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I am a Third Order Franciscan of the Province of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Our God Reigns

Since all things have their end, there are two choices put before us – death and life. Everyone will go to the place they deserve. There are two kinds of coins, one accepted by God and the other accepted by the world. Like our own coins, each of these has its own special image imprinted upon it. Those who do not believe bear the image of this world, but the faithful bear the image of God the Father in love through Jesus Christ. Yet, if we are not prepared to die into his Passion, his life is not in us. – Ignatius [Epistle to the Magnesians, V]

The sheer magnitude of the crucifixion is almost impossible to put into words. We remember how the Author of Life, our Savior, and our Redeemer gave up his life for the sake of the world. Salvation comes through Christ alone and we can only go to the Father through Jesus, yet the One who is “the way the truth and the life”, the One who reveals to us the Father lay dead in a tomb. [John 14:5] What words could express our loss?
Yet, as was heard on Tuesday, it is at this very moment that God is glorified. Though he is crushed we are healed. By his chastisement we are made whole. His portion will be among the great and he will divide the spoils of the powerful.
Jesus lays down his life of his own free will that he may lift it up again. Freely he chooses to drink of the cup his Father gives him. He made loud cries and tears to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard. He became our source of eternal salvation.
Even amidst this darkness, there is hope. As we venerate the Cross we will remember and praise Christ for his resurrection. In our prayer of dismissal we will proclaim that “we have devoutly recalled the death of Christ in the sure hope of the Resurrection”.
We who have been born into Christ and now live in Christ must also be willing to suffer and die with him. Like Christ we must learn obedience from what we suffer and through our suffering be made perfect. He is our example, and how can we be conformed to him if we do not follow his path to the very end?
Our life is indeed a life of suffering. Today in Florida a woman is starving to death because the rulers of this world have chosen to wash their hands of her, in Minnesota mothers are weeping over the death of their children, in Iraq Christians pray in bombed churches. Ah the sound of the groans that rise to the heavens...
Yet, we believe that even amid the darkness of these struggles God will be glorified. Does this mean that we do not feel pain? Not at all, but it does mean that our sufferings are not without meaning but are part and parcel of our entire process of conversion into the one who has freed us from all suffering, the one who suffers with us. Just as Mary and John could not see the glory on that dark Friday long ago, we may not see the glory in the sufferings we undergo today. But now we can proclaim as Francis proclaimed,

Let the whole earth tremble before His face
tell among the nations that the Lord has ruled from a tree (OfP 7:9).

Our God reigns, our God reigns, our God reigns.


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