12th Sunday in Ordinary Time: 25 June

Confessing Jesus: Exercises in Christian Transparency

 Confessing Jesus: Exercises in Christian Transparency   ING-025
23 June 2023

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux advised his Cistercian monks that they should ask themselves every day, “Why did I come to this monastery and why do I stay?” We should perform a similar spiritual exercise, asking ourselves what is still motivating us to confess Jesus as Lord and why we are participating in a particular church/faith community. Every Sunday as we gather to recite “our creed” we should examine our consciences as our lips declare we believe in God, maker of heaven and earth.

In his essay “A Theology of Creativity,” Cistercian author Thomas Merton wrote of the dignity and responsibility each of us has “to stand before God on our own feet, conscious and alert to the light that has been placed in us” and then be willing to be “perfectly obedient to that light [Literary Essays, 367-368].” Mature Christians must learn to speak freely, communicating through our behaviour how Jesus is Lord for us.

It is insufficient to confess Jesus as Lord by repeating dogmatic formulas every Sunday. Privacy is at the heart of a relationship with God, but we can develop through exercise the courage to disclose the character of our personal faith to one another, not merely in words but in our behaviours and actions.

“The witness required of each of us [to one another] is much more that of a transparency rather than a witness of words — a word, even an exact one, can raise a lot of contradictions, but nothing can resist the radiance of a silence that is filled with love (M. Moré quoted by T. Merton. Turning Toward the World, 344-345).”

Let us treasure and safeguard our most personal, private relationship with the Holy Spirit, but also pray for the grace to confess publicly how we are disciples of Jesus, committed to learning to love one another.

By Jonathan Montaldo