The Un-Chosen

Today’s Gospel is stunning. Right after Judas’ betrayal is set in motion, Jesus immediately declares his glorification has begun. Glory is the ‘visible manifestation of the invisible character of God.’ So what Jesus is saying is that the Passion will reveal to the world what love looks like in God. Specifically, love in the face of rejection, betrayal and hatred.

The crucifixion is God’s supreme revealing event to the world — God stripped naked for us to see, with his secret depths uncovered that evidence something no human could have ever conceived of as a divine attribute: vulnerability. The “weakness of God” (1 Cor. 1:25). That is truly mind blowing.

From Latin vulnerabilis “wounding,” love is vulnerable to pain. Here, Pope Benedict sheds some light:

Today what people have in view is eliminating suffering from the world.
For the individual, that means avoiding pain and suffering in whatever way.
Yet we must also see that it is in this very way
that the world becomes very hard and very cold.
Pain is part of being human.
Anyone who really wanted to get rid of suffering
would have to get rid of love before anything else,
because there can be no love without suffering,
because it always demands an element of self-sacrifice,
because, given temperamental differences and the drama of situations,
it will always bring with it renunciation and pain.

And Jesus shows us where this kind of love is most visceral, most real, most demanding: in the communities we belong to that stand beyond our choice; our neighbors who are neigh-bor, “next door.” These neighbors we are “stuck with” are sacramentals of God’s devious Providence that ensures us limitless opportunities to glorify him. People like our family members, teachers, classmates, bosses, coworkers, neighbors, fellow inmates, choir members, pastors, parishioners, etc. People we would never have chosen to be with, to be nearby but must be with — THESE become the thinnest of spaces between heaven and earth.

Jesus made this point clear to his disciples, “you did not choose me, I chose you.” Then he commands them to love each other, thereby consecrating these unchosen relationships as privileged spaces where divine love manifests itself in its Highest, most costly and most vulnerable form. It’s easy to “love those who love you,” Jesus says, or to be a charity hero for those you don’t have to live with and deal with day in and day out. Most of my Confessions deal with sins in my various unchosen relationships which I try to un-choose in some way every day by my thoughts, words and actions.

From the Cross, Jesus loved that horrid rabble thrust on him, and did so with an everlasting and tender love. Those before whom he was wholly vulnerable, he washed from his side opened up by them. And as he died, he expired — “breathed out” — his Holy Spirit on them; the Spirit in whom are all the Treasures of this Paschal love that is God’s Most High glory.

This love-laden Spirit is given to us so we might love the same — God, help me — and give ample evidence to the world that this is what love looks like in our fallen, divided, wrecked world. This is the real mission of the Church.

In sum: among those unchosen people in our life is the highest calling God offers: to “love one another as I have loved you.”

I can’t not end with St. John of the Cross, and share this quote now for the umpteenth time. He speaks to these Religious novices of a monastery, but we can insert here any of the unchosen (and chosen!) relationships we find ourselves thrust in:

You have not come to the [monastery] for any other reason
than to be worked and tried in virtue;
you are like the stone that must be
chiseled and fashioned before being set in the building.
Thus you should understand that those who are in the [monastery]
are craftsmen placed there by God
to mortify you by working and chiseling at you.
Some will chisel with words, telling you what you would rather not hear;
others by deed, doing against you what you would rather not endure;
others by their temperament, being in their person and in their actions
a bother and annoyance to you;
and others by their thoughts, neither esteeming nor feeling love for you.
You ought to suffer these mortifications and annoyances with inner patience,
being silent for love of God and understanding that
you did not enter [the religious life] for any other reason
than for others to work you in this way,
and so you become worthy of heaven.
If this was not your reason for entering [the religious state],
you should not have done so,
but should have remained [in your own world]
to seek your comfort, honor, reputation, and ease.

2 comments on “The Un-Chosen

  1. tmm says:

    An amazing, yes a great post! God’s brilliance shinning through you really touched me. Loved all that was written, and what a joy to taste the sweetness from the ignited Holy Spirit Fire that is prematurely falling. An inspiration came for a Pentecost Holy Novena, what a gift. It will be composed of a prayer response to your lead and included will be a Scripture verse. Of course, coming out of the gate, my response is a poetic one. It can be nothing less when you’re really fired up. Seems love is the gift to desire this Pentecost. Thank you! Day one complete, now in need of eight more prayer responses. Will attempt to get some others to participate, with them choosing a day, responding to what you have written with a prayer and adding a Scripture. Sometimes it’s so hard for some people to let go and step out, bursting their comfortable confining bubble. Left over days will be on me, but how enriched we are when the “Body of Christ” is alive and active. If God is leading, feel free to choose a day to complete my 2022 Holy Pentecost gift Novena via your post. That invitation is extended to whoever hears the call.

    DAY 1
    🕊Dr. Tom Neal:
    “Jesus made this point clear to his disciples, “you did not choose me, I chose you.” Then he commands them to love each other”
    🕊tmm: ~Veni Creator Spiritus, Co̾m̾e̾, Co̾m̾e̾, Co̾m̾e̾~
    ~For Divine Help, We Implore You, Please Give Us Some~

    ɬ Coming from above
    ɬ The command is to love

    ɬ To one and to all
    ɬ Take heed, hear the call

    ɬ In the head is where it gets it’s start
    ɬ But the landing place must be in the heart

    ɬ From the Lord it is not a request, but a demand
    ɬ Therefore we realize the victory isn’t possible without a helping hand

    ɬ To that we say Co̾m̾e̾ Ho̾l̾y̾ Sp̾i̾r̾i̾t̾, Co̾m̾e̾, Co̾m̾e̾, Co̾m̾e̾!
    ɬ Of Divine help, of that we are in dire need of some

    ɬ Going it alone
    ɬ We’ll never make it on our on

    ɬ The word of the LORD
    to Zerubbabel
    ɬ Is a wise one to us as well

    📖 Zechariah 4:6 “ⓉⒽⒺⓃ ⒽⒺ ⓈⒶⒾⒹ ⓉⓄ ⓜⒺ:
    “ⓉⒽⒾⓈ ⒾⓈ ⓉⒽⒺ ⓌⓄⓇⒹ ⓄⒻ ⓉⒽⒺ ⓁⓄⓇⒹ ⓉⓄ ⓏⒺⓇⓊⒷⒷⒶⒷⒺⓁ: ⓃⓄⓉ ⒷⓎ ⓜⒾⒼⒽⓉ, ⒶⓃⒹ ⓃⓄⓉ ⒷⓎ ⓅⓄⓌⒺⓇ, ⒷⓊⓉ ⒷⓎ ⓜⓎ ⓈⓅⒾⓇⒾⓉ, ⓈⒶⓎⓈ ⓉⒽⒺ ⓁⓄⓇⒹ ⓄⒻ ⒽⓄⓈⓉⓈ”

    ɬ Better is power and good is might
    ɬ But “best” is what is needed for a victorious fight

    ɬ Yes, by the Ho̾l̾y̾ Sp̾i̾r̾i̾t̾
    ɬ The fire must be lit

    ɬ On this first day of the Holy Pentecost Novena, we come asking for an outpouring in the hope of receiving
    ɬ God Almighty, let nothing stand in the way of my/our truly believing

    ɬ Wholehearted is how we are to seek
    ɬ So armed with a faith that’s strong is what we want, not one that’s in the least bit weak

    ɬ We ask you O Ho̾l̾y̾ Sp̾i̾r̾i̾t̾ for a Divine infusion
    ɬ Welcoming whatever you do and accepting what’s necessary and difficult as a most holy intrusion

    ɬ Yearning and pinning with a great desire for love, very much wanting for myself/ourselves the greatest gift
    ɬ Ho̾l̾y̾ Sp̾i̾r̾i̾t̾, please fill me/us with your love, at work in my/our spiritual life, it’ll surely serve to uplift

    ɬ Co̾m̾e̾ Ho̾l̾y̾ Sp̾i̾r̾i̾t̾, come find in me/us a resting place and do sweetly beyond Pentecost indwell
    ɬ Permission is given, proceed to teach, direct, correct me/us as you so wish, we surrender, go ahead order and compel

    Amen, amen, amen. Here is the breakdown for the other eight days.
    DAY 2
    🕊Dr. Tom Neal: Among those unchosen people in our life is the highest calling God offers: to “love one another as I have loved you.”
    🕊tmm: Co̾m̾e̾ Ho̾l̾y̾ Sp̾i̾r̾i̾t̾, Co̾m̾e̾, Co̾m̾e̾, Co̾m̾e̾!

    DAY 3
    🕊Dr. Tom Neal: These neighbors we are “stuck with” are sacramentals of God’s devious Providence that ensures us limitless opportunities to glorify him. People like our family members, teachers, classmates, bosses, coworkers, neighbors, fellow inmates, choir members, pastors, parishioners, etc.
    🕊tmm: Co̾m̾e̾ Ho̾l̾y̾ Sp̾i̾r̾i̾t̾, Co̾m̾e̾, Co̾m̾e̾, Co̾m̾e̾!

    DAY 4
    🕊Dr. Tom Neal: People we would never have chosen to be with, to be nearby but must be with — THESE become the thinnest of spaces between heaven and earth. These unchosen relationships as privileged spaces where divine love manifests itself in its Highest, most costly and most vulnerable form.
    🕊tmm: Co̾m̾e̾ Ho̾l̾y̾ Sp̾i̾r̾i̾t̾, Co̾m̾e̾, Co̾m̾e̾, Co̾m̾e̾!

    DAY 5
    🕊Dr. Tom Neal: It’s easy to “love those who love you,” Jesus says, or to be a charity hero for those you don’t have to live with and deal with day in and day out.
    🕊tmm: Co̾m̾e̾ Ho̾l̾y̾ Sp̾i̾r̾i̾t̾, Co̾m̾e̾, Co̾m̾e̾, Co̾m̾e̾!

    DAY 6
    🕊Dr. Tom Neal: From the Cross, Jesus loved that horrid rabble thrust on him, and did so with an everlasting and tender love.
    🕊tmm: Co̾m̾e̾ Ho̾l̾y̾ Sp̾i̾r̾i̾t̾, Co̾m̾e̾, Co̾m̾e̾, Co̾m̾e̾!

    DAY 7
    🕊Dr. Tom Neal: Those before whom he was wholly vulnerable, he washed from his side opened up by them.
    🕊tmm: Co̾m̾e̾ Ho̾l̾y̾ Sp̾i̾r̾i̾t̾, Co̾m̾e̾, Co̾m̾e̾, Co̾m̾e̾!

    DAY 8
    🕊Dr. Tom Neal: And as he died, he expired — “breathed out” — his Holy Spirit on them; the Spirit in whom are all the Treasures of this Paschal love that is God’s Most High glory. This love-laden Spirit is given to us so we might love the same
    🕊tmm: Co̾m̾e̾ Ho̾l̾y̾ Sp̾i̾r̾i̾t̾, Co̾m̾e̾, Co̾m̾e̾, Co̾m̾e̾!

    DAY 9
    🕊Dr. Tom Neal: God, help me — and give ample evidence to the world what love looks like in our fallen, divided, wrecked world. This is the real mission of the Church.
    🕊tmm: Co̾m̾e̾ Ho̾l̾y̾ Sp̾i̾r̾i̾t̾, Co̾m̾e̾, Co̾m̾e̾, Co̾m̾e̾!

    Let it always be for us a priority, in regards to God’s will
    If we desire this, He will most definitely help us fulfill
    \😇/
    🔥
    / \ http://gigapostolate.weebly.com tmm/PTL

  2. AMDG says:

    Lord, teach us, bring us into, whole-hearted love suffering that you may transform us and the whole world to your great glory! Increase your love in us and through us. Come, Holy Spirit, Fire of Love.

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