It is dark inside the Whale. Thank God He comes to find us there…
Yesterday, when I went to Mass, I was late. Again. I truly feel sorry for my local parish priest. His patience with me is surely waning. Each morning, I drag my children in – usually after the Liturgy of the Word has started – simply because I cannot get my act together any better first thing in the morning. We do our best, but try as I might, arriving on time with my children in tow is fast becoming an impossible dream for me.
I was reflecting on this while I was sitting in Mass yesterday and today, and my overarching thoughts seemed to be… “better late than never.”
This little cliché that has been running around inside my brain for the last couple of days makes me smile…
It was a reminder perhaps… A little message to me…
And since I have long ago stopped believing in coincidences, it occurred to me that I am not the only one who is late…
And though I could never merit their heights, I can see – with humility – that I am in good company…
Jonah was late. Jonah was the man swallowed by the whale basically because he was late in following the Will of God. We heard about him yesterday in the First Reading (Jonah 3:1-10) and the Gospel (Luke 11:29-32).
Saint Paul was late. He was the great persecutor of Christians who converted on the Road to Damascus becoming one of the greatest saints of all time.
Saint Augustine was late. He was such a libertine and rake whose pagan lifestyle so offended God that his mother – Monica – became a saint simply by praying for his conversion! And what a conversion it was! Saint Augustine, Doctor of the Church.
Better late than never!
I have been late. Not just to Mass in the mornings with my children either – with my prayers, with my faith, with my forgiveness, with my love.
Perhaps the almost forty years that I spent rejecting God and His infinite love for me, was my time spent inside the belly of the whale of my own making – I must be far more stubborn than Jonah – I needed more than three short days... I was terribly, terribly late.
I am very lucky that God knows how weak I am.
He knew I could never ever ever come to Him. It was impossible. How could someone who truly believed deep in their soul that God hated her first and loved her second ever actually go to God?
How wrong I was! What a terrible dreadful embarrassing waste…
God loves us first and hates us NEVER!
And so, for LOVE of me – pure and eternal love – He came for me.
And why did He come?
For the same reason that He came for Jonah and Saint Paul and Saint Augustine – though my terrible sins make me unworthy to classify myself as one of them – because we could not see Him while we were running away from Him, while we were lost and scared inside the belly of that whale.
But He loves us…. He loves me. And so, He found me – He came to me instead.
Saint Paul told the Corinthians… “God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong” (Corinthians 1:27).
I am weak… “Through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault…”
Please God let me be of use to You who are STRONG!
I am the inferior flawed stone, destined only for refuse, rejected by the sculptor because it will crack. And yet – the infinitely powerful sculptor of the universe plies His chisel against the stone – for LOVE of me, He scrapes it back a little.
And though my stone can never be formed into such as Michelangelo’s “David” or “Pieta”, imagine if God allowed me the glory of being a steppingstone. Imagine if He would make some use of me – beneath your feet. Beneath His!
Imagine, if I could lay upon the ground in the mud, right here, beneath the feet of God – where angels dare not tread!
For I understand the words of Saint Padre Pio… “As gifts increase in you, let your humility grow, for you must consider that everything you do is given to you on loan.”
And so, in leaving the whale behind, I lie here in the mud.
Beneath your feet… and His… Waiting… For His Will…
For with prayer, we stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.