The Divine Dialogue of God with the Soul
Weekly Reflection by Mother Marie Julie, SCMC
My Dear Good People,
In today’s Gospel we hear a beautiful story from the Master story-teller, Jesus. He tells us about a land owner who is out looking for workers for his vineyard. He finds one person who agrees to the daily wage and sends him out, and them he hires another a few hours later, then a third. Finally, he hires a worker at the last hours of the day. When it comes time for them to collect their pay, the last person hired receives the full day’s wage. The others seeing that, of course expect that they will receive more, according to the hours they worked. When they each received the same daily wage they begin to grumble: ‘I have worked more hours than he, so I should get more.’ But an agreement is an agreement. The land owner asks, ‘Are you jealous because I am generous?’
What is Jesus telling us?
I know that some of you who read this may be concerned about loved ones who seem to be away from the practice of their faith. We receive many requests for prayers for this intention. I believe that this Gospel may serve to give us hope. The temptation might be to ‘give up’ because there is no hope for the person we’ve been praying for: ‘It’s too late.’ But Jesus says that’s just not true. He tells us that even those who come to Him in fidelity at the last hour will receive His mercy in abundance. His kingdom doesn’t depend on hours or days or years of practice of the faith, although we certainly want the people we pray for to enjoy the blessings of our Catholic faith–the Sacraments, the Liturgy, the rituals. But if that hasn’t happened, there should still be an unshakable confidence that God hears our prayers, and loves our loved ones more than we do.
He is generous and wants only to give us all He has no matter how long we might have been away from Him. That seems counterintuitive to us who measure by human standards. But God’s ways are not our ways. Let us not give up hope for those who need our prayers. Nor should we ever give up hope for ourselves when we have sinned, even seriously. We have a God who loves us beyond anything we could ask or imagine. If He could forgive the thief on the cross (who, by the way, confessed that he himself deserved to be crucified), and promise him heaven that very day, would He do less for us, or for one we love?
I recall reading something once that might have been only a point of illustration, but surely describes a moment that would happen between God and the soul. A person was praying desperately for her brother who was a terrible sinner and was far from God. She was about to give up, thinking her prayers were worth nothing, when Jesus appeared to her and asked, “If he were My brother, and I asked you to save him, would you not do so for Me?” She answered, “Oh, Jesus, you know I would.” Jesus replied, “Then do you think I would do less for you?”
Let us never give up praying for those we love who seem to be away from the Lord. Like the vineyard owner who gave everythig to the worker who came only at the last hour, Jesus is ready to pour out His mercy on everyone. We can’t make it happen by ourselves, but He is always seeking out those who don’t even know they want to be found. He does hear our prayers.
May God give you peace.
With loving prayers,
Mother Marie Julie
and the Sisters of Charity of Our Lady, Mother of the Church