ARCHBISHOP MARK COLERIDGE is urging Catholics to seek out Jesus and experience His redeeming embrace.
THERE was once a famous, old Italian priest who had a great gift for talking to young people, especially university students.
One day he was asked a question by one of the students in a big gathering and he paused for a moment before he replied and when he did reply he said simply “I see what you see, but I see more”.
Now that can sound very arrogant but the spiritual life, or spirituality, is always about seeing more and more and more, on a journey into a kind of infinite vision, because once you see God there’s no end to what you can see and will see.
So at the heart of all spirituality there is the call to see more because many people live in a tiny, claustrophobic little world, where they see only a sliver of what’s there, a sliver of reality or the mystery and they think that’s all there is. But there is so much more if we have eyes to see.
So our greatest spiritual need is to have eyes that are more and more open, eyes that see more in a society, in a culture, where too many people see too little and they don’t think that there’s anymore out there to be seen.
Well, we the Christians, say “there is a vast mystery out there”. We only see tiny slivers of it.
And we are those who seek to see more and seek to help others see more.
That’s what the Christian mission is all about – helping others to see with the eye that really sees.
But how will we see more? That’s the question.
The only answer, according to Christianity, is if we listen to the voice of Jesus.
Now that may sound strange, but I’m talking about the Jesus who isn’t once upon a time who spoke way back then, 2000 years ago and is dumb and silent now.
That kind of Jesus is no good to anyone, and we all go to the tomb dead, blind and dead deaf.
I’m talking about the Jesus who’s here and now and who’s voice can be heard if you give your ear a chance.
So in other words, the greatest spiritual need that you and I have is not some mystical formula or some magical path that I can find in a book or a new-age shop.
Our greatest spiritual need, and the greatest spiritual need of the whole human family, I would say, is to meet Jesus again and again and again and to go more and more deeply into that experience of meeting him, hearing him, listening to him, who is the living word that God provides.
So we need to hear the voice of God and the voice of God comes to us in the voice of Jesus.
Once you hear his voice with an open ear, then your eye begins to open and you see everything differently.
It was all there to be seen but once your eye begins to open, the world becomes vastly mysterious.
You become vastly mysterious. You see the truth of God, you see the truth of other people and you see how magnificent the gift of life really is.
Not this tiny, claustrophobic experience of boredom where the world becomes a tomb.
You see the big picture and, in the end, that means to see God.
Pope Francis’ recent letter to us is called The Joy of the Gospel.
In other words once you start to see more you can understand what joy is, you begin to taste it in the depth of your being.
And that’s what the spiritual life’s all about.
It’s about joy – not just fun or getting kicks, but about that deeper, bigger thing that we call joy.
So let’s listen just for a moment to the words that the Pope has written to us.
“I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment to a renewed, personal encounter with Jesus Christ. Or at least an openness to letting him encounter them. I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day.
“No one should think that the invitation is not meant for him or her, because no one is excluded from the joy brought by the Lord, by Jesus.
“The Lord doesn’t disappoint those who take this risk.
“Whenever we take a step towards Jesus we come to realise that he’s already there waiting for us with open arms. Now is the time to say to Jesus ‘Lord, I have let myself be deceived, in a thousand ways I have shunned your love, but here I am once more. I need you. Save me once again, Lord. Take me once more into your redeeming embrace’.”
So what’s your greatest spiritual need?
The experience of His redeeming embrace.