Devotional Thought of the Day:
23 Examine me, O God, and know my mind; test me, and discover my thoughts. 24 Find out if there is any evil in me and guide me in the everlasting way. Psalm 139:23-24 (TEV)
40 A man suffering from a dreaded skin disease came to Jesus, knelt down, and begged him for help. “If you want to,” he said, “you can make me clean.” 41 Jesus was filled with pity, and reached out and touched him. “I do want to,” he answered. “Be clean!” 42 At once the disease left the man, and he was clean. Mark 1:40-42 (TEV)
86 With God, I thought, every day seems more attractive. I can see “little bits” at a time. One day I notice some wonderful detail; on another, I discover a sight I had not seen before… At this rate, it is impossible to say what will happen next. Then, I noticed that He was reassuring me: “Your happiness will grow greater every day, for you will be drawn deeper and deeper into that divine adventure, into that great ‘complication’ with which you have become involved. And you will realise that I will never abandon you.”
A Crown of thorns, a thick “royal robe”, placed on a back that is raw from a whipping, Spikes hammered through each wrist, One more hammered through the ankles. Ankles already tired from carrying the beam up a mountain side.
People mocking Him, the people who called for His death, the people who once praised and followed Him, but followed Him hear for a different reason…..to watch Him suffer and die.
We were not able to cry out, as the man did at the beginning of Mark’s gospel. A cry that echo’s David’s cry in Psalm 139. Examine us! Make us clean – completely. If you desire to Lord, you can.
And He did. By hanging on the cross.
He cleansed us of every sin, He brought us into Himself – we share in that death – we hang there with Him, nailed to that cross in our baptism. We rise with Him as well, brought into His very glory.
We receive all His promises, He guards us, never abandoning us, never forsaking us, always there, always faithful. The promises that we find more and more of, as we plunge the scriptures, as we meet and pray and hear God’s word together. As we kneel at an altar, and receive the Body and Blood of Christ. These details, declaring God’s desire – that we are all transformed, that explain His patience…His will, what He did, for us, as Christ hung on that cross.
This day, as you consider the cross, as you consider that Jesus endured that pain, for the joy set before Him. The joy of bringing us into the Father’s glory.
And here His answer to you….. I do want to… be clean!
Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). Furrow (Kindle Locations 581-586). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
14 Then Jesus called the crowd to him once more and said to them, “Listen to me, all of you, and understand. 15 There is nothing that goes into you from the outside which can make you ritually unclean. Rather, it is what comes out of you that makes you unclean.” Mark 7:14-15 (TEV)
It is necessary that you be a “man of God,” a man of interior life, a man of prayer and of sacrifice. Your apostolate must be the overflow of your life “within.” (1)
In the last couple of days, I have heard a lot of people talking about the threats to Christianity, and indeed to Christians. I’ve heard talk of teaching pastors to defend the faith ( using a very misguided translation of St Peter’s words about being ready to give the reason for the hope we have). It’s as if these challenges to a Christian could possibly remove their faith, or break them.
That attitude is not unlike the attitude of the Pharisees in Mark 7. They spent all the time working on the outside appearance of their faith. They want it to appear perfect, with no cracks, no gaps, not even with the slightest hint of guilt. Except of course, we are all dirty, and whether we want to admit it or not – we are all weak and broken and needing to be cleansed – from the inside out, not the outside in.
The outside isn’t our threat – the inside is.
But just like that – it is not the inside that is the source of our holiness, even though we are called to a pure interior life. It’s not something we can do on our own, but it is something that is done to us. Hear the prophetic words of Ezekiel,
“ 25 I will sprinkle clean water on you and make you clean from all your idols and everything else that has defiled you. 26 I will give you a new heart and a new mind. I will take away your stubborn heart of stone and give you an obedient heart. 27 I will put my spirit in you and will see to it that you follow my laws and keep all the commands I have given you. 28 Then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors. You will be my people, and I will be your God. 29 I will save you from everything that defiles you! Ezekiel 36:25-29a (TEV)
This is what it is all about – this interior life that St. Josemaria speaks of so clearly. It is Christ in you, the hope of glory. It is the promise of His incarnation in us – as we are united to His death and resurrection. It is the gift of the Holy Spirit – dwelling in us, and the communion that occurs. That is the spring of a life from which no longer comes that which perverts us, but proof of God’s work in us – the fount of holiness.
So look within – not to see your own internal clock – not to see your own desires – but to see the love of the One who desires that you are transformed, repentant, made alive… and works in you……
and find that His mission, HIs apostolate – that even as the Father sent Jesus – so we are sent – to bring life and a walk with God to those he died to save.!
Lord Have mercy on us!
(1) Escriva, Josemaria (2010-11-02). The Way (Kindle Locations 2226-2228). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.