More than beauty inside us

You are holding a cup of coffee when someone comes along and shoves you or shakes your arm, making you spill your coffee everywhere. You spilled the coffee because coffee was in the cup. If tea had been in it, you would have spilled tea. Whatever is inside the cup is what will come out.

When life comes along and shakes you, and it will happen, whatever is inside of you will come out. It's easy to fake it until you get rattled. So we have to ask ourselves....what's in my cup? When life gets tough, what spills over? Joy, gratefulness, peace and humility? Or anger, bitterness, harsh words and actions? (author unknown)

How do we get to fill our cups with what is beautiful and good? Someone is beautiful if you love them. God loves us; therefore we are beautiful. I cannot imagine God saying, “I’m going to make an ugly one.” But there is something much greater than beauty in our appearance and make-up. 

The Christian has a direct knowledge of God in us: "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him” (John 14:23). And that is the Holy Spirit that dwells in us (1 Corinthians 3:16).

Have you ever marvelled at the presence of Jesus inside us? How we carry him in our very flesh? It is easy for us to accept that Jesus was physically inside Mary until his birth in Bethlehem. How Mary marvelled at this mystery. How she treasured the fruit of her womb and his presence in her heart.

You and I carry the same presence in our hearts and in our physical bodies. As St Augustine said, “We become what we receive” in the Eucharist. In John 6:51 Jesus assures us: “I am the living bread that has come down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever.” 

This was a difficult concept for Jesus’ followers to accept. In John 6 Jesus says several times and in different ways: “I tell you most solemnly…He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me and I live in him.” What can be more marvelous? 

We can deepen our experience of Jesus in us is by carrying out the mission Christ gave us, to be his presence in the world and to serve others. Every day we have the opportunity to really feed and clothe the living, suffering body of Christ in our families and neighbors. We do not have to be on the streets of Calcutta to do this.

Can we now cast aside our fears and experience this great mystery? Jean Vanier tells us Jesus came to dispel the “GOD of fear”. We used to think the closer we got to him, the greater the danger of his giving us a smack. “The truth is,” Vanier says, “if we get closer to him he’s going to give us a hug.”

Jesus is with us for the long haul. His love remains a mystery. He loves us and wants to be present in us: “if we endure, we will also reign with Him; if we deny Him, He will also deny us; if we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny himself” (2 Timothy 2:12-13).

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By Ken Rolheiser