Holy Jealousy

A reflection on the first reading from the Office of Readings for the second Tuesday of Easter (Revelation 2:1-11) by Mother Maria-Michael Newe, OSB

The Book of Revelation has a wonderful word for us today. St. John addresses the churches at Ephesus and Smyrna, so his message is in one sense for a particular time, and yet it also contains a window to eternity. He poetically writes:

…the one who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven lampstands of gold has this to say, ‘I know your deeds and your labors and your patient endurance. I know you cannot tolerate wicked men. You have tested those self-styled apostles who are nothing of the sort and discovered that they are imposters. You are patient and endure hardships for my cause. Moreover you do not become discouraged. I hold this against you, though. You have turned aside from your early love. Keep in mind the heights from which you have fallen. Repent and return to your former deeds.’

Revelation 2:1-5

What I love about this admonition is that it tells us what is important to God. What is so important is that we keep returning to Him. Sometimes turning aside just means you are looking the other way, but He is a jealous God, and He wants to mean so much to us that we can’t keep our eyes off Him. He desires that we so trust Him. Christ wants to brush away anything in our hearts that might impede us from looking at Him. It’s as if He says, “Whatever it is, bring it to me. I don’t want anything to impede us. Remember that I’m all powerful…I have the power to forgive. I have the power to raise you up. I have the power to do all things for you. I only ask one thing: love Me first. Let Me be your first glance. Let Me have everything in you. And trust Me, I’ll take care of the rest.” Now that’s love. And it is such a treasure for Him when we are no longer afraid to bring Him everything that is troubling us, everything that is embarrassing, and believe that He is just so pleased to find that we trust Him. That’s what means so much to God—that we trust Him. To think that one can be perfect and not need God is really an abomination. That hurts Him more than anything. When we are real and honest we know that we need Him, and this is our great joy.

Photograph of the Big Dipper taken from the Abbey’s upper deck. The Big Dipper is part of the constellation Ursa Major, “The Greater Bear.”
“He alone stretches out the heavens
and treads upon the back of the sea.
He made the Bear and Orion,
the Pleiades and the constellations of the south;
He does things great and unsearchable,
things marvelous and innumerable.”
(Job 9:8-10)