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"Where Are You" by Alphonse Ciaccio

I want to share this meditation that a friend of mine wrote.  We published it in our parish newsletter.  Hope you are blessed by it!


WHERE ARE YOU?

“They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, ‘Where are you?” (Gen 3:8-10)

I have always loved this scene from the third chapter of Genesis.  In the interest of context, Adam and Eve had just eaten the forbidden fruit.  Immediately upon the first bite, their eyes were opened as to what they had done and they “knew” they were naked.  Shame at their nakedness drove them to hide from each other and ultimately from the Lord. The Lord God, it appears, had an ongoing appointment with them in the cool of the evening.  When He showed up for His part, He realized that Adam and Eve were not going to keep this appointment  Then the Lord asks, what to me is one of the most heart rending questions in all of Sacred Scripture.  The Lord called out
“Where Are You?”

Reflecting upon this scripture a few things occurred to me.  Don’t you think that the All Knowing One knew exactly where they were? Wouldn’t He also have known why they missed their customary evening meeting? Yet, the Lord STILL came looking for them despite knowing what they had done or how they were dressed (or not dressed).  I believe that the reason the Lord asked question was because He wanted them to come to Him regardless.

We are very fortunate.  Since December 8, The Feast of the Immaculate Conception, we have been in the “Year of Mercy” as proclaimed by Pope Francis.  In this wonderful gift to the Church, it is almost as if the Lord were walking in the Garden again in the cool of the evening.  He is once again calling out “Where are you”.   Alas, like Adam and Eve, many of us are hiding.  Some of us hide due to what we have done.  Perhaps the gravity and frequency of our wrongs have driven us, like our first parents, into the trees of despair to hide.  Once there, demonic forces bite and claw at our souls implanting the lie that we have gone too far this time; that the Lord can never forgive us.  Others of us hide within the realm of our own spiritual, moral or material self sufficiency.  We may reason that we are really not that bad.  After all, we do the right things and don’t do the wrong things.  Why would people like us need mercy?  What I have just described is two sides of the same coin.  Both attitudes are manifestations of pride.  Pride is at the root of fatalistic, destructive attitudes that MY sin is so great, even GOD could not forgive me.  Pride is also driving force behind the Pharisaical attitude of a superiority that sees mercy as something for “those other people”.  In both instances the participants disqualify themselves from the mercy offered by Jesus.  The Lord disqualifies no one from receiving His mercy.  All He asks is that we come humbly and ask for it.  Sacramental Confession is the place where we do the asking and the Lord does the forgiving. In this wonderful Sacrament Jesus waits, lovingly, patiently for you and I to come to Him. Go! Run to Jesus! He is walking in the Garden again and calling out for you!  Don’t let pride stop you from receiving that which your heart longs for and which Jesus longs to give you.  You have not gone too far.  There is NOTHING that He will not forgive and cleanse you of.  All is not lost.  You do not have to live in despair.  You do not have to go thru life by observing religious motions or playing the institutional game.  Christ has called you to find HIM in those observances. Up till now you may have only found and acquitted yourself. You can have passion reignited in your relationship with Christ!  He wants to use you in His Kingdom!  He wants to speak to you in the depth of your heart and then help you to give your heart away in His service.  The Sacrament of Penance is the answer, the meeting place between Jesus and lost souls such as you and I.

Yes, in this Year of Mercy God is walking in the Garden again, calling out for you.  Will you answer Him or just turn away and hide?

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