|20th Sunday In Ordinary Time|
Father Benedict Groeschel, C.F.R. has been saying for a long time, “We are the True Church. We pray to the right God. Some of us pray to the right God in the wrong way.” At the same time, he says, “Many people who are outside the Church, may be praying to the wrong God, but in the right way.” He says only a little enlightenment is necessary for them to turn to the right God and pray in the right way. Possibly we can say this of the Canaanite woman who came to Jesus and called out, “Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter is tormented by a demon.” He did not respond, but she did: she did him homage. She worshiped Him. She pleads with him again, “Lord, help me,” and he replies, “It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters.”
She was willing to settle for the “scraps!” Many times we, the children Jesus is talking about, are willing to do the same. Or rather, maybe we do worse. We take that, with which God wants to feed us, and we “throw it to the dogs”
Father Dubay, the author of many books we have in our Chapel and yes, the priest who gives lectures on EWTN, Mother Angelica’s channel, teaches that there are themes in Sacred Scripture that indicate that we are called to a deep personal immersion in the life of the Trinity that is, we are all called to union with God, or also called contemplation. Paraphrasing Saint Augustine, he said, “no matter what slime or sin you have been involved with, you are called to the heights, i.e. the summit of contemplative prayer.” Below are two themes he suggested:
The Experience of God: Scripture takes for granted that this can be done that this is not simply an emotion. It tells us, “Look to him, and be radiant; so your faces shall never be ashamed. This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them. O taste and see that the LORD is good! Happy is the man who takes refuge in him!” (Ps 34:5-8). NOTE: Things that “radiate” have intense things going on inside. To “taste and see” is to drink deeply. It is the Hebrew notion of the call to experience God for yourself!
The Limitless Growth of Prayer: The Theological Virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity have no mean, (the happy medium between two extremes) as do virtues like Temperance (which has Abstemiousness on one extreme and Gluttony on the other as vices). The Theological Virtues are intended to just grow in people, as the Psalm says, “They feast on the abundance of thy house, and thou givest them drink from the river of thy delights. For with thee is the fountain of life….” (Ps 36:8). As the Lord said to Saint Catherine of Siena, “Make yourself a “capacity” and I will make myself a “torrent.”
For you are called “to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, …” (Eph 3:19-20). Saint Paul is telling us that we are called to be filled with the utter fullness of God. “From the river of your delights” can also be translated as “from the torrent of pleasure.”
This is something very personal and intimate where our relationship with God is concerned. It is also far reaching in its effects. It should shape all of us. Father Dubay said,
Individuals, married couples, the parish and the community are supposed to have a unity based on the life of the Trinity. Jesus’ own words are the source, “I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me.” (Jn 17:22-23). If we do not have a complete unity, we do not have a “gospel community.”
The Canaanite woman was granted her request because she believed. “Jesus said to her in reply, O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.'” Is our wish anywhere near hers? Do we even desire “the scraps?”
One way of telling this, Father Dubay said, was to ask ourselves, “How many times have we thought of Eternal Life in the past month? In the past week? If we have not thought of it every day, then we are living with the wrong focus, and possibly leading others to have the wrong focus also.
I suppose that most of us could say that, like the Canaanite woman, we believe. But we are not just talking about things that we say in our Creed on Sunday like, “I believe in the Communion of Saints!” In his book, Spiritual Direction according to Saint Paul of the Cross, Father Bennet Kelley, CP, completes this thought and answers with the mind of Saint Paul. He said that for him,
Faith was an action that involved the whole person, a complete surrender to God to be led by his Holy Spirit in everything. It was a total capitulation to a loving God, allowing and desiring him to direct our lives. This is really the gospel and biblical meaning of faith. [It is true that] much Catholic Teaching has tended to limit faith to an acceptance with the mind of a body of truths rather than a total surrender to the person of God. Without such faith Paul did not believe it possible to begin any journey into a deep prayer life, a life of communication with God.
This is exactly what Father Dubay was speaking about a faith that would plunge us into a deep immersion with God through a deep contemplative prayer life. This is meant for you and me! We all must reflect on this truth and ask ourselves, “Where am I?” If we have not yet begun a life that will plunge us into the depths of God, we have to ask, “Where in the world are we?” And, “What are we doing with our lives?”
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