Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Body of Christ

Us human beings are tricky creatures to figure out. We're made in God's Adorable Image, yet we are sinful, and have a part of us comprised of original sin. We are loving, kind, and generous, but we can also be hateful, spiteful, and stingy. We have the capacity to do infinite good - or infinite evil. Where do we lie on the scales of justice? How do we figure out our tricky, tricky nature?

Our nature seeks complete and total union with God. It seeks to unite itself more closely to the Father in Heaven we all know in the depths of our hearts and souls. Yet, there is always a piece of us that is linked to earth, that draws us away from God: original sin. What's the deal here?

Oftentimes, when people sin, a common excuse can be "the devil made me do it," or "X person made me do it." But what about us, hm? When is it that we assign responsibility for our actions to ourselves, that we give ourselves part of the blame for the wrongdoing we face in our own sinfulness?

We ARE the hands and feet of Christ on earth! Every time we receive the Eucharist, we receive Christ into ourselves, so that it is no longer US who is living, but HIM in us. We choose our own actions - either to glorify or to hinder Christ's working in and through us. But, either way, Christ WILL work through us - He uses even our SINS for own own good! Everything that we give to Him, He accepts, because He is Infinite Love!

So, what happens when we give Christ free reign of our soul? Beautiful things. :) Even though we are sinful, even though we have this dark, dark part of our souls capable of so much worse, choosing to do good instead of evil brings us that much closer to God. God is all-powerful - yet He is infinite love! God is all-mighty - yet He is infinite gentleness! God is completely strong and infinite - yet He is completely small and weak in Christ! What a mystery of a God! And how better to live in the Image of God Himself than as beings capable of destroying, yet using that power to create instead! Beings that are capable of hating, loving instead! Beings that are capable of hurting, healing instead! What a beautiful, marvelous gift we have been given in being given the power to choose, and the freedom to make the correct decision, as God always does, because God is pure love!

Yes, we do have bad in us - but God is overwhelmingly good! We cannot forget in the battle to master ourselves that GOD HAS ALREADY WON AGAINST SIN AND DEATH! The battle has ended! We only need look to the Cross for our redemption in everything, for the hope in our despair! God will guide us if only we hope and trust in Him, if we really believe that His Love endures and pervades throughout our entire lives.

Let us ask for the love that 1 Corinthians 13 speaks of - not just for others, but also in gratitude for the gift of our selves in Christ!!!!

In the Love of Christ through Mary,
Christina :)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Holy Daring

It's officially springtime, and so much is happening! Students are preparing to graduate from schools everywhere at all different levels (high school, college, graduate school!), First Holy Communions are taking place, Confirmation ceremonies are happening! It's a time of new beginnings, turning a new page in our lives, and starting new (and often scary!) pursuits!

Many times, our initial reaction is one of fear. There is so much ahead of us that challenges us in any given situation - and we are so imperfect! Our desires are so great! How are we to ever to accomplish all that has been placed in our hearts? But, these fears are met with the power of Christ's Truth: if God has placed a desire in our hearts, He has placed it there for a reason, and will grant to us all that He has promised us.

Now, don't get me wrong: this requires great faith to trust in God enough to know that He's going to keep His Word. But WOW - when He decides to grant us, bit by bit, those desires of our hearts - WOW! He does NOT disappoint!

This is where holy daring comes in. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that we're highly imperfect. More and more every day, we become aware of ways in which we are less and less deserving of God's love. It is humbling and humiliating (humiliating often being a great source of humility!) to watch our opinions of ourselves crumble into dust. But, isn't that what we are actually made of? Isn't that the real truth of our condition? And isn't God's Love the only thing that TRULY gives us value? Blessed is the man who recognizes that it is not by his OWN worth that he earns the Love of God (who can earn God's love?!), but by the worth and love of GOD HIMSELF, showed to man by Jesus Christ! We have to trust that THIS is our portion, that THIS is our value, so our mistakes are null and void. God is our value if only we accept Him. God's love is all that He says it is, and that's that. We simply have to DARE to trust Him, to stick our necks out and courageously face ourselves (our own numerous imperfections!) and our world with infinite FAITH in His ability to love and care for us!

We can't do anything alone. We were not made for ourselves, but rather for God. We will always be missing something if we don't fill our lives with Christ. And yet, in serving Him, in seeking Him and giving up all that we knew in the courageous and daring pursuit of the deepest desires of our hearts, how can we fail with that kind of faith in Him? Even as He moves in us, we move in Him, and our lives are forever transformed by our encounter with Christ. There is no fear in Him, only love. THAT is the deepest desire of our hearts, after all - love.

So, as all of us start these new pursuits in our lives, let us remain confident in Christ, that although we may not know what we are doing, we may be unsure of ourselves and anxious of the future, that we may balance those feelings that are NOT of God with GOD HIMSELF, confident in trust in Him and hoping for EVERYTHING from Him who has promised us everything. We cannot fail in Christ.

I was recently thinking about the new job I will be starting this summer as a legal assistant. The work involves looking up information for memos and writing down requirements for visa applications, all of which I have never done before. It's scary to go into unexplored territory! Yet, armed with Christ, given the sword of His Word, we can conquer anything that we may come up against! It is this hope, rather than confidence in our own abilities to overcome our shortcomings, that drives us to always seek God, to praise Him and to know Him, and to FIND Him!

I recently read and fell in love with Ephesians 6:10-20:

"Finally, draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power. Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil. For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens. Therefore, put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day and, having done everything, to hold your ground. So stand fast with your loins girded in truth, clothed with righteousness as a breastplate, and your feet shod in readiness for the gospel of peace. In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield, to quench all (the) flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. With all prayer and supplication, pray at every opportunity in the Spirit. To that end, be watchful with all perseverance and supplication for all the holy ones and also for me, that speech may be given me to open my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel for which I am an ambassador in chains, so that I may have the courage to speak as I must."

We cannot truthfully go into battle unprotected and expect to make it through unwounded. Our lives are a battle against ourselves, and you cannot use self-defense against yourself. We must put on the armor of Our Lord's righteousness and truth, holding faith as a shield, and wielding the Word of God as our sword. Any other attempt at protecting ourselves in battle is like using a Halloween soldier costume as armor in battle - plastic does not a good defense make! Why would we settle for anything less than the best when our lives are on the line?

May today we live our lives not in fear of sin, but rather in the hope and confidence that comes from faith in God. May our paths be made straight, our hearts be made clean, and our voices praise Him always! May our day be filled with joy as we struggle, peace as we are attacked, and infinite faith, hope, and love in God as we discover our weaknesses. May we not run away from all the battles we face, even the ones against ourselves, that we may seek to find Our Lord EVERYWHERE. And may we offer up the fruits of these struggles to others, as we seek to give away more and more of ourselves every day, dying to our own sinful nature, and confident in the steady climb to the top of the heights of the desires that God has placed in our hearts!

In the Love of Christ through Mary,
Christina :)