Here is a reflection from Mother Cecilia, published in our recent newsletter:
I recently received a letter from a friend, and in the letter my friend asked me, “If you met someone from another country who didn’t know about Jesus, how would you teach this person about Him?" As I read the question, I had one immediate thought and one immediate feeling. The thought was, “Why in the world is my friend asking me this question?” and the feeling was anxiety!
I don’t recall ever talking to someone who “didn’t know about Jesus,” but I know that I’ve talked to many people who don’t truly know who Jesus is. But do I even really know Him? I speak to others of God as Love, as One who wants to be so close to us, who wants to share in our life, but in reality, I often see Him as an unreasonably demanding God, as someone I can never please, or as a strict employer from whom I must earn my wage.
After I read the letter from my friend, I decided to come up with an answer to the question. I was surprised at how quickly my answer came to me, as fruit of my recent reflections on the love of the Trinity. I would tell this person about the communion of love in the Trinity—the continual outpouring of perfect love between the three persons of the Trinity—and how Jesus is the person of the Trinity who became man and took on our humanity in order to allow the divine love of the Trinity to pour into mankind, so that we can be one with this perfectly fulfilling love.
As soon as I came up with my answer, this Scripture came to my mind: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how many times I yearned to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were unwilling!” (Mt 23:37 & Lk 13:34).
In these words I could see God’s deep longing for me. He longs to hold me to Himself. He longs for me to receive His continual outpouring of love. He longs for me to let Him be with me.
As I have prepared for the celebration of the Nativity of Our Lord, I have sought to rest in the knowledge of God’s longing for me which moved Him to completely empty Himself for me in His Incarnation. I have reflected on my favorite Old Testament story, the Three Youths in the Fiery Furnace, and how God, in the form of an angel, came into the furnace to be with the youths, prefiguring His coming to be with us in human flesh in our suffering.
We can ask ourselves, “How would I live my life differently if I really believed in God’s longing for me and rejected the lie that I must earn His love?” I think we would want to love Him and give our lives to Him, trusting in His ability to transform our feeble actions into something powerful.
If we truly knew Jesus, we wouldn’t be anxious about talking about Him, talking to Him, loving Him or living for Him, because He—the One who longs for us—is the One that every human heart longs to know.
Icon of the Three Youths by the hand of Mother Cecilia