What we all want is to see the beauty of the Lord. But we can only see it in a state of holiness, the prophets speak of the beauty of holiness because the prophets were caught up and saw the beauty of the Lord. The pure in heart shall see God, St. John tells us. Our gradual taken from Psalm 34 says: "They had an eye unto him and were enlightened, and their faces were not ashamed". To be illumined is to gain the knowledge of God through encounter, and that encounter only comes through holiness.
It is not good for man to be alone- that is a practical and metaphysical declaration that God made clear from the very beginning of our existence. It is not good to be alone- and one can be alone even in a crowd. It is not good to go it alone. it is good to be in the sheepfold among the flock.
The enemy of our soul is the divider of the brethren, he plots and schemes as to how he can divide and fracture and tear asunder the unity of the brethren, this is his primary goal, if he can do this he has set the stage for the kill. We must be wise to his schemes, and not allow ourselves to be drawn into this trap, to be lured away from the sheepfold.
There are enemies all around whose sole purpose is to steal our peace by destroying our gentle and tranquil spirit. They have all kinds of tricks and weapons to incite us to anger and agitation. But the truth is, we are our own worst enemies because they can do nothing to us without our cooperation. At the end of the day our enemy does not take our peace away, we give forfeit it. We must not engage in things that will disturb that peace. Not only must we avoid doing things that trouble our tranquility be must also actively guard it. We are in fact engaged in a war to maintain peace.
We have work to do. We have come a long way, God has been so gracious to us, but we have work to do. The absolute meaning of our life, our very existence is to feed on god by offering the sacrifice, by offering ourselves in the sacrifice of the lamb, and then going out into the world in the spirit of power to live holy lives and to draw all men to god. Todays Feast of the Body of Christ, Corpus Christie, this is the feast of great joy and satiation, because our hunger has been satisfied with angels food, the bread of heaven, the flesh of God made Man, there should be no greater joy for us. This is how we feast, we should pull out all the stops. We need to learn how to feast. We need to learn how to rejoice and give thanks.
And it's not just something that happens spontaneously, you realize that feasting requires asceticism and discipline every bit as much as fasting does? We fast so that we can offer the sacrifice with purity of heart, we feast so that we can offer the sacrifice in joy. But they're both so that we can offer the sacrifice.
When Jesus said on the Cross that "it is finished", He did not mean that there is not still a lot to be done. It is finished, but there is stil much to be brought to fulfilment. Death is dead- sin is broken- but we still contend with death and sin in this world. He warned them repeatedly of what they would face even though He was glorified and said it was finished. So where does that leave us, 2000 years later? Where did it leave the disciples huddled together in an upper room praying and waiting for God knows what- something that Jesus told them to wait for. It leaves us desperate and hungry for the one thing, the only thing, the absolute one thing in the in-between time while we prepare for his return, while we contend with our enemies, while we are being made perfect and Christified. And that one thing is the gift of the Holy Spirit.
When Jesus makes the wild promise to the disciples when he tells them that whatever they ask the Father in the name of Jesus, he will give it to them, a little common sense tells us that Jesus is not talking about power ball, a reservation at Noma, a high IQ or even a miracle of healing. He refused that to Paul, and I'm pretty certain that Paul, being a good baptist, must have ended his prayer with "In Jesus' Name".
He still didn't get what He asked for. Neither did Job. I'll tell you who got their prayer answered: it was Satan, when he asked for access to attack Job. God granted Satan his request and refused both Paul and Job. He refused their prayer requests unto their salvation, and granted Satan's request unto his condemnation.