As I have been journeying through this online retreat, I find myself touched by its relevance to my everyday life. This should come as no surprise to me; I’ve done this retreat before. However, it DOES surprise me…and maybe that’s how it is when you stop and find Jesus HERE, right beside you.
“You see us, not as a crowd, but as individuals, each struggling to be freer people, poor in spirit and wanting something more — wanting to be closer to you. And you give us the answer to that desire. You offer us yourself, your friendship, and ask us to join in your life of serving the poor — others like ourselves.”
Jesus knows me. Oh, I’ve heard that before, but I rarely appreciate what it implies. He created me, and of all the people who know me, he knows me BEST. That doesn’t just mean that he knows my favorite color, appreciates my obsession with lists, smiles at the amount of chocolate and coffee I would like to consume. Jesus knowing me isn’t just a cute phrase that I can sing during Mass and walk away from later.
It’s a fact that changes my life, once I embrace it. It’s a reality that can affect everything I do, everything I am, everything I represent, if I let it.
Jesus knows me, and in knowing me, he loves me.
“I love what you say about being merciful, helping those who grieve and being a peacemaker. Yes, I will do that with and for you. Then you ask me to be humble and I want to balk at that. Humble? Poor of spirit? And yet I know so well that when I am capable and self-sufficient and independent, I don’t turn to you, my loving friend, for help. Now I want something different — to turn to you more, always, for help and support and friendship. Teach me to be humble. Show me what it means to be poor of spirit. I don’t always know how to change the way I live to become more poor, but that is my desire now. Please show me how to be humble. Give me the grace to want to be humble. Let me bring all the ways I resist being poor and humble to you. I know only that this is the way to be closer to you and your love.”
When I am humble, when I let go of my own desire to control my life, then I can start to understand what Jesus’ love means for me. When I open myself, make myself most vulnerable, trust with my eyes closed and my defenses down, it is then that I can start to see what it means to be known by Jesus.
Humility isn’t easy for me. It is a battle I fight every single day. Pride and independence were prized traits of mine in the past. They became a habit, a way of being, a lifestyle. Letting go of the allure they offer is hard. It takes work and discipline.
But I’m not doing it alone. Right beside me, holding my hand, patting my back, stroking my temple, is my friend Jesus. He knows. He understands. And he loves.