WWJD Seems Impossible…yet…
Devotional Thought of the Day:
4 Yet it was our infirmities that he bore, our sufferings that he endured, While we thought of him as stricken, as one smitten by God and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our offenses, crushed for our sins, Upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole, by his stripes we were healed. 6 We had all gone astray like sheep, each following his own way; But the LORD laid upon him the guilt of us all. 7 Though he was harshly treated, he submitted and opened not his mouth; Like a lamb led to the slaughter or a sheep before the shearers, he was silent and opened not his mouth. 8 Oppressed and condemned, he was taken away, and who would have thought any more of his destiny? When he was cut off from the land of the living, and smitten for the sin of his people, 9 A grave was assigned him among the wicked and a burial place with evildoers, Though he had done no wrong nor spoken any falsehood. 10 (But the LORD was pleased to crush him in infirmity.) If he gives his life as an offering for sin, he shall see his descendants in a long life, and the will of the LORD shall be accomplished through him. 11 Because of his affliction he shall see the light in fullness of days; Through his suffering, my servant shall justify many, and their guilt he shall bear.
Isaiah 53:4-11 (NAB)
343 If you are aware of God’s presence, high above the deafening storm, the sun will always be shining on you; and deep below the roaring and destructive waves, peace and calm will reign in your soul.
I’ve seen some versions of a post that not only mocks the concept of WWJD, but also mocks Jesus, and His call to love our neighbors. They says that if we are going to consider What Would Jesus Do, it is in the realm of possibility that it would include beating people with whips and knocking over tables.
But too often, our zeal is not for the alien and foreigner to find a place to pray, to know God’s comfort and peace. That place where Jesus did that was for the outsider, the unbeliever, the skeptic and the seeker who would pray, who would benefit from seeing the love and mercy of God pour out into their lives.
We aren’t that zealous about that… though we should be.
WWJD comes from a book by Charles Sheldon, who tells the story of a pastor and a movement who has to deal with someone dying in front of them, a stranger who asked for help, and received too little. The guilt drives them to the cross for forgiveness, and then to seek out how to live differently. To imitate those who imitated Christ, like St Stephen and St. Paul. It is not an impossible thing, it is not a touchy, feel good thing. It is the hardest of challenges, and therefore requires a superhuman effort and motivation.
Motivation not from guilt, but from receiving mercy, a motivation that comes from the presence of God in our lives healing.
Without that, the idea of living like Christ, of sacrificing self so that others could be reconciled and know forgiveness doesn’t make sense. Without Christ’s presence, we don’t desire reconciliation; we desire revenge. Without dwelling in His peace, we don’t desire to lay our lives down in service to others; we desire to protect our lives, our way of living. That sense of self-preservation will tell us that WWJD is wrong, it will justify it because we are sinners, and it will tell us that striving for this, isn’t necessary.
Without the presence of Christ, Isaiah 53 is simply a prophecy. In His presence, this prophecy saves us, and becomes our joy and our way of life. And our deepest desire is to see our enemies receive healing, to know mercy, to walk with God. Our deepest regret is when someone dies without that comfort, when someone lives without that peace. We don’t look at WWJD as law, but as the way of life, we are given. And when we fail, we run back to the hope of the one which
St Josemaria is correct, if we are in His presence, if we realize His comfort and peace, if we know mercy, it changes everything. We simply live in the Kingdom of God, and the storms and struggles are what they are.
Escriva, Josemaria. The Forge (Kindle Locations 1353-1355). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Posted on June 22, 2016, in Devotions, Theology in Practice and tagged Abiding in Christ, apostolate, justice, love, peace, revenge, St. Josemaria Escriva, WWJD. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.