• Wartakanlah Injil kepada segala makhluk.
    Mrk 16:15

  • 你们往普天下去, 向一切受造物宣传福音
    谷 16:15

  • Everything is possible by the power of the Holy Spirit’s Grace.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • Segala sesuatu menjadi mungkin dalam kekuatan karunia Roh Kudus.
    St. Arnold Janssen

  • 我当传教士不是为主牺牲,而是上主给我的最大恩赐
    圣福若瑟神父

  • Với sức mạnh Ân Huệ của Chúa Thánh Thần, Mọi việc đều có thể được.
    St Arnoldus Janssen

  • Preach the Gospel to the whole creation./Anh em hãy đi khắp tứ phương thiên hạ, loan báo Tin Mừng cho mọi loài thọ tạo
    Mk 16:15

  • There are many different gifts, but it is always the same Spirit.
    1 Cor 12:4

  • And the Word became flesh and lived among us.
    Jn 1:14

  • Let the word of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you.
    Col 3:16

  • To proclaim the Good News is the first and greatest act of love of neighbour.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • 传扬天国福音是第一且最大的爱近人行动
    圣杨生•爱诺德神父

  • Có nhiều đặc sủng khác nhau, nhưng chỉ có một Thần Khí/
    1 Cor. 14:4

  • 圣言成了血肉,寄居在我们中间
    若 1:14

  • Ada rupa-rupa karunia, tetapi Roh satu
    1 Kor 12:4

Thursday, 29 July 2021 19:59

Jesus is knocking on the door of our heart - reflection

 

Fr Michael Knight SVD 150Fr Michael Knight SVD

The current COVID pandemic has made it so much harder to reach out in ministry to others. This reaching out was something that I previously took completely for granted but now I can only make the best use of those ministerial opportunities that are available, within a seemingly never-ending cycle of lockdowns. So far, we have experienced five lockdowns in Melbourne and have just emerged somewhat from the latest one.

One can be tempted to lose hope that one’s ministry will ever return to those former, more “sunny” times. Some of my ministry, before COVID, had been helping out in neighbouring parishes as well as ministry at a large aged care facility.

Knocking on door 550 shutterstockIt has been very sad to lose all this, with no apparent end of the pandemic in sight. It is like being stripped of what has given meaning to my life and vocation.

However, I have been helped by my memory of past experiences, when I was made aware that Jesus is always knocking at the door of my heart, as he is of course even in this apparent desert of the COVID pandemic.

Some years ago, in Melbourne, I was enrolled in the Heart of Life program for Spiritual Direction, as part of my preparation for Formation ministry, in our seminary community. As the first activity of the year, our group of six people and our Director went to a local Retreat Centre.

On the first morning of the retreat our Director asked all of us in the group to take our Bibles and go somewhere in the grounds and see what particular Bible passage engages us. So, I took my Bible and sat under a tree and decided to open it at random and see what happened. The passage I got was that towards the end of John’s gospel, when the risen Jesus appears to the Apostles at the Sea of Tiberias, and Jesus asks Simon Peter: “Simon, do you love me?”

That impacted on me as: “Mike do you love me?”  I was shocked and didn’t know how to respond. Here I was, a returned African missionary, and I had never faced such a question from Jesus. I thought, “This is too much”. Then I decided that I would close the Bible and look at the gospel of Luke which has more of a social activist slant. I thought that this would be more my style. However, when I paged through Luke nothing engaged me at all, it seemed rather dry. I couldn’t believe this, so I closed my Bible again.

Then I decided to try opening my Bible at random again and would you believe it, I was looking at the same passage from John’s Gospel: “Mike do you love me?”

So, I went back to the group and shared with them what had happened. They were very supportive, and my Supervisor told me that this was now the time for me to go deeper into my motivation for being a religious missionary at an emotional and a faith level.

This period in my life was very important for me, something like a watershed time, and I also look on it as a time when Jesus was born again in my heart, and indeed in my very life as a religious missionary.

In reflection I can look back on my life as a religious-missionary and realise that there had been indications of Jesus trying to break through in this way. However, because of all my “busyness” and other pre-occupations, I often wasn’t able to hear this invitation from Jesus addressed to a deeper level within myself.

Getting in touch again with this experience from the past has been a real help in sustaining myself through this present COVID crisis.

Another learning that has come for me in this regard, is that of allowing myself about 10 to 15 minutes at the end of each day to sit quietly and go back over the different situations of the day and try to discern when and how Jesus has been present in a special way. This may have happened, for example, in different situations with different people in the most ordinary of circumstances.

I am clearly not talking of dramatic happenings but simply Jesus reaching out to me, through others, in the more ordinary events and situations that have unfolded in the course of my daily life. I believe that it is up to each of us to answer the knock, to let Jesus in and then, in our own way, to try to share with others that which Jesus wishes to give to us.

This sharing, on our part, can go a long way during the challenging time of this pandemic and can be realised in simple acts of kindness in word or action.

So, I am convinced that Jesus is still seeking to be incarnated within our minds and hearts and the activities of our daily life, within the context of this COVID pandemic.

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