Ponder Saint Augustine’s reflection that we are restless until we rest in God. God’s desire for union with us is a fact of creation. Also, our human nature being “hard-wired” to seek God–something totally apart from our rearing as a Christian, Jew, Muslim, or a person of any faith. The invitation is part of the dynamic of the universe.
6. Before our response to his invitation — well before! — there is his desire for us. We may not even be aware of it, but every time we go to Mass, the first reason is that we are drawn there by his desire for us. For our part, the possible response — which is also the most demanding asceticism — is, as always, that surrender to this love, that letting ourselves be drawn by him. Indeed, every reception of communion of the Body and Blood of Christ was already desired by him in the Last Supper.
The liturgy is one way this invitation breaks into our world. We have an experience of gathering in community, of listening to the Lord, of encountering him in other human beings, and of sharing a meal. When Pope Francis mentions a “most demanding asceticism,” it strikes me he alludes to the notion of sacrifice. What are we giving up? What do we surrender to God? The first sacrifice we can make is to cooperate with his drawing us near: we give up many other “better” activities and accept what is coming in the experience of the Mass.
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