Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Ephesians 1:17-18 part four

. . . that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation resulting in knowledge of him. May the eyes of (your) hearts be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call, what are the riches of glory in his inheritance among the holy ones, and what is the surpassing greatness of his power for us who believe . . . (vv 17-19).

Did you ever wonder what might be the "hope that belongs to His call, [and] what are the riches of glory in His inheritance?" I have. And the answer to those questions, we will discover, is what gives our lives true and unfading hope and purpose.

God calls us to be His children in a way reserved only for those who have been baptized into the faith and who walk according to His will -- for example: here, here, here, here, here, and here (for additional discussion about the family of God and the Church, click here).

Consider for a moment the implications of being God's child. When God adopts us into His eternal family, we gain the rights, privileges, care -- and discipline -- of sons and daughters of the almighty God!

God calls us to receive an inheritance which is imperishable, and one which will not suffer theft or devaluation. No one has to remind us how fleeting wealth can be. In a short few days or months virtually everything we saved and sacrificed to acquire can be obliterated. But children of God have His unbreakable promise that whatever good we do for the Kingdom during this life will be waiting for us when we meet our Lord in heaven.

God call us out of darkness and into His light for a heavenly and eternal purpose. Part of that purpose is to accomplish this for Christ.

This lesson started with a question about a true and unfading hope and purpose. Whose heart doesn't long for such things? King Solomon sought it, and finally discovered it at the end of his life. Read his words here. Centuries later, in the 4th century A.D., St. Augustine recognized Solomon's wisdom with different words, but the same sentiment: You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you. Humankind is as lonely for God today as when St. Augustine lived, or King Solomon . . . or Adam and Eve.

True and eternal hope and purpose? Such things will only be found at the foot of the cross, bathed in the blood of Jesus, and lived in obedience to Him.

Questions for Reflection:

1. Listen to these lyrics in light of what you have learned in this lesson. Now consider this excerpt from the Catechism of the Catholic Church (2233): Becoming a disciple of Jesus means accepting the invitation to belong to God's family, to live in conformity with His way of life: "For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother, and sister, and mother."

How can you incorporate these ideas into your life?

2. Pope Benedict XVI, in his encyclical Spe Salve, wrote: To come to know God—the true God—means to receive hope. We who have always lived with the Christian concept of God, and have grown accustomed to it, have almost ceased to notice that we possess the hope that ensues from a real encounter with this God.

Mull those words over in your mind for a while. Have you lost the hope "that ensues from a real encounter" with God? Review the last few lessons in which we looked at what it means to know God, instead of knowing about God. You might also want to read the Pope's encyclical. Although it is a weighty read, it is well worth the effort. Find it here.

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