Daily Reflection
October 15th, 2007

Joan Blandin Howard

Christian Spirituality Program
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We are most assuredly creatures and creatures of habit to be sure. Our humanity is our blessing, our gift, our unique quality in all of creation. But none the less, our humanity, our creature-ness is what trips us up. We are called to live in the fullness of our humanity, yet we are forever stubbing our toes on it. Truly, I believe this is some of what makes us so endearing, so irresistible and at times so frustrating to our Beloved. Like a child we always want more, but more of what?

Our innate unquenchable longing for our beloved Creator keeps us on the edge of awareness. We long to know that we are loved and lovable. We long to experience love and our own livableness.

We have been trained and encouraged to keep on the look out for signs. Signs that will direct us where we want to go. Signs that will warn us of danger. Signs that will indicate the necessity for a detour or permanent change of course. Signs that reflect the status of a relationship. Signs that speak of God’s joy and pleasure or speak of God’s displeasure. I am on the constant alert for the signs of the times.

The lover in a new relationship is eager to please and attract the beloved. He showers her with constant attention and gifts of flowers, candies, candlelit dinners, quiet talks and moonlight walks. The beloved may easily become infatuated with the signs of fondness and overlook the invitation to a deeper relationship. The beloved may fall in love with the coincidences, the consolations of love and miss the experience of the lover all together.

In this reading we hear Jesus say that he Jesus is the sign, “…so will the Son of Man be to this generation.” (as Jonah was a sign for the Ninevites). Jesus reminds us that He is the living symbol of God; the living face of God. He is living Love. Jesus is inviting me to look carefully. Am I focused on the signs of Jesus, or God, and miss the reality of God, of Jesus present in my life. Is it Jesus I long for or is it his gifts and blessings I crave?

As Jesus said to the woman in verse 28, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!” Blessed is the one who is not distracted by the consolations of the relationship. I am the living sign, listen and obey. The Son of Man will be the sign for this generation.

We have recently read of Mother Theresa and her longing for the consolations of God – just let me know you are here. Yet all the while she most definitely lived and worked and dwelt in the presence of God. She listened and obeyed the word of God. It is possible that we too experience the deprivation of the consolations of Jesus. This is never easy. But the question remains valid:

What do I long for? the consolations of God or the God of consolations?

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