by Ken Rolheiser
Walking with Jesus and knowing God

“…inside each of us there’s a deep place, a virginal center, where all that’s tender, sacred, cherished, and precious is held and guarded. …It’s where we unconsciously remember that once, long before consciousness, we were caressed by hands far gentler than our own. It’s where we still sense the primordial kiss of God.” (“Coping with our own Souls”, Father Ron Rolheiser).

Once in a dream I experienced what could have been that beginning of consciousness. I seemed to come from an unbounded existence like God’s energy. Suddenly I was confined to a moment, a movement. I rebelled. And I knew sin.

Innocence and sin are a human experience. As a child I remember one hot day in a hay slough when two of my brothers and I stripped off our clothes and climbed a fallen tree that leaned slightly above ground. This was like Adam and Eve before the fall, the innocence of Eden.

As Christians we can return to that childhood innocence. Jesus redeems our fallen nature as we pray in the Eucharistic prayer, “Unite us to your Son in his sacrifice, that we may be made acceptable through him, being sanctified by the Holy Spirit.”

As Christian we have the advantage of living our lives in Christ’s love. This love provides a filter through which we approach the world. We are constantly in the love of Christ, and we extend his grace to the world.

Jesus wants to walk with us. “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” (Matthew 11:28-30).

“Walk with me,” Jesus is saying. Learn from me. Be humble as the God who wants to walk with us. Jesus promises us rest and an easier burden. Even our hardest burdens become bearable with Christ’s shoulders taking some of the weight.

Suffering and death which we will all face become easier. Jane Marczewski (Nightbirde) says when it comes to pain, that’s when God is nearest. God isn’t often in the business of taking pain away. Instead, he gives us strength.

He doesn’t take away my darkness, he adds light, Marczewski says. He doesn’t spare me of thirst, he brings water. He doesn’t cure my loneliness, he comes near. When we are in pain, God is with us.

We need the God who knows our pain, meets us in our pain, and redeems our pain. With this God, we too can have a hope that allows us to sing, along with Nightbirde, in a world of sickness and death. “It’s OK,” Nightbirde sang, while dying of cancer, before her final encounter with Jesus.

In this world of sin we can walk with Jesus by our side, and we can choose to create a balance between how we spend our Sundays and our everyday pursuits of making money and enjoying entertainment and pleasure.

We can live in the presence of the Lord, loving others and sharing God’s grace. That is our mandate every Sunday morning as we go forth from our churches to love and serve the Lord.

We can choose to accept Jesus as a companion in life. We can share our burdens and our joys with the one who suffered for us. “Come to me,” he invites.

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