Saturday, 18 May 2013

God Does the Work in Prayer

A quote from Ruth Burrows

Prayer has far more to do with what God wants to do in us than with our trying to “reach” or “realize,” still less “entertain,” God in prayer. This truth eliminates anxiety and concern as to the success or non-success of our prayer, for we can be quite certain that, if we want to pray and give the time to prayer, God is always successful and that is what matters. . . . What we think of as our search for God is, in reality, a response to the divine Lover drawing us to himself. There is never a moment when divine Love is not at work. . . . This work is nothing other than a giving of the divine Self in love. The logical consequence for us must surely be that our part is to let ourselves be loved, let ourselves be given to, let ourselves be worked upon by this great God and made capable of total union with Him.
Ruth Burrows

Friday, 17 May 2013

Jesus and Peter

Breakfast on the Beach

I've been listening to the Jesuits' devotional podcast this week at 

Today's meditation was from John's gospel (Jn 21:15-19). The part where Peter and six of the disciples have returned to Galilee after the resurrection and have spent the night fishing, not even catching a tyre or an old boot. Jesus calls to them from the shore, tells them where the fish are (surely reminding Peter of the miraculous catch when Jesus invited him to start catching men and women and to follow him) and then invites the group for breakfast. The passage is wonderfully inviting.

What strikes me  though is how personally Jesus seeks Peter out. He knows how Peter must be feeling having denied Jesus three times. He invites Peter and his friends to a breakfast he has made. He serves them. And then he deals intimately with the core of Peter's concerns. Peter has denied Jesus three times. Jesus gives him the chance to proclaim his love three times. This isn't sappy pink sentiment. Jesus knows how Peter operates - Jesus is wonderfully weaving in the challenge Peter needs to show his love for Jesus. Not one word of blame or recrimination. No soppy empty sentiment. Peter, a man of action, needs affirmation and and a call to action.  How wonderfully specific to Peter is Jesus' restoration. He accepts Peter for where he is (gone back to fishing-the old way of life for he has so obviously failed at his called life), comes and meets him there in that failure and accepts that part of him and then affirms and challenges him as the man who will lead and feed Jesus' flock. Jesus trusts Peter when Peter doesn't even trust Peter...just what Peter needs to hear.

Look at how Jesus deals with Thomas. Jesus is not in the room when Thomas declares that he won't believe Jesus rose from the dead until he can put his hand in Jesus side and put his fingers where the nails where. Despite Jesus' absence, (He is now everywhere!) Jesus knows what Thomas needs and appears to provide the specific evidence that his doubting heart needs. Again as with Peter, no blame; Jesus accepts Thomas for where his heart is and comes and meets him there. 

So it is Jesus' way to meet us in the mess of our hearts right here and now. Not where we feel we should be, where we think everyone else is, but here in this messy, confused, doubting, perhaps broken or shamed heart. He accepts us, he affirms us and will provide what we need to move forward in him. You are invited to have breakfast with the King. Come as you are.