Daily Reflection
July 19th, 2000
Mary Agnes Rawlings
Christian Spirituality Program

Isaiah 10:5-7, 13-16
Psalms 94:5-10, 14-15
Matthew 11:25-27

Today's daily reading made me stop and reflect once again on my understanding of God's nature and relationship to us human beings.  At one point in my life my concept of God was one of a wrathful, fire and brimstone image.  God sat upon his heavenly throne keeping meticulous account of my numerous wrong doings.  I was convinced I would eventually come to a point in my life where God would have had enough of my miserable behavior and would send the full fury of his wrath down upon my head.  In one swift encounter I figured I would be swept up from the face of the earth and sent straight to the gates of hell.  I read OT scriptures such as the one for today's reading and was convinced that God would use even human forces against those of us on earth that just couldn't get our act together and live right!  I tried hard to will myself into a sense of worthiness.  The harder I tried living a "good" life the more miserable and inadequate I felt.  I was married to a minister, attended mass regularly, prayed that God would help me with my  seemingly hopelessly rebellious nature; yet I ended up feeling more isolated and alone than ever.  I was prayed over, dipped, dunked until I thought I could stand it no more.  Nothing seemed to help and I was convinced I was a hopeless sinner.  (Little did I know the importance of that statement!)

In 1998, I was led to the Christian Spirituality Program at Creighton University.  I might have called it a fluke or happenstance, but today I know it was the hand of God guiding me in my darkness to experience a new spiritual dimension to my life. 

When I read the New Testament lesson from Matthew where Jesus proclaims his special relationship to God and tells us that this relationship will be given to whom he chooses, I smiled.  I have a deep sense of gratitude and joy that I, too, as a Christian, am given this special place in the Holy Family.  I smile because I remember sitting in Father Govan's class last summer hearing him say, "the only way to God is through Jesus."  I didn't understand the magnitude of that statement, but that was a year ago, and today I feel like a different human being.  I no longer worry about how "good"  I am, but rather how "loved" I am.  The experience of being precious in the eyes of God is truly a treasure worth more than money could ever buy.

Matthews text has new meaning for my life today.  I no longer fear God's wrath.  It is certainly not because I don't deserve it, but rather because I have a relationship with God today much different than before.  I can never earn God's love, I can only accept it.   When I remember this, my days are filled with wonder and when I forget, well, then I can trust God to lead me back to the fold.  The strange thing about this whole change for me is that I can't say I really did anything.  It is like Matthew relates, Jesus chooses us first, our response to that reality makes a life's difference.

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