God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble — James 4:6
In the weeks and months following Veronica’s murder, I was in constant prayer. Constant conversation with God. God showed me my own soul. I was ashamed at how loosely I applied the law to myself all the while applying it very strictly to others. I had everything backwards. My soul was illuminated, so to speak. I began to pull the planks out of my own eyes. In doing so, my blindness was lifted and I was able to look at my fellow human beings in a new light. I was able to see what I think God had in mind when He left us the rules for a way of living. I have never really been able to express in words what happened to me, other than an infusion of grace in a time of suffering. In two words it was joy and it was sorrow.
For the first time in my life I felt an inexplicable inner peace. I felt completely wrapped in the love of God. I KNEW He loved me. It made me excited to get up and start the day. It made me thankful for my husband, my children, my home, and my friends. But it was also very, very humbling. I realized how many times in my life I had argued with people to be right, and never thought about loving them. I realized how often I only thought of myself never giving a thought to other people and how my actions may affect them. I looked at them with strict glasses of legalism and missed the opportunity to love them properly.
In my grief over Veronica I truly looked at people differently. I truly wanted love for them. I wanted to see their humanness and not their sin. When I did see sin (including my own), what I felt inside can only be inadequately explained as SORROW. It was as if I could see them (and myself) rejecting God after being shown how much He chases after us with love.
I thought of Jesus in Gethsemane. It is said His sweating of blood wasn’t because of His impending crucifixion but because of His seeing all the sin of humanity. Utter sorrow. Love was there to embrace us and empty Himself totally for us and we continually reject it by choosing selfishness instead of love. The two thieves on the cross both recognized Him, but only one humbled Himself and was promised heaven. The other just wanted Jesus to get him down, rejecting the love that was pouring out on the cross for him. The example of these two thieves made me understand why there are times we should not receive communion. We are all sinners, but many reject what the Lord taught us and receive in pride, thinking we are right, all the while we are just bringing judgement on ourselves. “ For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves.” (1 Corinthians 11:29.) Both men on the cross next to Jesus were sinners, but one, in the pride of His sin, rejected love, and brought judgement on himself. The other recognized his sin and humbled Himself before Our Lord, bringing him the joy of heaven. Thank God for confession.
One night after feeling this joy like never before I went to bed and felt this inside, “Lord, even if you take everything from me, all was yours to begin with. Every breath begins and ends with you, and in my nothingness all will still be well as long as I have you.” An infusion of grace.
I could drive down the street and have a fellow human being cut me off and flip me the bird and I would pray for blessing on that person. I would pray that they would know the love of God. I would feel sorrowful that they may not yet know the love of God because when you do, you really try your best to stop acting that way.
At some point I lost the continual sense of peace and joy. It is the memory of this infusion of grace that keeps me in constant contact and prayer with my Lord. When I come across people now, I try to receive them without judgement and just listen to their story. If I can listen, and hear their suffering, perhaps I can walk with them to the very intimate meeting with Jesus Christ that can transform their lives the way He transformed mine. I am so far from perfect, I am a mess actually, but I am clear that I am called to love. I am called to be a Saint and I am not embarrassed to say it. My job on this earth is to get to heaven and help my fellow human beings get there too. I can only hope that one day I will meet our Lord and hear, “well done, good and faithful servant.” Until then may God pour grace and blessing over each and every one of you.