The soul-shift and soul-shake of which this nothing consecrated Catholic hermit is being called requires some action on my part. Today's Living Word of God, read at Masses all over the world, give me reminder, instruction, and courage to "step up" the spiritual life progression process.
From Hebrews 12: 11-13:
"So strengthen your drooping hands and your weak knees.
Make straight paths for your feet,
that what is lame may not be disjointed but healed."
Even the verse from John 14:6 that is proclaimed prior to the Gospel reading this day, the Queenship of Mary, reminds and instructs us as to the only One by Whom we come to God:
"I am the way, the truth and the life, says the Lord;
no one comes to the Father, except through me."
And with the Gospel reading from Luke 13, these Words of Christ answer any question remaining as to our salvation and the means and way we must enact in order to have eternal life with His Real Presence:
"Jesus pass through many towns and villages,
teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem.
Someone asked him,
'Lord, will only a few people be saved?'
He answered them,
'Strive to enter through the narrow gate,
for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter
but will not be strong enough.'"
Today is a pivotal date in my own life. On this day, 21 years ago, I was confirmed at age 44, as a Catholic. Eleven years prior my life was totally altered by a drunk teen careening his car into ours, causing a crucifixion of sorts, when I was 33. Eleven years following my confirmation, my youngest child left for college.
This day continues to be pivotal, this Queenship of Mary. An adult daughter begins a new job today. And everyone in the world has some special life situation occurring on this day, truly!
We are experiencing on this day (and veritably this is so on any and every day) the opportunity to grow in faith, hope, and love. We are given opportunity, if we choose to embrace it and take personal action, to be strong in our resolve and in our actions to enter into an increasingly narrowing gate.
Why is it increasingly narrowing? The gate narrows moment-by-moment when we see the excess in our lives--not necessarily tangible excesses of temporal things, but more importantly the excess of our own thoughts, actions, accumulation of distractions of the temporal.
We must sift out in an on-going effort to slim down our bodies, in effect--the temporal glut of things, ideas, disease of relationships, clutter of distractions. We must sift out our thoughts that we increasingly realize are excessive or non-essential. We must temper our emotions and to thin our emotions to what is not unhealthy and prohibiting to our emotional as well as spiritual functioning.
We must see the gate as narrow and also as narrowing. We can cooperate with the process by praying for strength--and also by taking mental, emotional, and tangible action to be strong in stepping away from all that keeps us "fat" with excesses of temporal, mental, emotional, tangible distractions from an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.
Without walking through the narrow gate, and then a more narrow gate, and then yet another and another narrow gate--the narrowing gates of our living souls' spiritual progression, we remain stuck in glut of suffocating, deadening soul (and often times tangibly temporal) distractions.
When we walk through the narrow gate that we recognize before us this very day, we stake steps of strength into Christ. Yes, there will be more gates, each a bit narrower than the former. Our souls are like rubber cones which move as if through space toward a centrifugal light, all the while convoluting in metamorphoses of spiritual progression.
Souls are all spread throughout the universe of God's creation, flowing in varying positions of movement to the center, passing in narrowing funneling toward the Light; for we do not progress through existence as isolated creation.
No soul in spiritual process is physically, tangibly touching, holding back, nor interfering with the progression of any other soul. Our souls progress individually, convoluting while moving slowly, steadily--yet in universal unison toward the Light of Christ in the center of beingness, in the center of God-Is-Love.
If we introduce or hold onto aspects of our lives and selves that do affect our souls' progressions and convolutions of constant motion in narrowing focus toward and upon Christ, we cannot expect to pass through. Rather, we remain, for example, under the power of self, others, and the law of minds when the law of God beckons us to freedom in eternal salvation.
We must be strong and accept that when we shift and shake, when our souls go through a convolution in progression, aspects in our daily lives and among others will necessarily shift and shake. And that is a most positive development for ourselves, for our souls, and for our relationships.
All this is part of embracing the artistry of the soul seeking God, regardless of vocation. However, vocations provide varying guidelines and opportunities that assist the soul within the vehicle of vocation. We must not expect to progress through the narrow gate in the same ways, timing, and details as other souls--not even of those souls who share our particular life vocations.
Pray for strength! Pray for courage! And simply be strong! Break the bonds, strip the bulk of whatever hinders. Pass through the narrow gate. Pass through again and again in increasing lightness and narrowing through, with, and in Christ, toward God!