20 April 2010

Responding to the Call of Christ

This brief reflection is packed with all sorts of goodies. It was written by a twentieth-century French Carthusian of La Grande Chartreuse, Dom Jean-Baptiste Porion. He would later become the Procurator General for the Carthusian Order in Rome.

(My translation from Italian)
Our Lord tells us that the Kingdom of God is within us (cf. Luke 17:21); and not just within us, but in the very depths of our being. If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him; and We will come to him and make Our home with him ~ John 14:23.

We, unfortunately, too often forget these truths. There are, of course, many faithful souls who endeavour to lead honest lives, and strive to attain to a certain ideal of moral virtue. But few know how to live a life of real faith, sustained by hope and aflame with the love of God, in order to participate fully in the life that Jesus longs to communicate. We are surrounded and enfolded by divine love; we have all that is required to begin immediately a life of sublime intimacy with God, but we lack the will to live the supernatural life. We know the principles: the way lies open before us. It would be a failure on our part not to commit to it.

We should admit that the children of this world are more astute in their generation than the children of light ~ Luke 16:8. We have, indeed, received an infinite treasure, but we do not appreciate its true worth; and the very fact of our ignorance of its value does not allow us to make the good use of it that we should. Was it not our unmindfulness that Our Lord had in mind when He spoke of the parable of the wasted talent, which the foolish servant hid in the ground unnecessarily (cf. Matthew 25:18)?

Yet Jesus, rather than offer us the treasure of His intimate love, He instead solicits us so insistently that He almost forces us to accept it. He acts towards us in much the same way as we read in the Gospel of the poor wretches who had no choice but to accept the invitation to the royal banquet: Compel them to come in ~ Luke 14:23. We hear the same call, and from this point forward our prayer will be that of the Church: Increase in us, O Lord, faith, hope and charity ~ Collect for the 13th Sunday after Pentecost.

But we must not be satisfied with a few acts of piety at the beginning and in the course of the day: these practices do not constitute a life. The word life denotes a persevering, constant activity: and Our Lord wants to be our life. I am the Life ~ John 11:25. And so we must adhere to God incessantly. Jesus not only asks us to do those acts or formulas of piety and devotion, but also He asks us at every moment, with all our strength and our whole soul, to begin here on earth our eternal life. We must respond to the call of Christ, to breathe the pure air of the light of truth and eternal love.