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Posts Tagged ‘Cross’

God Is With Us

In 07 Observations on 2016/05/01 at 12:00 AM

Do you realize that there is someone who loves you so much that He was willing to die for you? Jesus Christ is God Incarnate, who by taking on a human nature, He, the only-begotten Son of God, entered our human condition in order to redeem it. Jesus was not pretending to be God; He is God. To rectify our fallen nature, He endured Gethsemane and Golgotha so that we could understand His love for us, and, that as He rose from the dead, so we can rise with Him.In His Incarnation, Life, Passion and Resurrection, Jesus Christ was love giving Himself to us for us and accepting us for Himself because He first loved us. Commit yourself to Him in gratitude. Seek to imitate Him. He models every virtue for you. Turn your mind, heart, will, and soul over to Him, asking Him to lead you with His promised grace.

In joy as in sorrow, God is always there for us. As we focus on Our Lord, His Incarnation, Life, Passion, Death and Resurrection, we identify with Him upon whom we gaze. Christ gave Himself to man completely. He began to do so not only with His Incarnation and life, but specifically with His passion and death.Whenever you believe you are being sorely tried, look at the face of the suffering Christ and He will give you the grace to cope, the courage to hang on and to endure your ordeal.Look at the Crucified for mercy, salvation, understanding and hope. Christ Crucified loves you and you are looking at the proof. The sufferings Christ endured on the Cross for us provide us with an understanding that by uniting our sufferings to His, we can grow spiritually. Look to Him who is calling you to follow Him.

We sometimes wonder why God sent His Son to die. Jesus took on our human nature so that we could regain the lost divine image. Jesus gave us so much out of love, yet He asks only that we return His love by doing the will of His/our Father. This we can do by bearing our trials and tribulations as well as by loving our neighbor for His sake. In taking upon Himself our human nature, Jesus Christ experienced every possible trial man undergoes. The sinless one, having endured our trials, sympathizes with our struggles, knowing our weaknesses. After having paid our debt, and while no longer on earth, He is in heaven where He mercifully intercede for us.

The irrevocable act of love is the Cross of Christ. Sinless, He willingly died for sinners. He died for us, and we are in His debt.It was on the Cross that Christ sacrificed Himself that you might live in Him.The life you live as a Christian must be a life of faith in the Son of God who loves you as no one else can. Be grateful for His gift of perfect love and demonstrate it by seeking Him with all you heart and living as He wishes you to live.

One of the greatest gifts you can offer God is self-donation. Whatever sacrifices self-donation requires will be compensated by the reality of knowing that what is most important to you is serving God.Self-d0nation to God can be done by anyone, anytime, anywhere in every walk of life. The essence of self-donation is trust in God. We self-donate when we decide to act in a Christlike way by changing our life to conform to His values and teachings.

We long to see God’s face. Look at the Crucified for He and the Father are one.Look at Him with the eyes of your heart and see yourself in them as the apple of His eye. Recognize His love for you and how He has created you in His image and endowed you with the dignity of a human person whom He has adopted as His own at cost of His only begotten Son.Uniting our sufferings with His redemptive ordeal, gives meaning and purpose to our trials. It is God who permits such events in our lives for the sole purpose that we might seek Him with love and become the persons we should be.

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“I put my trust in you. I know you are my Father”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2015/11/13 at 12:00 AM
Jesus prays in the garden. Pater mi (Matt 26:39), Abba Pater! (Mark 14:36). God is my Father, even though he may send me suffering. He loves me tenderly, even while wounding me. Jesus suffers, to fulfill the Will of the Father… And I, who also wish to fulfill the most holy Will of God, following in the footsteps of the Master, can I complain if I too meet suffering as my traveling companion? It will be a sure sign of my sonship, because God is treating me as he treated his own Divine Son. Then I, just as He did, will be able to groan and weep alone in my Gethsemani; but, as I lie prostrate on the ground, acknowledging my nothingness, there will rise up to the Lord a cry from the depths of my soul: Pater mi, Abba, Pater,… fiat! (Way of the Cross, First Station, No. 1)

For reasons that I need not go into now (but which Jesus, who is presiding over us here from the Tabernacle, knows full well) my life has led me to realize in a special way that I am a son of God and I have experienced the joy of getting inside the heart of my Father, to rectify, to purify myself, to serve him, to understand others and find excuses for them, on the strength of his love and my own lowliness.

This is why I want to insist now that you and I need to be made anew, we need to wake up from the slumber of feebleness by which we are so easily lulled and to become aware once again, in a deeper and more immediate way, of our condition as children of God.

The example of Jesus, every detail of his life in those Eastern lands, will help us to fill ourselves with this truth. ‘If we admit the testimony of men,’ we read in today’s Epistle, ‘the testimony of God is greater.’ And what does God’s testimony consist of? Again St John tells us: ‘See how God has shown his love towards us; that we should be counted as his sons, should be his sons… Beloved, we are sons of God even now.’

Over the years, I have sought to rely unfalteringly for my support on this joyous reality. No matter what the situation, my prayer, while varying in tone, has always been the same. I have said to him: ‘Lord, You put me here. You entrusted me with this or that, and I put my trust in you. I know you are my Father, and I have seen that tiny children are always absolutely sure of their parents.’ My priestly experience tells me that abandonment such as this in the hands of God stimulates souls to acquire a strong, deep and serene piety, which drives them to work constantly and with an upright intention. (Friends of God, 143)

“Serve Our Lord and your fellow men”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2015/08/21 at 12:00 AM
Every activity – be it of great human importance or not – must become for you a means to serve Our Lord and your fellow men. That is the true measure of its importance. (The Forge, 684)

I am not at all stretching the truth when I tell you that Jesus is still looking for a resting‑place in our heart. We have to ask him to forgive our personal blindness and ingratitude. We must ask him to give us the grace never to close the door of our soul on him again.

Our Lord does not disguise the fact that his wholehearted obedience to God’s will calls for renunciation and self‑sacrifice. Love does not claim rights, it seeks to serve. Jesus has led the way. How did he obey? “Unto death, death on a cross.” You have to get out of yourself; you have to complicate your life, losing it for love of God and souls. “So you wanted to live a quiet life. But God wanted otherwise. Two wills exist: your will should be corrected to become identified with God’s will: you must not bend God’s will to suit yours.”

It has made me very happy to see so many souls spend their lives — like you, Lord, “even unto death” — fulfilling what God was asking of them. They have dedicated all their yearnings and their professional work to the service of the Church, for the good of all men.

Let us learn to obey, let us learn to serve. There is no better leadership than wanting to give yourself freely, to be useful to others. When we feel pride swell up within us, making us think we are supermen, the time has come to say “no”. Our only triumph will be the triumph of humility. In this way we will identify ourselves with Christ on the cross — not unwillingly or restlessly or sullenly, but joyfully. For the joy which comes from forgetting ourselves is the best proof of love. (Christ is passing by, 19)

“Mary teaches us to have charity”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2014/05/23 at 12:00 AM
In the hour of rejection at the Cross, the Virgin Mary is there by her Son, willing to go through the same fate. Let us lose our fear of behaving like responsible Christians when the environment in which we move is not easy. She will help us. (Furrow, 977)

What a contrast between Our Lady’s hope and our own impatience! So often we call upon God to reward us at once for any little good we have done. No sooner does the first difficulty appear than we start to complain. Often we are incapable of sustaining our efforts, of keeping our hope alive. Why? Because we lack faith. ‘Blessed art thou for thy believing; the message that was brought to thee from the Lord shall have fulfillment.’

She teaches us to have charity. Remember the scene of the presentation of Jesus in the temple. An old man, Simeon, ‘said to his mother Mary, Behold, this child is destined to bring about the fall of many and the rise of many in Israel; and to be a sign which men will refuse to acknowledge; and so the thoughts of many hearts shall be made manifest; as for your own soul, it shall have a sword to pierce it.’ So great is Mary’s love for all mankind that she, too, fulfilled Christ’s words when he affirmed: ‘Greater love has no man than this, that he should lay down his life for his friends.’ (Friends of God, 286)

“Mary’s throne is the Cross”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2014/05/02 at 12:00 AM
Marvel at Mary’s courage: at the foot of the Cross, with the greatest of human sorrows–there is no sorrow like her sorrow–filled with fortitude. And ask her for that same strength, so that you too can remain beside the Cross. (The Way, 508)

Mary’s throne, like that of her Son, is the Cross. During the rest of her life, until she was taken body and soul into Heaven, what most impresses us about her is her quiet presence. St Luke, who knew her well, describes her as being close to the first disciples, in prayer. This was the way she lived to the end of her days on earth, she who was to be praised by all creatures for all eternity.

What a contrast between Our Lady’s hope and our own impatience! So often we call upon God to reward us at once for any little good we have done. No sooner does the first difficulty appear than we start to complain. Often we are incapable of sustaining our efforts, of keeping our hope alive. Why? Because we lack faith. ‘Blessed art thou for thy believing; the message that was brought to thee from the Lord shall have fulfillment.’ (Friends of God, 286

We Must Live the Faith with a Young Heart

In Uncategorized on 2013/03/27 at 12:00 AM

The pontiff urged the youth to “tell the world that it is good to follow Christ!”

JOY

“Jesus enters Jerusalem. The crowd of disciples accompanies him in festive mood, their garments are stretched out before him, there is talk of the miracles he has accomplished, and loud praises are heard: ‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord. Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!’ (Lk 19:38).“

“Crowds, celebrating, praise, blessing, peace: joy fills the air. Jesus has awakened great hopes, especially in the hearts of the simple, the humble, the poor, the forgotten, those who do not matter in the eyes of the world. He understands human sufferings, he has shown the face of God’s mercy, he has bent down to heal body and soul.”

“This is Jesus. This is his heart that looks upon all of us, who sees our sicknesses, our sins. Jesus’ love is great. And so He enters into Jerusalem with this love and looks upon all of us. It is a beautiful scene, full of light—the light of the Jesus’ love, of his heart—joy, and celebration.”

“At the beginning of Mass, we repeated all this. We waved our palms. We also welcomed Jesus; we too expressed our joy at accompanying him, at knowing him to be close, present in us and among us as a friend, a brother, and also as a King: that is, a shining beacon for our lives. Jesus is God but He lowered himself to walk with us. He is our friend, our brother. He enlightens us along the journey. And thus today we have welcomed him.”

“And this is the first word that I want to tell you: ‘Joy!’ Do not be men and women of sadness: a Christian can never be sad! Never give way to discouragement! Ours is not a joy that comes from having many possessions, but it comes from having encountered a Person, Jesus, who is among us. It comes from knowing that with him we are never alone, even at difficult moments, even when our life’s journey comes up against problems and obstacles that seem insurmountable, and there are so many of them! This is the moment when the enemy comes, when the devil, often times dressed as an angel, comes and insidiously tells us his word. Don’t listen to him! Follow Jesus! We accompany, we follow Jesus, but above all we know that he accompanies us and carries us on his shoulders. This is our joy, this is the hope that we must bring to this world of ours. Please don’t let him steal our hope. Don’t let him steal our hope, that hope that Jesus gives us.”

CROSS

“The second word. Why does Jesus enter Jerusalem? Or better: how does Jesus enter Jerusalem? The crowds acclaim him as King. And he does not deny it, he does not tell them to be silent (cf. Lk 19:39-40). But what kind of a King is Jesus? Let us take a look at him: He is riding on a donkey; He is not accompanied by a court; He is not surrounded by an army as a symbol of power. He is received by humble people, simple folk who had the sense to see something more in Jesus; those with a sense of faith that tells them: ‘This is the Saviour. Jesus does not enter the Holy City to receive the honours reserved to earthly kings, to the powerful, to rulers. He enters to be scourged, insulted and abused, as Isaiah foretold in the First Reading (cf. Is 50:6). He enters to receive a crown of thorns, a staff, a purple robe: his kingship becomes an object of derision. He enters to climb Calvary, carrying his burden of wood.”

“And this brings us to the second word: Cross. Jesus enters Jerusalem in order to die on the Cross. And it is here that his kingship shines forth in godly fashion: his royal throne is the wood of the Cross! I think of what Benedict XVI said to the cardinals, ‘You are princes, but of a crucified King.’ That is Jesus’ throne. Jesus takes it upon himself… Why the Cross? Because Jesus takes upon himself the evil, the filth, the sin of the world, including our own sin—all of us—and he cleanses it, he cleanses it with his blood, with the mercy and the love of God. Let us look around: how many wounds are inflicted upon humanity by evil! Wars, violence, economic conflicts that hit the weakest, greed for money, which none of us can take with us, it must be left behind.”

Here the Pope added a personal note: “My grandmother used to tell us children, ‘A shroud has no pockets!’” Then he continued: “Loving money, power, corruption, divisions, crimes against human life and against creation! And also—each of us knows and recognizes—our personal sins: our failures in love and respect towards God, towards our neighbour and towards the whole of creation.”

“Jesus on the Cross feels the whole weight of the evil, and with the force of God’s love he conquers it, he defeats it with his resurrection. This is the good that Jesus’ does for all of us upon his throne of the Cross. Christ’s Cross embraced with love does not lead to sadness, but to joy! It leads to the joy of being saved and of doing a little of what He did that day of his death.”

YOUTH

“Today in this Square, there are many young people: for 28 years Palm Sunday has been World Youth Day! This is our third word: Youth! Dear young people, I saw you in the procession when you entered. I think of you celebrating around Jesus, waving your olive branches. I think of you crying out his name and expressing your joy at being with him! You have an important part in the celebration of faith! You bring us the joy of faith and you tell us that we must live the faith with a young heart,” and here he emphasized, “a young heart, always, even at the age of seventy or eighty, a young heart. With Christ, the heart never grows old!”

“Yet all of us, all of you know very well that the King whom we follow and who accompanies us is very special: he is a King who loves even to the Cross and who teaches us to serve and to love. And you are not ashamed of his Cross! On the contrary, you embrace it, because you have understood that it is in giving ourselves, in giving ourselves and in going outside of ourselves, that we have true joy and through God’s love He has conquered evil. You carry the pilgrim Cross through all the Continents, along the highways of the world! You carry it in response to Jesus’ call: “Go, make disciples of all nations” (Mt 28:19), which is the theme of World Youth Day this year. You carry it so as to tell everyone that on the Cross Jesus knocked down the wall of enmity that divides people and nations, and he brought reconciliation and peace.”

“Dear friends, I too am setting out on a journey with you today, in the footsteps of Blessed John Paul II and Benedict XVI. We are already close to the next stage of this great pilgrimage of the Cross. I look forward joyfully to this coming July in Rio de Janeiro! I will see you in that great city in Brazil! Prepare well in your communities—prepare spiritually above all—so that our gathering in Rio may be a sign of faith for the whole world.” Then, in an unscripted exhortation, the Pope called out: “Young persons, you must tell the world that it’s good to follow Jesus, that it’s good to go with Jesus. Jesus’ message is good. It’s good to go outside ourselves to the ends of the earth and of existence to bring Jesus! Three words: Joy, Cross, and Youth.”

“Let us ask the intercession of the Virgin Mary. She teaches us the joy of meeting Christ, the love with which we must look to the foot of the Cross, the enthusiasm of the young heart with which we must follow him during this Holy Week and throughout our lives. May it be so.”

Holy Wednesday: “Love is with love repaid”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2012/04/04 at 8:09 AM
Do you to know how to thank Our Lord for all he has done for us?… With love! There is no other way. Love is with love repaid. But the real proof of affection is given by sacrifice. So, take courage!: deny yourself and take up his Cross. Then you will be sure you are returning him love for Love. (The Way of the Cross, Fifth Station, 1)

It is not too late, nor is everything lost… Even though to you it may seem so. Even though a thousand foreboding voices keep saying so. Even though you are besieged by mocking and skeptical onlookers… You have come at a good time to take up the Cross: the Redemption is taking place —now!— and Jesus needs many Simons of Cyrene. (The Way of the Cross, Fifth Station, 2)

To bring happiness to its loved one, a noble heart will not hesitate before sacrifice. To bring comfort to a suffering face, a great soul will overcome all repugnance and give itself unstintingly…And God, does he deserve less than a piece of flesh, than a handful of clay? Learn to mortify your whims. Accept setbacks without exaggerating them, without throwing up your arms, without… hysterics. In that way you will lighten the Cross for Jesus. (The Way of the Cross, Fifth Station, 3)

How can I really love the Holy Cross of Jesus?… Long for it!… Ask Our Lord for the strength to implant it in every heart throughout the length and breadth of this world. And then… make atonement with joy; and try also to love him with the beating of all those hearts that as yet do not love him. (The Way of the Cross, Fifth Station, 5)

“With Him there is no possibility of failure”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2011/07/18 at 9:16 AM

“I can do all things in him who strengthens me.” With him there is no possibility of failure, and this conviction gives rise to the holy “superiority complex” whereby we take on things with a spirit of victory, because God grants us his strength. (The Forge, 337)

If you’re not struggling, it’s no use telling me that you are really trying to become more closely identified with Christ, to know him and love him. When we set out seriously along the royal highway, that of following Christ and behaving as children of God, we soon realize what awaits us: the Holy Cross. We must see it as the central point upon which to rest our hope of being united with Our Lord.

Let me warn you that the program ahead is not an easy one. It takes an effort to lead the kind of life Our Lord wants… We will, however, discover our own meanness and selfishness, the sting of sensuality, the useless, ridiculous smack of pride, and many other failings besides: so very many weaknesses. But are we to give in to discouragement? Not at all. Together with St Paul, let us tell Our Lord, ‘I am well content with these humiliations of mine, with the insults, the hardships, the persecutions, the times of difficulty I undergo for Christ; for when I am weakest, then I am strongest of all’…

I am convinced that unless I look upward, unless I have Jesus, I will never accomplish anything. And I know that the strength to conquer myself and to win comes from repeating that cry, ‘I can do all things in him who strengthens me,’ words which reflect God’s firm promise not to abandon his children if they do not abandon him. (Friends of God, 212-213)

“Mary’s throne is the Cross”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2011/05/21 at 9:26 AM
Marvel at Mary’s courage: at the foot of the Cross, with the greatest of human sorrows–there is no sorrow like her sorrow–filled with fortitude. And ask her for that same strength, so that you too can remain beside the Cross. (The Way, 508)

Mary’s throne, like that of her Son, is the Cross. During the rest of her life, until she was taken body and soul into Heaven, what most impresses us about her is her quiet presence. St Luke, who knew her well, describes her as being close to the first disciples, in prayer. This was the way she lived to the end of her days on earth, she who was to be praised by all creatures for all eternity.

What a contrast between Our Lady’s hope and our own impatience! So often we call upon God to reward us at once for any little good we have done. No sooner does the first difficulty appear than we start to complain. Often we are incapable of sustaining our efforts, of keeping our hope alive. Why? Because we lack faith. ‘Blessed art thou for thy believing; the message that was brought to thee from the Lord shall have fulfillment.’ (Friends of God, 286)

Three Crosses

In 07 Observations on 2011/04/22 at 3:38 PM

In his Vol. 2 of IN CONVERSATION WITH GOD, Francis Fernandez present the picture of a recently arrived spectator on the first Good Friday.  The visitor see three men, each heading for death on the cross he carries.  Each carried his cross in a different way just as we today can carry ours in one of their three ways:

One can carry his cross complaining, filled with anger, and even cursing God.  That cross has no meaning and is as useless as it was to the “bad” thief.

Another way to carry our cross is with resignation or acceptance (because there is no alternative).  Here there is the possibility of change by conversion as in the case of the “good” thief.

The third way is embracing our cross with love for the love of God, and discovering that sorrow, suffering and contradictions cease to be merely negative as soon as the cross is seen to be not just one’s own but that of Jesus.  Jesus is an image of hope; he is beside the sufferer and actually will carry our cross.