Sunday, November 23, 2014

Beneath the Cross of the Crucified King

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God…We preach Christ crucified,…Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
1 Corinthians 1:18, 23-25

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

And behold: we who… are standing… beneath the cross of the ages, wish, through Your cross and passion, O Christ, to cry out today that mercy [which] has irreversibly entered in to the history of man, into our whole human history—and which in spite of the appearances of weakness is stronger than evil. It is the greatest power and force upon which man can sustain himself, threatened as he is from so many sides…

Holy is God.

Holy and strong.

Holy immortal One, have mercy on us.

Have mercy: eleison: misere.

May the power of Your love once more be shown to be greater than the evil that threatens it. May it be shown to be greater than sin…

May the power of Your cross, O Christ, be shown to be greater than the author of sin, who is called "the prince of this world."

For by your blood and Your passion You have redeemed the world!
[L’Osservatore Romano, 4-27-81,8]

Solemnity of Christ the King


Today is the Solemnity of Christ the King. This comes from Fr. Hardon:

The spirituality of St. Paul derives all it’s meaning and finds all its purpose in one dominant mystery of the Christian faith—namely, the person of Christ as the natural Son of God.

After all, what is Christianity except the religion of a human being who was and proved Himself to be the Incarnate God?

It is not so much that Paul knew this, as though his letters somehow serve to confirm what, as Christians, we believe. It is rather that the revelation of Christ’s divinity is found in St. Paul. His fourteen letters are a mosaic of many things, but of nothing more surely and clearly and fundamentally than that Jesus is the Eternal God.

We could almost close our eyes and choose any one of more than a score of passages in Paul’s writings testifying to Christ’s divine nature. In fact, for Paul, Christ is simply the Lord, Kyrios, the same title as he uses for God.

But the classic passage in which the apostle synthesizes all that Christ is and means to mankind occurs in the first chapter of Colossians. It reads like a symphony, which it is, because it contains in six verses all that the Church believes about her Founder.

Says St. Paul of Christ:

He is the image of the unseen God and the first born of all creation, for in Him were created all things in heaven and on earth; everything visible and everything invisible, Thrones, Dominations, Sovereignties, Powers—all things were created through and for Him.
Before anything was created, He existed, and He holds all things in unity (Col 1:15-17).

Feast of St. Colombanus, Irish Monk and Father of Europe


The following comes from the CNA:

An originator of Ireland's unique monastic tradition, who went on to serve as a missionary to continental Europe during the early Middle Ages, the abbot Saint Columbanus – also known as St. Columban – is honored by the Catholic Church on Nov. 23.

Despite their similar names and biographies, St. Columbanus is not the same person as Saint Columba of Iona, another monk from Ireland who spread the faith abroad and lived during the same time period.

In a June 2008 general audience on St. Columbanus, Pope Benedict XVI said he was “a man of great culture” who also “proved rich in gifts of grace.” The Pope recalled him as “a tireless builder of monasteries as well as an intransigent penitential preacher who spent every ounce of his energy on nurturing the Christian roots of Europe which was coming into existence.”

“With his spiritual energy, with his faith, with his love for God and neighbor,” St. Columbanus “truly became one of the Fathers of Europe.” According to Pope Benedict, the course of the Irish monk's life “shows us even today the roots from which our Europe can be reborn.”

Born during 543 in the southeastern Irish region of Leinster, Columbanus was well-educated from his early years. Handsome in appearance, he was tempted by women and was eventually advised by a nun to follow her example and flee from temptation by embracing monasticism. His mother disapproved of this intention, but his will prevailed even when she tried to prevent him from leaving home.

The aspiring monk studied initially with Abbot Sinell of Cluaninis, before moving on to a monastery headed by the abbot later canonized as Saint Comgall. It was under his direction, in the Abbey of Bangor in County Down, that Columbanus formally embraced the monastic calling, as one of a growing number of monks drawn to the Bangor community's ascetic rigor and intellectual vitality.

Though Columbanus was known as a dedicated monk and scholar, around the year 583 he felt called to undertake foreign missionary work. Initially denied permission by the abbot, he was eventually allowed to depart with a band of twelve men, with whom he sailed to Britain before reaching France around 585. There, they found the Church suffering from barbarian invasions and internal corruption.

Received with favor by King Gontram of Burgundy, Columbanus and his companions founded a monastery in an abandoned Roman fortress. Despite its remote location in the mountains, the community became a popular pilgrimage site, and also attracted so many monastic vocations that two new monasteries had to be formed to accommodate them.

These monastic communities remained under Columbanus' authority, and their rules of life reflected the Irish tradition in which he had been formed. Meanwhile, as they expanded, the abbot himself sought greater solitude, spending periods of time in a hermitage and communicating with the monks through an intermediary.

As heirs to the Irish monastic tradition, Columbanus and his monks ran into differences with the bishops in France, partly over the calculation of the date of Easter. He also met with opposition from within the French royal family, because of his insistence that King Thierry should not live with a woman outside of wedlock. He had been urged to do so by his grandmother Queen Brunehild, who thought a royal marriage would threaten her own power.

Columbanus' moral stand for marriage led first to his imprisonment, from which he escaped. But the king and his grandmother had him driven out of France by force, and they separated him from his monks by insisting that only those from Ireland could accompany him into exile. This group traveled and evangelized in present-day Germany, though political circumstances eventually forced them to cross the Alps into northern Italy.

Welcomed by the ruling Lombards, Columbanus nonetheless found the Italian Church troubled by heresy and schism. The monk wrote against the Arian heresy (which claimed that Christ was not God but only a highly exalted creature), and asked Pope Saint Boniface IV to help restore the unity of the Church in the region. Columbanus himself was involved in a theological dispute with Pope Boniface, but he remained “bound to the Chair of Peter” and acknowledged the Pope's authority.

Having received a grant of land from the Lombard king, Columbanus founded his last monastery in the town of Bobbio during 614. Although St. Columbanus died on Nov. 23 of the following year, the abbey at Bobbio remained a center of theological orthodoxy and cultural preservation for centuries afterward.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Something Beautiful by NEEDTOBREATHE


Something Beautiful by NeedToBreathe

In your ocean, I'm ankle deep
I feel the waves crashin' on my feet
It's like I know where I need to be
But I can't figure out, yeah I can't figure out

Just how much air I will need to breathe
When your tide rushes over me
There's only one way to figure out
Will ya let me drown, will ya let me drown

Hey now, this is my desire
Consume me like a fire, 'cause I just want something beautiful
To touch me, I know that I'm in reach
'Cause I am down on my knees, I'm waiting for something beautiful
Oh, something beautiful

And the water is risin' quick
And for years I was scared of it
We can't be sure when it will subside
So I won't leave your side, no I can't leave your side

Hey now, this is my desire
Consume me like a fire, 'cause I just want something beautiful
To touch me, I know that I'm in reach
'Cause I am down on my knees, I'm waiting for something beautiful
Oh, something beautiful

In a daydream, I couldn't live like this
I wouldn't stop until I found something beautiful
When I wake up, I know I will have
No, I still won't have what I need

Hey now, this is my desire
Consume me like a fire, 'cause I just want something beautiful
To touch me, I know that I'm in reach
'Cause I am down on my knees, I'm waiting for something beautiful
Oh, something beautiful.

Padre Pio: The Spirit of God

“The Spirit of God is a spirit of peace. Even in the most serious faults he makes us feel a sorrow that is tranquil, humble, and confident. This is precisely because of his mercy. The spirit of the devil, instead, excites, exasperates, and makes us feel, in that very sorrow, anger against ourselves. We should, on the contrary, be charitable with ourselves first and foremost. Therefore if any thought agitates you, this agitation never comes from God, who gives you peace, being the spirit of peace, but from the devil.”
— St. Pio of Pietrelcina

A Prayer from Thomas Merton

My Lord, God,

I have no idea where I am going.

I do not know for certain where it will end.

Nor do I really know myself,

and the fact that I think that I am following Your will

does not mean that I am actually doing so.

But I believe that the desire to please You does, in fact, please You.

And I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing.

I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.

and I know that if I do this, You will lead me by the right road,

though I may know nothing about it.

Therefore will I trust You always

though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.

I will not fear, for You are ever with me,

and You will never leave me to face my perils alone.

The Big Picture by Chris Stefanick

Friday, November 21, 2014

Garden by NEEDTOBREATHE


Air 1 - NEEDTOBREATHE "Garden" LIVE from Air 1 Radio on Vimeo.

The Presentation of Mary



The following comes from the American Catholic site: 

Mary’s presentation was celebrated in Jerusalem in the sixth century. A church was built there in honor of this mystery. The Eastern Church was more interested in the feast, but it does appear in the West in the 11th century. Although the feast at times disappeared from the calendar, in the 16th century it became a feast of the universal Church.


As with Mary’s birth, we read of Mary’s presentation in the temple only in apocryphal literature. In what is recognized as an unhistorical account, theProtoevangelium of James tells us that Anna and Joachim offered Mary to God in the Temple when she was three years old. This was to carry out a promise made to God when Anna was still childless.

Though it cannot be proven historically, Mary’s presentation has an important theological purpose. It continues the impact of the feasts of the Immaculate Conception and of the birth of Mary. It emphasizes that the holiness conferred on Mary from the beginning of her life on earth continued through her early childhood and beyond.


Comment:

It is sometimes difficult for modern Westerners to appreciate a feast like this. The Eastern Church, however, was quite open to this feast and even somewhat insistent about celebrating it. Even though the feast has no basis in history, it stresses an important truth about Mary: From the beginning of her life, she was dedicated to God. She herself became a greater temple than any made by hands. God came to dwell in her in a marvelous manner and sanctified her for her unique role in God's saving work. At the same time, the magnificence of Mary enriches her children. They, too, are temples of God and sanctified in order that they might enjoy and share in God's saving work.

Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary


The following comes from the Let's Get it Right site:

Mary’s presentation was celebrated in Jerusalem in the sixth century. A church was built there in honor of this mystery. The Eastern Church was more interested in the feast, but it does appear in the West in the 11th century. Although the feast at times disappeared from the calendar, in the 16th century it became a feast of the universal Church.

As with Mary’s birth, we read of Mary’s presentation in the temple only in apocryphal literature. In what is recognized as an unhistorical account, the Protoevangelium of James tells us that Anna and Joachim offered Mary to God in the Temple when she was three years old. This was to carry out a promise made to God when Anna was still childless.

Though it cannot be proven historically, Mary’s presentation has an important theological purpose. It continues the impact of the feasts of the Immaculate Conception and of the birth of Mary. It emphasizes that the holiness conferred on Mary from the beginning of her life on earth continued through her early childhood and beyond.

Comment:

It is sometimes difficult for modern Westerners to appreciate a feast like this. The Eastern Church, however, was quite open to this feast and even somewhat insistent about celebrating it. Even though the feast has no basis in history, it stresses an important truth about Mary: From the beginning of her life, she was dedicated to God. She herself became a greater temple than any made by hands. God came to dwell in her in a marvelous manner and sanctified her for her unique role in God's saving work. At the same time, the magnificence of Mary enriches her children. They, too, are temples of God and sanctified in order that they might enjoy and share in God's saving work.

Quote:

"Hail, holy throne of God, divine sanctuary, house of glory, jewel most fair, chosen treasure house, and mercy seat for the whole world, heaven showing forth the glory of God. Purest Virgin, worthy of all praise, sanctuary dedicated to God and raised above all human condition, virgin soil, unplowed field, flourishing vine, fountain pouring out waters, virgin bearing a child, mother without knowing man, hidden treasure of innocence, ornament of sanctity, by your most acceptable prayers, strong with the authority of motherhood, to our Lord and God, Creator of all, your Son who was born of you without a father, steer the ship of the Church and bring it to a quiet harbor" (adapted from a homily by St. Germanus on the Presentation of the Mother of God).

Memorial of the Presentation:

Today the Church celebrates the memorial of the Presentation of Mary. The three feasts of the birthday of Our Lady, the holy Name of Mary and her Presentation in the Temple correspond in the Marian cycle with the first three feasts of the cycle of feasts of our Lord: namely, Christmas, the Holy Name of Jesus, and His Presentation in the Temple (February 2).

Presentation of Mary

"Sacred Scripture contains no text concerning the event commemorated in today's liturgy. For something of a historical background one may consult the apocryphal works, particularly the Protoevangel of St. James (ch. 4:1ff). After an angel had revealed her pregnancy, Anna is said to have vowed her future child Mary to the Lord. Soon after birth the infant was brought to the sacred precincts at which only the best of Israel's daughters were admitted. At the age of three she was transferred to the temple proper (7:2). According to legend, here she was reared like a dove and received her nourishment from the hand of an angel (8:1).

"In the East, where the feast, celebrated since the eighth century, is kept as a public holiday, it bears the name, 'The Entrance of the Mother of God into the Temple'. It was introduced at Rome by a Cypriotic legate to the papal court of Avignon in 1371. In 1472, Sixtus IV extended its observance to the whole Church. Abolished by Pius V, it was reintroduced some years later (1585)."

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Live and Die by The Avett Brothers

What is Holiness?

StIgnatiusofLoyolabyPeterPaulRubensThe following comes from Catholic Spiritual Direction:

Above my desk where my MacBook, printer, and lamp share their home, hangs a large framed print of one of my favorite saints, Ignatius of Loyola. He’s dressed in a red chasuble and stole, the traditional vestments for the celebration of Mass. His eyes gaze heavenward; there is a glow on his face and an aura of light around his head. His right arm is bent upward; his hand, fingers and palm also pointing upward, is open in a gesture of praise. His left hand rests on the top of an open book and on the left page are written the words “Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam”: For the greater glory of God. It is the image of a saint, an image of holiness.
As much as I love this painting of St. Ignatius and how it can inspire me to stay focused on the Lord, looking at it can also make me forget that he was imperfect. Of course, that may be what the artist’s intention was: images of saints are supposed to reveal their holiness, not their imperfections. However, does being holy mean that we are perfect, that we never sin?
Listen to the words of Pope Benedict XVI:
“Holiness does not consist in never having erred or sinned. Holiness increases the capacity for conversion, for repentance, for willingness to start again and, especially, for reconciliation and forgiveness… Consequently, it is not the fact that we have never erred but our capacity for reconciliation and forgiveness which makes us saints. And we can all learn this way of holiness” (See Pope Benedict’s catechesis on the Apostles p. 157).
I don’t know about you, but these are some of the most encouraging words that I have ever read about what it means to be holy. Holiness doesn’t mean that we’re perfect. Holiness doesn’t mean that we don’t sin. Holiness means possessing the habit of beginning again and again in our walk with the Lord, the habit of daily conversion. And what happens is that this habit of beginning again, this habit of asking for and receiving God’s forgiveness every day, eventually becomes stronger than our sinful habits. As we begin again and again, the capacity of our hearts to receive God’s forgiveness and to live in friendship with Him expands. We begin to desire God more than we desire sin.
Yes, this is very encouraging indeed. For, as the Pope says, we can all learn this way of holiness. We can all learn to persevere and walk in an intimate friendship with God.

Read the rest here.

A Quote from Hans Urs Von Balthasar: In the Fullness of Faith

Jesus must be Catholic, otherwise his Church, which follows him and is promised his fullness, could not be called Catholic. Being Catholic means embracing everything, leaving nothing out. How can an individual human being do this, even if he is the only begotten Son of God? We shall not explain this by theological speculation. It is something that can reveal itself to us only if, in the openness of faith, we let our eyes rest on his self-manifestation. He is the revelation of someone else, of the Father, who is "greater" than he, and yet with whom he is "one". This is the message of his words and his life.


He can reveal the Father in this way only through a twofold movement: he steps forward (with divine authority) in order to make the Father visible, and simultaneously he steps back (as the Suffering Servant) in order to reveal the Father, not himself. We must not fail to discern him in his mode of stepping back, for he is the only way to the Father. In other words, the Father reveals himself by revealing the Son; he gives himself by giving his Son: dando revelat, et revelando dat (Bernard). Nor must we cling to him in his stepping forth, for, in all the density of his flesh, his whole aim is to be transparent, revealing the heart of God. In the same breath he can say, "My flesh is food indeed" and "It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail." We must not hedge him round with a pietistic Jesus-spirituality on the grounds that "only the Son knows the Father"; he is the Door, and a door is not for clinging to: it is for going through. He is "the way": we are not meant to stand still on it but walk along it, toward "my Father's house", which has "many rooms". And at the same time we do not leave these rooms and this path behind us, for Jesus is also the light of the world, the truth, the Resurrection, the presence of eternal life. But he is these things, not in his own power, but because he manifests the Father's love.


Lest we become completely confused and wearied by this riddle of his simultaneous stepping forward and stepping back, his appearances and disappearances, he goes beyond it: when he rises from the dead and goes back to the Father, he sends the Holy Spirit from the Father. This Holy Spirit is the one, whole, personal manifestation and confirmation of this baffling unity between Father and Son, the divine "We" that is more than the mere "I" and "Thou". It leads beyond the endless process of counting up, of supplementary definitions, to the reality of mutual presence and indwelling, without causing Father and Son to submerge in the Spirit. The Spirit comes to the aid of our helplessness in the face of the unity of opposites so clearly expressed in the gospel. He rewards us for not trying to resolve this apparent contradiction by our own efforts-for this would be to destroy the core of the Catholic reality: if we are to see things properly, we must include the opposite of what we have seen. It is not that what we see suddenly turns ("dialectically") into its opposite, but that in the lowliness of Jesus there is a direct revelation of his lofty nature; that in his severity we discern his mercy, etc.


And it is not that, in his human lowliness, he shows the greatness of the divine Father; it is not that his human severity prepares the way for the Father's compassion. Rather, his lowliness reveals the humiliation of the Father's love, and that shows his greatness. Thus, too, his human severity reveals the unshakable nature of the Father's love, and hence of its compassion. So, in the distinction between Father and Son, we discern simultaneously the unity of the divine essence, and, within it, the possibility of uniting those qualities that seem to us irreconcilable. The famous Catholic "and"--Scripture "and" Tradition, etc.--which is the object of Protestant criticism, has its true origin here, and here alone.


A Church can be Catholic only because God is Catholic first, and because, in Jesus Christ and ultimately in the Holy Spirit, this catholicity on God's part has opened itself to the world, simultaneously revealing and giving itself. The Spirit is "Person", the "We" in God: he provides the basis for the "we" that exists between God and ourselves, and hence too between men. But we would know and possess nothing of this if Jesus Christ had not stood at the alpha and omega of all God's ways in the world, as the form of revelation available to anyone who is open to it, i.e., is prepared to believe.


The Spirit Proves ... What Is Beyond Proof


The Spirit's chief quality, in obediently allowing himself to be sent out into the world by Father and Son, is his freedom. He blows whither he will and cannot be fixed in any particular form. He appears as a hovering presence (the "dove"), communication ("tongues"), devouring transformation ("flame"), a breeze that allows us to breathe deeply ("wind"). He "interprets" the mysterious figure of Jesus, revealing its divine being, its trinitarian dimensions, its mystery-quality; in this way the Spirit proves and "convicts" (Jn 16:8). He withdraws Jesus from all rationalistic incursions, and he also prevents Scripture (which he inspired), dogma (which interprets) and the Church's discipline from being swallowed up in purely worldly categories. He lends his wings to the Woman of the Apocalypse so that she may flee to the desert. He refuses to let himself be caught and domesticated, not even by pneumatic "methods" of prayer. We must not cling to Jesus, but let him ascend "to my Father and your Father"; only if we exhibit a readiness that stipulates no conditions can the Spirit, in his freedom, prove to us that the entire Catholic revelation-God, Christ, the Church- was and remains a project undertaken by the sovereign free love of God.


God's Love Is Catholic


God's love is ever greater; we can never catch up with it. It has no other ground but itself. It comes to us from ever further afield and goes forth to embrace wider vistas than I could ever imagine. That is why, in my limitedness, I always have to add an "and"; but what I thus "add" has always been there in the love of God.


When God, in sovereign freedom, enters into a world, he is not doing something else, something additional (as if God were Catholic in himself and became even more Catholic by bringing what is not-God, creation, into his totality); the Father of Jesus Christ is never any other than the Creator, who, showing them great care, carries all his creatures in his bosom. Everything temporal has its place within God's eternity. The Incarnation is not an episode in the life of God: the Lamb is slain from all eternity, and hence was born, grew up, and rose again from all eternity too. In itself, the adopting of human nature, with all its ignorance and limitation, into the divine nature is not an event in time, although the human nature so adopted, like ours, was something living and dying in time. (C. S. Lewis) Furthermore, the process of integrating creation into God's world (and within the time-dimension it really is a process: the lost sheep is searched for, carried home and put back into the flock) is always present in God's plan of salvation (cf. Eph 1 :1-10) as a complete design; it is carried out in a sequence that is unbreakable (cf. Rom 8:29f.) and in which neither human nor divine freedom is overplayed.


At the beginning there stands the "and" in "God and the world". In its abstractness, in this context of juxtaposition, however, it would not be a Catholic "and" unless it were contained, right from the outset, in the concrete "hyphen" represented by the incarnate Son (and he is more than a mere "mediator" between two parties: he is the One who creates unity: Gal 3:20) and the sending of the Holy Spirit, who brings everything to a conclusion (yet definitively opens everything up), enabling the creature to participate in the "divine nature" (2 Pet 1:4) as well as embracing it-as the divine "We"--in the community of the Trinity. This community cannot perfect itself apart from the mutual presence to one another of the divine Persons; equally, it cannot do without the reciprocity of God and his creature if it is to show forth its precious richness.


Just as this catholicity goes beyond a dialectic of reversed opposites, it also goes beyond a coincidentia oppositorum. Rather, it is an inclusion: nature is included in grace, the sinner is included in forgiving love, and all plans and purposes are included in a supreme gratis--"for nothing".


From In the Fullness of the Faith: On the Centrality of the Distinctively Catholic

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Outsiders by NEEDTOBREATHE

Keep Your Eyes Open by Needtobreathe

The Quotable Ratzinger

“The church will become small and will have to start afresh more or less from the beginning. She will no longer be able to inhabit many of the edifices she built in prosperity. As the number of her adherents diminishes . . . she will lose many of her social privileges. . . As a small society, [the Church] will make much bigger demands on the initiative of her individual members.” 

--Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) in 1970

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Come As You Are by Crowder

Lessons from Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament

The following comes from the Catholic Exchange:

Of all the gifts that God has given his Church, the greatest is without question the Blessed Sacrament, for it is nothing less than the body, blood, soul and Divinity of Jesus himself. In the Eucharistic host, our Divine Savior dwells among men in his fullness. He is truly God with us—what could be greater than this?
If the Blessed Sacrament is Jesus himself, and holiness is found in imitating Christ, then the Blessed Sacrament is a school of holiness. Today, I want to spend a few moments reflecting on the characteristics of Jesus in the Eucharist and what his presence can teach us about both holiness and masculinity.

1. Humility

In the Blessed Sacrament, we see the profound humility of Jesus Christ. Here, the Eternal Wisdom of God who made all things, the brightness of the Eternal Father, condescends to come among us in the form of the most ordinary food. After all, bread is simple fare, the food of the poor. Unlike a fine cut of meat, bread is almost always eaten as a side that is hardly noticed.
If we are to imitate Christ, we must first and foremost practice humility. The servant is not greater than his Master. We must be content to be unnoticed, unpraised, and unappreciated. We must give all glory to God, choosing to be humble and unassuming—like a piece of bread.

2. Silence

Men have always cherished quiet strength, strength that is demonstrated more by deeds than empty words. In the Eucharistic host, Jesus greets us with complete silence. He is ready to listen to all that we have to say, and he only speaks in return when we have quieted our hearts and are completely silent as he is. And finally, he is ready to act on our behalf if we only have confidence in his promises.
The saints constantly praise the virtue of silence, and we are warned that we will be judged for every idle word. Do we waste words? More than this, do we hear what others are saying? As men, we often struggle to listen, and yet listening is an act of love. Listen to your wife or those others around you who may be desperate for someone to pay attention.

3. Love

Almost every Eucharistic miracle on record has the host turning into the flesh of a human heart. This is not random. In the Blessed Sacrament, Christ’s beating heart burns with love for us, and he longs for our love in return. On the cross, Christ literally died of a broken heart for love of sinful humanity, pouring out his precious blood to win our affection. Yes, more than anything, it is love that Jesus desires most from those whom he has redeemed, and if he could have done anything more to secure it, he would have done so.
Do you love Christ? If so, you will obey him and carry your cross after him. You will imitate him by laying down your life for others in sacrificial love.

4. Vulnerability

In the host, Christ is completely and totally vulnerable. Far too often, he is mistreated and abused, ignored and maligned, treated casually and without dignity. Yet, this is the price he willing to pay to live among his people. No matter how many times he is profaned and trampled upon, literally or figuratively, he continues to come to us again and again, saying “I will never leave you or forsake you.”
Do we love in this way? Do we open our hearts to others, even though it may mean the pain of rejection? Do we forgive 70 times 7? We cannot love if we close our hearts in fear. We must be courageously vulnerable—like Christ.