Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

IHS

Quinqagesima Sunday—23 February A.D. 2020

Ave Maria!

 

 

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Lenten Observance
Lent brgins this Wednesday!

    If you have been following the reading program on the website, you have re-read the earlier chapters of the Book of Genesis, describing the creation and the fall of man.  We know that God created all things out of nothing … that both men and angels were intended to share God’s happiness with Him in heaven … that the primary purpose of all created beings is to show forth God's goodness … that in order to glorify Him, God gave men and angels (His “rational” or thinking creatures) free will … that because of this free will we are able to please God or to offend Him; freely choosing to conform or not conform our wills to His.  We recall that some of the angels chose to use their free will unwisely, disobeyed God, and were consigned to hell.  We recall also that Adam and Eve also exercised their free wills and lost God's graces and gifts, and became liable to the fires of hell as well.  The sin of the angels, and the sin of Adam, and the sins that we ourselves commit are rooted in false pride; in seeing ourselves as something more important than we really are.

    You may know that the will of the angels is quite fixed.  They are unable to change their minds.  Those that disobeyed God are unable to repent.  But the human will is more flexible.  We have the extent of our lifetime to make up our minds.  Even if we have sinned seriously, we have the opportunity to repent; to turn our wills back toward God.  And, conversely, the good person needs to be watchful so as not to give into temptation and final impenitence.

    However, even though we are capable of repentance, that still doesn't undo the sin of Adam or our own sins.  God may forgive the repentant sinner, but that does not repair the damage done by sin.  Adam was repentant, but his sin was a fundamental rupture of mankind's relationship with God.  Man, who had been created to glorify God, turned around and insulted Him instead.

    It was like a man who had been invited to the king's house for a party, but who broke a few pieces of the king's furniture and smashed a few of his crystal goblets.  At the end of the evening he apologized to the king, telling him how sorry he was.  Well, the king was a generous fellow, and he forgave him for the damage, and didn't even think about sending him a bill for the repairs—but guess who wasn't going to get invited back ever again!

    Adam had done something similar.  He, a lowly creature, had insulted his infinite God.  Instead of glorifying Him, Adam joined Satan in rebellion against Him.  Adam was a proven traitor, and was no longer believable in singing God's praises.  Even with repentance, there was no way for Adam to undo the damage.  He had lost the graces that made his actions pleasing in God's sight, and had no way to cross the infinite gap between man and creator.

    But God is both good and merciful.  Almost from the very moment of Adam's fall, God promised a redeemer;  that he would send a woman who together with her Son would crush the head of the devil represented by the serpent.[1]

    Now, the way in which God chose to redeem us is interesting in itself.  He could, of course, have redeemed us with an act of His will.  He could of just said to himself, “I will just forget the whole thing, restore Adam to grace, and let him start over.”  But He didn't do that.  Instead, God chose to give us the help necessary to bridge the gap between mankind and our creator.  He sent His only Son to take on human nature, to become one of us, and to intercede on our behalf for His mercy.

    If we go back to our story for just a moment, it was as though the king's son entered the room and took the blame for the broken furniture and smashed goblets.  As though he replaced the damaged articles from his own treasury.  That would put the king's guest back in his good graces, and more likely to be invited to the palace again.

    But still we ask ourselves why Christ elected to lead a life of poverty and discomfort, from His shivering birth in a stable to His agonizing death on the Cross    why?  “The Son of Man would be delivered to the Gentiles, and mocked, and scourged, and spit upon, and crucified.”[2]  Certainly some of this was to demonstrate the horror and ugliness of sin—to remind us that it was through sin that suffering and death had entered the world.—to demonstrate that even worse than physical suffering and death was the spiritual death of soul of those who die unrepentant.

 

    But even more to the point, our Lord chose to live in poverty and to die in agony to point out that our most important task in life is to conform our wills to the will of God.  We must be humble enough to place our wants second to God's desires for us—what better example of humility than Christ's life of holy poverty.  We must be ready to submit our wills to God's holy will—and what better example of submission of will than to be ready to die for something God wanted, the redemption of mankind.

    The king's Son Himself, has delivered up His will to the will of the Father, so that we are no longer excluded from the palace;  for now our repentance and our good works actually mean something, we have become once again the adopted sons and daughters of God.

 


Dei via est íntegra

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