Do this in remembrance of me. Luke, 22:19
Our commitment to God is often expressed through the intentional act of remembrance. Much of the historical practice of our faith, as well as that of our Jewish origin, has been to deliberately recall the blessings and saving action of the Lord. In the Old Testament it was the story of Israel’s exodus from Egypt that was continually impressed on the hearts of God’s chosen people. In the New Testament, it is Christ’s death on the cross that we are called to remember, as often as we come together, through the re-enactment of the Lord’s Supper. Our weekly Communion is one of the ways that we remain intentionally connected to our birth narrative.
Scripture and spiritual writings are also God-given means by which we continue to remember who we are in Christ. They resonate with our deepest aspirations for the spiritual life and remind us of God’s invitation to be increasingly united with His Spirit. We need the mirror of other people’s experience of God, either through fellowship or through the written testimony of other believers, in order to remind us of the spirituality that is possible in our own lives as well.
Prayer, particularly contemplative prayer, is another way by which we more deeply anchor our sense of self according to our new origin in Christ. Through stillness and silence, we find ourselves re-created according to the more perfect image of God in us, our imago dei. As the first chapter of Genesis depicts it, we intentionally return to that formless state over which the Spirit of original creation broods. Or as Jeremiah envisions it, we present ourselves as clay in the Potter’s hand, ready to be re-formed according to whatever truth our Creator declares us to be. Our way forward then is always one of remembering our original posture of conversion. It is from this disposition that we reclaim, over and over again, our spiritual direction.
Curiously, we can say that much of our spiritual life is simply a matter of remembering that we actually have one. Once we’ve tasted the beauty of submission in our relationship with God, whatever helps us remain in that posture is what then becomes our spiritual path. Our task, as always, is to simply remain attached to the vine of Christ from which we bear the promised fruit, as well as submit to the necessary pruning.
We have been given many ways to return to God whenever we realize that we have wandered away. Our discernment of when and how we stray then becomes key to our return. In recognizing our own ebbs and flows with God, we have opportunity to more intentionally, and more consistently, choose the spiritual direction we want for our lives.
Remaining in the Lord is the only agenda left for those who are convinced of
the sufficiency of God’s grace.
-John Govan, S.J.