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Posts tagged ‘surrender’

The Paschal Mystery Fulfilled


On this Wednesday of the Holy Week, I continue my journey through Scott Hahn’s book, Lenten Reflections from A Father Who Keeps His Promises.

Scott Hahn continues his teasing glimpse into the Last Supper as it parallels the Seder Meal at Passover.  According to Scott, Jesus’ Last Supper was essentially an interrupted Seder Meal.  While traditional Seder has four cups of wine, the Last Supper ends with the third, the Cup of Blessing.

It would be like having a wedding but stopping short of the vows!  Or, as Scott writes, celebrating Mass but stopping short of consecrating the host!

But Scott explains that the fourth cup is the cup Christ asks to avoid in Gethsemane:

He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will.”  Matt. 26:39.

This is the cup of wrath, “a metaphor for destruction that occurs often in the Old Testament.”  In contemplating this cup, Jesus’ “soul is sorrowful even to death” and three times He asks the Father to spare Him from drinking of this cup.  Yet each time, even though He was sweating blood, He acknowledged the Father’s lordship over Him:

“Not my will but yours be done.”  Luke 22:42.

Jesus knew the terrible cup He must drink from, and yet, despite His agony, He surrendered to the Father’s will.

How do I live as Christ?  Do I seek to do His will or do I opt for my own?  Do I follow Mary’s example:

“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”  Luke 1:38.

Day 43-2

My prayer today is that I seek His will for me and my family.  “As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”  Joshua 24:15.

Day 43-1

Forgiveness Reunites


On this Tuesday of the Third Week of Lent, I continue my journey through Scott Hahn’s book, Lenten Reflections from A Father Who Keeps His Promises.

Today we read about forgiveness.  Specifically, the reading describes how Joseph—stripped and thrown into a cistern and then sold into slavery by his jealous brothers—is now in a position of authority in Egypt with the means to make or break his siblings during a time of extreme famine.

Joseph ultimately forgives his brothers for their offenses—but not before playing some cruel pranks on them.  He doesn’t reveal himself to them until well into their second visit, and only after first imprisoning one brother and then framing their youngest brother for the crime of theft.

I can appreciate what Joseph did.  More than a few times have I felt slighted by some minor offense or insult.  I am usually faced with two choices:  forgive or hold a grudge.  Often I choose the first option—forgiveness—but only on my terms, and only after I have exacted some minor revenge or other form of self-satisfaction.

Take for example the commute to and from work.  I have to admit some of my ugliest moments occur in the car and my least Christ-like behavior takes place behind the steering wheel.  For instance, someone might cut me off in his hurry to get somewhere.  It wasn’t that long ago that I might react in anger—not overtly dangerously, but still not safely either.

But I still, at times, find myself reacting immaturely, and I find it difficult to surrender the immediate grudge that the minor offense ignites.  Rather than give up the anger immediately—turning it over to Christ—I tell Him, “I’ll forgive that other driver, but just give me one moment of self-satisfaction.”  Usually that moment takes the form of an angry-yet-superior look when I pass by the driver, glancing over with condescension.

When I find myself doing this, I remind myself of that petition in the Lord’s Prayer:

And forgive us our debts,
as we forgive our debtors.  Matt. 6:12.

In that prayer, I am asking for God’s forgiveness to the same extent and quality that I offer mine to others.  So for each brief moment I hold a grudge, I am asking God to hold a grudge against me.  And I remember that to God a thousand years is a day.  So that one-minute grudge in traffic might cost me over eight months in Purgatory!

Instead of holding onto that grudge, I need to look at how Jesus handled all the insults and abuses heaped on Him—falsely accused, scourged, crowned with thorns, forced to carry His cross, stripped and then hanged on a cross. How did He respond?

“Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.”  Luke 23:34.

After all the severe beating He endured, He begs for the forgiveness of His tormentors.  And I can’t let go of a petty grudge?!

Day 21-1

Petty or great, nothing I endure compares to the suffering Christ endured for my sins.  He doesn’t hold a grudge because of the suffering my sins have caused Him.  Am I one for whom He begs His Father’s forgiveness?

Once Joseph forgives his brothers and reveals himself to them, the true healing begins within his family.Day 21-2

From Chaos to Cosmos


On this First Sunday of Lent, I continue my journey through Scott Hahn’s book, Lenten Reflections from A Father Who Keeps His Promises.

This week the book focuses on the Creation Story. The first day’s reading looks at the fact of God’s creative power. It is an awesome reminder of our relationship with God and our proper place as his creation. He is creator. We are created.

I find this concept to be very comforting.  One of my favorite Psalms, Ps. 46:11, echoes this:

“Be still and know that I am God!”

Or, to paraphrase:

“Chill!  Trust me!  I made you, and everything around you. I got it under control!”

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Divine Discipline


On this Thursday After Ash Wednesday, I continue my journey through Scott Hahn’s book, Lenten Reflections from A Father Who Keeps His Promises.

Today Scott Hahn focuses on discipline in our relationship with our heavenly Father.  He opens with a scriptural reflection on the corrective nature of this Divine Discipline and describes it as a facet of God’s love for us.

But the book doesn’t tarry long on the corrective nature of discipline and shifts quickly to discipline as an internal disposition.  God wants more than obedience to His laws or acquiescence to His will.   He wants a covenant relationship.  Scott Hahn challenges us to question how we can best respond to God’s call to relationship.

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998. New Religion


The Hand of God

“I do not busy myself with great matters, with things too sublime for me.”  Psalm 131:1 

Faith or reason?  Reason or faith?

This prompt (No. 998) asks me to invent a new religion that combines all of my philosophies and beliefs.  “What is it called, how does it work, and who follows you into it?”

Would it be lazy for me to call it the Catholic Church and leave it at that?  Or the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church?  I don’t think so.  And as I delve deeper and deeper into my Faith, I am drawn inexorably to the following two conclusions (among others):

  1. Christ has blessed me, individually, and humanity, collectively, with a beautiful, mysterious and profoundly simple Church; and
  2. While it is a uniquely rewarding endeavor to plumb the depths of Faith, the endeavor to create a religion that is truer to my philosophies and beliefs truly is “above my paygrade.

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