I Can Only Imagine

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Thursday of the Third Week of Easter

John 6:44-51 

Jesus said to the crowds: “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him, and I will raise him on the last day. It is written in the prophets: They shall all be taught by God. Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him comes to me. Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father. Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died; this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my Flesh for the life of the world.”

Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, share your word and Eucharist with me as I turn my heart to you now in prayer. I need your resurrected power and life. Just as you opened the truth of your Father to the crowds, open the Gospel to me and give me a true hunger for you. Make my heart burn while you speak to me.

Encountering Christ: 

  1. Drawn Along: We have all had the experience of feeling an internal prompting to do something—maybe to study a profession or to pursue a spouse, to go somewhere or speak to someone. And after doing it, we understood later why that was important, why we were drawn. Our seeking Jesus is even greater than any of those interior attractions. We are drawn to him. And the beautiful thing is that Jesus reveals to us that it is God the Father himself who is at work in us when this happens. “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him.” Our hunger and thirst for God are themselves gifts of God. Our very heart and nature is a divine longing and drawing! Feel that longing in your soul and give thanks for it. 
  2. Listen Up: “Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him comes to me.” Jesus told the crowds to “listen.” How is God speaking in your life these days? What situations, Scriptures, or words have caught your attention lately? Listen to the Father there. Learn from him. Coming to Jesus starts with listening. 
  3. Live Forever: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever.” Jesus repeats in different ways here, and other places in Scripture, that we will live forever. He says he will raise us up, that we will never die. that he is going to prepare a place for us, that where he is we will be also. Eternal life is promised by Jesus over and over again. Yet, we often think little of heaven and eternal life. Why? Maybe because it is hard to imagine exactly what it will be like. Let’s take some time in this meditation to talk to Jesus about being with the Father forever. Imagine heaven–the place, the feeling–imaging being with him and with your loved ones who have gone before you. It is what he promises. 

Conversing with Christ: Jesus, I long for you and desire to be you with all my heart. Your promise everlasting life to me and all those who believe in you. Heaven will be beautiful and peaceful and everything wonderful and fulfilling. Help me imagine the state that surpasses all understanding and delight in the amazing joy and elation I will feel in being with you and everyone I love in this life. Amen. 

Resolution: Lord, today by your grace when I am experiencing good things during this day, I will think to myself, “This is what heaven will be like and much more.” I will listen to the song “I Can Only Imagine” by MercyMe or another song that draws my thoughts to heaven.

For Further Reflection: This perfect life with the Most Holy Trinity–this communion of life and love with the Trinity, with the Virgin Mary, the angels, and all the blessed–is called “heaven.” Heaven is the ultimate end and fulfillment of the deepest human longings, the state of supreme, definitive happiness (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1024).

Fr Mark Haydu, LC is a priest living in Rye, New York. He currently serves as the local New York Chaplain for the Lumen Institute where he offers spiritual coaching to business leaders seeking to integrate faith, character, and leadership: www.lumeninstitute.org. He hails from Akron, Ohio.

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