Sunday, June 08, 2014

50 Days of Easter - Day 50

Well ... I didn't manage to get a reflection up here for each of the 50 days. However, today, with Pentecost, we wrap up the Easter Season.

The reflection for today continues the theme of the "glorious wounds" of Jesus, that we talked about a few weeks back. This excerpt is from the excellent little book The Challenge of Fatherhood by Don Massimo Camisasca (founder of the Fraternity of St. Charles Borromeo, and now Bishop of Reggio-Emilia Guastalla in Italy.)
The thing that makes our lives great is not the absence of limits or of mistakes in ourselves and in those around us, but the total integrity with which we hand ourselves over to Christ through the concreteness of the place in which he embraces us. Limits and mistakes will never be lacking because we will always be stumbling. The secret of life is this essentially a matter of belonging to Christ with one's whole self, just as one is, without any reservations.  
I'm reminded here of the words of a song: "Et le poids de tes péchés eux-mêmes/ te ramènerait Jérusalem." Even the weight of your sins, Jerusalem, would lead you back to me, God says. The whole of Christian wisdom is summed up in this sentence. For in becoming man, God chose to communicate himself, not only in spite of fragility, but "through" it. If we agree to this divine method without reservation, we can stop looking at our limitations as a reason for discouragement or frustration, and so as something to forget, to censor, and can start looking at them as stones to build with. The whole of our lives, with all their lights and shadows, exists in order to manifest the glory of Christ [see Jn 9:3]. If we refuse this logic, life will always be a burden that sooner or later we will find unbearable.  
We are frequently tempted to censor difficulties, to hide them even from ourselves. When we do that, we are diverging radically from the way that  God acts with us: every detail is a matter of importance for him. This kind of censorship is a diabolical act, which is often born of a fear of another's judgment, of the fear of losing the positive image that others have of us. But our stature before Christ has nothing to do with this image, nor can it be measured in terms of the mistakes that we may make or avoid making. Rather it is decided by Christ himself and by our belonging to him. So to hide your own limits, your own problems, really doesn't make any sense. You do not find freedom from your own miseries by censoring them, but by handing them over to Christ, which is to say, by letting him embrace them. This embrace is like the one with which the mother enfolds her child in her arms, with which the lover takes the beloved into his. Indeed, it is infinitely more affectionate than these other gestures. Within this embrace, everything is taken up and directed to the one goal that makes life exciting: the glory of Christ on earth. 
Indeed the Holy Spirit's task is this education, this handing oneself, all of one's self, over to Christ. The encounter with the embrace, the mercy of Christ, was beautifully summed up by one Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, in this talk from 2001 (which I've referenced before in this series)
Only someone who has encountered mercy, who has been caressed by the tenderness of mercy, is happy and comfortable with the Lord. ... [H]owever, forcing things a bit, I dare to say that the privileged locus of the encounter is the caress of the mercy of Jesus Christ on my sin.
Or, as this poem by Ada Negri, referred to by Msgr. Giussani, puts it, "everything was good, even my evil, everything." 

Happy Pentecost! 

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