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Remain in my Love

A reflection on Jn 6:60-69

By Bro. Ian Cesar Granada, CJM

Halfway through my initial formation, I experienced a sort of ‘dark night’ of the soul. The daily schedule in the seminary become a daily drudgery as I walk through it every day. The joy of following the Lord became a burden and I experienced as a heavy cross. I was asking myself; it is really hard and becoming burdensome to follow this way of life. With the help of my formators, I persevere in this dark night which lasted for several months. I waited for the Lord and renewed my ‘yes’ even if I no longer understand where this journey is leading me. Then one day, while in our daily Holy Hour, the Lord seem to say to me, “remain in my love” I discounted it as mere thought, but its intensity keep on repeating in my mind and it gave me a relaxed mind and disposition as I continue to dwell on it. I

Taking it as a queue from the Lord, I persevere in prayer and with a dialogue with my Spiritual Director, he told me that the Lord is speaking with me, and yes, I need to reply. I said ‘yes’ again to the Lord in His invitation to remain in Him as I journey in the initial formation, some challenging events came after that response, but thankfully, my little ‘yes’ to the Lord strengthened me to face them later on.

As I reflect on the readings this Sunday, one theme kept coming back to me, the meaning of the renewal in one’s Faith. As we hear Jesus’ speech, his final appeal for all who follow him, “The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” Those who follow Jesus earlier, left Him because what He is proposing was a hard saying, “As a result of this, many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.”

Many of us follow Christ for convenience’s sake, the so-called ‘Cafeteria Christians’ pick and choose words of Jesus which are more convenient to follow and leave behind or do not follow teachings which may entail conversion from sinful lifestyles and personal attachments and addictions. Faith in God thru Jesus is indeed not only based on our capacity to follow. It is also a gift from God who bestows these to every person who have opened their hearts for conversion and perseverance.

Let us read again the Gospel this Sunday and be attentive to the words and reaction of the people who wants to follow Jesus. Let us ask the Father for the grace of Faith; that as we follow Jesus’ day after day, we may love Him more deeply and follow His words and teachings as it asks us to choose life and not death, of new beginnings and not dead-end. In times, when our ‘yes’ to the Lord seems to translate into a long day, let us ask the Lord to come to our aid; wait for the Lord and trust in God’s love. In the end, Jesus asks the disciples and I think, He also asks us, “Do you also want to leave?” Hopefully, this will be a time of renewal; or rekindling God’s graciousness in our lives and the many moments when God was always there for us. Have a Blessed Sunday!

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