Seven Signposts

Signposts point to where we want to go. Follow, or don’t follow. There are seven signposts listed below because seven is the number of completeness. No claim of originality is made for the signs, excerpt maybe for their grouping.

Keep hope alive.
Dare to trust.
Surrender to grace.
• • • Reflect love. • • •
Gravitate to humility.
Pray always.
All is gift.

Keep hope alive.
This signpost comes from a priest that used to be campus minister at the Mount. He would always sign the end of his letters with this. It is a reminder the importance of hope. Hope and faith are like two sides of the same coin. Sometimes faith seems hidden, so hope pulls you through the dark times. Sometimes hope seems lost, but faith pushes one through. Faith is the muscle, the driving force; hope is the spark of light that illuminates the way and warms a cold heart.

Dare to trust.
This signpost is a shortened form of “dare to move faith to trust” as described in the short essay, “It is Not About Belief” by Jon Zuck. Believing in God is one thing; trusting God is another. Both are part of faith, but the real test of faith is not believing, it is trusting. There are times when nothing in your experience will confirm, support, or backup faith. The world says one thing; faith says another. Which one do you trust? In the Gospels, Jesus implies trust when He talks about faith.

Surrender to grace.
This signpost comes from a line in the book, The Lord by Romano Guardini. (An excellent book that contains short reflections on nearly every episode of Jesus’ life in Scripture.) Although the sentence was referencing something specific, it applies to everyting. God’s grace rains (or reigns?) down upon us every second to open our eyes to see Him and His love for us, and calls us into a deeper relationship with Him. We resist. We need to stop resisting. “Surrender” can also mean “abiding” as referred to in St. John’s Gospel.

Surrender to grace can also mean to stop resisting the present moment. Enough grace will be given to you to get through whatever you need to do. In other words, do what is right when you see that something or someone must be attended to—this is an opportunity given to you to love and God will help you through it.

• • • Reflect love. • • •
The center signpost. There is a signpost for hope and one for faith (trust). Love of course needs to be included. And being the greatest of the three, plus a direct reference to the nature of God, it has the three bullets highlighting it. All signposts ultimately point to this place. We are not the source of love. God is. We do not possess love. Love possesses us. We do not create love. We channel love. And love, unlike the limited nature of material things, grows as it is shared.

Scripture says we are made in the image of God. This means two things, and both are equally correct. One, we are created as a copy—a person imprinted or made from an impression from a master image, the master image of who/what God is. (Note, this does not mean we are gods. We have attributes like God, beings with a will and an intellect.) Two, we are an image as in a reflection—we reflect the image of God to others. This synchronizes with what St. Teresa of Avila said about prayer as us looking at God looking at us. Another metaphor is that God throws us a ball called Love—are we going to keep it or are we going to throw it back to God through the next person?

Gravitate to humility.
This signpost points to the First Beatitude, blessed are the poor in spirit. Scripture and all of the saints and mystics call us to humility. Not humility as the world defines it, that is, as a sense of proper self-esteem where one does not elevate or demean ones self in relation to others. This is important, but Christian humility aims for the complete and total nothingness of pride. We have nothing to boast of to God. We have no entitlements or any thing to lay claim on God. We are nothing without God. All we can really ask for is mercy. (See the story of the Canaanite women begging Jesus to heal her daughter.) The verb “gravitate” implies that we should keep moving toward humility.

Pray always.
This signpost comes from Scripture. It is a reminder to be aware of God’s presence, our be-withness with God, throughout our whole day, every day.

All is gift.
This signpost points to the attitude of gratitude. Many people say “everything is gift,” but the word “all” is more encompassing. “All” includes all—every thing, every person, every breath, molecule, and energy of your very existence, every opportunity to choose to love and to give. The words from Scripture, “In Him we live and move and have our being” are not only poetic, but are actual physical reality. This signpost also points to humility. (See the post “Certainty” for more.)

Keep hope alive  ·  Dare to trust  ·  Surrender to grace
• • • Reflect love. • • •
Gravitate to humility  ·  Pray always  ·  All is gift