Barren Self-Reliance, Glad Grace-Reliance

Today, God addresses us as follows:

Raise a glad cry, you barren one! (Isaiah 54:1)

Barren one?

At the Last Supper, Peter audaciously declared to the Lord, “I will lay down my life for you.”

He proposed to do this by his own courage, by his own manly vigor. Christ knew better. He knew the measure of Peter’s virility. He refused to accept Peter’s declaration.

As we know, Peter proved to be barren of courage and manliness.

“We saw you with him!” “I do not know the man.” “You are one of his disciples!” “I do not know what you mean.” “You are his friend!” “I do not know him.”

Meanwhile, the crucified thief bravely bore witness to the truth. “O innocent king,” the thief begged, “forgive me my guilt and remember me in your great kingdom to come.”

Christ did accept this. “Raise a glad cry, barren one. You may be languishing on a cross, justly condemned. But you will be with me in paradise this very day.”

Christ spoke these words of consolation to Peter, too. “Tough guy, you turned out to be a barren one, too, didn’t you? …But raise a glad cry, too. You will lay down your life for Me, by the power of my grace, when I say so.”

Self-reliance leaves us bereft and lifeless. Let’s raise a glad cry for the constant help that comes from heaven.

One thought on “Barren Self-Reliance, Glad Grace-Reliance

  1. Father Mark,

    “What a piece of work is man! How noble in
    Reason! how infinite in faculties! in form and moving
    how express and admirable! In action how like an Angel!
    in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the
    world! the paragon of animals! and yet to me, what is
    this quintessence of dust?” [Hamlet, Act II, Scene II]

    “Who have persuaded [man] that this admirable moving of heavens vaults, that the eternal light of these lampes so fiercely rowling over his head, that the horror-moving and continuall motion of this infinite vaste ocean were established, and contine so many ages for his commoditie and service? Is it possible to imagine so ridiculous as this miserable and wretched creature, which is not so much as master of himselfe, exposed and subject to offences of all things, and yet dareth call himself Master and Emperor.” [Montaigne, contemporaneous]

    We can rise to the heights in achievement; but, if we forget the source of our power, the God-given nature of it, that He is the sine qua non and raison d’être of our very being, we can fall further than we ever imagined. And, ultimately, we return to the dust from which we arose.

    LIH,

    joe

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