Some of the greatest breakthroughs in my spiritual journey have come when the Lord has helped me understand two things: First, He longs to give Himself to us; Second, my own selfishness or obstinate self-will needs to yield to the far superior and generous will of the Father.
Messages from Jesus such as the one in today’s Gospel (John 16: 20-23), drive home this very thought: “whatever you ask the Father in my name, he will give you.” St. Ignatius of Loyola taught in the Spiritual Exercises that we are to be specific in asking God for the grace we are most in need of. Jesuits have told me that in his own prayer, Ignatius’ grace request was quite simple and regular: “Father, place me with your Son.” Indeed, this is the primary gift the Father longs to give us.
Pope Benedict is repeating often in recent messages that our God longs to be in dialogue with us. Our God longs to be in relationship with us. Jesus is the entry point (the gate) for this communication and relationship. Jesus is the Word that speaks the very communication of the Father to the world. Jesus is the Son of God who calls us friends.
Today, may we hear Jesus say to each of us: “Receive what I long to give you.”, and know and believe in our hearts that He longs to give Himself. These were His words at the Last Supper, repeated every day in the Mass: “take this all of you (receive)…this is my Body, this is my Blood.”
May a part of the grace of these remaining days of the Easter season be to recognize where our own will is not in line with the will of the Father. May we recognize where our own desires are preventing us from “receiving” all that the Father wished to give us through His Son. Finally, may we have the grace (another “gift” to be “received”) to be open, receptive, and obedient to this Loving Word of God, Jesus Christ.