Monday, September 04, 2006

Thoughts on the Body of Christ

A Peter Kreeft book got me thinking. (Disclaimer: If these thoughts are off, I'm willing to be corrected by the proper Magisterial authorities. But they seem right to me.)....

Through faith and baptism, we are incorporated into the Body of Christ. The members of the Church form Christ's Body. Christ lives now and He lives forever. Therefore if we, God willing, persevere until the end and die as members of His body, we will live forever.

Why?

Because it seems our salvation is not something like a label on our shirts saying "Heaven: Admit One". Rather, its something more intrinsic.

Some have said that God condemns no person to hell. A person may, through his actions, choose to become one with Christ or choose to cut himself off from Christ's body.

If choosing to cut oneself off, he dies. Just like an amputated leg. Or a severed vine.

John 15:4-6 (NAB)
"4 Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me.

5 I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.

6 Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned. "

But if we remain one with Him, we live forever.

John 11:25-26 (NAB):
"25 Jesus told her, "I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live,
26 and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" "

"even if he dies" ... "will never die"

Awesome.

"Do you believe this?"

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Obedience

Though He was in the form of God, Jesus did not deem equality with God, something to be grasped. Rather, He emptied himself taking the form of a slave. He was known to be of human estate and it was thus that He humbled Himself obediently accepting death, death on a cross. Because of this God highly exalted Him and bestowed upon Him the name above every other name, that at Jesus' name every knee must bend in the Heavens, on the Earth, and under the Earth and every tounge proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.
-Kinosis hymn from Phillipians
Obedience is one of the three Evangelical Counsels, the other two being poverty and chastity. Poverty requires renouncing material goods, chastity involves sacrificing sexual intimacy, but I think obedience is one of the hardest to live because it involves renouncing our own will. We aren't professed religious, but we still have to live a life obedient to the Church.

Is obedience burdensome? It depends on how you look at it. For some, obedience is as chore, something they would rather not do. For others, obedience can be seen as freeing and allows them to trust in God more. As humans we have the choice to see rules, commandments, etc... as externally imposed limits to our freedom. We also have the ability to see them as reminders from our loving Father who only seeks the best for His children.

All lawful authority comes from God. This is true for Churches, governments, and even families. Just as Jesus was obedient to the Father, we have a responsibility to be obedient to the truths of the faith and our superiors in the faith (insofar as we aren't being asked to sin).

Let us be obedient to the will of the Father that we might be with Him forever in Heaven. Amen.

Friday, September 01, 2006

"It is Jesus whom you seek"

It is Jesus in fact that you seek when you dream of happiness, he is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you; he is the beauty to which you are so attracted; it is he who provokes you with that thirst for fulness that will not let you settle for compromise; it is he who urges you to shed the masks of a false life; it is he who reads in your hearts your most genuine choices, the choices that others try to stifle. It is Jesus who stirs in you the desire to do something great with your lives, the will to follow an ideal, the refusal to allow yourselves to be grounded down by mediocrity, the courage to commit yourselves humbly and patiently to improving yourselves and society, making the world more human and more fraternal.
- John Paul II

I love that quote from our late Holy Father. There's so much truth in that statement that I really don't know where to start. Happiness is a word that is misused by a lot of people. True happiness can only come from Christ. Happiness can only come from embracing the Truth and fighting for it even when it is unpopular. Young people are idealistic (I'm one of them) and this quote really makes me remember that as much as I might want to "change the world" I can't do it. Only by seeking, Jesus, becoming the person I was created to be, and allowing the Holy Spirit to work through me can anything good happen. Any good I do comes from God and I'm probably at fault for a good chunk of the evil in the world because of my sins. I need to realize this more to learn humility.

In any case, I think this is why the truth is so attractive. Nobody wants to die for a mediocre ideal. The "I love you you love me we're a happy family"-God-as-an-omniscient-Barney version of Christianity isn't necessarily all that attractive. Love cannot exist without at least a willingness to suffer for the one being loved. I think that is why more and more people are starting to embrace the call of their confirmation to become a "soldier for Christ," marching into battle, showing the world His face and spreading His love. The truth can be harsh, but who would die for a lie?

I know these are kind of jumbled thoughts, but I thought I'd post something since I haven't posted in awhile. In closing here's another gem from JP2 during WYD 2002.


Do not let that hope die, stake your lives on it! We are not the sum of our weaknesses and failures. We are the sum of the Father's love and our real capacity to become the likeness of His Son.