Sometimes we meet people who suddenly make unxpected decisions that surprise everyone.
A divorce, an abandonment of the priesthood or religious life, or a change of job, of friends, of priorities, of character, of personality. Nothing denotes (apparently) a progressive deterioration that would foreshadow such a break-up. And we say “it was sudden”.
But things do not happen suddenly, deep down and underground the affective world was screaming and revealing itself, until at an unexpected moment they broke appearances and jumped to the surface, to the surprise of everyone and even of the same person, as happened to Judas, and also to Peter. The advice of friends, promises and proposals can no longer do anything. Feelings have decided for the person. Willingly or unwillingly, the decision was made.
Feelings, passions, moods, desires, caprices, which are shaping our affective world, are constantly passing through the depth of the heart. Only when we allow Jesus to penetrate our feelings and our affectivity can we be healed, liberated and thus, give ourselves without reserve and for love of all our brothers.
What do your decisions say and reflect about you? Where and to what/whom have your decisions led you? Are you satisfied? What are the emotions that dominate you, seduce you, set you free?
Have you ever wondered why you were so determined or reacted to such an event? Why does such a person generate rejection, anger, curiosity, indifference? Have you never found yourself saying “I’m not like that”, “I’m not a bad person”? Or, did you never feel that you could have acted differently or been more silent or talked more in such a circumstance?
Stop for a few minutes and answer these questions for yourself. Because if you looked at yourself as God looks at you, you could accept your truth without fear of transparency and with the certainty that for God nothing is impossible and that there is always an opportunity to change, to grow, to heal, to mature, even at the age of 30, 70 or 80.
We read the Gospel and meditate on the emotions and decisions that led Peter, John and Judas to act as they did.
Gospel of St. John (13:21-33,36-38)
When he had said this, Jesus was deeply troubled and testified, “Amen, amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” The disciples looked at one another, at a loss as to whom he meant. One of his disciples, the one whom Jesus loved, was reclining at Jesus’ side. So Simon Peter nodded to him to find out whom he meant. He leaned back against Jesus’ chest and said to him, “Master, who is it?” Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I hand the morsel after I have dipped it.” So he dipped the morsel and [took it and] handed it to Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot. After he took the morsel, Satan entered him. So Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.”
[Now] none of those reclining at table realized why he said this to him. Some thought that since Judas kept the money bag, Jesus had told him, “Buy what we need for the feast,” or to give something to the poor. So he took the morsel and left at once. And it was night.
When he had left, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. [If God is glorified in him,] God will also glorify him in himself, and he will glorify him at once. My children, I will be with you only a little while longer. You will look for me, and as I told the Jews, ‘Where I go you cannot come,’ so now I say it to you.
Simon Peter said to him, “Master, where are you going?” Jesus answered [him], “Where I am going, you cannot follow me now, though you will follow later.” Peter said to him, “Master, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me? Amen, amen, I say to you, the cock will not crow before you deny me three times.”
Our affectivity needs deep relationships. Of course, the first relationship to which we must give quality time, not the tired leftovers of our day assailed by a frenetic rhythm, is the explicit encounter with God in prayer, so that we can live all day long savouring that encounter.
Truth and love set us free. The moment Jesus tells his truth to Judas and Peter, he frees them from a suffocating image, from a deceitful mask. With truth he dignifies them, humanizes them, sets them free.
The deep relationship with God and true human relationships, which give us wings and roots at the same time, help us to free our hearts from unhealthy attachments and offer us the possibility of building an affectivity like that of Jesus. “Have the same mind that is in Christ Jesus” (Phil 2:5).
What does this Gospel and the proposed reflection tell you?
What is that truth that you need to embrace so that God can set you free? What is that truth that can reconcile you today with your family, friends, community, even with yourself?
WE SPONTANEOUSLY SHARE THE MOTIONS OF THE SPIRIT IN THIS PRAYER, AND WE DO SO WITH OUR PLEDGE AND THANKSGIVING.
After each sentence we sing: “Tu Palabra, Señor, es la verdad y tu luz, nuestra libertad”.
We close our prayer reading fragments of Saint Teresa of Jesus, Interior Castle:
“(…) This silkworm, then, starts to live when by the heat of the Holy Spirit it begins to benefit through the general help given to us all by God and through the remedies left by Him to His Church (…). Well once this silkworm is grown -in the beginning I dealt with its growth -it begins to spin the silk and build the house wherein it will die. I would like to point out here that this house is Christ. Somewhere, it seems to me, I have read or heard that our life is hidden in Christ or in God (both are the same), or that our life is Christ. Whether the quotation is exact or not doesn’t matter for what I intend. Well see here, daughters, what we can do through the help of God: His Majesty Himself, as He does in this prayer of union, becomes the dwelling place we build for ourselves. It seems I’m saying that we can build up God and take Him away since I say that He is the dwelling place and we ourselves can build it so as to place ourselves in it. And, indeed, we can! Not that we can take God away or build Him up, but we can take away from ourselves and build up, as do these little silkworms. For we will not have finished doing all that we can in this work when, to the little we do, which is nothing, God will unite Himself, with His greatness, and give it such high value that the Lord Himself will become the reward of this work. Thus, since it was He who paid the highest price, His Majesty wants to join our little labors with the great ones He suffered so that all the work may become one. Now, then, let’s see what this silkworm does, for that’s the reason I’ve said everything else. When the soul is, in this prayer, truly dead to the world, a little white butterfly comes forth. Oh, greatness of God! How transformed the soul is when it comes out of this prayer after having been placed within the greatness of God and so closely joined with Him for a little while -in my opinion the union never lasts for as much as a half hour. Truly, I tell you that the soul doesn’t recognize itself. Look at the difference there is between an ugly worm and a little white butterfly; that’s what the difference is here. The soul doesn’t know how it could have merited so much good -from where this good may have come I mean, for it well knows that it doesn’t merit this blessing. It sees within itself a desire to praise the Lord; it would want to dissolve and die a thousand deaths for Him. Oh, now, to see the restlessness of this little butterfly, even though it has never been quieter and calmer in its life, is something to praise God for! And the difficulty is that it doesn’t know where to alight and rest. Since it has experienced such wonderful rest, all that it sees on earth displeases it, especially if God gives it this wine often. Almost each time it gains new treasures. It no longer has any esteem for the works it did while a worm, which was to weave the cocoon little by little; it now has wings. How can it be happy walking step by step when it can fly? On account of its desires, everything it can do for God becomes little in its own eyes. It doesn’t wonder as much at what the saints suffered now that it understands tllrough experience how the Lord helps and transforms a soul, for it doesn’t recognize itself or its image. The weakness it previously seemed to have with regard to doing penance it now finds is its strength. Its attachment to relatives or friends or wealth (for neither its actions, nor its determination, nor its desire to withdraw were enough; rather, in its opinion, it was more attached to everything) is now so looked upon that it grieves when obliged to do what is necessary in this regard so as not to offend God. Everything wearies it, for it has learned through experience that creatures cannot give it true rest”.