Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake their way, and the unrighteous their thoughts; let them return to the Lord, that he may have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
We should not let the words of Scripture remain mere words, but, as we would do with a letter from someone who loves us very much, we should let these words penetrate into our imagination to the point that we can “see,” “hear,” and “touch” the word of life (cf. 1 John 1:1-3). We must do so in obedience to the word which surpasses us, “for my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways” (Is 55:8).
Psalm 135:15-18 should warn us that, through our imagination, we can craft false gods—even ones that we might call “Jesus”—that can lead us astray. Let us let the Jesus of the Bible scandalize us when we realize that he is not the “god” that we would have imagined on our own. And let us let that Jesus, who reveals to us the one true God, be the Lord of our imagination rather than any other “Jesus” we would fashion for ourselves.
Lord Jesus, I believe that you are the Son of God and that you make known to us everything that you have heard from the Father, things that we would never have known if you had not revealed them to us. Please help me in my unbelief, because so often what you reveal about God through your life is a scandal to me.
Please help me to know that “your ways are not my ways,” and help me to hold onto your grace most especially in those places where the divine life that you offer is most incomprehensible to me. Then, perhaps, with your help, I will no longer just say, “Lord, Lord,” but might finally begin to “do the will of our Father in heaven,” and so live the life that you offer, abiding in you as you abide in the Father.
—Fr. Sylvester Tan, SJ
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