If you are God’s son
The primary temptation of all humanity and of Jesus following his baptism is to doubt that we are God’s beloved children. At the baptism the Spirit descends and rests on Jesus like a dove. This experience of bliss is like the bliss of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. Such bliss is the result of what God does for us. We felt this bliss in the Eden of our mothers womb.
But when we do not integrate the meaning of being God’s children we think that creation exists only to serve us. But we are to care for creation as God cares for creation. We, like God are to be the stewards of creation working to make it reach its fulfillment. But when we do not serve we become dissatisfied, bored and restless. We reach for what does not belong to us.
Being son or daughter of God is gift and also task.
Jesus’ first temptation, the very first words out of the devil’s mouth, are to question Jesus’ identity: “if you are God’s son.” The last words out of God’s mouth at the baptism are “this is my beloved Son.” The three following temptations: to use creation to satisfy spiritual hunger, to perform a show miracle to gain admiration and to get control of the world without God represent the ways we try to compensate for the loss of our original bliss.
“But if I am God’s beloved why do I feel so bad? Shouldn’t God’s beloved feel bliss all the time?”
You are God’s beloved and you feel what you feel. The work of Lent is to learn how to suffer the pain that will weaken the distorted beliefs we have about ourselves and strengthen our experience of unity with all creation and therefore God.
Lent is about learning to suffer the legitimate pain of God’s children as they work to bring creation to its fulfillment which is to share in the glorious freedom of the children of God. The more we can bear the legitimate burdens of growing up with creation we will share more deeply in the joy of creation restored.
There is no more beautiful way to share wholeheartedly in this work than to fully embrace your vocation from God. The call of God in the Church today is for leaders who can learn the art of suffering the legitimate pain of bringing the great liberation of Christ to all creation.
By Mark Blom, OMI
To contact Fr. Mark for advice about discernment and vocation direction. He can meet with you by phone to conduct a short vocation assessment to help you find your way. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange for an appointment.