ENCOUNTER CHANGES THE JOURNEY
And something will change. This reflection is born of prayer, in agreement with the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:32.) May you have a revelation and encounter with Jesus. This changes the game. This the only hope for the survival of Christianity. This is the only living force that will sustain the light in the universe. Personal encounter with Jesus Christ. The lifeblood of fellowship and unity of the church. Unless there is a personal encounter with the Lord, our relationship with Him is superficial; access to the immensity of His Love and sweetness will be scanty, and Christian journey will be wearisome like journeying through the lifeless Sahara. Kindly read the following encounters to prepare for the manifestation that comes as you pray the words in the last sentence.
When she left alone that morning to the Garden there was a reason, “Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance” (Jn.20:1). When she sat alone at His feet in the house there was a reason, “She (Martha) had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said” (LK.10:39.) And one can find the reason for her desperation and access to the All-Alone-Lord here, “And Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before Him. Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” (Jn.8:8-10.)
He was not the same at the beginning, but something changed the game: an encounter. This is the way he reports it, “I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows. And I know that this man was caught up into paradise—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows” (2 Cor.12.) That encounter made him, Paul, run without looking back, “But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil.3:13f) For many others, persecution or death made them shudder or withdraw, but for him, he did not cower since such would be an advantage that takes him beyond the cloud, to finally rest in the Love and Joy of his heart, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” Phil. 1:21)
See another destiny-changing moment. It is Thomas. Albeit there was sluggishness in his relationship with Christ, he did not start out early like other Apostles. However, an encounter changed the game and set him running, they say, to India (and all Asia.) And this was the encounter, “Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into My side. Stop doubting and believe.” (Jn.20:26.) Then an encounter, giving us what exegetes now call the greatest Christology, an in-depth revelation of Christ, “Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” (Jn.20:28.)
Let’s go to the beginning. See how she took care of Him, not just like another baby or any other baby. In changing the diapers and in breastfeeding Him, overwhelming love and reverence. With this encounter, heretofore, a message was eternally engraved upon her heart, “the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High” (Lk.1:30f).
What of the nobleman who would have treated the Child with mistrust and negligence. An encounter conferred upon him a caring disposition beyond earthly potentialities, “Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Mat.1:19f).
And for John, an encounter of Love bequeathed him endless access to His Heart, “the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to Him. Leaning back against Jesus, he asked Him, “Lord, who is it?” And of course, they say that towards the end of his life the only sermon John preached was “Love one another” (I Jn.3:18, 4:11.)
In my case, I call Him, “the Lord of the last hour. The one Who is always on time when my soul almost slides unto frustration when all human helps fail.” I have a reason for this. Hopefully you have had an encounter that has instilled a reason in the depths of your being and gives you access to Him, Our Lord Jesus Christ and King.
Dear Friend, Peter professed a revelation today, “You are the Son of God…” (Daily Bible Reading – August 27, 2023 | USCCB) And Jesus approved him and handed unto him the highest office in the universe. Encounter gives access to the Lord Jesus Christ.
I need help, I want this encounter, someone says.
Then I recommend Who has helped every other person else. He is the Holy Spirit. His office, that is, His function, is to tear the veil of encounter with Jesus Christ. And the Lord affirms, “the Helper, the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name…will teach you all things.” (Jn.14:26.) Kindly pray as you finish reading this. Remember He is present when the Word is spoken (written) to fecundate the Word. Only what He needs is this utterance from you, “let it be to me according to your word” (Lk.1:35-38.) Pray a little more in the Spirit in this moment.
Fr. Ignatius of the Immaculate Heart (cmdorg.org) TMTJ