Psalms 67:2-3, 5, 6, 8
I have come to the world as its light, to keep anyone who believes in me from remaining in the dark.
If you were asked right now, “What do you most deeply want?” how would you respond? As you think about this for a little while, what begins to bubble up from within you? In the depths of your heart, do you want to be with Jesus? Do you desire to know Him, to follow Him and to love Him?
The promise Jesus speaks of in today’s Gospel proclaims that He is our light—in fact, that He is “the way, the truth and the life” (see John 14:1-12). This promise is an absolute: to believe in Him and to seek Him leads us out of the dark and into the light. Here lies the “map” to know the way to walk and what to listen to as we make the many decisions of each day. Jesus promises to lead us and to be our light. So, how do we know if we are following the light?
Jesus’ promise and the gift of the Holy Spirit lies in following that goodness, that peace, that rightness that comes from the deep integrity of our hearts. Listen carefully. You and I know when we do something or say something that is coming from our own selfishness or self-seeking. Perhaps we feel agitation, or disquiet, or restlessness, or even sadness—in the dark. These signal that we are not being faithful to our deepest self, or ourselves with God. Similarly, we know in our hearts when we are acting out of our deepest self. Here we feel that peace, joy, and rightness which draw us more deeply into love and relationship with Jesus, the Light.
The fundamental principles of discerning God’s presence and will, presuppose that we desire to be with God, that is, to seek Him above all things. From here, the Holy Spirit will lead us into all that brings us to deeper relationship with God; that which draws us away from God is not of the Holy Spirit and not to be followed. We simply need to reflect prayerfully on what really is cooking in our hearts. The Holy Spirit desires to console us: to give us peace, hope, encouragement and to strengthen our faith, hope and love. This consolation is not the more surface “if is feels good, do it” consolation that our culture tells us we should seek. This consolation is what sustains us deep in our hearts even amidst difficulties. This spiritual consolation is the deep, “rightness” of getting up in the middle of the night with your son or daughter who is ill; it is working a second job to provide for your family; it is studying faithfully so that you can be good in your future vocation; it is attending church on Sunday even when you would like to sleep in; it is making a phone call to someone who is having family struggles; it is taking time amidst our busy days just to be with those we most deeply love, and to permit ourselves to receive love from them and from God. This consolation of the Holy Spirit comes when we are with Jesus. This spiritual consolation comes when we listen to the deepest desires of our hearts, and respond to the light of Jesus’ love leading us into deeper relationship with Him, with others and with ourselves.
The Light dispels all darkness. Jesus’ resurrected love draws us more and more into His light, so that we might love more deeply and be more authentically ourselves. We have a choice. He waits for us to say "yes" to be with Him. The promise He offers assures us of deep peace and everlasting joy!
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