HERE INDEED WE GROAN
“For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. Here indeed we groan (στενάζομεν), and long to put on our heavenly dwelling, so that by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened (στενάζομεν, βαρούμενοι); not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.” (2 Cor 5: 1-5)
St. Paul is talking about the mystery of our bodily resurrection, in which we will be “further clothed” in a transfigured, resurrected body. What will that body be like? I don’t know. What I do know is that in my present-day body, or “earthly tent,” a part of me feels insufficient, as it “groans” and “longs to put on our heavenly dwelling,” as the Apostle observes here. It’s the God-given “hole in the heart.” On the cross-carrying journey, in the Holy Spirit, this is not an unhappy or unhealthy kind of “groaning” and “longing.” In the light of faith, it is forward-looking and hopeful, as we say in the Creed: “I look for/expect the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the age to come.” Outside of faith, on the other hand, and outside a connection with God, the “hole in the heart” is often a dark pit of merely-human anxiety and even dread.
So let me not ignore the hole in my heart today, but prayerfully expose it to God’s light, “so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life,” already in my here and now. Thank You, Lord, for shining Your presence on me today, and making me A-OK, even in my insufficiency.