October 21, 2022

Worship and Evangelization Outreach / Jennifer Burger

Have the courage to cross into the threshold of Jesus’ arms

Jennifer BurgerEvery day, guests walk through our doors here at Our Lady of Fatima Retreat House in Indianapolis.

Many times when I greet someone, I can see the expression on their face or their body language change when they enter. Something more than crossing the threshold of our front door seems to be happening here—something deeper. I don’t always know the stories of our guests or the reasons why they come, but what I do see is peace and transformation—if only in that brief moment.

I don’t need to know their stories, but I’ve often pondered the word “threshold” and have found it to be a meaningful one to me and all who walk in faith. I’m not talking about threshold as a point of limitation (such as pain) but as a point where two things—ideas, experiences, feelings—converge and present us with a choice: do we enter? Or do we not enter?

Threshold can be a place of mystery where we meet God and God meets us. There is an invitation to begin, to step out or step into the unknown or uncomfortable. If we do, our path and perhaps even the course of another’s life can change.

Our threshold moments can become defining moments for us in our faith journey. In these moments, we have a sense of who we are and our purpose, as well as who God is and God’s purpose for us. There is a sense of fulfillment.

Scripture gives us a glimpse of this in Mary. The annunciation and the wedding feast at Cana were defining moments for her that changed the course of her life as well as for others. When Mary says, “let it be done to me according to thy word” (Lk 1:38) she is crossing the threshold from a young Jewish girl to the mother of our Lord.

When Mary says, “Do whatever he tells you” (Jn 2:5), she is crossing the threshold from being a mother to a son to being a mother for all of us as Jesus is launched into public ministry and she, along with him, to the cross. For Mary, crossing the threshold is an act of love, following it to where it leads her.

Every day, we have opportunities to cross the threshold in simple acts of love.

Sometimes we are called to a deeper response to love and what it requires of us. Given free will, we are always faced with a decision—our “yes” or our “no.” How do we respond when we feel the “nudge” (Holy Spirit) to speak to someone about God and Jesus or to help someone in need?

Our response can change the course and life of another. Our response can also change the course of our own life, whether that be deepening our relationship with Christ or allowing ourselves to be healed, to be loved. Do we open the door or leave it closed?

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me” (Rev 3:20).

Whether we are feeling the nudge to reach out to another in need by volunteering at a food pantry or to tend to our own needs by attending a retreat, Jesus waits for us. Let us ask him for the courage to open the door and cross the threshold into his arms.

(Jennifer Burger is program and marketing manager at Our Lady of Fatima Retreat House in Indianapolis.)

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