Going Out And Going In

Going Out And Going In

It’s been too long since my last blog. My excuse (a good one of course!) is that internet access in our new priory is quite unstable. It works, it doesn’t work… same for the phone… So be it, it’s a very small way of taking part in the Lord’s poverty.

I wanted to write something about Septuagesima, and here we are on Quinquagesima Sunday, with Ash Wednesday just around the corner. Let it suffice to point out the incredible richness of this time of “pre-Lent”. If we take only the Gospels for the three Sundays, there is an amazing pedagogy going on. We are first summoned to go to work in the vineyard of the Lord, not to lose our time in any kind of idleness, for even though all are called to the Kingdom, few are in the end chosen for it, and this not out of any lack of mercy on God’s part, but for lack of diligence on ours. Then on Sexagesima Sunday, the parable of the sower reminded us that many hear the Word without it actually bearing any fruit in their lives, the great lesson being: listen and take to heart; put into practice what you hear. Today, the Lord announces His coming Passion and Death, and by curing a blind man, teaches us that it is precisely that saving death of His that will restore our spiritual eyesight.

We could do as much with the epistles and other texts of the Masses of the season, but for today, I would like to say just a few words about the lessons for Matins. Abraham, our father in the faith, is summoned by God to leave his country, the house of his father and all his kindred and to go into a land that God was showing him. It was a huge leap in faith. Beyond the meaning it might have for those of us who have actually been called to leave the land of our birth, it has a more profound meaning for all, which is that we must leave ourselves, our petty calculated self-interest, and learn how to put out into the deep waters of absolute trust in Divine Providence who is guiding us to Himself.

We see in this way that going out of ourselves always involves going into God and His mystery. If we are brave enough to take that leap of faith, to actually hand over our lives to God, then we can be sure that the result will be marvellous. The future was hidden from Abraham. The Epistle to the Hebrews tells us he did not know where he was going, but he went in faith, and the result was a posterity more numerous than the stars of heaven or the grains of sand on the seashore. All of sacred history follows upon this leap of faith.

Something similar happens whenever a person accepts to walk in faith as did Abraham. This is particularly visible when a young person accepts to renounce his or her career in order to follow Christ in religious life. It is a a going out of all that is known to and loved by that person, and this can be hard for nature, especially at the start, but it is also a going into God’s plan; it is allowing God to open a path in this world, a path of salvation for that person, but also, and sometimes precisely for those loved ones he or she leaves behind.

God is never outdone in generosity. Give all and you will find all. Go out of yourself, and let yourself be led into God. You won’t regret it.