Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Seventh Day of Retreat

Uniting Ourselves to the Cross

At the heart of the Christian life stands the cross.  You can't go around it.  It's present in everyone's life:  from the greatest saint to the greatest sinner.  The difference is the saint learns to embrace it and the sinner always tries to avoid it.

At the end of Chapter 7 (on Humility), St. Benedict tells us
Now, therefore, after ascending all these steps of humility, the monk will quickly arrive at that perfect love of God which casts out fear (1 John 4:18).  Through this love, all that he once performed with dread, he will now begin to observe without effort, as though naturally, from habit, no longer out of fear of hell, but out of love for Christ, good habit and delight in virtue.  All this the Lord will by the Holy Spirit graciously manifest in his workman now cleansed of vices and sins.  (RB 7:67-70)
It is love that makes a saint out of sinner:  love of Christ, and love of his cross.  Not the love that our society so strongly calls love, when it's lust.  Not the "love" we have for our car, or our favorite dessert.  No, it's the self-sacrificing love mirrored so beautifully by Christ on his cross.  A love so great that He was willing to offer himself so that we could be re-united to Him.

It's not an easy love.  It calls for a lot of death to self.  A lot of stumbles, and backslides.  A lot of picking yourself up and beginning again.  A lot of surrendering yourself, only to have to do it again and again because our human nature is not good at letting go.

Is it worth it?  Yes!  Is HE worth it?  Absolutely, positively, YES!

Lord, I desire your cross
and at the same time I run from it.
I want to give myself to You,
but keep pulling little bits and pieces back.
Lord, help me to embrace the crosses in my life,
and help me to be able to
surrender my life fully into your hands.
Please, Lord,
help me...

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