As I try to ponder and understand Christ, I realize that I am not able; and then I find myself at the feet of Holy Mother Mary. And here I find something that I can understand; a place to start, to begin to learn how to love as Christ would have us love.
And then I find myself at the feet of Christ like Mary Magdalene - praying and weeping for my sins. But also praying and weeping for Christ on the Cross. And then envisioning the risen Christ and falling at his feet. "Rabbouni", master, teacher.
Is Christ alive today? Where can I go to find him? As long as we are willing to seek him, he will find us.
"[Contemporary society] is prone to hedonism and consumerism, regardless of their harmful consequences"
- Pope Benedict XVI in "Caritas in Veritate" ("Charity in truth")
Ideas have consequences; decisions have consequences. Our decisions spring from our ideas - our perception of the world. These are shaped by our philosophies and our beliefs.
Christianity is not a system of philosophy, it is a system of beliefs. It is rooted in faith. It is dogmatic in the good sense, in which its roots are unshakeable. It is non-negotiable and so it is intolerant - but in a loving way; not in a hateful way.
It is intolerant in a way that a mother loves her child unconditionally. The mother has faith in the child. She believes in the child. She will not tolerate anyone who would harm her child.
"The greatness of Christianity lies in its being hated by the world, not in its being convincing to it."
- St. Ignatius of Antioch
The world hates us because we will not turn over the child for them to do as they will. For us the child is sacred. He is God. We will not sacrifice Him to their god Moloch.
The slaughter of the Innocents is once again taking place with the millions of unborn babies who die each year. Herod is afraid. The new ruler is among us. Christ has risen. God's chosen one.
Does this make sense? Is it "convincing"? Not to those who do not believe. To them Christ is an impediment who keeps them from achieving their worldly ambitions. They worship the sun and the moon and the earth's harvest, without understanding the true source of all creation.
We Christians are the Chosen People. It is time to come out of the catacombs. A new Holy age awaits us. Our hearts must be pure; our minds filled with prayer; our eyes set upon the cross.
As we march across this bridge we must feel his real presence. Then victory will be guaranteed to be ours. (I'm picturing St. Constantine at the battle of the Milvian Bridge in 312 - “In this sign conquer.”)
"Do not talk Jesus Christ and set your heart on the world."
- St. Ignatius of Antioch
Pope Benedict XVI said this at the Hyde Park vigil for the beatification of John Henry Newman...
"No one who looks realistically at our world today could think that Christians can afford to go on with business as usual, ignoring the profound crisis of faith which has overtaken our society, or simply trusting that patrimony of values handed down by the Christian centuries will continue to inspire and shape the future of our society. We know that in times of crisis and upheaval God has raised up great saints and prophets for the renewal of the Church and Christian society; we trust in providence and we pray for his continued guidance. But each of us, in accordance with his or her state of life, is called to work for the advancement of God’s Kingdom by imbuing temporal life with the values of the Gospel. Each of us has a mission, each of us is called to change the world, to work for a culture of life, a culture forged by love and respect for the dignity of each human person. As our Lord tells us in the Gospel we have just heard, our light must shine in the sight of all, so that, on seeing our good works, they may give praise to our heavenly Father."Pope Benedict XVI is envisioning an army of saints. He is calling us to join this army. The second coming of Christ is not a man, but many men. It is the Body of Christ on earth which is the Holy Church. As long as we remain divided, then the anti-Christ has won. A house divided cannot stand. An army divided will be easily defeated by its enemy. As Catholics, unity and obedience to the Pope is our only hope.
Like Mary who Pope Benedict XVI called "the perfect model of obedience to the divine will", we are called to listen to the angels - the messengers of God. This generation is chosen, and we may very well ask like Mary, "How can this be?"
But why not? Christianity begins with the "yes" of Mary: "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word." If we allow God into our hearts, what "new things" may be born into the world?