In From the Vine

By Karen Sheehy

Untitled via Pixabay. CCO

I love scrapbooking, not only because it gives me an outlet for my less than creative artistic abilities but also because it affords me the opportunity to relive and remember many important moments in my life. Reading today’s Responsorial Psalm, I found myself experiencing a “scrapbooking moment” of sorts, as I remembered a magical moment from two years back.

“You are my God whom I seek; for you my flesh pines and my soul thirsts” for I have “gazed toward you in the sanctuary” and have seen “your power and your glory” (Psalm 63:1-2).

Sitting alone in a dimly lit Church, I suddenly found myself in the presence of the Lord. Lost in spiritual ecstasy, I heard Him say, “You have done well, my beloved. Now, offer Me your complete surrender, for I, your Beloved Spouse, desire a freely given covenant of love with your eternal soul.” Dazzled and humbled by His apparent proposal, I simply gazed upon His depicted broken and sacred body hanging on the Cross and declared, “Today, my Beloved, I give You the most valuable thing I possess, my very life, for You are my Lord and Savior. I promise to love and honor You for all eternity. Amen.”

As strange as this mystical encounter sounds, it was real and true. As I rested in His boundless love, I heard Jesus say, “Go now, knowing and seeing Me as you do, and be My eyes, My voice, My hands and My heart to others. Write this story down as a sign of our divine covenant, freely chosen and sealed this very day.” Four months later, this unexpected and simple wedding request led to a book manuscript entitled, The Healing Eyes of Mercy. A Journey Towards the Light of God’s Love.

The four months it took to write, however, proved to be the easier part. It was the review and editing process, and all its unexpected feedback which proved intolerable. “How dare you write about Jesus as your Beloved Spouse,” one reader wrote. “Boy Karen, you really have an active imagination,” another said.

“You duped me, O Lord, and I let myself be duped; All the day I am an object of laughter; everyone mocks me,” (Jer 20:7).

And so, my manuscript editing process came to a screeching halt. “I will speak his name no more,” I reasoned (Jer 20:9).

“But then it becomes like fire burning in my heart, imprisoned in my bones; I grow weary holding it in, I cannot endure it” (Jer 20:9).

And so, the editing and re-writing process resumes. If the Lord wills it so, I hope to release my completed book, and wedding present to my Beloved, soon.

In today’s second reading, I find encouragement and hope, “offer your body as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God. Discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect” (Rom 12:1). In the Gospel reading, I find the reason for my struggles, for like any marriage, I must accompany my Spouse during good times and bad. “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me” (Mt 16:24).

The Gospel, however, does not end with a mere foreshadowing of Christ’s passion, for it also mentions His prophesized resurrection. Jesus, Himself, promises a similar victory or resurrected glory for those who choose to follow Him, “Whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Mt 16:25). It is with the eyes of faith, therefore, and for the love of Christ, that I offer my own “yes” to the folly of the Cross, as I cling to the hope of my promised resurrection.

In closing, I join with all of you, and thousands of others Catholics around the globe, in saying, “Alleluia, alleluia. May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ enlighten the eyes of our hearts, that we may know what is the hope that belongs to our call,” for we are all called beloved and destined to become One Body in Christ (Eph 1:17-18). Amen.

About the Author: 

Karen Sheehy is a devout Catholic, wife and mother, motivational speaker, blogger and developer of spiritualsafariguide.com, your passport to a world of spiritual inspiration and understanding. To learn more about Karen Sheehy and her upcoming book entitled, The Healing Eyes of Mercy. A Journey Towards the Light of God’s Love, visit http://www.spiritualsafariguide.com

Showing 6 comments
  • Michelle Gelineau
    Reply

    Karen,
    Thank you for this beautiful story! I absolutely love how you entwined the scripture and story together. The idea of Jesus as our groom is, unfortunately, too foreign to people. The first time the reality of this hit me was when I spent a weekend at a hermitage in MN called Pacem in Terris. At this beautiful place, I stayed in a tiny cottage out in the woods alone. When I was leaving for the weekend, my girlfriend told me to have a good time with my groom. I thought this was a peculiar thing to say, but meditated on the idea and it became my reality. My time alone with the Lord was such an intimate experience that I liken it to a honeymoon. If people have never experienced that closeness, then I can see why they would be skeptical. Keep writing! I am looking forward to reading your book. I will pray for it’s release.

  • Karen Sheehy
    Reply

    Michelle, thank you for your kind remarks, prayers and encouragement. I believe Christ desires this kind of intimacy with each of us. He is the perfect groom and source of love and/or healing. I feel this kind of spousal relationship with Jesus is the perfect complement and guide for us as women, as we learn to love ourselves, nurture others and demonstrate God’s authentic, beautiful and complementary feminine design. This is what it means to be a “Bride of Christ”, to love God with our whole hearts, souls and mind, and to willingly submit to His loving providence. Enjoy your time with Jesus, your Spouse, today at Mass and have a blessed day!

  • Barbara Levich
    Reply

    I have been working toward the same place with the guidance from Fullofgraceusa.com’s Surrender Novena. It has become for me a never ending circle of grace as I work through being released from the prison of self. How lovely your proposal from Jesus was. I aspire to that!

  • Karen Sheehy
    Reply

    How beautiful Barbara! And thank you for sharing a concrete way to grow in intimacy with our beloved Jesus. I love how you expressed “the never ending circle of grace” which He bestows on us in return! This truly captures the essence of a spousal relationship.

  • Sarah Jo Stephens
    Reply

    I was reading this. Serendipitously, I listened to a visiting priest from Cameroon give a homily on this very verse. He was talking about how they speak many, many languages in Cameroon and how difficult it is to have proper bible translation. He was speaking about how different versions of the bible are translated from Greek or Hebrew. Anyway, speaking to this particular verse, he said he read it as duped and he looked that word up because he didn’t know the meaning in English and he was shocked that the Lord would “trick” him. He looked up the verse in another version and it said deceived. He also did not feel that was right in his heart so he looked in a third bible translation. Here it is persuaded. He felt that was a much better translation of what our Lord meant. I agree! I think the Lord would persuade us and not dupe us! Just some food for thought. Thanks for the article.

  • Karen Sheehy
    Reply

    Love this. I totally agree. When we feel duped or “tricked” it is usually our own inability to grasp the full intent of God. Like a loving father, He allows us to struggle to find our own answers and then willingly return because we love and miss Him. He is patient, kind and all loving. He would never “trick” us but allow us the chance to struggle, learn and grow. Thanks for sharing these words of wisdom and “food for thought”.

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