Thursday, 25 February 2010

In the Crucified Christ we have a Model

He is the only Light in our darkness. He is the only Light in the darkness that now threatens to overshadow the Church and Her schools.

Today the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI made comments during his "lectio divina" delivered to the parish priests of Rome, upon receiving them in audience at the Vatican on February 18th 2010.

Courtesy of Zenit, the following words from the Holy Father are particular apt to the crisis now facing the Church in Her efforts to teach children the Most Holy Faith.

"Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears" (Heb 5: 7). This is not only a reference to the hour of anguish on the Mount of Olives but sums up the whole history of the Passion that embraces Jesus' entire life. Tears: Jesus wept by the tomb of Lazarus, he was truly moved inwardly by the mystery of death, by the terror of death. People forgive the brother, as in this case, the mother and the son, the friend: all the dreadfulness of death that destroys love, that destroys relationships, that is a sign of our finiteness, our poverty. Jesus is put to the test and he confronts this mystery in the very depths of his soul in the sorrow that is death and weeps. He weeps before Jerusalem, seeing the destruction of the beautiful city because of disobedience; he weeps, seeing all the destruction of the world's history; he weeps, seeing that people destroy themselves and their cities with violence and with disobedience.

Jesus weeps with loud cries. We know from the Gospels that Jesus cried out from the Cross: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Mk 15:34; cf. Mt 27:46) and cried out once again at the end. And this cry responds to a fundamental dimension of the Psalm: in the terrible moments of human life many Psalms are a loud cry to God: "Help us, hear us!".

On this very day, in the Breviary, we prayed like this: God, where are you? "You have made us like sheep for slaughter" (Ps 44[43]: 11 [rsv]). A cry of suffering humanity! And Jesus, who is the true subject of the Psalms, truly bears this cry of humanity to God, to God's ears: "help us and hear us!". He transforms the whole of suffering humanity, taking it to himself in a cry to God to hear him.

Thus we see that in this very way he brings about the priesthood, the function of mediator, bearing in himself, taking on in himself the sufferings and passion of the world, transforming it into a cry to God, bringing it before the eyes and to the hands of God and thus truly bringing it to the moment of redemption.

In fact the Letter to the Hebrews says that "he offered up prayers and supplications", "loud cries and tears" (5: 7). It is a correct translation of the verb prosphèrein. This is a religious word and expresses the act of offering human gifts to God, it expresses precisely the act of offering, of sacrifice. Thus with these religious terms applied to the prayers and tears of Christ, it shows that Christ's tears, his anguish on the Mount of Olives, his cry on the Cross, all his suffering are nothing in comparison with his important mission. In this very way he makes his sacrifice, he becomes the priest. With this "offered", prosphèrein, the Letter to the Hebrews says to us: this is the fulfilment of his priesthood, thus he brings humanity to God, in this way he becomes mediator, he becomes priest.

Those of us who care deeply about Holy Mother Church now share in His Passion as it appears that evil will triumph. In Christ we have a model. We should cry out to God with tears and pleading not only for His Justice to prevail in this matter, but for mercy for those who are responsible for the crucifixion of schools with a solemn duty to educate children in the Faith of Christ. Make no mistake, Truth was crucified yesterday. Freedom was crucified yesterday. The Church was crucified yesterday. We must raise the alarm and call upon our leaders to fight hard for the Faith, but also, we must offer our suffering to God and all along pray for those who persecute us.

The days are coming when we shall no longer be able to boast of our Catholic schools, whether they achieve academic excellence or not, for what is knowledge and worldly success if the voice of Truth and Love is made the voice in the wilderness?
There is one thing alone of which we can all boast; we can boast of our humiliations (2 Cor. 12:15) and in taking up daily the holy cross of our Lord Jesus Christ ~ St Francis of Assisi

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