The Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy ended a year ago today. And I thought I’d mark the occasion by sharing some of my favorite memories of my 64-part series of reflections. I hope you enjoy!
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The Mystery of the incarnation (Parts 1 through 8)
Predestination is not linear. It is not deterministic. It is not an imposition of God’s will upon human free will. Why would God ask us not to do something that would separate us from Him, yet give us the ability to choose not to do what He asks?
Happiness isn’t truly happy if it’s imposed against the will; to be fully alive, happiness has to be freely chosen.
[T]he genteel Victorians of Britain began the custom of saying “Happy Christmas,” in order to disassociate such a supreme feast with the boisterous feasting involved with “making merry” (which, after all, is better left to American papists).
[M]erriment does not come at the expense of solemnity.
The Incarnation – the literal “making into flesh” of God – is the most unfathomably compassionate act ever recorded in human history. God became human so that Man could become divine.
What was wholly natural for her divine Son [Mary] made wholly possible for her human brethren.
Let Him make Himself known to you as Himself.
[L]et yourself be amazed. Don’t pretend to know all the reasons, but be amazed all the same.
From time immemorial, and to the present day, there is no deliverance without the intervention of God.
The holy One of Israel has entered time and space as an Israelite; the God-Man is both liberator and servant.
[I]n Jesus, the profane becomes holy, the sinner becomes a saint, the stranger becomes a sibling.
Spiritual Gifts (Parts 9 through 13)
Jesus’ first miracle [at Cana] is not a demonstration of an overbearing and distant “old man in the sky” to whom the rules don’t apply… This is a demonstration of obedient and humble union with those among whom He walks.
Salvation is individual but we only get there together.
The different parts of the Body need each other, and they need the strength of the Head to be strong enough to function.
Don’t simply pierce the veil, but embrace what it covers.
The closer we get to God and to what it is He’s calling us to do, the more we have a tendency to back off or run away – as if faith is reserved only to those parts of God’s will that we “understand.”
The Fasting He Requires (Parts 14 through 22)
A gift that is expected is no gift, and gratitude that does not seek to repay is not gratitude.
Christianity is the religion of the “both/and.” To have either an internal belief or an external belief is not enough.
[I]f [the devil] dares tell us to call on the name of God to save ourselves, may we look right into his eyes and say: “You first.”
We’re not meant to “transcend” our bodies and escape them; after all, we’ll be back in them on the last day, and then for all time.
If the spiritual world is not real, the Redemption is an inspiring fairy tale. But if the physical world does not matter, the Redemption is pointless.
Israel’s mortal sin was not their transgression of the new Law [from Sinai]; it was their lack of regret for doing so.
Why should we hold so miserably fast to what God Himself so lovingly forgets?
Being “merciful like the Father” means to be an ever-ready impartial minister of reconciliation. Being merciful like the Son is to be obedient in love to the Father in all things. To do one, we must do the other; for “Jesus Christ is LORD.”
[Good Friday] is the Day of Mercy. And the Divine Mercy is cross-shaped.
God’s Dwelling Place (Parts 23 through 31)
There is no better PR, it seems, than the whispers of our companions.
Today [on Easter Sunday] we celebrate the quietest world-changing event in history.
Let Him be our only yeast; for He is the only One Who can make us rise.
When God’s mercy is our priority, that is when the Church is fully the Church.
We’re all going to have our Thomas moments. May we all have Jesus moments just as readily.
Let’s be angels first and Saints next, not the other way around. Let’s not be afraid to be a Church of angels.
[N]o one can tear us away from Him – we have to wander away ourselves. Know Him. Hear His voice. And make your choice.
If He only gave us what is our due, none of us could be saved! For if we could save ourselves, the Incarnation was unnecessary, the Passion foolishness, and the Redemption delusional.
Life in the Spirit (Parts 32 through 41)
Without Trinity, God would simply be a Lover. But God is Love – so much so that He even exists essentially in loving relationship with Himself.
[T]he Essence of existence is Love – and even the smallest words we speak should reflect that same relationship.
God’s mercy is impartial. It must be impartial in order to be almighty.
In order to receive love, there must be a weak spot.
The Heart That bleeds without cease broke upon the Cross, and from that wound the Church was born.
[W]e can end up treating the Lord and His Church like relatives we only see at reunions and weddings and funerals, or like friends whom we turn to only when things go bad.
It is one of the great ironies of the religion of the “both/and” that it is through the organization of the Church that we have the best opportunities to develop and deepen our own personal relationship with God.
God has given us an invitation to the biggest and longest-running party in history; all we have to do is get up off our butts and go!
[J]ustification in the sight of God cannot be merit-based. It does not spring from perfect practice, but from an honest acknowledgment of imperfect practice.
Faith takes us where the intellect dares not go.
How fortunate for us that God is not beholden to our narrow expectations.
If we were meant to transcend this existence, the Good Samaritan should have just let the traveler die. But we know better, instinctively.
God’s Stewardship Given (Parts 42 through 49)
[H]ospitality, however much it may be considered a divine mandate legally and socially, is like any other virtue: it cannot be simply acted on by rote in order to have any real value.
All we have at any moment is a gift from the One Who is both Host and Guest.
[T]he surest way to get nothing out of something is to stop doing it.
[E]ven the Church is part and parcel of the religion of the “both/and”: using earthly constraints to accomplish heavenly designs.
For Jesus, the Kingdom was already here; it simply had to be recognized.
[W]e’re not alone in this faith thing. We trust in God, but He’s entrusting us with Himself as well.
Jesus didn’t come to bring us peace; He is our peace.
[Mary] is the Holy of Holies of the everlasting Temple, containing within herself the One Who cannot be contained by the entire universe.
We don’t like straight answers. We think we do, but we don’t.
God may have made Israel a light to the nations, but that light still had to shine!
It’s one thing not to like an answer; it’s another thing entirely not to act because we think we shouldn’t have to. No one becomes an adult that way.
No one wants to end up at rock bottom, but we shouldn’t be so quick to climb the mountain either.
Taking Up the Cross (Parts 50 through 56)
For all our reaching out, we’re still stuck inside ourselves.
[I]f you keep disregarding little things to focus on big things, it won’t be long until the little things disappear from your mind completely and you start thinking of big things as more little things.
What is the line between belief and presumption? When do we simply assume God’s mercy instead of entrusting ourselves to it?
May we never force God’s hand into action by our own inaction.
We are not called to be simply nice people; if we were we wouldn’t need God, let alone the Cross.
Unprofitable servants we may be, but we can still be good and faithful ones.
When the Church forgets Her relationship with God is two-sided, that’s when She stops being a hospital and becomes a museum. We can’t be for the benefit of others when we can’t even accept our own benefits for what they are.
Last Things (Parts 57 through 64)
Our Scripture is more than a story, and our faith is super-Scriptural.
Why shouldn’t [the Bible] be the most complicated book in existence? Isn’t human existence ridiculously complicated?
We have indeed been equipped for every good work, but it does help to take time to go over all the instructions!
Humility is self-less-ness in the most arithmetical sense.
God’s mercy is truly impartial; it is we who feel that some are more equal than others!
Every message of God is the same message.
[T]he spectral hallucination of “me time” nags at us like a mental illness…
Our God may be a jealous God, but the world is a stalker ex-lover with daddy issues.
Our mission of reconciliation spans dimensions!
How can we not belong to God when God even shares our DNA now!? That’s why the Son came, that’s how He did it. …[T]he shepherd became one of the sheep so that none of the sheep might be lost.
And yet, even heaven is not the end for God’s faithful. There is still more to come!
[C]areer is not exempt from the demands of faith…any more than waking and rising, weekday and weekend. If you think it is exempt, I frankly must doubt how deep and abiding your own faith is.
It takes a proper pest to evangelize rightly. But again, there’s a difference between being a pest and being dangerous.
It’s time to let Christ take over and teach us all how to be obedient and free at the same time.