Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48
1 John 4:7-10
How does God speak to you? How does He reveal Himself to you?
For myself, I have come to know God and hear His voice speaking powerfully through Sacred Scripture, in the liturgy, in creation, in theological writings, and many other ways. But if I’m honest with myself, the place that God has revealed Himself to me is through other people.
It was the words of a priest that helped me discern my call to the diocesan priesthood. It was the voice of my girlfriend breaking up with me to open my path to the seminary in the first place. It was the remarks of one of my youth group kids at my first parish that shaped the way that I’ve lived my priesthood in the parish. These are just a few of the many ways that God has shown Himself to me and spoken to me through others. But the love of God for me? That came through my parents.
For years the mother who gave me the gift of life and bore me in her womb for nine months was a subject not of my appreciate but of resentment. I couldn’t understand how she could ‘give me away’ and it was a source of much anger in my heart. But thankfully the Lord has shown me such was not the case. In a particular way this week I was struck by the intense realization that she laid down her life with me for me. When I hear “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” I often think of literally laying down one’s life, like Christ on the Cross or the many martyrs of the faith, but the Lord reminded me of the ‘white martyrs’ who die to themselves and their desires. It really hit me this week just how much my birth mother gave up of her own joys – first words, first steps, first day of school and many more events – in order for me to have an upbringing she couldn’t have otherwise provided for me.
And my adoptive mother, shows me another side of this Divine Love. The simple fact is that she had no obligation to me; I’m not her flesh and blood and she could just as easily have let me go elsewhere, and yet she didn’t. She welcome this infant child into her family and has never treated me differently than her other children. This, too, showed me something of the love of God for me in that God, Who has no obligation to me, gave His Son up to death in order that I might be able to be welcomed into the Most Blessed Trinity. In this is love!
Both of these show me in some way the Love of God for me because they, like every action of charity, are reflections of Divine Love itself. This is the beautiful thing: that charitable actions are simply the life and love of God being made manifest in and through people. And if God has shown Himself and His love to me so many times through other people, how much does He also want to do it through me? This is the point of the Gospel this weekend: “It was not you who chose me but I who chose you to go and bear fruit that will remain.” Fruit that will remain.
Those many times that people have spoken something, done something that was a reflection of the life and love of God for me are that fruits that remain. The words of a priest have had a lasting effect on me. The words of my youth have had a lasting effect. And surely the love of my parents has had a lasting effect on me. They are fruits that remain because they are points when the individuals have tried to ‘remain in God’. When we remain in the Lord and try to be people of faith, true disciples of Jesus Christ, the simple fact is that He will work in and through us to speak to other people and bear fruit in their lives that will remain as He has done the same in us.
So ultimately the question isn’t really ‘How does God speak to you?’ so much as it should be leaving from here today ‘How does God speak through you?’ May the Lord grant us the grace to remain in Him today and every day that indeed we might bear fruit that will remain.