Daily Reflection
July 28th, 1999
Joanne St. Hilaire
Student, Christian Spirituality Program
Exodus  34:29-35
Psalm 99:5-7
Matthew 13:44-46

Exodus is full of stories of God intervening in the lives of people in a very real way.  These events seem supernatural and miraculous at times, but, in reality, these experiences may have been no different from the way God intervenes in our lives today.  In today's first reading, when Moses came down from the mountain, "he did not know that the skin of his face was radiant."  Aaron and all the Israelites witnessed the change in his appearance.  Moses had conversed with God and It changed him perceptibly.

Perhaps this was no more miraculous than the change that comes over most people when they meet God "face to face" in some religious experience or even in daily prayer.

A woman whom I know once told me about her commitment to prayer.  She had been searching for many years and tried to find God in many Eastern religious experiences.  Though these experiences were beneficial in many ways, particularly by enabling her to integrate body, mind, and spirit in prayer, she was not satisfied.  Finally, through some chance conversation with a friend, she returned to her own tradition and became a spiritual associate of a religious order.  Upon making her commitment to seriously pursuing the spiritual life, she undertook a daily regimen of prayer.  After some time, perhaps a few years, she noticed that she had more patience with her children.  In fact, she listened to them more with greater attention.

One day her oldest son said to her, "You know, you have changed.  You are
different now.  I used to be able to really get to you, but you don't get mad and yell any more.  You probably don't know it, but I used to try to get you to blow off on purpose.  You don't get mad now."

My friend just smiled and told her son that all the while he "tried to get to her," she just prayed for him, waiting for him to calm down and behave more maturely.

Her son just looked at her, amazed.  He, of course, had not noticed that his mother was praying.  No miracle was evident.  Her face was not radiant, though a miraculous change of heart had transpired within the woman over a period of time.  The change took place so gradually that it was imperceptible at first.  Looking back, however, her son remembered how she used to be and recognized a remarkable change.

When I reflect on my own life over the years, I am aware of greater patience and the fact that the things that used to get to me no longer bother me.  I even find that greater attentiveness to God in the ordinary situations of daily life inspire greater trust, and I have less anxiety.  When prayer changes to more listening to God, as Moses did, I can "hear" more subtle "messages" that change my behavior over time.

All who "meet God face to face" in prayer, on retreat, at a special liturgy, in a traumatic event, or even on a mountain top, viewing a breathtaking panorama will change if we let the experience move us.  Perhaps the radiance will remain hidden, but the inner glow will eventually seep through, manifested in a peaceful countenance or in a more centered manner.  A real God experience motivates a change of heart.  A new heart is a treasure worth one giving all.

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