Saturday, March 25, 2017

Finding God where He wants us to find Him


And Mary said, "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He has regarded the low estate of His servant, for behold from now on all generations will call me blessed. For He who is mighty has done Great Things, and holy is His name." Luke 1:46-49.

The moment our Lord was conceived by the Holy Spirit, the earthly presence of God was relocated from the temple to the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This offends our fallen intellects, but if we want to know God, if we want to rejoice in His love and calm all of our fears, then we must learn to know Him as He wants to be known and to find Him where He wants to be found.

Left to our own devices we are like a dog chasing its tail, but when we humble ourselves as the Virgin did, we can be certain that God will exalt us and make us as blessed as she, but there is a problem. We learn in holy scripture that the Lord delights in confounding human wisdom, and one of the ways He does it is by locating Himself where we would never think to look. He doesn't do it to be cruel or to amuse Himself, but to frustrate our pride, to stymie our genius, to teach us that the "foolishness of God is wiser than the wisdom of men," so that humanity might cease and desist from trying to be its own savior, and embrace the One whom Mary proclaims "God my Savior."

Now there's no question that God, who is all-powerful, could simply cast a spell over the world, and make us see things His way, but that would demean the creatures He made us to be! It would reduce the precious gift of being human, of being created in the image of the Divine, to the current state of affairs where we are nothing more than virtual persons, a social security number, an email address, a Facebook page, dairy cows to be milked by the those who are able, and if the milk runs dry then beef cows instead. Until all men can join the Blessed Virgin Mary in singing the Magnificat with all their hearts, the carnage will continue. Human life will be cheap, expendable, something to be used up by whoever can control it, and then thrown away like so much garbage. Don't blame the politicians, multi-national corporations or the thug on the street because it is a group effort. Each one of us plays his part and the more we try to untangle the yarn, the more snarled it becomes. What a state of affairs! Is there an answer? A way out? A road back to sanity?

The Virgin answers the question for us, and may her song become ours. "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He has regarded the low estate of His servant, for behold from now on all generations will call me blessed. For He who is mighty has done Great Things, and holy is His name." Why did Mary speak this way? Because her womb had become the temple of God, and what can a temple do except sing the praises of the God who dwells therein?

In the fullness of time, the Ruler of Israel was born of the Virgin Mary in the Little Town of Bethlehem: and He is the true temple, the dwelling place of God that was "destroyed" on the cross, but raised again on the third day, to turn the tables on death and to bring redemption to us all, so if you want to find God, and the Peace that surpasses human understanding, then look to the Man nailed to the cross, to the crucified and reigning Lord who carries out the will of the Father by suffering, bleeding and dying for your sins. For here you will find the wisdom of God and the power of God; the love of God, and the glory of God, which stands the world's wisdom on its ear, and radiates salvation for all.

Where to do we find God today? Many were asking last week following the massacre in Connecticut, where was God while all this was happening? He is where He has always been, in Christ reconciling the world to Himself. But where is Christ? Where do we find Him when we need Him, and we always do! He is still found, still magnified and still rejoiced over in the womb of His virgin Bride, the church, but this too seems to baffle us, to offend our sensibilities. We happily go to the gas station for fuel, to the coffee house for coffee, to the theater for entertainment, but when it comes to the most crucial matter of all, salvation from sin and death, divine joy in the midst of earthly sorrow, we want a spiritual Jesus, a djini who pops up whenever and wherever we want Him to, but our Lord does not work that way. He resides in the church. He is present here by the Word and the Sacraments to regard the low estate of His servants, to exalt us by the ongoing remission of our sins, to replace chaos with calm, conflict with peace, and the stygian darkness of this present age with the glorious Light of His presence.

Not only does He reside in the church corporately, but in each of us individually. The body of every Christian is God's temple as surely as the Virgin was. He lives in our hearts by faith and in our flesh by the Eucharist, so let us glorify God with our body as the Virgin did. Let us magnify Him with our song, rejoice because of His birth, and look for His reappearing when He will do Great Things for us. Holy is His name! Amen.

~ Rev. Dean Kavouras

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