Meditations and Reflections: March 2004 Archives

On Taking Up Our Crosses--WOW!


from The Science of the Cross
St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

Knowing this, Jesus' disciple not only takes up the cross that is laid upon him, but also crucifies himself: "Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires." They have waged an unrelenting battle against their natures, that the life of sin might die in them and room be made for the life of the spirit. That last is what is important. The cross has no purpose of itself. It rises on high and points above. But it is not merely a sign--it is Christ's powerful weapon; the shepherd's staff with which the divine David moves against the hellish Goliath; with it he strikes mightily against heaven's gate and throws it wide open. Then streams of divine light flow forth and enfold all who are followers of the Crucified.

It is in passages like this that we come to understand the true meaning of the word visionary.

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You know, it's odd. There are days when I really need to "hear" a human voice through the comments box. God makes certain that those days comments are particularly sparse. Yesterday was one of them. I longed to hear someone say something, that something written actually meant something to them. Nothing. So I went over to Disputations and kicked up a fuss that must be spinning the HaloScan dials non-stop. It helped me to take my mind off (momentarily) the nearly constant gnawing fear and worry over Samuel.

But God does this for a reason. I'm supposed to be listening and dependent upon Him. As much as I love you all and appreciate your wonderful prayers and great comments, that isn't what should be barring the gates of worry and fear. What should be my defense is the certain and unshakeable knowledge that God really loves me. He loves me more than words can say, so He took action--He died and redeemed me. He is my rock, my foundation, my fortress, my God in whom I trust. He should be my first line of defense.

But the worry is the cross of the day--it extends into tomorrow and beyond, but I merely need to bring myself back and remember--one step at a time toward His open arms. What happens tomorrow, happens tomorrow. Right now, I need to trust and love Him. I need Him far more than I need blog comments. But that doesn't stop me from longing for a word. And it is that longing, that attachment that I need to learn to curtail by flinging myself into Him open arms and burying myself with Him to rise with Him.

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More Reflections on the Passion


from On the Passion of Christ According to the Four Evangelists
"On the shameful arrest and leading away of the Lord Jesus"
Thomas á Kempis

Lord Jesus Christ, Hope of the saints and Tower of strength in every tribulation, I bless and thank you for undergoing so violent an arrest by hateful enemies, for the arrogant laying of sacrilegious hangs on you by those sent to arrest you, and for the brutal looks and menacing shouts of those carrying arms against you. I bless and thank you for your harsh and cruel binding, for your rough and ruthless detention, for your painful pummeling, and for your being so abruptly dragged away. Amid all this tumult, while you were being rushed to your death by mean-spirited and worthless villains, your dear disciples, who had deserted you, looked upon you from a distance with great sorrow.

(book available from Ignatius press)

I was particularly affected by the last line, for I am among those disciples who look upon Him from a distance with great sorrow. I set myself at a distance through my own faults, choices, and sinfulness. And yet, the look that crosses that great distance from the eyes of the Savior himself is not one of condemnation, not one that says, "See what you did to me." Rather it is a look of love that says, "See what I can do for you. Come with me."

And so in Lent we journey with Him. But afterwards, too seldom do we bring to mind the great love that redeems us. Too infrequently do we pause to consider what God has wrought in so marvelous and completely loving a savior. At a word the entire realm of heaven could have rushed down to crush the oppressors. But God stayed His hand, accepting in His human body the pains and suffering we inflict on ourselves and each other in our sinfulness.

Praise the look of love that does not condemn, but speaks new life, "See what I can do for you."

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"Remember Thou Art Dust"

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The memento mori, the reminder of our own mortality, the whisper in the ear of the Roman Conquerer during a Triumphal Procession--"Remember thou art mortal," is a long, useful reminder of our limited span, the fact that everyone "struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more."

But we must also remember our ultimate value. If we are dust, we are gold dust, or more-infinitely precious to God. So precious that He who was One for whom we are not worthy to untie sandals came and served and died and rose.

"Remember thou art dust. . ." and remember too that you are "The apple of My [God's] eye. Remember the balance between the two. You are not worthy to be loved, but Love Himself raises you to worthiness. God loves us and so makes us worthy of love. In fact, God loved us to death and to new life.

Remember thou art dust and to dust thou shalt return--only this ragged body. Remember thou art dust and by the power of His Gracious Love and through his all pervading Grace to Glory thou shalt return.

Praise God for His endless love that both reminds us of our end and our worth without Him, and raises us to be worthy of Him. God loves us so much.

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The Lord, your God, has chosen you from all the nations on the face of the earth to be a people peculiarly his own. It was because the Lord loved you and because of his fidelity to the oath he had sworn to your fathers, that he brought you out with his strong hand from the place of slavery, and ransomed you from the hand of Pharoah, king of Egypt. Understand then, that the Lord, your God, is God indeed, the faithful God who keeps his merciful convenant to the thousandth generation toward those who love him and keep his commandments. (Deuteronomy 7: 6, 8-9)

From morning prayer and especially dedicated this morning to M.

It is because the Lord loves us that he leads us out of slavery to ourselves if we allow Him to. We are like small children lost among the racks of all the adult coats in a department store, wandering, crying, looking for mommy or daddy. God comes to us and takes us by the hand and leads us out. He finds us in the secret places we hide and He offers to carry us. God loves us with an everlasting love, a love that cannot be denied, but which can be refused. He will not insist, but He will continue to try.

God loves us. He leads us out of every kind of slavery. He opens the doors to our prisons. He embraces us as a loving Father and He waits on us as the Father of the prodigal son. What stops us from turning to Him? Why would we refuse His compassionate love? Pride--sheer stubborn human cussedness that cannot admit we cannot do anything by our own power.

God showers us with graces simply to keep us alive from moment to moment. How much more He would give us if only we would open our hearts and reach out to Him, not in fear of retribution but in heart-felt love. Follow the little way of St. Thérèse and take the elevator to the top--the elevator of His arms.

God loves you, each of you, as though you were an only child. Stop acting like an only child and presuming on that indulgent love. Return to Him with your whole heart. This season, give Him the only gift that matters--yourself.

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Meditations and Reflections category from March 2004.

Meditations and Reflections: February 2004 is the previous archive.

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