Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Simplicity of Christ

I have been reflecting on many things as of late and one thing that has really touched my life profoundly is what John Paul II says is necessary to "fully realize what it means to be human".

To be human is to imitate Christ who "is the image of the invisible God". Christ reveals the Father to us, He reveals to us Who God is. Now, if the Letter of John says that "God is Love", then we have to ask ourselves where Christ shows us that God is Love in His life. There are, of course, many places, but the greatest place is on the Cross. God reveals His love to us through Christ's death on the Cross.

This is all good and dandy and easy to assent to intellectually. But how do we assent to it with our hearts? There is a joy in making an "intellectual assent" and this is a necessary step, but it is all pointless unless it causes us to desire to make the assent of our will, to say "I will live this truth in my life".

So, what is the truth that Christ reveals to us? That we are to love. And how do we love? By "dying on the Cross", by emptying ourselves for the sake of God. We say "no" to things of the world, not because they are bad, they are good! But God is better. We must make room in our souls for God, and that means taking out all the clutter that is in there. How do we take out the clutter? We take it out by dying to self.

This is a principle that is Biblical and consistent with the Tradition of the Church. Death to self is the means through which we become truly human. By emptying ourselves, we have more of our self to give to others and to give to God, and we thus also have a great glass to fill with the love of God.

I am convinced that this is essential for all Christians and especially for all Catholics to hear. Christ loves us and desires to be with us, He is giving Himself completely to us. We must, however, respond with love. The spear that pierced the side of Christ is symbolic of the wound we cause in Christ's Sacred Heart every time we deny Him and His will in our life. It is that wound that is the narrow gate to Heaven, and the only way to get there is by embracing the Cross Christ gives us so that we may serve God in all we do and so that we may come to receive more and more the love He wishes to show us.

This truly is the fullness of the Gospel "To love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your mind, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and to love your neighbour as yourself". This is the fulfillment of the Law and Prophets, and Christ shows us this fulfillment by His death on the Cross. There is no resurrection without the Cross, and there is no Heaven without death to self.


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