Be surprised by life

“We are called to enlarge the horizons of our hearts, to be surprised by the life that is presented each day with its newness. In order to do this we need to learn to not depend on our own securities, our own established plans, because the Lord comes in the hour which we don’t imagine.” — Pope Francis

The other day, as I did my morning prayer with the daily readings, I jotted in my journal:

If there is one thing that is consistent about God’s dealings with Israel, it’s that He seems to love catching us off guard. Knocking us off balance. Displacing our crutches. Severing our unhealthy attachments. Shattering our expectations in order to reset them. Inciting bewilderment and dizziness seems to be His strategy for eliciting wonder and awe, which are the preface to any genuine expansion of our horizons. But unlike the pagan gods, whose capricious liberty inspired fear, the God of Israel inspires trust because His freedom is bound to His truth; and His truth is justice and mercy and love (hesed we’emet). Therefore, God’s wild freedom that disorients us always does so in order to reorient us from our immediate obsessions toward our ultimate fulfillment; to turn us toward the East where hope greets the running dawn. ‘Do not be afraid,’ which is the anthem of the Scriptures, is said only to those whose circumstances seem fearful; who have cause for fear amid the chaos life can bring. Utterly astonishing: It is said to us by a God who, presiding over history from the Cross, uses the forces of chaos that threaten our well-being as the very means of revealing and effecting a future full of hope. No need to first rid oneself of problems — ‘if only things were different, then…’ — to trust this God. Per crucem ad lucem.* Christians are those who proclaim a God who has turned the world upside down, and faith is the only proper response among the dizzy. Acts 2:15ff; 17:6


Try it — walk through the Wardrobe and risk bewilderment this Advent…

*Latin for “through the cross to the light,” with an awesome alliteration, i.e. pair crew-chem odd loo-chem.

4 comments on “Be surprised by life

  1. Pat Beckett says:

    Awesome reflection, Tom. Thank you for providing beautiful beginning thoughts for Advent..a time when I have to have spreadsheets to keep track of my plans. I pray that each “surprise” will be embraced with joy and not fear.

  2. The number one SINNER. says:

    As St Paul tells us of these theological virtues of faith ,hope, and the greatest of these love ,can any be realized without that of faith… mmmmmmm. I ponder…

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