Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Rejoice for the Sinner Found

By Beth DeCristofaro

For this is why Christ died and came to life, that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living. Why then do you judge your brother or sister? Or you, why do you look down on your brother or sister? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God (Romans 14:9-10)

(Jesus said) Or what woman having ten coins and losing one would not light a lamp and sweep the house, searching carefully until she finds it? … ‘Rejoice with me because I have found the coin that I lost.’ In just the same way, I tell you, there will be rejoicing among the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:8-10)

Awaken and enlighten us, my Lord, that we might know and love the blessings which You ever propose to us, and that we might understand that You have moved to bestow favors on us and have remembered us.
O Lord, my God, who will seek You with simple and pure love and not find You are all he desires, for You show Yourself first and go out to meet those who desire You?

A long time ago on a campus far, far away, as a senior I gave a presentation to freshmen on retreat. Public speaking generally left me speechless in those days, but I managed to quote Godspell. I told them that as we had spent days together on retreat learning how much and in how many ways God loves us that we were then appointed to go forth and “prepare ye the way of the Lord” through our choices, our actions, our very lives. In those days, with a future huge and bright before me and filled with the desire to be Christ-like, I was not always sure how to be loving of those who were themselves lost sheep or who misplaced a precious coin.

St. John of the Cross said “At the evening of life, you will be examined in love.” Today, his words touch me with increased poignancy both as I approach the evening of my own life and as I minister to terminally ill persons. I begin to see the path a bit more clearly. Paul’s words take on a different light when I read them with St. John’s insights; and St. John’s words come alive in light of Jesus’ parables. St. John mapped out the “how” more clearly than I did with my brief speech to the retreatants. His quote continues: “Learn to love as God desires to be loved and abandon your own ways of acting.” God gave Himself to us in the death and resurrection of Jesus. In the Eucharist we are fed to flourish in His love. Can we envision angels rejoicing as we repent and partake?

In Cursillo, we ask each other how we love as God desires to be loved. What can we do to make Cursillo community more open and accessible for others? How am I leaving behind my own ways of acting to draw closer to Christ?

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