Are we opening the door to God in our lives? Jesus provides a continuous invitation. He says, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him and he with me.” (Rev. 3:20)
I recently came across a beautiful reflection from St. Augustine about how he had put God off for many years, and then he reflects:
Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you!
You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you.
In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created.
You were with me, but I was not with you.
Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you, they would have not been at all.
You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness.
You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness.
You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you.
I have tasted you; now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I
burned for your peace. (The Confessions of St. Augustine, Book Ten, XXVII)
While I will never attain the depth of Augustine’s spirituality and wisdom, I relate to his early struggles in resisting God’s invitations to have a personal and intimate relationship with him. In my early adult years, I went to church every Sunday, participated in the sacraments and loved my wife and children.
There were times when I would experience a whiff of God’s special fragrance, but for the most part, I kept him at arm’s length, particularly when it came to moving forward in my career as a young attorney. I allowed myself to be influenced more by the ways of the world than the ways of God.
Then one October evening, through God’s grace and the influence of my wife and other spirit-filled Christian friends, I met Jesus in a way I had never experienced before – just the two of us. In the solitude of his presence and gentle love, I was inclined to ask him to take the sin and mixed priorities in my life, and before I could finish the request, he responded with an affirmation that words are inadequate to describe.
It was a watershed moment. If you ask my wife, she will tell you that from that point forward all my priorities began to change. Jesus gave me a new thirst for reading scripture and spending time daily with him. He gave me a new love for the Church and his sacraments, and a desire to share his presence with others. Yes, I am still capable of failing him, but repentance eventually follows.
Like Augustine, we thank you, Lord, for breaking through our deafness, for dispelling our blindness and breathing the fragrance of your Spirit on us.