Is This Claim Audacious, Blasphemous or Simply Crazy?
Devotional Thought of the Day:
18 All of us! Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of his face. And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him. 2 Corinthians 3:18 (MSG)
1 So then, my friends, because of God’s great mercy to us I appeal to you: Offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to his service and pleasing to him. This is the true worship that you should offer. 2 Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world, but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind. Then you will be able to know the will of God—what is good and is pleasing to him and is perfect. Romans 12:1-2 (TEV)
200 “When you consider how many people do not take advantage of a wonderful opportunity, but allow Jesus to pass by, think: where does this clear calling which was so providential, and showed me my way, come from? Meditate on this every day: an apostle has always to be another Christ, Christ himself.”
If you read the words of St.Josemaria Escriva (in blue) first, they might startle you. Every apostle has to be another Christ? We have to be Christ Himself? How in the world can he say those things! How audacious! How….. blasphemous it seems!
It becomes even more audacious when I tell you that by apostle, St. Josemaria means each of us who follows Jesus. Not just the 12 back in the day, not just missionaries who go to exotic places, meet interesting people and baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Not just pastors and elders and deacons. Each one of us is sent by God into places where we represent Him, where we reflect His glory, where we bring Christ’s love to invade the darkness.
You who are reading this, God has placed you where you are, to reflect His love today. for you dwell, in Christ. You have, since your baptism.
Audacious to think you are Christ? Blasphemous to say you are? Or perhaps you are just nuts, insane, and have a Messiah complex?
That’s why I noted the two Bible passages above, where we are transformed by God into the image of Christ. When our attention is so captivated by the mercy of Christ, by His love, by His presence, that our old self is killed off, and all that remains is what is of Christ. That is why Paul will also write:
“19 For when I tried to keep the law, it condemned me. So I died to the law—I stopped trying to meet all its requirements—so that I might live for God. 20 My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:19-20 (NLT)
We don’t have to die on the cross, as Jesus did, for we died there with Him. But there is another part of that, the what does our baptismal life mean? How do we live, and we need to remember and struggle with the fact that we are to continue the work of Christ, that we are those He has sent, even as the Father sent him. Does this mean we need gimmicks and programs and all have to head off to seminary? No. Does it mean we have to sell everything we have, give it to the poor, and move to the Amazon or Siberia?
No, you are where as God placed you – that is where He has sent you. (for now) To be a father, mother, employee, boss, child, parent, but to do those things in view of your vocation as an apostle, as a son/daughter of God who has been put there to reflect His glory, to help people see God, to help them realize that Christ is there, and they can’t just let Him pass by. Because you are there – reflecting the Father, and Christ is loving them through you. The prayer in my devotional this morning said it well:
At every moment of our existence,You are present to us, Father. In gentle compassion help us to be present to one another so that our presence maybe may be a strength that heals the wounds of time and gives hope that is for all persons, through Jesus, our Lord and Brother. Amen. (2)
May this be so….may we live to Christ, dying to self. AMEN.
(1) Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). Furrow (Kindle Locations 1041-1045). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
(2) from Celtic Daily Prayer – May 17th, the year of Aidan
Posted on May 17, 2014, in Devotions, The Furrow and tagged Apostle, apostolate, Baptismal Life, humility, imitation of Christ, life, Ministry, Missional, St. Josemaria Escriva, vocation. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.