Giving God Access: Weekly Message for 02-27-2024

Dear Friends,

I write to you from Rome, after a week of planning meetings for our Society of Apostolic life. While speaking about our apostolic projection, one of the consecrated women shared an insight that has stayed with me. Her initial understanding of the Kingdom was an army taking to battle against the enemy. Over time, the Gospel parables of the Kingdom, like the weeds and the wheat and the Sower who went out to sow, taught her that the Kingdom’s expansion is silent, often hidden and of poor means, but powerfully fruitful.

In this context, a group of us visited the Basilica of San Clemente to see the Tree of Life mosaic, which dates from the 12th century. At the mosaic’s center is an emaciated Jesus Christ crucified, giving his life on the cross. From Christ’s side flows blood and water that fall on and nourish the tree of life (Gen. 2: 9-14, Rev 22). From the tree, sprouts a vine whose branches extend and connect medieval figures from every walk of life, and with them all of creation (John 15:1, 4-5). There are twelve white birds perched on the cross representing the apostles who will take the message of salvation to the ends of the earth (Mat. 28:19).

This powerful image brought home the conversation we had about the parables of the Kingdom. The life that flows from the cross is gratuitously given. Nothing can stop its extension except our free decision to deny God access to our hearts or our lives.

This Lent, as we discern what to give up or what to do, it can help to ask ourselves: Where is grace stuck in me? Where am I not giving God access? Our efforts in prayer, abnegation and almsgiving can then aim to open the blocked arteries of our heart so that the sap of Divine life that flows from the heart of God may run freely in and through us. Thy Kingdom Come!

Yours in heart of Christ,


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