Saturday, February 28, 2015

If God Is For Us, Who Can Be Against Us?

By Rev. Joe McCloskey, SJ

God put Abraham to the test.  He called to him, “Abraham!”  “Here I am!” he replied.  Then God said: “Take your son Isaac, your only one, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah.  There you shall offer him up as a holocaust on a height that I will point out to you.”  Genesis 22:1-2

Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them; from the cloud came a voice, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.”  Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone but Jesus alone with them.  Mark 9:7

Piety is our share of the transfiguration of Christ.  Closeness of Christ brings transfiguration.  Every retreat of the spiritual exercises of any form drops us into the ocean of God’s love.  Every exposure to Christ brings change, which can be called piety.  Prayer is our love affair with God.  The more we speak with the Lord, the more changed we become.  Every Eucharist we share brings us more life in Christ.   The greater closeness to the Community we share with our Christ life makes us into Church as the Mystical Body of Christ.

Abraham is the example of how much we are capable of loving God.  Abraham would surrender whom he most loved for the sake of his obedience of God.  God would make a covenant with Abraham because Abraham did not hold back the grandest love of his life.  It is not just that Lent tunes us into the voice of what the Lord wants from us; it is even more that Lent makes us one with Christ in how we follow his example of prayer, fasting and good works.  Making sacrifices for the sake of the Mystical Body builds community in our lives as we identify more and more with those we serve by selflessness.

What we do for Lent is how we walk in the land of the living.  The Psalmist tells us that precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of his faithful ones.  All our little “dying-s” for the sake of Christ builds up our strength.  Our love makes it easy to put up with a little dying that is the taste of the death that brings us to the love of Lord.  We have to lose our life for his sake if we are going to save our lives.  We gradually arrive at the point of seeing the aches and the pains of our lives as the kisses and the embraces of the Lord who is calling us to share in his eternal love for us.  Thus, our sacrifices become thanksgiving as we call on the Lord to use our sacrifices to fill up what is wanting to the sufferings of his body, the Church. 

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