Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Dominus Vobiscum-- The Lord be With You

Where is God? Twenty years ago many would point to heaven but that is no longer the case. However, in the Our Father we  do  say, "Our father who is in heaven." Where is God? A priest who works in the pastoral office of a diocese, in his article in Bible & Life, wants us to reflect on this question.

He recalls  the famous words: 'the foot prints on the sand'. In a dream the writer went back in  life and remembered the intimate  relationship with God, but during the times of difficulty he noticed that there were only one set of footsteps in the sand.  He brought this to the attention of God: "Where were you when I was having trouble?" "I was carrying you during those times"  was the response.  

We may be moved by these words but the fact is we cry out when the pain is too much. The mother with the diagnosis of an incurable disease for a child or the death of a  child. The mother prays but who can blame her for being overcome with a heavy heart and deaf to all? The person who worked hard in his job  and was fired, the person who was selling his wares along the sidewalk and was told to move along, the student who worked hard in preparing for the exam and continually fails, the person who  was deceived by a friend who took off with all his savings; was God with them in their difficulties?

"My burden since your birth, whom I have carried from your infancy.  Even to your old age  I am the same, even when your hair is gray I will bear you; It is  I who have done this, I who will continue, and I who will carry you to safety" (Isiah 46:3-4).

I believe that you will save me and raise me on the last day. But is there nothing that you can do with the pain I am suffering now?  Carried at the breast, on the back, but what is the reason for the bitter-poison like pain that I have been made to swallow?

When he goes up to the altar to say Mass and looks over the congregation that has come to the Mass and sees those who have their eyes filled with tears and his eyes meet their eyes he greets them: "The Lord be with you."

In the Old Testament we have God being with his people. When the angel appeared to Mary she heard: "Rejoice,  O highly favored daughter! The Lord is with you" (Luke 1:28). Jesus in his last words in the Gospel of Matthew: "And know that  I am with you always, until the end of the world."

In the Catechism of the Catholic Church: "Our Father who art in  heaven is rightly understood to mean that God is in the hearts of the just, as in his holy temple. At the same time, it means that those who pray should desire the one they invoke  to dwell in them."

The article concludes with the priest saying that he looks into the eyes of the woman in pain,  who is appealing to God, and in the Mass before the last blessing he raises his voice and  speaks out: "The Lord be with you!"