only in God

I went out for a walk last night after sunset, clear sky, Southern Cross above, and the International Space Station passing – a human presence in the skies. I was wearing ear pods to make a phone call then listened to today’s gospel (from the Lectio below) a reading which finishes with the words: “in God.”

These two words conclude this week’s little Monday, Tuesday and today Wednesday trilogy of conversations featuring the curious Pharisee Nicodemus and Jesus.

For some reason I’ve always prefaced these two words “in God” with the qualifier “ONLY”.

Only in God.

Only in God.

Only in God.

As I strolled repeating this three-word mantra, many things fell into place for me. I reflected that my life is never happy enough when I consider God to be just one of my essential priorities. My experience is that I find joy and peace in life only when I place all of my hope in God alone. Hoping for the success of a project or the achievement of a goal, while a natural human energy, is a recipe for disappointment as the current virus threat is reminding us.

Last night I felt a bit like Nicodemus heading into the darkness in search of Jesus, and my little mantra reminded me of a significant song from seminary days, a St. Louis Jesuits classic based on Psalm 62, “Only in God will my soul be at rest, From Him comes my hope…”  It was one of our seminary community’s favourite songs and we used to sing it very well, 50 voices, praying together in song with several part harmony.

So last night I was walking along a country road listening to the song “Only in God”, once, twice then again, singing along each time with greater enthusiasm and passion. My singing didn’t seem too loud to me but it was certainly noticed and commented on by the couple who appeared suddenly out of the darkness walking towards me!

We meet Nicodemus again fifteen chapters later (Jn 19:30) when he appears with Joseph of Arimathea to take the body of Jesus from the Cross to the tomb. He is no longer fearful and hiding in the shadows but confidently and sparing no expense arrives at the cross when the twelve had fled to the hills. (The 45kg of myrrh and aloes he brought would have cost well over $200.000 in today’s money)

Something has happened in Nicodemus. He has clearly stayed with Jesus after his John chapter three meeting, allowing himself to be transformed by the encounter with Jesus, no longer known as a successful member of the powerful town council, but identified for all time as one who pays homage at the Cross and risks his life respectfully placing Jesus in the tomb.

Nicodemus could never have imagined as he tearfully buried his friend that he was accompanying the Messiah to the place from which he would rise and from where real and eternal hope would emerge.

An Invitation:

  • You might like to join Nicodemus in the Lectio Divina at one of the two links below.
  • And here is the St. Louis Jesuits’ version of Psalm 62. Lyrics below and listen to the song at this link or clicking on the video image below.

Only is God will my soul be at rest
From Him comes my hope, my salvation.
He alone is my rock of safety,
My strength, my Glory my God.

Trust in Him at all times
O people and pour out your heart.
God Himself is a refuge for us
And a stronghold for our fear.

Only is God will my soul be at rest
From Him comes my hope, my salvation.
He alone is my rock of safety,
My strength, my Glory my God.

Many times have I heard Him tell
Of His long lasting love.
You, Yourself, Lord reward all who labour
For love of Your Name.

Only is God will my soul be at rest
From Him comes my hope, my salvation.
He alone is my rock of safety,
My strength, my Glory my God.

 

LECTIO DIVINA FOR WEDNESDAY OF EASTER WEEK II (22 April 2020)

Two options – the second longer form includes two readings of the gospel passage and longer periods of silence.

Wednesday Easter Week II  (15 minutes)

Wednesday Easter Week II  (25 minutes)

10 Responses to "only in God"
  1. Thank you Father John. Your daily support has meant so much at this time and has given me such confidence and hope.

    Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”

    Arohanui, Blessing and Strength to you Father

  2. Such a hope filled reflection and beautiful hymn I am listening to again and singing along to. Prayerful song is a special grace.
    Thankyou Fr John

  3. Only in God and only in God alone is the drawing force to become, and to achieve the purpose of becoming . Thank you Fr John for walking with us these days of listening , looking for this Risen Jesus, who is transformed in a deeper meaning through the period of silence of the covid -19 .
    Grace me/ us with the insights of knowing and recognising the New Jesus in the ordinary happenings.

  4. This is a very timely reflection, Father John. I was sitting on the deck the other night looking at the sky and wondering how so many people can look upon Gods vast creation and yet not be able to see God. I am even more astounded that so many astronomers who spend their lives studying the heavens avow to be atheists, I find that incomprehensible.
    And yet considering our place in the vast cosmos on a small planet around a very insignificant star in an average galaxy, the one who created it all loves us so much, that he sent his only son to pay the price for our sins so that we may be saved now that really is incomprehensible, but thank God true.
    Maybe we are the only ones, as one radio astronomer said “where is everyone”

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