God’s Blessings: Am I Open to Receive?
July 14, 2023
A month or so ago, I was sitting outside and looking at the beauty of creation. It was a cool morning and I was in New York for my son’s college graduation. We had rented a cabin at a lake. It was just after sunrise and I was looking at the light reflecting off of the water as the fog was lifting. As I looked at the gratuitous beauty unfolding in front of me, I was overwhelmed. Why does God create so much beauty everywhere? I realized that this beauty was constantly being poured out by God. When I left this spot, and my senses were unable to perceive it, the beauty would still be here.
What’s incredible is that this beauty was created for us. “God created everything for man” (CCC 358). Why? Why would God create such incredible beauty? Simply put, God created it for us. For me, for you, in order to enter into relationship with Him, He reaches out to us with beauty. God’s blessings are all around us; in nature, in other people, within our own hearts, in the liturgy and the sacraments. The question to ask ourselves is: Do we make the effort to open our hearts, minds and senses to receive what He is pouring out?
What came to my mind, as silly as this may be, is a pitcher pouring water into my water cup that I use all day every day. It has a lid and if the lid is on the cup when you try to pour water in it, the water spills everywhere and the cup remains empty. This is analogous to our hearts. If our hearts are open to the blessings God is pouring out, then we can receive them. If instead, we keep a lid on our hearts, we receive little to nothing and our hearts become “hardened hearts” like the ones Jesus referred to in Matthew 19:3-8. God created so much beauty for us. When we have the capacity to notice and appreciate this gift the Creator has given us, it brings us into communion with Him. The Catechism states: “God has revealed his innermost secret: God himself is an eternal exchange of love, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and he has destined us to share in that exchange” (CCC 221). When we recognize God’s beauty in His creation and we open to receive it, we enter into the exchange that is our destiny. This exchange changes us!
On the way home from New York, we visited my in-laws in North Carolina. While we were there, we took a couple of hikes including a “waterfall” hike. It occurred to me as I was watching the ineffable amount of water flow down, that God’s blessings really are much more like the waterfall than the pitcher of water; continuous, abundant, ineffable; whether we are open to accept them or not.
In order to receive these blessings, our cooperation is necessary. First, the pure realization that God’s blessings are there, raining down on us. Second, an openness to receive them and third, a firm trust that what God has to give us is good and will lead us to happy, holy lives. I think some days my openness to receive is so small, that essentially I have left the lid on the cup and the little trickle that can get in through the small hole for the straw creates in me a dehydrated, hardened heart. God wants to give us abundant blessings, but in order to be open to receive them, we must make the effort to expose ourselves, to invite Him in, to give the Holy Spirit permission to pour into us all the Father has for us, to give us a new heart. If we want the full Beauty of Life in Christ, we must be wide open to receive from the waterfall.
I ran across this “Prayer of Invitation to Christ” by Saint Dimitri of Rostov as I was writing this article:
Open, O doors and bolts of my heart, that Christ the King of Glory may enter!
Enter, O my Light, and enlighten my darkness;
Enter, O my Life, and resurrect my deadness;
Enter, O my Physician, and heal my wounds;
Enter, O Divine Fire, and burn up the thorns of my sins;
Ignite my inward parts and my heart with the flame of Thy love;
Enter, O my King, and destroy in me the kingdom of sin;
Sit on the throne of my heart and reign in me alone, O Thou, my King and Lord.
I invite you to pray this prayer and ask God to help you to be continually aware of the blessings he pours out for you. Allow Him to soften your heart so you can lead a happy, holy life while receiving the fulness of His grace derived from the waterfall of blessings He continually offers.
Regional Curriculum Consultant (South) for Ruah Woods Institute