Every breath we take is a gift from God. God breathes his life into you and me right now. God sustains us and loves us moment by moment.
It is hard for us to imagine the reality of a being who sustains and loves each one of us – a being who upholds every molecule of all creation in his holy hands, a being who knows us and calls us by name.
We cannot fully fathom the depths of God. St. Thomas Aquinas said we can know who God is, but we cannot understand what God is. God is simply too big for our limited human understanding.
The saints tell us that the only way we can understand God is through love. Love brings us into communion with God's very being. Love opens us to the direct experience of God.
All of us are created to experience God. Jesus came to open the way for you and me to know, love and experience God. He came to give us a new heart and spirit, the living heart and spirit of God. He came to reveal God to each and every human being. Jesus breathes his Spirit into us moment by moment.
In this week's reading from the book of Revelation, St. John describes a wondrous vision: "The angel took me in spirit to a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God. It gleamed with the splendour of God. . . .
"I saw no temple in the city for its temple is the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb. The city had no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gave it light, and its lamp was the Lamb."
This vision gives us a foretaste of God's amazing plan. One day we will experience God as our true home. God will be our light. God will be our temple. God will be our all in all.
'The advocate, the Holy Spirit . . . will teach you everything and remind you of all that I have said to you.'
So in the meantime we practise. We practise living every breath in the awareness of God. We practise letting God love us moment by moment. We practise becoming instruments of the limitless love of God.
I believe there is a great renewal beginning to unfold in the Church. It is a renewal that will teach us how to live in a more contemplative way. Pope John Paul II said one of the greatest needs in our Church is for "contemplatives in action."
The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes this way of life in a beautiful way. (2709-24). It calls every Catholic to explore and practise contemplative prayer. It says, "Contemplative prayer is a communion in which the Holy Trinity conforms man, the image of God, to his likeness" (2713).
The renewal of contemplation in the Church will open each of us to see the world through the eyes of Jesus. It will teach us to love God and humanity not only in theory but in practice.
Catholicism cannot be fully understood or lived until we take the time to grow in contemplation. This is why the Church challenges us with these words, "One does not undertake contemplative prayer only when one has the time: one makes the time for the Lord" (Catechism, 2710).
Imagine if we all took these words to heart. Imagine if every Catholic developed the contemplative dimension of their life. I believe the result would astound the world. Love would awaken in the heart of the Church.
The Spirit would lead us into the depths of God. Service and evangelization would flow from us like living water. A new day would dawn for Christianity.
Pope Francis is calling the Church to practise what we preach. He is calling us to live in our time the call of Jesus to St. Francis – "Rebuild my Church." This can only happen as we become contemplatives in action, a people united with Jesus in intimacy and love.
This is the moment and now is the time. The Great Renewal is at hand. May each of us participate fully.
Jesus, teach us to see with your eyes. Teach us to pray without ceasing. Teach us to be consumed in the fire of your love. May every breath lead us to you. Amen.