Saturday, November 20, 2010

Christ the King, November 21, 2010

Consider the Old Testament figure of the secularized world:

1) The Book of Daniel, 2:31: The stone strikes the image in the clay feet and it falls. The stone becomes “a great mountain and fills the whole earth”

You, O king, saw, and behold, a great image.
This image, which was mighty, and whose brightness was excellent,
stood before you; and its aspect was awesome.

As for this image,
its head was of fine gold,
its breast and its arms of silver,
its belly and its thighs of brass,

its legs of iron,
its feet part of iron, and part of clay.

You saw until a stone was cut out without hands,
which struck the image on its feet that were of iron and clay,
and broke them in pieces.

Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold,
broken in pieces together,
and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors;
and the wind carried them away,
so that no place was found for them:
and the stone that struck the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.

The Stone is Christ Who must fill the world!

2) Acts 4:11: “This is The stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the corner stone. Neither is there salvation in any other. For there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”

Since Christ is the new temple, we are called to be living stones in that temple as Simon became Peter (stone) by entering into the prayer of Christ to the Father (Luke 9, 18: “As He prayed, His disciples were with Him”). It was when they had the experience of transcending themselves in prayer with Him, that He put the question as to Who He was. Simon became Peter in that prayer and had experienced Christ such as to be able to say: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Mt. 16, 16).

The Kingdom of God is not Jesus Christ alone. Nor is it the Church alone which is His Body. Nor is it the “Whole Christ” Which is both Head and Body, Christ and the Church. It is the Word of God as Logos of the Father receiving His humanity from the free act of self-gift of our Lady – her fiat as the meaning of faith. In like manner, we become “another Christ” when we make the act of faith which is the conversion away from ourselves and experience going out of ourselves. We experience the self-transcendence in ourselves, and in that experience we experience becoming “other Christs.” Since we do not leave the world but stay in our secular work and family life, Christ, becoming incarnate in us is present in the world. And if we are good at we do, He is us, and we are Him at the summit of all human activities.

3) St. Josemaria Escriva: During Mass and the elevation of the Host on August 7, 1931, he heard the Lord speak the verse of John 12, 32: “And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all things to myself.” In continuation, he heard: “I say it to you, not in the sense in which Scripture says it; I say it to you in the sense that you put me at the summit of all human activities; that in all the places of the world, there be Christians with a personal and most free dedication, that they be other Christs.”

4) The Eschatology and the Epistemology: Christ lives, not in the past, not in the future, but now. A major point of The Way #584 reads:

“Stir up the fire of your faith! Christ is not a figure of the past. He is not a memory lost in history.

“He lives! ‘Iesus Christus heri et hodie: ipse et in saecula!’ As St. Paul says “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today- yes, and forever!”

The Kingdom of God is Now: “If I cast out devils by the finger of God, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you” (Luke 11, 20). It is present and invisible. It is invisible because the Person of Christ is divine, and therefore is not “part” of the world. The divine “I” of Christ is “in” the world, but not “part” of it. Therefore, the response to John the Baptist who sent the messengers asking “are you He is to come, or shall we look for another” (Mt. 11, 4) was: “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind see, the lame walk, the deaf hear, the dead rise, the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not scandalized in me” (Mt. 11, 5-6). In a word, God as Creator is so other than the world (his creation) that if the world did not exist, He would not be less; and now that it does exist, He is not more. Hence, since the Word became flesh, He is present in the world but cannot be seen or experienced as “part” of the world. Yet He is in it and present to us in the moment by moment call to serve in our particular state in life. Hence, He can be known only by becoming like Him. Only God knows God (“no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son and him to whom the Son chooses to reveal him” [Mt. 11, 27]).

In the recent “Domini Verbum,” Benedict writes: “The word finds expression not primarily in discourse, concepts or rules. Here we are set before the very person of Jesus, His unique and singular history is the definitive word which God speaks to humanity. We can see, then, why ‘being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice of a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event [my underline], a person, which gives life a new horizon and a definitive direction… We are speaking of an unprecedented and humanly inconceivable novelty: ‘the word became flesh and dwelt among us’ (Jn. 1, 14a). These words are no figure of speech; they point to a lived experience! Saint John, an eyewitness, tells us so: ‘We have behold his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth’ (Jn. 1, 14 b). The apostolic faith testifies that the eternal Word became one of us. The divine Word is truly expressed in human words.”

The Concrete Asceticism: Live the Grace of the Moment in the small things of work and family life: Say, "Yes!"

Escriva heard the cry: “Nolumus hunc regnare super nos” (Lk. 19, 14). “I strove to repeat my own response thousands of times. I even felt the need to jot it down while working. Every page or half-page I wrote down that same strong and loving response we now make by our lives: oportet illum regnare (1 Cor. 15, 25). We want Christ to reign! You’ll find it written on many of my papers. I remember this as if it were yesterday.

“But we ought to ask ourselves, ‘Where should Christ Jesus reign?’ And we find the answer in the consecration that we renew today in our centers. First of all, he should reign in our hearts. He should reign in our life, because our entire existence must bear witness to love. Despite our mistakes! Don’t worry if you make mistakes; I make them too. Despite our weaknesses! As long as we struggle, they don’t matter. Didn’t the saints on the altar also make mistakes I mean mistakes that come from our human condition. Our Lord must smile at such mistakes…

“I don’t know about you, my son, but I sense that Our Lord is asking me a very specific question: who do you let me reign in you? I reply that I want him to reign in every corner of my being, but that I need lots of his grace. Only then can my every heartbeat and breath, my least intense glance, my most ordinary word, my most basic feeling, be transformed into a hosanna to Christ my King. But I’m also a man and have to react in a human way, so that you, my God, may imbue my human reaction with supernatural meaning through my life dedicated to your service in the world.

“Service. How I like that work! Serving my king, Christ Jesus. Serving, always serving. Mother of ours, grant us a spirit of service. Faced with the wonder of God about to become man, you said: ecce ancilla! (Lk. 1, 38). Teach me to serve like that.

“My mother, if we all knew how to serve…, if each of your children in Opus Dei knew how to serve, how well the others would learn to serve. How much more refined we would be, and how much we would help the others to improve! Isn’t this the right moment, my son, for you to tell Mary in your mind and heart what I’m telling her? Tell her that we want to learn. For you and I teach by example, which is the right way to teach. May I bear witness to serving Christ in the world, by making him the king of all my life’s actions, t he ultimate and only reason for my existence. Then, once I’ve borne witness by my example, I’ll be able to instruct others, to provide the theory, just as Jesus did: he bean to do and teach (Acts 1, 1).[1]

[1] St. Josemaria Escriva, Meditation, 27 October 1963.

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