Jesus, remember me…
One of the criminals hanged with Jesus said “we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” Luke 23: 41-43
Remembrance is the heart of religion and the counterpoint to the forgetting that dulls our lives. Our deepest memory is the blissful happiness of our primordial union with God. But as our human body, with its instinctual activity, emotional and social responses and mental interpretations, matured, we were flooded with so much experience that we lost our felt sense of God.
This loss amounts to a forgetting about the experience of union with God and the bliss. We are haunted by the feeling that there is something missing in us and we try to cope in ways that make things worse. God is still united with us but there is so much energetic, affective and cognitive “noise” inside us that we feel as though the union is paradise lost.
What makes our suffering feel worse is the memory that we had paradise once, but we screwed up somehow and lost it. Our failure to maintain our hold on the bliss is what drives our self hatred, terror and rage. Our ego punishes us by reminding us of our sin, constantly accusing us of not doing what we know we should have done.
Jesus entered into the wilderness of human confusion and alienation from the God who never abandoned us. Jesus on the cross is sovereign, reigning within himself from a place of mercy . The injustice, cruelty and pain of Calvary do not impair his behaviour as God’s beloved son. Accepting the experience of Calvary makes it the way to paradise.
Pain makes us chose which memory we put our trust in.
When we put our trust in Jesus’ remembering we will find in our memory that it was we who turned paradise into wilderness by forgetting that God is always present even when we are overwhelmed, distracted and confused.
In discernment of a vocation to religious life or priesthood there can be very strong moments of bliss and joy but also very fierce feelings of doubt and discontent. By meeting these feelings soberly we too become sovereign over own lives, reigning with mercy over our experience without losing heart.
In this way Christ’s Kingship extends its dominion through us.
By Mark Blom, OMI – Vocation Director OMI Lacombe Canada
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