Tuesday, April 18, 2017: Bright Tuesday; The Commemoration of Saints Raphael, Nicholas, Irene, and the Other Newly-revealed Martyrs of Lesbos
Christ is Risen!
Without wishing to in any way diminish the role of the Holy Spirit, the boldness we see in Peter on Pentecost didn’t “just happen.” Even if it might feel like it, the action of grace isn’t like turning on a light bulb. We don’t go instantly from one way of life to another. Thinking that we do is always a source of frustration in our personal lives and in the life of the Church.
God reveals Himself to us slowly.
God also slowly reveals us to ourselves. He grants us glimpses of our vocation. If He didn’t, if He revealed the whole of our vocation to us at once, the sheer weight of it would crush us. And so God reveals Himself and our calling to us slowly.
Back to Peter.
The boldness we see in him on Pentecost is a purified boldness. While he is more mature, more sober, than when we first meet him in the Gospel, it is still the same Peter. But what was once recklessness is now courage. How does God bring about this change in Peter and so in us?
To answer this let’s look at this Gospel.
“Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home wondering at what had happened.” Having heard from the women that Jesus had risen, Peter wants to see for himself.
And he doesn’t just go, he runs to the tomb. He is curious. He wants to know what happened.
And when he sees the empty tomb and “the linen cloths by themselves” he pauses. Curiosity brings him to the empty tomb but wonder returns him to himself.
Often in the spiritual life, we confuse curiosity–a desire to know or understand–with faith. But curiosity begins in ignorance, in a felt deficient in one’s self. Faith, however, begins not in my poverty but awe at God’s fullness.
To glimpse God fullness isn’t so much to feel that I’m small as it to experience awe at God’s greatness. And, again, faith begins in awe.
It is through awe at the mystery of the Resurrection that foolhardy and impetuous Peter becomes the bold and courageous preacher we see at Pentecost. Awe transforms Peter.
Likewise with us. We need to be transformed by our awe at the majesty, power, and beauty of God.
We grow in awe if, again like Peter, we return “home.” That is if we quiet ourselves if we surrender our desire to know and open ourselves to the fullness of God.
But again, awe begins in quiet. We must, I must, quiet myself, put aside the many distractions of my day, so that I can hear the gentle voice of God that doesn’t overwhelm but woos us.
My brothers and sisters in Christ, let us allow ourselves to be wooed, to be loved, by Christ!