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  • Writer's pictureDr. Anthony Lilles

The Glory of God in this Time

In the midst of distress and anxiety, the glory of God crashes in around us. This glory is revealed in the plight of our brothers and sisters who have been abused, abandoned, betrayed and denied by those entrusted with their care. When apostles betray Christ, this glory unveils the truth about who we are and what we have done against the standard of God's love. When God's shepherds fail to protect the sheep, this glory manifests all the more the warmth and light of heaven in the dark cold of our hearts and our society. When hearts fail and compromise themselves at the expense of others, this glory establishes justice and offers a pathway of mercy. Though some defensively rant to preserve themselves, in this glory is chastisement and purification, a time to renew our dedication to the Lord and to His Little Ones. Though some cast about with accusations and blame, before this glory is an invitation to pray the Magnificat mindful of how the Lord deals with the proud and strong, and how He takes the side of the poor and powerless. Though some deflect and avoid, the radiance of this glory offers the opportunity to repent of our indifference to sin and to the harm sin causes. Though some are bogged down in dismay and self-loathing, this glory calls us to turn back to the Lord with our whole heart, and allow His love to challenge us to the core. In this glory of God's coming, there is no time for business as usual. No time for righteous excuses or empty promises. No time for hubris. Not time for cynicism. No time for presumption. No time for fear. No time for righteous displays and empty words in prayer. No time to worry about spin and liability. No time to search for scapegoats or to point the finger at others. No time for conventional thinking. No time to hang on to our old way of life. There is no time for noisy rancor in the glory of the coming of the Lord. In this glory is the newness of the Word who makes all things new. In the glory of this Just Judge, it is time to allow ourselves to be shaken out of complacency and self-occupation. Time for a new beginning. Time to take stock. Time to return to our senses. Time to start the journey home. Time to take responsibility for what we have done. Time to rescue the wounded and dress the wounds. Time to realize that whatever we do, it is never enough. Time to submit our whole manner of living to the Gospel of Christ. Time for the renewal of our mind. Time to seek forgiveness. Time to learn to forgive. In the shadow of the justice this glory declares, it is time for sobered silence humble before the Word. For in the midst of catastrophes of our own making, God speaks His word of hope. While the sun and moon fall out of the sky, and every corporate structure in the Church passes away, this Word does not waiver—the Word who dwells with us remains forever. Hear the Word whose wordless cry rings from the Cross and echoes in the empty tomb. Allow this great canticle to lay bear your heart. This is the Word that the Father hears and the Word that tells everything the Father longs for us to know. This Word can teach our hearts to ache with compassion for those who have been abused, betrayed, denied and abandoned. For those who will keep this Word, the passion of Christ is unveiled again through the suffering of His Little Ones; and because of this Word, we find the courage to take their side, to hear their suffering cry, and to stand with them in this difficult hour.

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