and is most familiar to me.
Jesus was teaching me a simple truth about growing spiritually. We grow in holiness and intimacy with God by bringing to Him everything about us, our life story, our human experiences and desires and connecting it with Him. He comes to us through what means the most to us on the human plane so we are most open to receiving Him.
Blessed P. Marie Eugene, O.C.D., a newly beatified Carmelite priest illustrates to me why I was moved by the image of Jesus that was so familiarly united with my own life. He says that “in order that the outpouring of the divine life might be more abundant [in us], Christ wanted our contact with His humanity, which is the physical instrument for this. By this holy humanity of Christ, the Word lays hold on and draws after Him all people who let themselves be taken captive by His grace.”[i]
What about you and your life? How is the Lord pursing you to reveal his love to you? Be alert to what moves you, slow down and pay attention to how intimately and personally God is reaching out to you by what you know the best. We come most easily to God to be transformed by savoring our human life but finding God coming intimately to us through our humanity.
[i] Blessed P Marie Eugene, O.C.D., I want to see God, The Fides Publisher Association, Chicago, Ill, 1953, p 75, 77