November 18, 2010
I am still focused on Our Lady's desire that we accept our weakness and littleness! It is feeding me so much! Today we will hear from two very smart, but very humble friends, Phil and Caroline. They are studying theology in Austria, and have offered to send us some quotes from Pope Benedict's book, The Apostles. It seems that the Holy Father was focused on the importance of our weakness and littleness as well! It is great to know that we are on the same page as the Holy Father! Phil wrote: "Here is what we put together for today. It is Pope Benedict XVI's reflections about the Apostles Philip and Thomas at the Last Supper in the Gospel of John. Relying on their friendship with Christ, both were willing to ask questions from their misunderstanding and littleness. From these questions spring forth the gift of Christ's longest uninterrupted narrative in any of the four Gospels; concerning Christ's own person and his relationship with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Pope Benedict focuses on the requisite humility necessary for friendship and conversation with Jesus from our ignorance and misunderstanding." The Holy Father wrote:
"During the Last Supper, after Jesus affirmed that to know him was also to know the Father, Philip quite ingenuously asks him: 'Lord, show us the Father, and we shall be satisfied.' (John 14:8). Jesus answered with a gentle rebuke: 'Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know me, Philip? He who has seen me has seen the Father; how can you say, "Show us the Father?" Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in me? -- Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father in me.' (John 14: 9-11).
"A second intervention by Thomas is recorded at the Last Supper. On that occasion, predicting his own imminent departure, Jesus announced that he was going to prepare a place for his disciples so that they could be where he is found; and he explains to them: 'Where [I] am going you know the way?' (John 14: 4). It is then that Thomas intervenes, saying: 'Lord, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?' (John 14: 5).
"In fact, with this remark he places himself at a rather low level of understanding; but his words provide Jesus with the opportunity to pronounce his famous definition: 'I am the Way and the Truth and the Life.' (John 14: 6).
"Thus, it is primarily to Thomas that he makes this revelation, but it is valid for all of us and for every age. Every time we hear or read these words, we can stand beside Thomas in spirit and imagine that the Lord is also speaking to us, just as he spoke to him.
"At the same time, his question also confers upon us the right, so to speak, to ask Jesus for explanations. We often do not understand him. Let us be brave enough to say: 'I do not understand you, Lord; listen to me, help me to understand.' In such a way, with this frankness which is the true way of praying, of speaking to Jesus, we express our meager capacity to understand and at the same time place ourselves in the trusting attitude of someone who expect light and strength from the One able to provide them."
(Pope Benedict XVI, The Apostles, 98, 102-103).
Caroline commented on this:
"So when Philip and Thomas admit their weaknesses, their doubts, their confusion - basically, when they get over their pride and are okay with being kind of dumb, especially in front of all the other apostles - then Jesus really pours Himself into all of their emptiness!
"Praise God for their humility, Philip and Thomas! Praise God that they were given the grace to leap beyond their own ridiculous blindness ("Have you been with me this long and yet you still do not know me, Philip?") and reach out to Christ from that very blindness, awkwardly, painfully, to be rebuked in the Gospels for all eternity, but to give the gift of Christ. Let us, like Benedict says, be brave in our humiliating weaknesses, and reach out to Christ to fill them."Gosh, this is amazing. Our littleness provides Jesus with the way to really give himself to us! It is something we really need to accept! May we all find the grace to say yes to our weakness and littleness, and let the Lord enter in! In Jesus and Mary!