Inside out

Living the encounter with Jesus means allowing yourself to be turned inside out by Grace every day 

When I saw these words, tweeted by Pope Francis a few days ago, my first thought was to add - yes, and upside down too! I remembered that this was how someone once described the effect on her of doing the Ignatian Exercises - an interior graced upheaval which changed so much of her life. It's an experience with which many of us can certainly resonate, whether in a retreat or simply being surprised in what was otherwise mundane.

Out of curiosity, I checked the Spanish and Italian versions of this tweet, as I assume one of these was the original language in which it was written. The Spanish referred to la cotidiana agitacion de la gracia - the daily agitation of grace, while the Italian was even stronger: here grace's daily effect was scompiglio - disarray. There's no subtlety here, no gentle infusion of grace - or rather, the infusion might be gentle, but its effects are anything but! Grace is a powerful force, an eruption into our lives which can truly shake us up and throw all our plans and ambitions into disarray.

But the English translator chose to be turned inside out...  words which immediately conjure up messy threads and rough stitching; innards we only inadvertently display. And it is grace which turns all this into beauty. When we allow grace to grow and work in us it might well be an interior process, but its effects become outwardly evident. We are indeed turned inside out, so that what is within, in our hearts, is not only revealed, but pours out. Faith becomes evident and love becomes selfless action, and the quiet joy of our transforming encounter with Jesus radiates.

And yes, in the process we are shaken, stirred up and disarrayed... but shouldn't every encounter with Jesus leave us living from the inside out?