Part of my prayer life involves doing a modified Examen and Ignatian Lectio Divina in the evening under the structure set forth by the Irish Jesuit website Sacred Space. One of the features of Sacred Space is a weekly reflection to think about and pray during the week. This week’s topic struck a chord with me as it speaks about the immediacy of the Kingdom of God. Below is the “Something to think and pray about this week” reflection from Sacred Space in its entirety:
A Here and Now Kingdom
What does Jesus mean when he states that his kingdom ‘is not of this world’ (John 18:36)? Does he mean that his kingdom belongs to another world, so that we can ignore it for now? No! He means rather that his project for our world comes from God, not from human beings. And when Matthew uses the term ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ is he referring to a kingdom distant from ours? No! He is respecting Jewish sensitivity about God’s holy name, but he tells us clearly that the kingdom is at hand.
Jesus ushers in a new world order in which divine values prevail right now. He tells us to pray that God’s will be done here on earth, in the present time. This is our task. God will look after the heaven of the future.
We think of Mary as mild: we would not expect to find her in a protest march! But her Magnificat is an impassioned comment about what God is doing right before our eyes. ‘He has scattered the proud. He has brought down the powerful, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry, and sent the rich away empty’ (Luke 1:46-55). She sees the kingdom already being made visible in human history.
Mary’s spirituality is contemporary, outward-looking, other-centred. It focuses on serving those around us in justice and love. Her concern is to be in tune with the divine project in the here and now. This concern is to be ours also.