The change of seasons reminds us that all of life is about change. Things rarely stay the same. We have all heard the dictum that the only things in life that stay the same are taxes and change. There is truth to that. This week's Sunday gospel reminded us that we are to give to Caesar what is Caesar's and give to God what is God's. Even Jesus had to pay his taxes! The point there is that we need to do what it takes to be a good citizen, so long as the gospel is our guide. However, even our taxes change. All things are in motion and we either learn how to go with the flow or we fight it, going kicking and screaming into the future, but going nonetheless.
The very same gospel I just referred to makes it clear that we have responsibilities to live according to the teaching of Jesus, so we are right to fight some change. However, we have to discern carefully what we are called to fight, inform our fight with the Gospel, that is, to do what we do with love, and stay the course in that attempt. But there are other things which we do not have the ability to change, such as the march of time and the changes which come with that. These are the areas in which we need to pray for the grace to let go of that which needs letting go, and for the ability to embrace that which is new, though it might possibly be scary or challenging at first.
Many of the biblical stories involved the same sort of situations we face today. We have no more ability to know the future then they did, so we have to rely on faith, hope, and love and the promises made by God which we can see are always fulfilled. Though things will seem to change just as we have gotten used to them, the constant is that we have God with us. When we become too comfortable, we find ourselves challenged by change. This is true of all things from how we pray to dealing with shifting relationships, shifting social norms, the speed of technological growth, and most especially the process of aging.
In our prayer lives, God will call us to something deeper if we are faithful to it. At first this can be disconcerting because what used to work is no longer satisfying. Prayer can seem tedious and boring, even ‘dry as the desert.’ But when this happens it may be that God is offering us something in which He is more in control than we are. We need to use our faith and remember that in His love He may be giving us the gift of deeper prayer. People are often tempted to quit praying when this shift happens, so a good spiritual director can help us to discern what is really going on.
May we trust in the promises of God, remembering that He has never let His people down and always does as He has said! May we pray for the needs of our brothers and sisters in the world! May we trust that the Lord is with us especially in times of trouble! May we accept the gift of peace offered to us by the Holy Spirit! May we utilize the gifts of faith, hope, and love! And may we learn to recognize the presence of God who loves us beyond what we can imagine! Let us continue to meet in the Heart of Jesus! Peace!
©Michele L. Catanese
The photos are all mine. The first was taken at Lost Maples State Park in Texas. The second was taken in Sicily, near Contessa Entellina. The third is Michelangelo's Moses which is found in the church of San Pietro in Vincoli (St. Peter in Chains) in Rome.
The two images were painted by Fr. William Hart McNichols. The first is called The Name of God Shekinah. It is the tetragrammaton, that is, the I AM WHO AM, spoken by God to Moses, represented in the cloud which is a symbol for the protective presence of God leading the people. If you would like to obtain a copy it can be found at http://www.fatherbill.org/all-categories/product/30-the-name-of-god-shekinah.
The second is The Name of God Yahweh which is another representation of the tetragrammaton. In this one the letters are superimposed with the symbol of fire, which is God's presence also. It can be found at http://www.fatherbill.org/all-categories/product/31-the-name-of-god-yahweh.