An examination of conscience is included in today’s Word which exhorts us to not “harden our hearts” and to not, excessively, rely on externals as sure signs of God’s Will in our lives. “…your ancestors put me to the test, though they had seen my works for forty years.” (Heb. 3:8) “See that you say nothing to anyone…but the man went out and began to proclaim it freely and to spread the word….” (Mark 1:43-44)
This examination can bring new, refreshing, light and perspective to a marriage, a family, or a religious community. I am thinking of that excessive reliance on custom and routine in which we become set, doctrinal and hardened on that certain way in which “we have always done this.” With surrendering our reliance on the “tried and true”, or “the facts as I see them” is it possible to surrender, and step back from yet another battle ground? God brings new graces and new insights that will enable us to enter into a “rest,” thoroughly in God, deep within our hearts. With Christ as my acknowledged partner, (I bring my concerns to prayer, and into dialogue with others) I am able to hold my first confidence firm to the end. (Heb. 3:14)
The followers of Moses missed totally the significance of their sojourn despite how sacred the Ark was. It’s a matter of trust and faith in the mystery of the unknown, where God is.
Fr. Alex Steinmiller, C.P. is president emeritus of Holy Family Cristo Rey Catholic High School, Birmingham, Alabama.