Coming out of confession yesterday, I knelt in the chapel for some penitentiary Eucharistic adoration. I thought, like almost always cause almost always I confess the same damned things, “What God do I do to not be here anymore?”
It is typically my experience that I ask a question and my mind has a thousand answers. A hundred voices competing to be the voice of God, and as much as I want to believe in any of them, I know they are all just me. I hear a thousand voices, but I know nothing but silence: the voice I am listening for is not there.
Yesterday, I knelt and asked and as my mind began its clamoring I heard an answer. It is strange, almost indescribable, the way it came. No cymbal clash preceded it. Nor being a voice in my own mind did any majesty come with it. Indeed having experienced it, I am that am is indeed the most apt description and name of God: as His name so His voice. In that instant, all the words that jumbled in my mind (I see words as I think them) were scattered to the edge of my consciousness and in the center of a void of thought and sound, in the silent wind, I saw and heard simply “Love me more.”
In an almost shocked state, I asked “How?” and the answer was just as simple, “Do my work.”
It might be easy enough to think it was simply my own mind. I have intended to set out on that course of action a thousand times. I have had the exact same thoughts who knows how many times before. But the experience of it was so different than anything I have ever thought before. My mind is a democracy where the loudest thoughts reign. There is never silence. It is exactly the quiet that surrounded this thought that was divine. All my self held its breathe to here this quiet voice.
It really changed things. Whole periods of my life where I have associated Mt relative virtue with one thing or another, with a relationship or this or that, I suddenly realized were always correlated with times in my life where I was actively involved in ministering to the poor and needy. And again the lesson that I knew already, that Christ demands that we act. That our faith without works is dead. All these things that I knew and teach and say, I suddenly believed.
Today is Pentecost Sunday. And if you’re parish chose the same Gospel reading as mine you heard this from John “If you love me, keep my commandments.” “And what has the Lord commanded of us but to do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with your Lord.”