Saturday, October 10, 2009
Imitation of Christ
We can only truly be formed into the image of Christ through suffering. Those who are called to trials and suffering should rejoice in that call, for it is an invitation to enter into a portion of His own suffering.
When we look at our world today, we see the ongoing persecution of the Church. The world hates us. It screeches at us, it wants to force us to conform to their ways, for the holiness of the Church is a standard the world cannot bear. The Church holds up a mirror to them and they see reflected there themselves. Rather than strive for holiness, they howl and cast stones at the mirror held up before them, which does nothing to shatter the Church, but only takes away from them the horrible visage of their own reflection.
It is far easier to cast stones than to turn one's gaze inward and listen to the voice of God who has imprinted the Law upon their hearts. Had He not done this, the experience of the mirror would not be so excruciatingly painful. These souls who experience this, tragically, have no where else to go. They are but the crowds who abandoned Christ, leaving only the remnant disciples with Him...and Jesus let them go.
He let them go so that He could send us out into the world, for thousands of years after His death and resurrection, to bring those souls back.
It is no wonder that so many strike against the Church. It is no wonder that the voice of the world seeks to silence us. It is no wonder that Christians all over the world are being slaughtered for simply following Christ. And it is no wonder that the Christians do not or cannot fight back against these enemies, for wasn't Jesus the lamb who went silently to slaughter?
What we suffer now is nothing more than the Passion of Christ as we walk the road to Calvary.
The Church, the Bride of Christ, is a holy, pure, reality. The fact that this Mystical Body is made up of sinners struggling for holiness is actually a greater sign of God's glory, for this struggle reveals that we are not called to conform to the world, but to Our Bridegroom, Our Savior who, as a wedding gift, gave His own blood so that we might have eternal life.
We, the Bride of Christ, the Church, must become like Christ if we are to carry out His mission, and that means we, too must walk in His bloody footsteps, we must also fall under the weight of the Cross so that He can lift us again and again, until finally, like Him, we the Church, will be lifted up and draw all men into this Mystical Body, in unity.
Jesus desired that all may be one, but that unity will come at a price, one each of us must pay through our own roles in the ongoing history of salvation.
The louder the world screams for our blood, the more glory there is for God and the more credibility the Church will have as we walk this triumphant road to Calvary to enter into the Wedding Feast of the Lamb.
Let us work then, to imitate Jesus, and not the world. Let their cries fall on deaf ears as we keep our eyes on the Cross and Resurrection. It is through this journey that we will, more and more, be conformed to Christ, both personally and in unity, as His Bride.