Sunday, February 28, 2016

What Does Jesus Teach Us?

You know, out of the many thousands of books I have read, I have settled upon only a few to read regularly, each night.  I read their meditations and reflections day after day and, like reflecting on the Gospels, it seems these books continue to provide me new wisdom --- and comfort --- even from pages which, over the years, I have read many times.
Last night in Divine Intimacy I again read these words --- as if for the first time:
“Jesus expressed Himself only once in
these words:  Learn from Me.
How often have I reflected, and even written here, the importance of coming to know this Jesus better, of reading and contemplating the Gospels, the words of saints and the reflections of Bible scholars, so that we can know this Jesus --- as much as humanly possible.  But for all our efforts, that IS the rub:  we can never fully know Him, even more so than we can never know another human being, for He is beyond mere human; He is God.  “Who can know the mind of God?”  Yet that is the path to happiness in this life, and eternal life, to know and do His will.
So for all my reading and prayers and learning, I became aware again last night that for all His examples, for all His parables, and for all His admonitions, Jesus only once said:  Learn from Me.
“Thus we will be in peace, undisturbed by the desire to be better than others, undisturbed by the humiliations
which may come to us.  The fruit of humility is interior
peace, for Jesus has said:  Learn from Me,
for I am meek and humble of heart,
and you shall find rest to your souls.
--- Divine Intimacy, P317
In addition to all the spiritual reflections I read and consider, I can’t help but hear of the many earthly matters which consume us all.  We are alive and living in this world, and so I read of political matters (and their stomping on moral issues), and of disintegrating marriages and families.  I read of jobs lost and the prevalence of pornography.  I read of husbands who think they know more than their wives, and wives who think they know more than their husbands (and who are often married to each other), and yet for all their “knowing,” the one thing they almost certainly don’t know is humility (and I was, I humbly admit, there also). I read of so many people with so many woes, but only on rare occasions do I read of joy.  Joy is not lacking in this world, nor is it impossible to find --- whoops, no, no, NO!  Those are the wrong words; stated correctly it should be said:  There IS joy in this world and it is not impossible to accept --- the difference in the wording being who we perceive is providing the joy for us, ourselves or God.
Accepting joy is like accepting the fact that we never really grow up, not really.  As a child we found joy and peace in the care of our parents --- even if only when we were a baby, before we felt “grown-up.”  We all remember the rebellious teen who says to his parents: “But you don’t understand …”  But, of course, they do.  It’s just that the teen is growing up and experiencing things he was never taught, which is something which happens to everyone, because every life is different.  The teen thinks his experiences are new, and so something his parents “don’t understand.”  And regarding HIS experiences, that is true.  That’s because some lessons can’t be taught by our earthly parents; they are lessons which come from our heavenly Father.  We think that we go beyond the lessons of our earthly parents and must live our lives beyond the comforts and joy they gave us as babies, but we will never go beyond the comforts and the joy offered by our heavenly Father.  We can never say to Him: “But You don’t understand,” for He absolutely does understand.  But in our pride we find the lessons that He continues to teach hard to accept.
At some point most of us think “we are all grown up,” and we want to start giving directions to our own children, or to those we work with, or to those we call friends, or even strangers.  Our intents are good.  We wish them well.  But if we only listen to each other we will lose the joy of our childhood in God the Father, and never find it again.  There are some things we can only learn from our Father; we can’t teach each other.  “You must become as little children,” Jesus says.  He is telling us we are never “grown up” in the eyes of our heavenly Father --- and this is a good thing.  He loves us as His little children, always!  He may admonish us to teach us, but always with love.  It is a lesson many of us forget, and sadly some have never learned.  We never grow up, or old, in His eyes.  And like a Father, He is always teaching us, if we can stifle our pride and ego which thinks we know it all, and we must be the teachers of others. 
Learn from Me, Jesus says only once in Scripture.  I guess it must be one of the most important things, one of the most basic things, like teaching a baby how to walk or talk --- or not soil itself.  Learn from Me:  Humility.
Learn from Me; only that one thing is stressed.  How hard can it be to learn just one thing?  And yet, it is like learning that we will never grow up; that all our understanding about growing up, about aging, is all wrong.  It’s like we’re told to believe in something which defies what we see with our own eyes:  we DO grow up, get old and die.  But that is exactly what Jesus is telling us is a false understanding.  We NEVER grow up in the eyes of the Father, because we will never be like Him, never be smarter than Him, and we will never grow old, and WE WILL NEVER DIE, because He died for us.  It is a hard, yet most important thing to learn.
Can we humbly accept that?  Can we accept that we are never totally in control, never totally right?  Can we accept even our pains, our sorrows, and despite them trust that our Father will “make all things better?”  This acceptance, this learning to accept, this humility, is from our heavenly Father.  It is something our earthly parents could not teach us; it is something we will be learning all our life. 
The ways of Satan say: Learn to be great; you can be like God.  The ways of God say:  Learn to be humble, you can be like Me.  
Who’s your teacher?

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