God Provides Boundaries

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God Provides Boundaries | The reason we started with the concept of connection to God was so we could have a clear understanding of the fact he is with us, knows us intimately, values us for who we are and sent his Son to save us by emptying himself on the Cross | #Friends #GrowingCharitytoUprootGreed #UprootGreed #GrowingCharity #TipsforConnection #GreaterPeaceJoyandfreedom #Joyfreedom #MargaretVasquezs #GrowingVirtue #ModelofHonesty #TipsforConnection #FEARLESS #fearless #Prayer #GodProvidesBoundariesGod Provides Boundaries

The reason we started with the concept of connection to God was so we could have a clear understanding of the fact he is with us, knows us intimately, values us for who we are and sent his Son to save us by emptying himself on the Cross. He is continually emptying himself in the Eucharist and pouring his graces and mercy upon us, which draw us into the life of the Trinity. He makes his home in us through baptism and animates us by his Spirit. We cannot let go of this foundation as we consider this section on boundaries. If we do, we risk having a very distorted image of God.

As the author of life and our creator, he knows what limits are good for us, foster our health, and lead us to deepest intimacy with him, our fulfillment, and our prince of peace. The same way he set limits for the ocean, knowing what is good and necessary to foster life, so does he do for us. There is something very different, though, about his boundaries for us. He has given us free will, which means we can choose to embrace him and be embraced by him. We can run to our Father’s loving and protective arms or we can refuse them and their protection for us.

Our free will allows us to choose whether to abide by his law. We may choose to see his law as a set of rules that he requires us to follow, but the danger in this is it can very quickly lead to bitterness, judgment, and resentment. This was the mindset of the older brother in the story of the prodigal son who could not tolerate the father’s mercy. The father’s goodness caused him outrage, which revealed his own lack of connection to his father. He was obeying the rules as boxes to check off and a way of keeping his nose clean. This clearly did not lead to a depth of intimate relationship and certainly prevented him from being a conduit of grace to his brother. It’s difficult to imagine the older brother had much satisfaction in life beyond his self-righteousness.

There are times I have to refuse to give my dog things because I know they would not be good for her. Her limitations of language and understanding prevent me from being able to explain to her why I can’t let her go off-leash near traffic or why I can’t let her eat food that would be unhealthy for her. Sometimes, it hurts to say no to her and I have to remind myself it is for her own good. Indulging her desires, knowing they would be dangerous or deadly for her, would actually be an act of selfishness, not of love for her. How much greater the chasm between God’s understanding and ours! How much more does the Father know about what is good for us! His law is consistent because his wisdom is perfect and his loving protection is unwavering. Of course, we can choose to see God’s boundaries as requirements, because they do require our free response. The much fuller truth is that his law is first and foremost a providential and protective gift. We can respond with grudge or gratitude.

Blessed Julian of Norwich, a 14th century mystic, was gifted with revelations from our Lord himself. From what was shown to her she wrote Revelations of Divine Love in which she shares a profoundly compassionate and merciful thought, “God sees sin as pain in us.”1 He knows partaking of forbidden fruit makes us sick and it excites compassion from his heart. When we wander off he seeks us out and waits to embrace us when we turn back to him. He has already prepared for our return home to him by the mercy he offers us and which he longs for us to experience. He bathes our wounds, even those of our own making.  He’s just that good.

Questions for Reflection and Discussion

  1. Do you experience the sacrament of reconciliation as a time of fear and shame, or as a time of intimate reunion with God?
  2. Why do you think you experience the sacrament of confession the way you do?
  3. What strikes you as the greatest difference in seeing God’s boundaries as for us versus something that he wants from us?
  4. Does considering that God’s limits are an expression of his love change how you see his law and/or how you see him?

Prayer

All good and loving Father, your protective arms reach out to embrace us and keep us safely on the path to eternal joy with you. Thank you for your infinite mercy for the times we’ve chosen our understanding over your boundless wisdom and goodness. Please give us the grace to follow Jesus, the way to you. In his holy name we pray. Amen.

Action Step

If there are any aspects of morality with which you struggle, ask the Lord to show you how it is an expression of his loving protection for you.

Journaling/Further Reflection

Do you most often experience God’s law as gift or as demand? Consider if this might be based on your past experiences of limits from parents or early caregivers. Ask the Lord what he wants you to know.

Scriptures for Meditation

Deuteronomy 28:1

Deuteronomy 30:19

Joshua 1:8

Psalm 119: 165

Jeremiah 29:11

Ephesians 2:4-9

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