Reading: Colossians 1:24-28
“And now I am happy about my sufferings for you, for by means of my physical sufferings I am helping to complete what still remains of Christ’s sufferings on behalf of his body, the church. And I have been made a servant of the church by God, who gave me this task to perform for your good. It is the task of fully proclaiming his message, which is the secret he hid through all past ages from all human beings but has now revealed to his people. God’s plan is to make known his secret to his people, this rich and glorious secret which he has for all peoples. And the secret is that Christ is in you, which means that you will share in the glory of God. So we preach Christ to everyone. With all possible wisdom we warn and teach them in order to bring each one into God’s presence as a mature individual in union with Christ.”
This coming Sunday’s second reading in the Catholic lectionary may seem a bit cryptic at first. Paul is writing to the Church in Collosae about his sufferings that came from preaching the message of Christ. But we find within this text a line filled with lots of meaning, relevant to us in the Ignatian context: “God’s plan is to make known his secret to his people, this rich and glorious secret which he has for all peoples.” (Col 1:27a) What does this mean? Paul previously spoke about how this secret was hidden from those before us and is now revealed to us. And who is it for? A select few who know how to understand the secret? No! It’s for all people, Paul says. “And the secret is that Christ is in you, which means that you will share in the glory of God.” (Col 1:27)
What is the glory of God? Religious people would say it’s your share in God’s “kingship”. It’s what we receive in baptism when we’re told that we are “priest, prophet, and king”. Kingship—sharing in God’s glory—is sharing in God’s knowledge, God’s joy, and God’s love. The secret that has been revealed is what this blog is all about: the relationship we have with God in the everyday.
I was blind, and now I see
So how do we get this secret that is supposedly available to everyone? Ignatian spirituality would tell us that it is through awareness and discernment that we can receive it. There is nothing that God cannot use to communicate with us. Our everyday experiences, a conversation with a friend, and even the genuine feelings in our heart can communicate God to us. God is not about hiding things from us. Jesus showed us in his revelation that the revelation of God’s love and truth could now be tapped into through interior and exterior awareness. If we learn how to do this our blinders can be removed. As the blind man said to Jesus in John’s gospel, “One thing I do know: I was blind, and now I see.”
The secret of God is no longer secret. Yes, our human limitations prevent us from knowing like God knows, but the tools of awareness and discernment give us insight into the depths of our life’s purpose. Our conscience is one of those tools. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says about conscience:
“Deep within his conscience man discovers a law which he has not laid upon himself but which he must obey. Its voice, ever calling him to love and to do what is good and to avoid evil, sounds in his heart at the right moment…. For man has in his heart a law inscribed by God…. His conscience is man’s most secret core and his sanctuary. There he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths.” (CCC, 1776)
This is Ignatian spirituality. Woven into the fabric of our being is the ability to recognise God’s voice. And is that not a share in God’s glory, God’s life?
|Check out resources on Ignatian prayer or discernment and start discovering “the secret”. Also, take a look at some recommended reading below.|
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Music by Kevin MacLeod