The Madison Diocesan Eucharistic Congress (Sept. 29-Oct. 1, 2023, St. John the Baptist, Waunakee) will take time to help expose a truth that staggers the mind and melts the soul. We will find it in its Masses, talks, Confessions, workshops, procession, Adoration, and people—all that the weekend offers.
The Congress won’t place the truth, neatly packaged, in our laps. The Holy Spirit will gradually unfold it within each soul. But it’s a truth that warms us with divine love…if we take the time to see it. Lawrence Feingold wrote about it:
“Through grace, we are given a participation in the divine nature… Through sanctifying grace and charity, we are given a share in the inner life of God Himself.”
We live the divine life through grace.
The divine life began at Baptism and grows deeper with each Eucharist when we sacramentally and truly receive Jesus Himself. Our personal union, in turn, binds us together in the Church. In the state of grace, we joyfully live the life of God!
That’s the truth, but do we know it; do we experience it in our lives? Unfortunately, the world distracts and leaves us dissatisfied. Our soul longs for God, but often, we can’t find Him. The Christmas hymn, O Holy Night, captures the problem with the phrase, “Long lay the world in sin and error pining…”
St. Augustine struggled with the same problem. But he discovered the answer: Look for God within!
“Behold, You were within me, while I was outside: it was there that I sought You, and, [I], a deformed creature, rushed headlong upon these things of beauty which You have made. You were with me, but I was not with You.“
Before his conversion, Augustine didn’t see God. He pined for the fulfillment that only God could offer. But he exhausted himself—looking for it in the world—until he found God dwelling within his soul. Augustine described God’s presence as being “more inward than my inmost self.”
Like Augustine, we experience the truth of God’s divine life when we finally take time to open our hearts and minds to the Holy Spirit’s grace. Then, we sense the presence of God in the most intimate depths of our souls too.
The soul felt its worth.
We also sense something different about our soul’s relationship with God. Something changed. O Holy Night helps us again with the phrase, “then He appeared, and the soul felt its worth.” With God’s indwelling, the repentant, grace-filled soul recovers its sense of God and of its own dignity. It now feels its worth. It knows itself as a loved, child of God.
How much does God love us? The Father sent His only Son to die for us, to save us from the slavery of sin. But Jesus saved usto transform us into His likeness, then to lift us up to participate in His divine life. By grace, we “become partakers of the divine nature” (2 Pt 1:4). It’s a beautiful, lifelong encounter that continues into eternity.
Marvel at the reality!
Augustine marveled at his encounter but with some regret. He wrote, “Too late have I loved you, O Beauty so ancient and so new…!” Another writer, Henry Suso, lamented over what he should have done:
“[I]f I had understood then, as I do now, how this great King really dwells within this little palace of my soul, I should not have left Him alone so often, but should have stayed with Him and never have allowed His dwelling-place to get so dirty.”
Lament and regret aside, we set a new course, beginning with a sense of marvel at the truth of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling. Know that where the Holy Spirit is, so too, are Jesus and the Father, the one God. In a state of grace, we live the divine life of the Holy Trinity…now! Take time to marvel at this reality!
Take time, now, and at the Congress!
The Congress—a three-day Eucharistic retreat and encounter—will help reveal this powerful truth. But don’t wait for the Congress! Take time to be a partaker, a child of God, now! Form a deeper relationship with Jesus. Treasure His divine life within you.
Then, take time to honor our almighty, transcendent God Who waits! Turn inward to be with Him. But, also, turn outward toward the living, Holy Eucharist, to encounter Jesus who waits there too. He waits for us to join His sacrifice to the Father at Mass. He waits for us to accept His Body and Blood at Communion where divine life intensifies and grows, where He divinizes our souls by forming us into His likeness. And He waits for us in Adoration.
In all His waiting’s, Jesus looks for a personal encounter within our souls to lift us up as participants in His divine life. Don’t keep Him waiting! Make your encounter now, every day!
And take time to make a special, prolonged, and deep encounter at the Madison Diocesan Eucharist Congress: Sept. 29-Oct. 1, 2023, St. John the Baptist, Waunakee. Enjoy a fuller expression of God’s divine life over three days of continuous marveling, honoring, and loving our Lord in the company of friends and family.
For a guide or schedule, and to pre-register, go to: blessedbrokenandgiven.com