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Abiding by the Open Side of Christ
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Heb 9:2…blood means a love that extends to the end (Jn 13:1). It is an expression of the totality of his surrender and this service; an embodiment of the fact that he offers no more or no less than himself. This love is the real means by which the world was reconciled [to God]. …There is no other kind of worship and no other priest but HE WHO ACCOMPLISHED IT.
This priest, who is man and God, suffers the reconciliation of these two IN HIS BODY, and so do all priests with whom Christ shares his priesthood. As Jean Danielou said, “The inability of our heart to carry within itself simultaneously love of the most holy trinity and love of a world alienated from this trinity is precisely the death agony of the only begotten son….He who bore this division WITHIN HIMSELF in order to abolish it within himself.”
This is the pain that tore open the side of Christ…the pain of God stretching out to Man and Man not being able to stretch back except IN CHRIST. Ratzinger, “By Carrying man to God Christ incorporates humanity in his salvation.” Christ has carried the human body and melded it INTO THE YES OF HIS WORSHIP”
The cross, the tearing open of the person on many levels, is the form that love takes in a world characterized by death and self- seeking… pg. 289 Ratzinger, Introduction to Christianity
But pain is not salvific; only a love that is crucified by the alienation between God and Man is salvific. If pain was salvific then the soldiers who killed Jesus would be the priests, but HE IS THE PRIEST because he carried the only offering that reconciles God to man into all aspects of mankind’s existence even and especially suffering and death: Divine Love. (See page 291.)--- Ratzinger, Introduction to Christianity
How tempting the whole business of despair is in the face of human suffering….is heaven empty, is God silent?
In a way yes…there was a wordless descent of the Word into the World and onto the Cross. God’s weakness is the most effective penetration of light into the darkest corners of creation (53).
On earth love takes the form of the cross…so our voice is to be both practical and filled with the hope of the resurrection…The son suffers BECAUSE He loves. --- Regis Martin, Suffering of Love
The Heart is the place of accessing the divine.
The cross is a spousal reality of self- giving that gives new life. (Saint John Paul II, Mulieris dignitatis)
The person who has beheld Jesus’ intimacy with his Father and has come to understand him from within is called to be a rock of the Church. The Church arises out of participation in the prayer of Jesus.
Jesus does not speak and act from out of His own “I” but from another: it is his very essence that he comes from Another. His entire existence is a “sending,” a Mission, i.e. a relationship in action.
Jesus died praying….the inner most essence of Jesus is to be in a dialogue relationship with the Father…his dying was ITSELF an act of prayer.
At the last supper he acts on, displays HIS VERY NATURE…to communicate HIMSELF, to give…and with the Eucharist and upon the Cross he transforms death into an act of love.
Love by its very nature wants to communicate itself for the welfare of others.
This is the power of the flowing blood and water from his open side…this was the symbol of the Trinity and what the Trinity exists to do… to be: The full pouring out of the self into the other in a reciprocal self-sharing so deep that it is a desire both yearned for and satisfied within the Persons eternally.
The fundamental act of religion is prayer…which in the Christian religion acquires a very specific character: it is the act of self -surrender by which we enter the body of Christ.
Reflections written by Deacon James Keating