Each of us has what we might call ‘deep story’ – a narrative that tells the world who we truly are. Of concern is that often our story is unspoken, unrevealed to the world of relationships around us and sometimes not even known to ourselves. Yet our truth, our story, is written in the language of wisdom and grace, is familiar to God and indeed is authored by the indwelling Spirit of God. It is the story of not only our capacity to give life and light to others, but is the revelation of our true nature, as one loved by God, created in God’s own image, and nurtured each day by the Spirit of our risen Lord.
From such an inner space we often hear verses of our story ‘whispered’ to us in that soft voice of God offering gentle encouragements, quiet refrains of advice and directing us towards love in all we do.
God reveals to us over a lifetime who were truly are. However, the development of our capacity to hear God’s voice and to know ourselves is achieved by accepting the need to be guided in this endeavour.
Jesus offers such guidance to us in today’s gospel. He stresses the need to ‘go deeper’ to reach into our true nature if we are to face life and live it as a child of God. To follow Jesus is to live from inner motivations and values, values that are God given and lead us to behave in deeply human ways and not merely external compliance with the minimum standards of civility and law.
Rather, we are to strive to tame angry moments, embrace good relations, and allow forgiveness to surface and guide our actions. Virtue and righteousness are deep values and inner treasures, and to live by them allows God’s reign – a reign of love – to grow in our world.
Someone once shared with me how he’d been helping at a soup kitchen and was ladling out the stew – thin and watery as it was on top since the meat had by now sunk to the depths of the pot. As one homeless person approached, he asked the server, ‘Dig deep brother, give me some of the good stuff”. He wanted to be nourished by what lay deep within the stew pot. We have a similar capacity to bring light to the world from our very depths.
Let us dig deep into our values and live from them as Jesus asks.
Fr. Denis Travers, C.P., is a member of Holy Spirit Province, Australia.