I set several deadlines this year to lose a few pounds, but I kept putting it off. I kept saying, “I’ll do that later.” And then the next holiday or special event arrived and the new outfit I bought got left hanging in the closet, tags still on, because it didn’t look quite the way I envisioned it looking on me when I bought it.
A new liturgical year began Sunday with readings that reminded me that it’s time to get in shape. Blessed Pope John Paul II said in a 1996 homily, “Advent is the liturgical season that prepares us for the Lord’s birth, but it is also the time of expectation for the definitive return of Christ.”
Christ’s coming is just days away! It is time to get my life in shape!
I never know when I might need to wear that outfit, or when God will look to see what I “have on” in my faith. I shouldn’t wait for a New Year’s resolution to get in shape physically, and I definitely shouldn’t wait spiritually. I should always be “in shape” and ready for Him.
“Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come” (Mk 13:33-37)
So this is a great time not just to get my body in shape, but also my soul — my physical body and my spiritual body, my relationship with Him and also my relationship with others, my heart internally and His temple . . . my body.
God’s plan for us is given to us in His Scripture and Spirit by drawing a parallel, a correlation between our body and soul, between our relationship with Him and our relationships with our spouses (family, friends, or world).
“Would that you might meet us doing right, that we were mindful of you in our ways! Behold, you are angry, and we are sinful…There is none who calls upon your name, who rouses himself to cling to you; for you have hidden your face from us and have delivered us up to our guilt. Yet, O LORD, you are our father, we are the clay and You are the potter: we are all the work of your hands” (Is 64:2-7)
God tells us that He will shape — mold us like clay. But our hearts must be open to change.
God tells us that even though we are sinful, if we cling to him he will deliver us. We cannot hide in our guilt. We are to trust His forgiveness and His will.
If your body needs to be “shaped,” be filled by the discipline of prayer, not food; be “molded” by God, not calories. If your relationship with Him needs to be “shaped,” give Him control of your life so that you may feel the power of His forgiveness, be released of shame and guilt and feel His love. If your relationship with a loved one needs to be “shaped,” open your heart to patiently trust in the conversion found through the graces received in the sacraments of marriage, the Eucharist, and penance. May God’s will be done in your life this week and may we all be “shaped” by His perfect plan for our lives.
“Make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved. Rouse your power, and come to save us” (Ps 80: 2-3)
May I always be ready for Your call. Help me to trust in your mercy. Take away my guilt and help me to feel Your strength, comfort, joy, and peace. Thank you for Your eternal love. Keep me in Your care. Mold me with Your grace. Shape me with Your Spirit. In Your name, I pray. Amen.
© 2011 Charlotte Upah, Monday Morning Reflection