April 29, 2012
4th Sunday of Easter
World Day of Prayer for Vocations
“I am the good shepherd.
A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”
A boy was on the seashore playing in the sand. He dug out a pit and began filling it with water from the ocean, but it would seep away almost as soon as he turned his back for more.
A man observed this boy at play as hewalked along the shore. He would later be known as one of the greatest saints and brightest minds in the church. After watching the boy for a time he asked the boy, “What are you trying to do?” The boy replied, “I am trying to empty the ocean into the pit I have dug.”
The man was amused and said, “You will never be able to do it because the sea is too vast.” The boy was undaunted, “Well some men think they can know God, is this as difficult as that?”
St. Augustinemust have been awed by the reply given by this boy at play. The story may not be actual, but it does point out the infinite mystery of God and our thirst for him. And like the boy at play, undaunted by the seeming impossibility of the task,St. Augustinegave his capacious mind to the task of meditating upon the infinite God-the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Trinity is the central mystery of our Christian faith. God is infinitely powerful and mysterious, and although incomprehensible, God is not unintelligible. In other words, we can grow in our understanding of God, but never fully comprehend him, because our minds are finite.
Like thirsty ground, we care called to drink in God continually. Although we will never be filled on earth, if we persevere in our quest for the truth of God, in heaven we will be supremely happy to know that our minds will never be without the refreshing water of glory and knowledge of God and all his creation.
How are we able to receive this great gift of knowledge? By the grace that comes through Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit. For we do not naturally possess the power to hold on to thoughts of God, nor live out his call of holiness. Rather, we need his assistance of grace in his sacraments to maintain a living faith.
Before his conversion, Augustine seemed to be a lonely figure, once brilliant, but unable to quench his thirst for truth. His early, sinful life is evidence of his drinking from many wells that filled his mind with worldly wisdom, but nothing was good enough, nor was he at peace with himself.
Finally, Augustine converted to Jesus Christ and his Church. He found the ancient font of Eternal Truth in the Catholic Church, and the everlasting source of grace in the person of Jesus Christ. Instead of isolating himself further by drinking from shallow or poisonous wells,St. Augustinedove into the church and entered into Holy Communion by communicating with the Apostles, Saints and faithful disciples. He realized that God was not isolated, but revealed himself through his Son as God living in community: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
May the good Lord satisfy our thirst for divine love now and forevermore through our Catholic church community. May God continue to call men and women to serve him and his people as priests and religious brothers and sisters.
Father Thomas McCabe