Friday, March 25, 2016
In the beginning of my conversion process, when Christianity, in general, was almost completely unknown territory, I used to dislike the Catholic crucifix, with its bloody corpus hanging there, evoking gut level reactions to the extreme pain and brutality of the image. I used to say that I was "really into the risen Christ," and things of that nature.
Gradually, over time, I have learned that the cross without Christ is an image robbed of a good deal of its hope. Horrible sinners must pay a horrible price for their sins. Most of us have been or are horrible sinners, depending on how you look at it, and only the horrible suffering of Christ on the cross could have redeemed our horrible sins that have offended our good God. The cross without Christ, for me, is somewhat bland. Don't get me wrong. I have a few little crosses on the necklaces I wear that bear the many medals I have collected, and I am about to put a decorative cross in my spring garden.
The plain cross is not a bad thing. It is an incomplete thing that does not reveal the fullness of Truth, somewhat like Protestant religions that employ the plain cross rather than the crucifix. Many of these religions have much good in them, but their faith is missing a crucial connection with Christ. Our Lord Jesus established one church, then, 1,500 years later, some people broke away from it and started their own religions, based upon their own ideas, and even threw out entire books of the Bible that didn't agree with their heretical religious ideas. Most Protestants I have met are unaware of the history of The Church and have no idea of the price they may pay for rejecting The Church that Christ established.
Now that I am growing old, I am disabled with many illnesses and live with much pain. As these conditions worsen, I begin to feel a little bit more understanding of a portion of what Christ endured to save us from utter damnation. A special prayer that I often repeat throughout the day, is this:
Lord, I offer thee all my suffering and pain in
reparation for my sins and the sins of the whole
world. Thank you, Lord, for blessing me with the
opportunity to participate in the redemptive
suffering of Christ. Amen
Christ doesn't need my suffering to complete his salvation of the world, but He allows me to participate in it, elevating my suffering from an uncomfortable and sad reality of life, to an heroic mission to save souls!
I used to yearn to do something really BIG for God. I wanted to dedicate myself to an intense life of contemplative prayer as a nun. I wanted to start my own religious order, but here I sit in my little apartment, unable to do much for myself, much less anyone else. Yet Christ has gifted me with a divine calling that saves souls. Without the suffering of Christ, without the corpus on the cross, my suffering would have no value and no meaning.
Today, as I write this, it is Good Friday, the day we commemorate Christ's sacrifice for us, when he endured torture and a horrible death for our sake. I wanted to do a lot of spiritual practices, but today I am particularly unwell, and all I could manage so far has been to say a few prayers and to start my Divine Mercy novena, which culminates on Divine Mercy Sunday, the week after Easter. I just said a few prayers. The rest of the day, I was saving souls.
God bless us all!
Silver Rose Parnell
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