Devotional THought of the Day:
16 No longer, then, do we judge anyone by human standards. Even if at one time we judged Christ according to human standards, we no longer do so. 17 Anyone who is joined to Christ is a new being; the old is gone, the new has come. 18 All this is done by God, who through Christ changed us from enemies into his friends and gave us the task of making others his friends also. 19 Our message is that God was making all human beings his friends through Christ. God did not keep an account of their sins, and he has given us the message which tells how he makes them his friends. 20 Here we are, then, speaking for Christ, as though God himself were making his appeal through us. We plead on Christ’s behalf: let God change you from enemies into his friends! 21 Christ was without sin, but for our sake God made him share our sin in order that in union with him we might share the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:16-21 (TEV)
For Monsignor Escrivá the value of every human being, the reason for their overwhelming dignity, was that each had an immortal soul. “To save one soul,” he said, “I would go to the very gates of hell.” These were not mere words. At a time when he was the focal point of all kinds of gossip, he had not held back from going to a brothel to hear the confession of the owner’s dying brother, and administer the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. As a precaution, he took an eminently respectable elderly man with him, since he was a young priest in his twenties. He had also exacted a promise that for that whole day there would not be an “appointment” there. A hug for a Mason Nor did he mind opening the doors of his house in Rome to an illustrious Mason, riddled with cancer, who secretly wanted to be reconciled with the Church. This man began by calling him “Sir” and ended up calling him “Father.” When Monsignor Escrivá enveloped him in a big hug, he felt that his evil past had disappeared in an instant into the ocean of understanding of a God who forgives. Approaching each soul on one’s knees Monsignor Escrivá was driven by two passions, both anchored in one love: a passion for God and a passion for souls. The heart of his “business” was bringing souls to God. Since God is always near human beings, what was necessary was that each person decide to listen to God and his or her conscience. His task as an apostle was to bring about silence in souls so that God could make himself heard. When Monsignor Escrivá said he was interested in a hundred souls out of a hundred, he was not thinking of crowds so he added, “one by one”—“handling each soul like a unique pearl,” entering consciences “on one’s knees,” always conscious of treading on sacred ground. (1)
It’s Monday, yesterday began a new week, but one that I would rather not deal with. Too much work to do,
Too many hearts , already broken and devastated, ready that will need grace that I can point to, and wish I could simply give. I love those words I underlined, in the description of St. Josemaria! The idea that a simple hug could be the antidote for evil that consumes us, or that I could bring about silence in souls that would allow them to hear God clearly, to know His love, and His desire to forgive them.
If only we could get people to stop for a minute – and consider what God has done for them, as He claimed their souls, their lvies in baptism. As He promised to deliver them, and heal them and be with them, taking care of them, providing for them! If only when they approach the altar to receive His Body and Blood, they realized the love that drew them there, as Christ is lifted up before them. For He is the Lamb of God, who took away the sins fo the world, and grants us peace.
These words aren’t simply words, they are His words. The words that show His work, His desire.
I suppose that’s why I like Escriva’s work so much – he cuts through most of the “stuff” of theology, focusing on what makes a difference, the presence of Christ. Not to condemn us, but ot heal us, to set us apart as His people, to set us apart to share in His work – which is the very work we praise and glorify Him for in our words, and hopefully in our deeds. It’s not about the world’s problems, or about this rare theological tidbit, or that great event. It is about knowing Christ.
Like this idea that everyone we meet is made in God’s image – and is loved by God, and God desires that they should be transformed. Everyone. Even those who oppose us. Therefore, as we are sent into their lives, the very ground we meet them on is Holy Ground, a place desitned for their meeting God, because we bring Him to them. As surely as Moses encountered God in a burning bush, I would desire that those who don’t know Jesus encounter Him burning in those of who do know His love.
And that their lives would forever more be changed.
With that in mind – let us take on this week, as we remember to plead with them on God’s behalf, urging them to be reconciled to God.
Lord have mercy on us, and make it so! AMEN…
(1) Urbano, Pilar (2011-05-10). The Man of Villa Tevere (Kindle Locations 2001-2017). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.