Significantly, the Synod Fathers stated that “the Christian faithful need a fuller understanding of the relationship between the Eucharist and their daily lives. Eucharistic spirituality is not just participation in Mass and devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. It embraces the whole of life.” (216) This observation is particularly insightful, given our situation today. It must be acknowledged that one of the most serious effects of the secularization just mentioned is that it has relegated the Christian faith to the margins of life as if it were irrelevant to everyday affairs. The futility of this way of living—“as if God did not exist”—is now evident to everyone. Today there is a need to rediscover that Jesus Christ is not just a private conviction or an abstract idea, but a real person, whose becoming part of human history is capable of renewing the life of every man and woman. Hence the Eucharist, as the source and summit of the Church’s life and mission, must be translated into spirituality, into a life lived “according to the Spirit” (Rom 8:4ff.; cf. Gal 5:16, 25). It is significant that Saint Paul, in the passage of the Letter to the Romans where he invites his hearers to offer the new spiritual worship, also speaks of the need for a change in their way of living and thinking: “Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (12:2). In this way the Apostle of the Gentiles emphasizes the link between true spiritual worship and the need for a new way of understanding and living one’s life. An integral part of the eucharistic form of the Christian life is a new way of thinking, “so that we may no longer be children tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine” (Eph 4:14).
Benedict XVI. (2007). Sacramentum Caritatis. Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana.
Many turn to God only when they must make an important or definitive choice in life. They approach God as a computer, so to speak, who gives answers to certain questions. "We cannot put our lives into God's hands," writes Martin Lonnebo, "demanding that his will be done in just one choice. That is wrong. Often we do not get a clear answer when we ask God questions in prayer. We can stand there just as perplexed after prayer as before. The secret of evangelical freedom from care is not that we surrender our life to God only at certain times. The secret is rather that we never leave God! Let your whole life rest in his powerful yet tender hand."
"Into Your Hands, Father — Abandoning Ourselves to the God Who Loves Us" by Wilfried Stinissen p.55
The fruits of the earth are not brought to perfection immediately, but by time, rain and care; similarly, the fruits of men ripen through ascetic practice, study, time, perseverance, self-control and patience.
Meditatio “The people were astonished at his teaching.…” Interesting words: the people were astonished. They don’t clap. They aren’t taken aback. They don’t have an animated discussion after his proclamation. Rather they are stunned into silence. The people are excited that they have finally found a teaching that answers the deepest questions and hungers of their heart. We want to be taught. We look for a master at living. No matter how smart we may feel ourselves to be, we still are gratefully amazed when we encounter preaching that reveals a dimension of life or truth beyond the commonplace. We long to know there is something more to our lives, a deeper, ultimate meaning to the daily grind, something that makes it all worthwhile. The astonishment of the crowds listening to Jesus is all the more intriguing when we recall that Jesus preaches values that turn the conventional wisdom of the world upside down, often uncomfortably so. The world’s values don’t astonish. For all their glitter, they tire and bore us, exhaust, confuse, and defeat us. The values taught by Jesus, on the other hand, even today bring light, hope, and the welcome element of surprise. They almost always point out an unexpected path, one that is inexplicable and incomprehensible, one that reduces us to reverent tears and quiet homage when we encounter it. Jesus teaches you and me personally. His classrooms are myriad because he understands his students well and knows just how to get a word or light through the slightest crack we sometimes leave open. We find him teaching us in homilies and movies, in the teachings of the Church and the suggestions of a neighbor, in a magazine article or in the innocent prayer of a child. The movie theater becomes a “sanctuary,” and the place where we read a document becomes a chapel. We meet Jesus, personally, like the men in the synagogue or the man with the unclean spirit in today’s reading. Oratio Jesus, speak to me a word that will bring water to my parched spirit. A word that will point out an unexpected direction for me in some difficulty I am experiencing. Contemplatio Master, I am waiting on your word.
Daughters of St. Paul. (2011). Ordinary Grace Weeks 1–17: Daily Gospel Reflections. (M. G. Dateno & M. L. Trouvé, Eds.) (pp. 8–9). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.
“This night a battle has been waged and won for you…The Love that has been coming for you since the beginning—he slays dragons for you. This is the truest love story of history, and it’s his-story, and it’s for you… He lays himself down in your mire. He unfolds himself in the stench you want to hide, in that mess that is your impossible, in the mucked straw you don’t want anyone to know. Rejected at the inn, holy God comes in small to where you feel rejected and small. God is with you now. Wherever you are—in soundless cry or hidden brokenness or in your ache—God always wants to be with you. You are not ever left alone in this…
This is Love you can’t comprehend. You can only feel and touch this kind. There, in the place where you feel rejected, you can be touched by God. There, in the places you feel small, you can touch God.”