Just two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to get away to the mountains once again for a few days. Not with my community as I did weeks prior, but with fellow youth ministers of the Arlington Diocese that I am so blessed to be working alongside in the vineyard. On retreat, we were privileged to have Monsignor Swetland as our speaker, as well as Ben Walther as our music minister.
During our first Mass on retreat, Ben played and sang an original for the Communion Song. He also sang it during Adoration and during other reflection times throughout our time together. For me, the song left a deep impression on my heart, not just as a youth minister on retreat, but simply as a child of God.
In the Lenten season, we use the combination of fasting, prayer, and almsgiving with the intent of emptying ourselves so that we can draw closer to God. Like all things that have a function, anything emptied needs to be filled. I can only hope that my own giving up and taking up leads me to a greater denial of self, together with a fervent desire for God so that He can fill what I empty out.
The image of the wounded, tortured Christ has been on my heart lately. I glance at a Crucifix and my heart just aches to love Him more. It’s the same heartache when I reflect on the Via Crucis or the Sorrowful Mysteries. I think of and see many things in this world that cause Him pain and I even see in own heart what causes Him pain, too. My inordinate attachments, my fears, my doubts, my selfishness—they serve no one and only hurt God and myself all the more. My heart aches to love Him, yet it pierces His Heart. But because of His terrible death, new life sprang forth. So though I hurt Him, He calls me back with His tender embrace. Because of the beautiful Sacrament of Reconciliation, I am reminded that my longing for Him is a result of His longing for me, and that can be restored by this healing sacrament. If I am not worthy to be a dwelling place for the Lord, then I must fight to have my worth restored. Otherwise, the emptiness persists and I continue to await fulfillment.
The Lord has no greater desire than to be one with us—to live in us, live through us, be a part of our every decision— everything. He won’t do that forcefully either. We choose it willingly ourselves. If we declare to Him our desire to be made His home, we do that by our own choice. This is when an interior renewal must take place.
I have been eagerly anticipating the arrival of Ben’s new CD (if I remember correctly it is due for release next month) just so I could listen to it and sing along to it as my prayer, especially in moments when my strong desire for the wounded Christ leaves me speechless. Lo and behold, that eagerness somehow brought me to SoundCloud and now, I would love to share it with you.