Bulletin Letter March 4, 2012
In the 1 Peter 3:18 we read, “Christ suffered for sins once, the righteous for the sake of the unrighteous, that he might lead you to God.”
Look at the Crucifix. Has Jesus' gift of suffering really impacted you? Do you stand in awe when you look at a crucifix? Or over the decades have you become dull to the divine gift granted you on Calvary? He was righteous, yet he died for us, unrighteous as we are! Doesn't that type of love utterly transform you? Fixed to the cross, Jesus draws into Himself the wickedness of humanity from all time; then He pours out from his Sacred Heart divine power for all the good in the human race for all time.
How do we live mediocre Catholicism, if we really appreciate the love of Calvary? How do people fall away from the church and slowly get lazy and stop attending Mass? Calvary becomes something way too distant for them, seemingly unnecessary, and Catholicism becomes simply a set of organized gestures to make us feel good… which people can easily set aside when life seems to be going okay for them.
The suffering of Jesus for us is a real historic event… So the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass where we encounter this amazing Love is not to be ignored. Because Calvary – and the Mass which re-presents Calvary to us – is the highest expression of God's love for us, it is so gravely wrong to quit attending Mass on Sundays. (The Lord understands legitimate sickness, old age, emergencies that arise.) Do you know someone who has fallen away from the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass? I meet some of them every single funeral I celebrate. A whole generation has fallen away from the Mass. That is something to mourn. But it is also something to try to repair. We can pray that our own desire to appreciate his sacrifice, to return love for Love, somehow be a catalyst for others. Jesus did not hang on the Cross simply to become a beautiful pendant around a woman's neck, or to become a stately picture in a man's study, or a statue on a bookshelf. The Crucifixion was a real event, and it demands a real oblation on our part.
He hung on the Cross to heal our sinfulness and capture the love of our hearts back for His Heavenly Father. St. Peter writes, “Christ suffered for sins, that He might lead you to God.” Do you hear what inspired Jesus' heart? He wants your heart to belong to God.... not just after death.... now! Has Jesus captured your heart by His sacrifice of Love on Calvary? Do you refer everything in life to Him? This is a fine question for Lenten personal reflection.
Here is St. Francis' response to Calvary: “Grant me Lord, to die out of love for your Love, who deigned to die out of Love for my love.”
Here is St. Paulinus: “What therefore do we give back to Him for all that he has given to us? For He paid us back, but being the good Lord, good things for evil, to us who heap evil upon goodness. He blessed, and we cursed. He healed, and we blasphemed; He justified the impious and esteemed sinners. What therefore do I return to Him for my evils, which he carried; what do I render for all the good He granted? What for taking on human flesh? What for the blows He sustained, for the opprobrium? What for the scourging, for the cross, death, and burial do I return to Him? Were we to render cross for cross, burial for burial, could we ever render back all that we have from Him, and through Him, and in Him; even our very own being? He himself made us, not we ourselves, and soul is constantly in His hands. Let us give back to Him for our debt, charity for duty, goodwill as our alms.”
May we allow the Lord this season to draw us and our families deeper into the Love of Calvary... especially where it is most present on earth – in the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
Have a blessed week!
In cordibus Iesu et Mariae,