Reblogged from Aleteia:
D. Westry is an American “speed painter” (“speed painting” an artistic technique where the artist has a limited time to finish the work), and this example of his work is a reminder of how perspective changes everything.
In our lives things can appear a certain way—or even be incomprehensible—when we look at it from one perspective. But when we look from another, an entirely new understanding can emerge.
God often works like this in our lives. We’re sure something is a terrible mess, and then suddenly—from the distance of time or a simple tilt of the head—God’s purposes become clear. His workings are not always recognizable, or even attractive, and we have to remember that he is always working with and through broken channels. Prayer and discernment can help us gain new perspectives and come a little closer to seeing as God does.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts. …”
None of us are excluded from God’s gift of Himself.
Creation is shot through with the self-gift of God . . . Grace is the initiative of God, his self-offer that is prior to any kind of movement towards him by the creature. It is sheer gift, bestowed wherever human beings do not finally close themselves against him and refuse his love.
The gift of God is for the poor, the needy, the empty. It is for those who are too poor to recognize or identify their need. It is for those who do know their need, and hunger and thirst for him. It is for those who do not even suspect the depth of tenderness with which they are loved, yet are potentially open. God is most known as God when he gives to the undeserving, when he fills the hungry with good things, lifts up the downtrodden, transforms hopeless situations and brings life out of death. His gift is most typically not the crowning of our achievements, but wealth for the bankrupt and power at the service of the weak. (Maria Boulding)
Christ knows the depths of the human heart, and despite all the wretchedness it can harbor, he always sees its capacity for good. ‘Jesus’ look penetrates the veils of human passions and reaches the depths of the human heart, where one is alone, poor, and naked’ (Karl Adam). He understands and encourages us to continue struggling. His loving look sees our immense possibilities for good and also the weaknesses that are so often a reality in our lives. Christ knows what is within man. ‘He alone knows it!’ (St. John Paul II) And nevertheless he asks us to follow him: ‘Come, follow me’ (Mt 4.19). . . .
The spiritual life of any saint is the story of God’s love. This love impels forward every effort towards sanctity and lies at the very heart of all spiritual accompaniment. At times some people, if they have not been fully faithful to our God, may think he is upset and angry with them, and the devil makes use of this falsehood to distance them from God when their need is greatest to draw close to him. It is then that they need to recall with special force the parables of divine mercy: the prodigal son, the lost sheep, and the lost coin that brings joy when found.
We often need to remind souls that every moment is appropriate for beginning again with trust. Our Lord does not want anyone to be cast down by the negative experience of past weaknesses and sins. (Francis Fernandez-Carvajal)
Spoken by Pope Francis in his address to the U.S. Bishops on September 23, 2015:
Whenever a hand reaches out to do good or to show the love of Christ, to dry a tear or bring comfort to the lonely, to show the way to one who is lost or to console a broken heart, to help the fallen or to teach those thirsting for the truth, to forgive or to offer a new start in God . . . know that the Pope is at your side and supports you. He puts his hand on your own, a hand wrinkled with age, but by God’s grace still able to support you.
“The good news about the word ‘perfect’ as used in the New Testament is that it is not a scary word, so much as a scary translation. The word that has been translated as ‘perfect’ does not mean to set forth an impossible goal, or the perfectionism that would have me strive for it at any cost. It is taken from a Latin word meaning complete, entire, full-grown. To those who originally heard it, the word would convey ‘mature’ rather than what we mean today by perfect.
“To ‘be perfect,’ in the sense that Jesus means it, is to make room for growth, for the changes that bring us to maturity, to ripeness. To mature is to lose adolescent self-consciousness so as to be able to make a gift of oneself…”
“Perfection, in a Christian sense, means becoming mature enough to give ourselves to others. Whatever we have, no matter how little it seems, is something that can be shared with those who are poorer. This sort of perfection demands that we become fully ourselves as God would have us: mature, ripe, full, ready for what befalls us, for whatever is to come.”
~Kathleen Norris, Amazing Grace