Sixth Sunday of Easter: Going Beyond Fear
Franciscan Reflections From The Hermitage
Going Beyond Fear – Sixth Sunday of Easter – (John 14:23-29)
Jesus answered him, ‘Those who Love me will keep my word, and my Father will Love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them… Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.
The patterns of our lives, these are the attachments, the passions that fill our days to escape from the loneliness and anxiety that builds our fear, hunger, and desire… and desire said, I did not see you descending, but now I see you ascending. Why do you lie since you belong to me?
Why does Jesus place Love and the presence of God in opposition to a troubled heart and fear?
Examine these patterns that build our fear, hunger, and desire. If this… then that… if I win this, then…, if I get that contract, then…, if I attain that degree, then…, if I get sick…, lose my independence…, lose the love of my life…, lose my possessions…, when I die… These are the projections playing in the background and they are all tied to time, to a time-line, tied to a progression of time, bound by time.
This is what stands in opposition to Love. Can we say that love is true when it lasts but an instant, a decade, or even our entire lifetime? For Love to be true, the Being of God, Love must be beyond the limitation of time, Love must be eternal, transcendent. It is only in this entwining of incarnation and divinisation in the ongoing dance of time and space held within the eternal transcendence of God’s Being, that Love becomes true, eternal, real.
“Love is not Loved… Love is not Loved”, St Francis’ mystical experience allowed him to see and understand with heart-wrenching clarity that those he Loved in his home-town of Assisi did not know Love, know the source of Love, and had chosen an illusion of Love that leads only to death. This was St Francis’ call to action, a call to repentance.
To see those around us, those who are near and dear to us, those whom we Love, choosing the path of suffering, the way to living death, we also must lament “Love is not Loved,… Love is not Loved”.
How can we recover this Love that leads to the peace that Jesus promises? How do we recognise within ourselves that emptiness, the abyss of chaos, that foundation of sand upon which we have based our lives?
We have reached our heart’s desire, fallen in Love with the person of our dreams, reached the pinnacle of success and fame, we are living the dream of wealth and youth, but already the worm of decay is at work and there is the taste of loss, even at the very instant that the crown is placed upon our head.
With bitter resolve we may cling to our Loved ones, cling to our relationships, cling to our success and fame, cling to our wealth and youth; clinging, clinging even as we see these slipping away from our grasp, and so we divert ourselves and look the other way. This is the restless pattern that robs us of our peace, robs us of our joy! We need more, we must have more… time.
The apostles clung to Jesus. But in this, they were thinking not of Jesus, but themselves. He told them so “If you Loved me you would have been glad to know that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I”. For Jesus to go back to the Father was the goal of his life; creating a bridge by which we also could reach our transcendent vocation, that union to the source of Love that is eternal and transcendent.
It always begins with and in me, facing the source of my emotions, treating them as friends and not enemies to be avoided. When I am present and in tune with this creativity of the Holy Spirit flowing through time and across the universe, my souls expand and I come to stand in awe, acknowledging that this is part of me and I am part of it.
This is the invitation to recognize the Divine Intimacy of God in us, and we in God. The illusion of separateness and disintegration that leads to appropriation and manipulation loses its enticement. As soon as this recognition of Divine Intimacy returns to me, I see this in all of creation. My adventure back into transcendence is already begun… and in this sacred space, fear holds no power…. death, where is your sting!
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