Father, I don’t know. I don’t quite understand it all.
I read Saint Catherine of Siena and her words are harsh for sinners. She says in her own style, and in the style of her times, to wake up idiots! Your time is slipping away from you. The window of opportunity for choosing heaven is closing. The time that you think you have is not really there. Do it now! Make your choice. Turn toward God. Repent and beg for forgiveness and mercy.
And then I read Julian of Norwich who says, “All shall be well.” In essence, she is saying not to worry, You are in control.
Both are true, but they seem so opposite of each other. It is a paradox, a mystery to hold and turn around in your hand to see it from different angles. Both/and, not either/or.
The prodigal daughter runs away to another state, turning her back on her parents and friends, avoiding the pain and problems she has externalized from within her heart, and decides to live with a guy she met online. A bored teenager steals his mother’s car for a joy ride and wrecks it. Now it’s a police matter. The gossip in the school hallways seem harmless but pierce one heart like an arrow. A young girl across town is shot and killed in a drive-by shooting, another overdoses, and still another unzips her pants before she unzips her heart to a boy she barely knows.
These young people have chosen a long and hard path. There are also all the adults who are still struggling on their own difficult paths they had chosen so many years ago. It seems so much, but yet…
I understand that these are our choices. There are consequences for each choice. We must take responsibility for them. Ultimately, it is us who make life hard for ourselves. Not you. I get that part.
I am reminded of a reflection I recently read about the image of Jesus standing outside of a locked door. There is no handle to open the door from the outside. It is dark outside and the light appears to emanate from Jesus. Jesus is waiting at the door, but the person inside has yet to open it. O’ the humility of Jesus to stand there and wait!
We have shut that door on you Jesus, and I am so sorry. We shut the door in our pride, in our fear, in our mistrust. You wait on us. You always do. You shouldn’t have to, but you do. Thank you. Love is truly patient.
I have heard that hell is locked from the inside. That makes sense. There are people who choose to turn away from you and lock the door. But you still wait on the outside. You still send them your light of grace to show the way towards the door, but they still chose to sit in the dark, alone, isolated from real goodness, to wallow “in the hell of their own will”.
But what about the people too scared, too afraid, too wounded to move toward the door to open it and let you in? Some may see your light of grace, some may be blind, but both are still paralyzed. Do you continue to wait? Or will you appear within the room on the other side of the locked door like you did for your Apostles on the day of your Resurrection?
I hope in your answer. Only you can hear the voiceless cry of a heart.
Only you can make all well. And you will. But we must try, with your help, to open the door to heart for you. Only love can open the door.
Oh Jesus! I pray that my door is open for you, open as wide as possible. If it is not, please help me to open it as far as it will go. And never let me close it on you again.
I want to be with you, Jesus. I will wait with you outside those locked doors of others if you permit me. I know that only you may enter those homes, those hearts, but I will wait with you on the outside.
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me. (Revelation 3:20)
Please continue to send your grace to those locked behind their doors. Help them open their hearts to you and to others.