The period in the Church calendar of Epiphany and Lent through to and including Easter is a gift to us to continue our journey through life as we seek to grow in knowledge and understanding of God, ourselves and others. There is though, I would like to humbly suggest, a great difference between knowing and understanding. We can know a great deal about God, ourselves and others, but not really truly understand God, ourselves and others.
Understanding is good for the mind, and the mind is often what brings it about. If our mind is experiencing dis-ease, the more we understand what may have caused it, the more we are equipped to recover from it. The more we understand, and come to understand, the more we are empowered in our relationships, our decisions and our choices.
If we are experiencing difficulties as we face life’s challenges, developing an understanding of what we bring to a situation can be helpful. Understanding why we are finding it hard to cope can sometimes release us from our struggle. Understanding is the gateway to personal freedom. We see that wonderfully played out in the temptations of Jesus, and the freedom he acquired as he began his ministry, which, as we know, ultimately led to his death and resurrection. Learning to understand ourselves as we live our ordinary, everyday lives, with the help of God is to“stand under” the Word of God who is Jesus; the words from God recorded in Holy Scripture; and the teachings of the Church throughout the ages, is the key to unlocking our giftedness in Christ and our true potential as children of God. Understanding helps us to find healing in our relationships and emotional hurts, and to connect to God, others and ourselves in new ways.
It is important to understand and be understanding of who we are in Christ, and why we are in Christ. When we come to understand why we do the things we do, we can with God’s grace choose to change and do things differently.
As we continue to understand the mystery who is God, and the mystery we are to ourselves and others, we will be enabled to experience our life very differently. Only a heart and mind open to God, ourselves and others can grow in understanding. Such understanding leads to obedience, trust, growth in holiness as God continues to give us a right judgement in all things. As soon as we think we know; our mind, heart and spirit are closed. And despite our sins and shortcomings let us be encouraged by the words of the apostle Paul writing to the Romans:12 1-2.
So here is what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Do not become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You will be changed from the inside out. Readily recognise what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. —The Message (MSG).
Blessings always to you and to those whom you love, and to those for whom you pray.