My Dear Good People,
In the Book of Revelation (which we aren’t reading at Mass today) we hear Jesus say,
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door We [My Father and I] will come in and dine with him (Rev: 3:20). Imagine. If we just open the door we receive the gift of God! In today’s Gospel, Luke 11:29-32, Jesus says that if we knock He will certainly answer and give us everything we need, and more. He was talking about answering our prayers, but today my reflection is a variation on a beautiful theme that is dear to my heart. I didn’t think you’d mind.
In Scripture there are many doors and gates throughout the story of God and the soul. Enter by the narrow gate. I am the door. The wedding guests went in and the door was shut. The Old Testament has many references, too, all referring to our relationship with God.
I once made a retreat centered on doors. In it I looked at doors in the life of my soul: times when they led to or hid me from the presence of Jesus. It was a revelation. I knock on the door of His heart, and He knocks on the door of mine, in so many ways, at different moments in my life. I realized He is always ready to open the door to me. But I, well, not so much….
I asked myself, Do I sometimes lock my doors? Of course I do. Why? Is it to protect myself from ‘intruders,’ or because I don’t want to be asked to do something difficult? Have I kept a brother or sister (who might be Jesus) waiting on the doorstep until a more convenient time (which perhaps never came)? Oh, woe is me, have I ever kept Jesus Himself out? I’m afraid I’m not humble enough to tell you the answer to that question, but I suppose you can imagine….
How can I prevent myself from keeping Him out in the cold when He knocks? He’s never done that to me. He always answers (not always in the way I’d hoped, but He does answer.) It came to me that a good way to be sure I never keep Him out is to give Him the key to my heart. That worked for a while, but you know He’s a gentleman and would never just unlock the door and come in without being asked. So I decided not to lock the door in the first place. But slowly it became clear to me that keeping the door unlocked isn’t good enough either.
Finally, it came down to this: take off all the doors of my heart and just invite Him in to make His home in me. Make my heart His mailing address, as they say. That’s what He asked for in Jn 15:4. But it takes constant vigilance. Some shifty fellow comes along and thinks he’s doing me a favor and puts up a door, so I have to keep checking. Tear it down. Sometimes it seems like an endless story, but I’ve found Lent is a very good time to renew my covenant with Him not to have any more doors.
But then, I’m sure you’ve known this all along. I’m just a slow learner. It’s a good thing Jesus is so patient.
Isn’t that why we’ve fallen in love with Him?