In these or similar words ...

Dear Jesus,
In prayer today I read the Gospel from John. In it you invite me to stay joined to you and you say that together we will produce fruit. The desire in me is so deep to do that. How? Where? What will we do together? I reread these too familiar passages in the Gospel, but now they come to life in a new way. Stay joined with you and you will stay joined with me. Together we will produce fruit. It’s a powerful invitation and I want to accept it.

I picture you on a hillside talking to us in the crowd. You came and brought your message to the poor — to them — but I can see the poor you are talking to and I am one of them. Now you are offering us life, a life with you. You see us, not as a crowd, but as individuals, each struggling to be freer people, poor in spirit and wanting something more — wanting to be closer to you. And you give us an answer to that desire. You offer us yourself, your friendship, and ask us to join in your life of serving the poor — others like ourselves.

Dear Jesus, you see me as a captive who needs to be set free of my limitations, my selfishness, and my seeking of the easy way out. I feel you there for me, next to me, as I begin to sense how I want to serve you and how I need to be free to do that.

I feel you accepting of me, with all of my limitations, all of my shortcomings. I am so aware of them all, and yet right there in the midst of my weaknesses, you accept me and love me and ask me to join with you. I feel the pull of your invitation and I feel my love for you growing deeper. Your care and gentle manner are so attractive — how could I turn down your invitation? Yes, I want to go with you. But somewhere inside I feel the voice asking, “What will it cost me?”

I love what you say about being merciful, helping those who grieve, and being a peacemaker. Yes, I will do that with and for you. Then you ask me to be humble, and I want to balk at that. Humble? Poor of spirit? And yet I know so well that when I am capable and self-sufficient and independent, I don’t turn to you, my loving friend, for help. Now I want something different — to turn to you more, always, for help and support and friendship. Teach me to be humble. Show me what it means to be poor of spirit. I don’t always know how to change the way I live to become more poor, but that is my desire now. Please show me how to be humble. Give me the grace to want to be humble. Let me bring all the ways I resist being poor and humble to you. I know only that this is the way to be closer to you and your love.

Our world teaches us one way: you offer another. I am so deeply immersed in this world and I feel myself resist, and yet the flame in my heart is growing stronger as I watch you and love you more each day. Teach me. Thank you for loving me so much that you invite me to go with you.

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