28th Sunday in Ordinary Time (October 15, 2017)

In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells us that those who respond to God’s abundance of graces will enter the Kingdom of God. St Francis de Sales expands on our response:

God’s supreme goodness poured forth an abundance of graces over the entire human family. God wills that all be saved through the knowledge of the truth that our Savior came to give us the fire of holy love, and desired that it be kindled in our hearts.

How ardently God desires our love! God does so by filling us with divine love. God, the sun of justice, sends abundant beams of inspirations upon us, warms our hearts with blessings, and touches each of us with the allurements of holy love. It is God’s inspiration that warms our will, helps and reinforces our will, and moves it so gently that the will desires to turn and glide freely toward the good found in God’s inspiration.

God cast into your heart holy inspirations, and you received them. You cooperated with God’s inspirations by giving your consent to them. The movement of your will freely followed upon that of heavenly grace. God continued to strengthen your heart by various movements, until at length God infused into it holy love as your living and perfect health. Yet, you were free to accept or reject this divine goodness.

It was said that a little fish had the power to stop a ship sailing over the high seas. Yet, this fish had no power to make the ship set sail. So it is with our free will. When the favorable wind of God’s grace fills our soul, we can freely choose to refuse or consent to it. Yet, when our spirit sails along and makes a prosperous voyage, it is not we who cause the wind of inspiration to come to us. It is God who gives movement to the ship, our heart. We merely receive and consent to the wind coming from heaven. Blessed are they who respond to God’s word in the depths of their hearts, the Kingdom of God is theirs!

(Adapted from St. Francis de Sales, Treatise on the Love of God)