Conversion of desires

The greatest conversion that Jesus brings about in those who meet Him is the conversion of desires. We always want something (a project, a taste, a person, an experience, the avoidance of misfortune…) and that’s fine, because it is God who puts desires deep in our hearts.

But when we meet Jesus we realise that some of our aspirations are too small to realise what the Lord wants to give us, which is a gift infinitely greater than our expectations.

Jesus comes into the world away from the highest stage of history, not in a king’s court, not in the Temple in Jerusalem, for example. His birth does not interfere with the protagonists of his time. Jesus comes into the world away from the public elite, hidden, and shows himself to be a child, poor and vulnerable.

The Hebrew people expected a military man, but Jesus is born as a child. Not a person who liberates by acts of force, but a child who needs to be protected, a defenceless person who, rather than offering protection, needs it. We need someone to watch our back, but He, on the other hand, gives Himself into our hands to be cared for. Spiritual life is not about looking for a guarantee or an exemption from difficulties, but about understanding that it is we who have the responsibility, we who have to protect Jesus.

Without Mary and Joseph, without the human help of some people, Jesus would not have been able to do anything. Because from his birth his life was constantly at risk and he was saved thanks to the participation of concrete people, full of goodness… but human.

To understand all this, that is, that Jesus still needs to be protected in our hearts, is a revolution in the spiritual life. If we do not protect Jesus, if we do not give him space, then the world suffocates him, destroys him, persecutes him, kills him.

In this vein, the prayer of Etty Hilessum (1914-1943), when the Dutch Jews were already enduring the measures designed for their deportation and extermination in concentration camps, is shocking. Before her death on 11 July 19042 Etty wrote: “These are bad times, my God. Tonight something happened to me for the first time: I lay awake, my eyes burning in the dark, and I saw images of human suffering. God, I promise you one thing: I will not make my worries about the future weigh like a burden on today, even if it takes some practice… I will help you, my God, not to abandon me, but I can assure you nothing in advance. Only one thing is becoming more and more evident to me: that you cannot help us, that we must help you, and thus help ourselves. That is the only thing that matters in these times, God: to save a fragment of you in us”.

Let us ask ourselves if we feel responsible for Christ, if we are protecting him, if we are taking care of a weak and poor child who has chosen to be in our life, instead of being born as a warrior and protagonist. Yes, because the Messiah is poor and this means that he cannot give us anything that the world normally gives us. His hands are empty and pierced by the wounds of the cross.

He does not fill us with things, but He fills us with Himself. The only reason Jesus can disappoint us is related to our expectations, to our material desires. His purpose is to change our lives, because he gives us the only thing that can alter and save our existence: his person.


Juan Carlos cmf

(PHOTO: Wil Bolaños)


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