“Many great things depend – don't forget it – on whether you and I live our lives as God wants.” (Saint Josemaría).
I have been reflecting on an fictional and imaginary story that I recently heard, which was told by the French Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, who passed away in 2019.
And the story goes like this…
After the Passover, as Christ was ascending into Heaven, He looked down upon the earth and saw it in darkness. The entire earth was dark – in fact – except for a few little lights in Jerusalem. On His way to Heaven, Christ met the Angel Gabriel who was travelling back to earth on a mission from God and the Angel asked, “What are those little lights?” Christ replied, "Those lights are the Apostles that surround my Mother.” The Angel looked at Christ confused, and so Christ clarified… “This is my plan: once I return to Heaven, I will send them the Holy Spirit so that these small lights can turn into a great bonfire that will ignite the world with charity.” The Angel Gabriel asked, “And if this plan does not work?”
Christ paused for a moment and finally, He replied, “I do not have any other plan!”
And I have been thinking about the UNCHANGING, ETERNAL and PERFECT plan of God because God alludes to it – this Perfect Plan – in the Gospel…
“Now when he rose early on the first day of the week, He (Christ) appeared first to Mary Magdalene...they would not believe it. After this He appeared in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country...but they did not believe them. Afterward He appeared to the eleven themselves as they sat at table; and He upbraided them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw Him after He had risen. And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation.’” (Mark 16:9-15).
You see, God the Son – Christ – reproached the apostles for failing to believe in the resurrection of Christ. And He did that when “He upbraided them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw Him after He had risen.”
God did not have any backups. He did not have any other plans. His plan – God’s whole plan – depended on the disciples. If those apostles had failed in the mission and task that He had assigned to them, then the mission would have failed in its entirety. In fact, if the apostles had continued to disbelieve the witnesses to the Resurrection of Christ – if Christ had not appeared to the eleven – then the bonfire of belief would never have been lit in all the world!
And that bonfire transformed the whole world… Edith Stein was a German philosopher who considered herself an atheist by the time she reached adolescence. However, in the summer of 1921, while she was feeling a little bored, she began to read the autobiography of Saint Teresa of Avila. Later, she wrote “When I had finished the book, I said to myself: This is the truth.”… Saint Edith Stein became a Catholic and a Carmelite nun. She was deported to Auschwitz on 7 August 1942 and died in a gas chamber two days later. And all of that happened because Saint Teresa of Avila accepted the Grace to complete God’s plan for her five hundred years before Saint Edith Stein was even born…
And I have been thinking about that – because it shows that God commits to us entirely. God knows what we will need – and makes plans for that – even before we are conceived in our mother’s womb…
Saint Josemaría explained it beautifully when he said, “Many great things depend – don't forget it – on whether you and I live our lives as God wants.”
And so, now I pray for the Grace to live my life as God wants… For if I follow His plan for me, I know He will work all things to the Good!
For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.