Readings for February 2, 2020
In my own quest to know and love Jesus, I spend a great deal of time studying scripture and books authored by those whom I consider to have authority on the subject of faith. However, if I truly want to know God and to know true faith, the Church doctors are not the only ones I should be studying.
To take an example from this week’s Gospel reading, Simeon and Anna, while clearly faithful people and advanced in age, are not among the religious elite of their day. They are holy people, without question, but they are also simple, everyday folk. Nevertheless, Jesus as Christ has been revealed to them. He appears before them as a baby accompanied by his parents at temple. Such a simple, everyday presentation, yet one which was immediately, profoundly clear to these two servants of God.
And this simple revelation is no isolated incident. So often in scripture, Jesus would reveal himself to “the little ones” (Matthew 11:25). Foreigners, fishermen, a blind man, a woman at a well, and even his own persecutor, Pilate, are all given some of the most direct revelations of the Bible. There are other revelations, of course, but none so poignant as with these characters who live outside of the realm of the religious elite.
Which is an invitation to humility if I ever saw one. So in this spirit of humility I will admit that I have struggled this week in putting words to my reflection. And in this struggle I have been reminded: I am not here to become a member of the religious elite. I am not here to feel pride, to be knowledgeable, or to re-define or explain everything about God—I am here to feel and to live love.
Thomas à Kempis writes in Imitation of Christ, that, “it is not learning that makes a man holy and just, but a virtuous life makes him pleasing to God. I would rather feel contrition than know how to define it.” For me, that’s a pretty convicting sentiment. To be open to Christ, I need to let go of myself, including my supposed knowledge of him, so to receive him fully within my heart. Jesus reveals himself most directly to the truly holy, those that know contrition in their hearts rather than in their minds. I pray that I may be among them.
My Lord Jesus, reveal yourself to me so that I may live according to your Word. Amen