Last week Fr. Steven Clark, Pastor of Saint Francis of Assisi in Mount Kisco, opened his Parish to Dr. Scott Hahn of Franciscan University and hosted an Advent Day of Recollection. Dr. Hahn discussed signs, such as the “signs and wonders” performed by Jesus. Hahn shared with us that the signs are not ends unto themselves, but point the way to an ultimate destination, a higher good.
Miracles are supposed to point the way toward faith.
As I sat and contemplated Hahn’s words, I thought that faith is itself not so much a destination, but another sign. This is why the Church talks of being “marked with the sign of Faith”. Our faith is itself a sign that points the way to Heaven on Earth—a trusting relationship with the Father.
“Be still, and know that I am God”
There is so much in that one simple command. Be still. So many of us, myself included, are given to a certain strain of Pelagianism, the basic belief/attitude that we must do it all ourselves. The lack of understanding in our hearts that salvation is God’s work, not ours.
“Be still.” We work so hard at our life’s work, at our faith, in our ministries and families. It is easy to become overwhelmed, and when it happens I find that I am succumbing to my Pelagian demons, that I’ve missed the sign of Faith.
“Know that I am God.” We can’t come to know without the signs, especially Faith. We can’t see the signs if we’re spinning in circles.
It starts there. Stillness. Solitude and quietude.
He’ll do the rest, but the relationship requires us to sit still, to be open to His presence, to the work of His Holy Spirit in our lives. Being a father has taught this to me. The children get frustrated when they can’t do it all by themselves, when they can’t demonstrate that they are the masters of their universe. In their frustration, they turn to Regina and me. The first order is to get them to…
Then, we bring them into our orbit, our sphere of influence. We teach them and in the process, the bonds of love and fidelity are strengthened. We move from mere providers of sustenance to integral component of their development as persons in every area of their lives. The more they open themselves to our help, to our guidance, to our shouldering their burdens, the more they seek recourse to us as a part of their lives. They know that we are mom and dad, with all that “mom and dad” imply.
And that’s all that the Father asks. Be still and let us see His handiwork in our lives. “My yoke is easy, my burden is light”.
It’s been an Advent unlike any other for me. Tumultuous would be an understatement. He wants us to scramble, to do all that we can, to work as feverishly as we can in stopping this atrocity from happening. But then, He wants us to slow down, to be still and know that He is God.
I’ve spent so much of my life being a wretched Pelagian, not fully grasping faith and the need to be still.
” And he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. ‘” ~Matthew 18:3
My children are teaching me by example every day, and for the first time in 50 years, I think I’m starting to get it.