by Ken Rolheiser
The finished Christ and our Divination

Bon Jovi should be three quarters of the way there by now, if you are familiar with “Living on a Prayer’.

If we are living on a prayer, we should be half-way there! “For love we’ll give it a shot”. God’s plan for each of us is to complete our mission, our formation. When we are finished, we will be the image of love.

Eastern churches describe the divination process or “theosis” as our becoming more like God every day. Though God is hard to imitate, Jesus is a model that is more human. But we all know the sacrifice Christ made before he finally said, “It is finished.”

Picture the time it takes and the sacrifice a painter makes as he applies the brush strokes. Often it does not look really great until that smoothing out and removing the hard edges is accomplished. Then “Wow!” It’s finished!

Applying that metaphor to our spiritual growth is challenging. As our lives go on, we may feel , “I have accomplished it. I am retired. I’ve made it.” But is it so?

Until our last breath God has a plan for us. There may be some rough edges, some hardness of heart. The brush strokes continue.

But why me, you ask? I am just an ordinary worker, a teacher, a parishioner, a homemaker. What more does God want of me? But God keeps challenging us every day in the ordinary voices of those around us, or through scripture.

God’s plan continues whether we are in a wheelchair, lying on a hospital bed, or still at work plying our trade. We are fulfilling the Creator’s plan until that final moment when it is accomplished, and we realize, “It is finished”.

We need to understand creation. God did not create us. It is not past tense. He is creating us. All our lives the divination process goes on. We grow in kindness, compassion, forgiving, and ultimately reach love. For love we’ll give it a shot.

Jesus did not leave us orphans. We need much help dealing with suffering, loss, sickness, pain and all that flesh is heir to. But God does not leave us forlorn. God’s voice is there daily in so many ways.

We have the church and worship. We have the Bread of Life to nourish us on the way. Worship and daily prayer, and the witness of loving our neighbor are all important.

Whoa, livin’ on a prayer
Take my hand and we’ll make it I swear.

A song in our hearts is not a bad way to travel this road of life. And God has blessed us with travel companions. We still have time to get it right, whatever the stage in our journey. God is creating with gentle brush strokes. A little softening here, a little build-up there.

“Once upon a time / Not so long ago” we knew this! Now we may have forgotten or been distracted. But it is not finished. God is with us daily; ever present. We need to continue showing up – at prayer, at service, in ministry to our family and neighbor. Love grows.

The divination process goes on. We become more and more through the growing darkness and mystery. Finally, it is finished. And then we feel gentle hands and hear, “Well done good and faithful servant.”

(Thanks to ideas from “Co-creators in God’s Work of Art” – Father Brendan McGuire)

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