The Church of Saint Agnes

1680 Dixie Highway, Fort Wright, KY 41011

The Church of Saint Agnes
1680 Dixie Highway, Fort Wright, KY 41011

Saint Agnes School | Contact Us

6th Week of Easter

Sat, 05/27/2017
Rev. Msgr. Donald Enzweiler

Imagine you are overseeing a camp of refugees.  Trucks of food are delivered to the edge of the camp. 
There’s enough food to satisfy the needs of all.
However, by some mistake or oversight, the trucks are locked and the keys cannot be found.
The food is there, within reach.
But until it is distributed to the people, nothing is changed as far as the situation in the camp.
God provides us with grace.
This grace makes it possible for us to be in relationship with God.
“Being close to God”, “God being close to us” are ways of describing our relationship to him.
What does it mean “to be close to God”?
The refuges in my imaginary situation above are close to the food they need and vice versa.
However, being close to the food does them little good.
They are not strengthened or sustained by the food.
There is hope in the camp.  Having the food nearby gives them hope.
But that hope becomes cruel torture if the food is never distributed.
We believe the grace of God is poured out upon us.
We can only know God and believe in God because of this grace.
But it can remain on the outside, extrinsic to our religious and spiritual life.
Some people accept this arrangement as their relationship with God…
maybe even conclude that this is what it is supposed to be.
The Church makes it clear:  until God’s grace gets into the interior of the person,
one’s relationship with God remains unfinished, incomplete, wanting.
Until the food is distributed to the people in the camp and they actually consume it,
the presence of the food contributes little to their well-being.
Knowing how grace can and does work in our lives
isn’t as important as actually allowing grace to work in its fullest capacity.
After everyone in the refugee camp has eaten, someone can come along and ask
“how was the food distributed?” (Maybe the person wants to determine a more efficient way of getting the food to the people.)
The point is, until we allow grace access to the interior of our being…
into our spirit, our mind, our heart, our awareness, our consciousness;
until we allow grace access into our thoughts, our feelings and emotions,
our ideas, our interests, our expectations, our desires…
there will be no interior transformation, no inner conversion.
Here’s another way to think about it.  The people who live next door to us…
these neighbors are close to us.  We see them often.  We talk with them, interact with them.
The relationship takes on a deeper meaning when we invite such neighbors into our house.
But if we only let them enter certain rooms, if we limit their knowledge,
they don’t have an accurate understanding of who we are.
The living room and kitchen may be immaculate…we let the neighbors see these…
but the bedroom and basement are so cluttered, and unkempt and messy
with dog poop on the carpet and cobwebs in the corner…we don’t let the neighbors see these.
Our relationship with God is hindered by our unwillingness to allow grace
to enter every room inside of us….every nook, every cranny, every shadow, every wound, every joy.
Going back to the refugee camp image, if someone in the camp doesn’t receive food,
you can believe, they will cry out in hunger.
If some part of our inner selves, of our inner being, is not yet touched by grace, it will cry out for help.
Wounds will cry out until they are healed.
Memories will cry out until they are tended to and resolved.
Sins will cry out until they are forgiven and reconciliation takes place.
Fears will cry out; needs will cry out;  what is broken will cry out;  what needs attention will cry out.
All these things and more (there are things in ourselves we don’t even know yet)
all these things will cry out until they are transformed by grace.
This is what being in a relationship with God brings about:  both inner and outer transformation.
To be transformed by grace it to be perfected, completed, made whole, made holy and God-like.
One last observation:  to think that grace gives us unlimited strength, unlimited understanding,
unlimited wisdom, unlimited capacities, unlimited control, unlimited resolve, is an illusion.
To think that we can work for the Lord and never get tired.
And to conclude there is something wrong with those who do get tired,
I believe is either gross ignorance,
or it is an inflated ego coupled with exaggerated self-importance and self-glorification.
We all need to be challenged.
But it is sinful to belittled and shame someone because their limitations are greater than ours.
Today’s prayer:  “O Lord, it is Your will that we enter into a relationship with You.  It is by Your grace that this relationship is promoted, augmented and sustained.  As we remember and celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, Your Son, may we grow in our willingness to be transformed into His image.  Amen!”