In this reflection on the three interdependent Calls in the celebration of the year of Mercy, a call to experience Mercy, a call to conversation & communion and a call to mission, I want to reflect briefly on the value of a pause for the process of communion and the ongoing conversion of life.
When we take time to pause and let God’s gaze come upon us lets us feel our connection to the world around us, helps us find a place in which our greatest desires unites to the world’s greatest needs. A pause to spend a year reflecting on the Mercy of God, allows our very self to connect to our way of being to an invitation to union in God’s unconditional love for God’s people. This connection, this pause allows us to seek the transformation of the world that we live in this particular time, this particular place and with these particular people. A pause with this focus helps us connect to the real needs of the people before us and let us be open to those needs. When we pause and let God’s gaze come upon us, instead of spending the time running frantically everywhere, the embodiment of the union with God found in the pause pushes out of ourselves in the a mission uniting all humanity in the two aspects of the one act of God’s love.
So today, the church asks us to pause and reflect on God’s Mercy. In the pause, we not only reflect so we can notice and experience Mercy, where we are and where we are called to show mercy to others. In this pause, we learn to receive and believe in the mercy of God rather than to act as if it all depends on us by running around and being busybodies. There are times in our lives when we just do not take the time and yet, there are ways that stop us in our steps, not just the dramatic moments of illness and death, but also those not so dramatic moments of stress and anxiety. In these moments, the pause comes, calls us beyond ourselves, calls us to see the world and our relationship to it in a new ways, and transforms us. When we pause, we re-collect ourselves in order to be able to give of ourselves to God and to each other.
To be a Christian in this age, calls us to take notice of those silent still moments even those dramatic moments, which call us for a greater transformation. To be a Christian in this age pushes us to challenge the noise of our head, hearts and the world around us keeping us distracted and to transform the interaction by paying attention, deeply listening and sitting still. The western appreciation for efficiency and productivity keeps us from doing the other part of the work of the Christian that is, finding ourselves in union with God and letting God’s gaze come upon us. The Liturgy becomes another place of the Christian work, which is the place where we are to stay awake, to step back, hold still and let God’s gaze come upon us. This is place that we come to recognize that bread does not come from nowhere, but it comes from everywhere, it is everything. The ordinary becomes extraordinarily ordinary for those who are awake enough to see the Body of Christ receive and give the Body of Christ so that they go forth to be the Body of Christ for the transformation of the world.
Look around your communities, pause and listen deeply, what are the stories, unspoken values? What needs reconciliation and healing? How are you called to encounter and dialogue?