SYMPHONY OF SUFFERING column for August 22, 2000
SYMPHONY OF SUFFERING
The Wondrous Mystical Body of Christ
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
When last I wrote, I had tried, humbly, to share with you the grace given at Lourdes in which I was permitted to see my soul as God sees it. Only God could be so merciful, for it was His strength which helped me to take a good, long, hard look at my soul, and to know where I needed to improve my spiritual life.
So, there I sat in this football-size stadium underground in Lourdes. It was by far the most uplifting, holy, wondrous liturgical celebration I have ever been to, and I suppose it would be fair to say that until my death, it will be the ultimate of my earthly sojourn back to God.
That day was so filled with graces, with human emotions supported by God, that it wasn't until we had come home, and the dust had settled about us in getting back to our regular routine, getting caught up, etc., that I realized another grace I had been given. It left me dumbstruck, and I can only pray now for the Holy Spirit to once again guide my humble words, and to enlighten you who read these poor words, so that you, too, may understand what God has given me to understand about His Mystical Body.
Where to begin? It is impossible, in any language, to describe to you that which God gave me to understand, but the best I can do is this. We are related to God. We are His sons and daughters, every living human being, from those in the womb, having just been conceived by the miracle of LIFE, which is God's alone to give, to the last whisper of breath our mortal body takes before our entry into ETERNAL LIFE.
Along the sojourn of our Life, we are called by God to come home. Our soul recognizes God, for it comes from Him, is part of Him, and cannot die. The soul remembers what we can no longer recognize because of the conditioning of and through our human condition. Our subconscious plays far too large a part in our sojourn on earth, many times overriding our conscious thoughts, leading us astray, into false hope, and false piety, and false perceptions of God's wondrous mysteries. Where our finite mind cannot grasp the mysteries of God, our subconscious, desperate to make sense out of a whole supernatural plane, comes up with all sorts of explanations, many of which make absolutely no sense even in the ordinary sense of things, and are often so far off the mark that we wind up dismissing God from our lives, because how can we possible understand anything so extraordinary.
That's where the Mystical Body of Christ comes into our lives. Through baptism, we are made members of this wondrous Mystical Body of Christ. Our soul leaps for joy at the call of the Creator, the Savior, and the Counselor of the World. Our soul, it's intellect, responds to this call of Divinity, and answers humbly. The soul recognizes it's immortal being, and corresponds to us through conscience that which we must do in order to reach the shores of Heaven. However, the regular daily affairs of our mortal life, along with instincts that are strongly imbedded in our fallen flesh, often close off the intellect of the soul, allowing our own mind to lead us astray, believing, falsely, that it is the only course we, as human beings, can take.
How wrong! How false! As a collective exercise in spirituality, we should all, for a moment each day, tell our finite brain, and its huge subconscious, to leave us alone, to allow our souls to communicate with our God, Who is One, in Three Divine Persons. Each one of us has his or her own opinion or creative way of thinking of Heaven and Eternity. Even St. Therese of the Child Jesus thought, in her youth, that Heaven was just an extension of the closely knit family life she led in her time. Yet, over the few years she remained on earth, Our Lord brought her very quickly to a much more profound understanding of Himself, Heaven, and the Mystical Body of Christ. Therese grasped these matters, not because she was holy, but because she was humble and meek of heart. These were graces God granted her, not because she merited them but because He choose her and she responded with a "Yes!"
Every single saint in Heaven, whether raised to the altar of the Church through canonization, or with the small "s" that we put on the memories of loved ones, has had to reach this same humility of heart that St. Therese reached on earth through the graces bestowed by a Merciful God. Not one of us will ever enter through the portals of Heaven until we have understood, not with our mind, but with our soul, the necessity and beauty of true humility of heart. It is this humility of heart which leads us to LOVE. Love of self is important, but not meant to be taken to extremes. We must know who we are, who God created us to be. He made each one of us, unique and individual. He bestows upon us graces, according to His Will, not ours! He gives to us trials that He chooses, not that which we choose. The more meek and humble of heart we become, the easier it becomes to realize God's Almighty Hand in all of our daily life, from the moment of conception until He calls us home. It is this humility and meekness, this LOVE, that enlightens us, bringing the graces and gifts of the Holy Spirit to dwell in our soul, where, through our cooperation, these same graces and gifts blossom under the smile of the Divine Savior.
How often have you struggled in the way of Salvation, in the way of perfection? I cannot know this, but I can share with you that through my life, I have struggled…not because God wanted me to struggle, but because I was grasping for things that were not mine to reach for. Yes, I had the right to ask God for greater graces, if it was His will, but I also had the responsibility as His daughter, to wait patiently for the grace asked for, and to be ready with humility to respond to whatever grace He gave to me. The struggle we put upon ourselves is the crux of our defeat! We, of ourselves, can do nothing. With God, all things become possible, The degree to which we kove Him, who is Perfect Love, makes us ever more and more deeply part of the Mystical Body of Christ.
We are not ALONE in our earthly sojourn. We have all been taught that God is always with us, that we have a guardian angel. This is proper, for God is first and must always remain first. Yet, in His Infinite Love, which we cannot comprehend, all those in Heaven, and in Purgatory, are truly our family. They are not the strangers we think they are, nor are the people who attend our parish church strangers we haven't met yet. They are real family, and the parish community must and should function as a family unit if it is to meet the criteria that God has set forth for the Mystical Body of Christ. Every single soul that has been saved, and will be saved by the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, is a brother and sister to us. There is no other way to explain it. These holy souls are more closely related to us than, many times, are the direct members of our family. Thus, when we go to Mass we do not go alone. On the contrary, while at Mass, we are ennobling the Mystical Body of Christ, and we are being ennobled by God's graces, which make the Mystical Body of Christ a reality, not a myth we cannot understand.
In my next installment next week I will continue in this same vein, extolling the graces one receives at the greatest of mysteries - the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
Next issue: (Tuesday, August 29) The Mystical Body of Christ is ennobled in the Mystery of the Mass
August 22, 2000
volume 11, no. 147
SYMPHONY OF SUFFERING
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