I’m beginning a retreat today with the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, near Lake Michigan. The sisters have a college and a large motherhouse here. They serve the church as educators and spiritual directors and in health care.
We’re reflecting in the retreat on Pope Francis’ recent exhortation on holiness, Gaudete et exultate. “Where are you?” God asks us:
“The LORD God then called to the man and asked him: Where are you? He answered, “I heard you in the garden; but I was afraid, because I was naked, so I hid.” (Genesis 3)
That call of God to Adam is also a call to Eve, to all humanity, to you and me. “Where are you?”
It’s not an angry call that God makes in the garden. In the end there’s mercy.
Yes, man and woman, humanity, you and I, are part of a fallen world and must recognize our nakedness, our nothingness. Before God no one can boast, but addressing the serpent, God announces a merciful redemption:
“I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
They will strike at your head,
while you strike at their heel.” (Genesis 3, 15)
We’re promised victory in the battle of life.
“Where are you?” God asks. In a retreat we hear that question, try to answer it and wait for the merciful grace of God.
Pray for us.