By Ken Rolheiser
We share a universal fear about our eternal salvation. What will it be like after we die? How do we live in good conscience with the anxiety of not knowing? And where do we find a blue print for living or action as we ponder the morality of our behaviour?
The proverb in our title was somewhat “musty” to Hamlet as he agonized over his revenge assignment. He realized he might never become King unless he did something about Claudius, if it was not too late already.
As we battle with the devil and wait for conversion and God’s Grace, do we fear our souls may starve? How do we know if our present path is the course to follow? How do we keep on making choices in life even when the morality and the outcome are unclear?
Faith is the path to freedom! Our freedom is found in the Lord God: “Do not be afraid, I have redeemed you!” (Isaiah 43:1).
I challenge the reader to a close encounter with God in the convent room Jesus asked St Teresa of Avila to build. The room is dedicated to St Joseph who guards one door. The other door is the entrance to heaven and Mary is there, and in the room is Jesus. This is a meeting between you and Jesus.
In the bible stories we see what happens when Jesus meets with sinners. In the encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well Jesus breaks three Jewish customs. He speaks to a Samaritan, to a woman, and he asks her for water from her cup or jar. In return he offers her living water.
Now back to our meeting with Jesus in this metaphorical meditation room. The first thing you will notice is that it is easier than you thought. Jesus breaks the rules to set us free. Just put your head on God’s shoulder and peace will come. You will notice that you are going to change.
Talk to God about your needs. If you need to forgive someone, help is there. If you are struggling with tough decisions, inspirational grace will come. If you have been avoiding God on Sundays, often a big problem, peace will be yours.
In a strange beatitude kind of way, if you are weak, you will become strong; if you are sick or in pain, understanding will come; if you are old, wisdom may be yours; if you are in darkness, the light will dawn; if you are dying, you will be born to eternal life.
God offers us a litany of success to balance our list of failures. When we have sinned, we can put our heads on the shoulder of Jesus and feel his arm around us. Christ is always inviting us. He breaks the rules to set us free!
And we can live our lives without fear. More than 365 times in the bible God says do not be afraid. Our Faith commitment will lead us on a sure path. Like Job, we can be absolutely sure.
“Ah, that these words of mine were written down… were inscribed on some monument with an iron chisel and engraving tool, cut into the rock for ever! This I know that my Avenger [Redeemer] lives, and He… will take his stand on earth…. And from my flesh I shall look on God.” (Job 19:1-29)