Sunday, May 25, 2008
Worth the Price?
Today at Mass, on the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, Father pointed to the crucifix, established just above the tabernacle, speaking of the Body and Blood of Christ, proclaiming, "Jesus sacrificed Himself on the Cross for you because He thought you were worth it."
That phrase reverberated right from my mind to my heart and straight to my soul...and back. Over and over again.
"Jesus sacrificed Himself on the Cross for you because He thought you were worth it."
Jesus sacrificed Himself...for me....because He thought...I...was worth it?
Forgive me, but I really do have a difficult time getting my mind around this. I know that I love Jesus, I know that Jesus died for me, I believe that fully, and I even believe it's personal. But it's still that last part that I can't seem to really grasp.
I want to say that I'm NOT worth it. Not one bit. Not even close. That's different than saying I merit it or don't merit it; we all know that none of us merits such a gift of salvation. For some reason, though, today that phrase really hit me hard.
Jesus thought I was worth it. I gazed at the crucifix suspended above us, unable to tear my eyes away. Jesus thought I was worth THAT. Because, had He not thought I was worth it, He wouldn't have done it. The reality was right there in front of me.
One of our essay questions for this last class dealt with the beatific vision; that Jesus Christ had that eternal and all-knowing vision, that knowledge of each and every one of us, before and even at His conception. Jesus has always known us each individually. When He became Incarnate at His conception, He knew us. And when He sweated blood in his Agony in the Garden, He saw us, the good and the bad, loved us...and decided that we, as individuals, were worth it. He would have gone to the Cross if only ONE of us had been created.
So maybe it's the information I've absorbed throughout this semester that disposed me today, or maybe it was just a pure gift of Grace, another unmerited gift. We often pray, "Lord, I am not worthy..." and indeed, that is the proper disposition of our hearts, because we have to realize that nothing we can do can make us worthy of such suffering, such a sacrifice.
But our Lord looked upon each and every one of us, and He decided that indeed, we were worth it. It was His decision to die for us, His judgment that we were worthy.
But far from instilling a sense of pride in me, it has instilled a deep sense of ...awe. Because when I consider my life and the choices I've made and those I make every day, I can't honestly look at the Cross and think that I am worth THAT. I'm not worthy of such a price. No one should die for me...especially God Himself.
And yet...He did, for it did not end with His suffering and death.
At Communion the choir sang my favorite hymn...can you guess? Adoro Te Devote. They began in English and I read the words, completely undone. It was perfect...the words I could fully understand as I prepared my heart to receive Jesus...and the Latin to aid my gratitude as I moved forward and then returned to my pew to pray. It doesn't happen often anymore, but it did today...I couldn't stop the tears, and they were tears of gratitude and amazement that Jesus would make such a sacrifice for me...because He thought I was worth it.
I can't see my own worth in God's eyes. I can only see my lack of worth through my own.
Thank God that He is in charge, that the sacrifice of the Lamb was not given into my hands, for I would never have allowed Jesus to go to the Cross for me. I would have damned myself to the eternal lake of fire rather than allow such a scandal. But the decision belonged to Christ alone...and He decided that we, personally and individually, were worth it.
Jesus went to the Cross...because HE decided I was worth it.
Thank you, Jesus.
My gratitude is too profound for words, and even tears will never convey what was finally revealed to me this morning at Mass.