In other words: Jesus, in His distressing disguise, presented Himself as a depleted, exhausted, woebegone wastrel. And the righteous gave Him refreshment. They refreshed the suffering Chist–renewed His strength, restored His drooping spirits. They changed a moment of discouragement, even despair, into a new beginning, by a simple act of kindness.
Of whom might we think when we imagine these righteous ones who refreshed the weakened, enfeebled Christ? Our Lady, of course. She refreshed her Son with little motherly kindnesses more times than we can even imagine. And Mary Magdalen, who anointed the Lord’s weary, desert-chapped feet. And St. Veronica, who wiped the blood and sweat from His face as He made His way to Golgatha.
The righteous, the just, the saints: they offer refreshment to us human beings. God knows we need it. This world can start to seem dark and dangerous sometimes. But the saints make it into a hopeful place, a place with a future, a place where we would want our children to grow up. They might do something as simple as asking if you want a glass of cold water. Or something as complex as writing a book that helps us make sense of life. Or something as hidden as praying and fasting for us, without us even knowing about it. But all the saints have this in common: they offer some kind of real refreshment to this hungry, thirsty, tired, depleted world.
And offering refreshment is the distinguishing saintly characteristic because it is the distinctive divine characteristic. Yes, in the beginning God created everything out of nothing, and that is truly awesome. But: that act of creation is not God’s most awe-inspiring accomplishment.
Remember what St. Peter said to the citizens of Jerusalem during the first Easter season: “Turn to God, that your sins may be wiped away! Thus may a season of refreshment be granted you by the Lord.”
What kind of ‘season of refreshment?’ We hear it described at Sunday Mass, in the 23rd Psalm of David: “In verdant pastures, the Lord gives me repose. Before restful waters He leads me. He refreshes my soul.”
The most awe-inspiring thing the Lord does is this: The universe that He made constantly tries to slip back into the darkness and nothingness from which it came. But He always refreshes it, and gives everything new life.
The darkness of sin, of death, of dissolution, of exhaustion, of starvation, depletion, desperation, inertia, depression, addiction, confusion, frustration, disinformation, full-scale conflagration–none of that darkness can overcome the refreshment that the Lamb of God offers the world.
With what does Christ refresh us? With His Blood! His lifeblood, shed for us on the cross. It poured out on Mount Calvary and watered the earth. Then He rose from that very earth, with His lifeblood flowing again through His veins to refresh His own flesh. And He gives us that divine blood and flesh as the constant refreshment that conquers all the evil in us.
Praised be Christ, our King! In return for the refreshment He offers us, let us pledge to Him our loyal service.
Act of Consecration to Christ the King
Most sweet Jesus, Redeemer of the human race, look down upon us humbly prostrate before you. We are yours, and yours we wish to be; but to be more surely united with you, behold each one of us freely consecrates himself today to your Most Sacred Heart.
Many indeed have never known you; many, too, despising your precepts, have rejected you. Have mercy on them all, most merciful Jesus, and draw them to your Sacred Heart.
Be King, O Lord, not only of the faithful who have never forsaken you, but also of the prodigal children who have abandoned you; grant that they may quickly return to their Father’s house, lest they die of wretchedness and hunger.
Be King of those who are deceived by erroneous opinions, or whom discord keeps aloof, and call them back to the harbor of truth and the unity of faith, so that soon there may be but one flock and one Shepherd.
Grant, O Lord, to your Church assurance of freedom and immunity from harm; give tranquility of order to all nations; make the earth resound from pole to pole with one cry: Praise to the divine Heart that wrought our salvation; to it be glory and honor for ever. Amen.