Deuteronomy Choice

Qumran Deuteronomy

Choose life, says the Lord. Choose to believe in God Almighty. And in His Christ, sent into the world with infinite divine love.

Choose to pray. Choose to seek wisdom from God and His saints. Do good. Avoid evil. Study God’s laws, and obey them.

Love God’s people. The people first gathered as the sons and daughters of Abraham, and now gathered as all the faithful in communion with St. Peter’s successor. Love Holy Mother Church, in other words. Never betray her or do violence to her.

Humble yourself in order to exalt yourself. God didn’t make no dummies, and He didn’t make no trash. He has a plan for peace and true happiness for all of us. But we can only know that plan one little step at a time. We don’t have infinite, providential minds. We’re no dummies, but the smartest thing we can do is: obey God. Acknowledge Him; revere Him; kiss His earth for His sake; submit to Him.

…I have been reading one book after another about climbing Mount Everest. I bring this up because we have begun to climb spiritually, up the ‘mountain’ of Easter.

One lesson of the books I have read about climbing Everest: You can’t fight with the mountain. Mount Everest will win. You must submit completely to the entire reality determined by the mountain itself.

Which means: Even though you may have dumped tens of thousands of dollars in to your Everest expedition, you might get to the top. And you might not.

The weather might simply refuse to co-operate. Your own body might react to the thin atmosphere in such a way that summiting proves simply impossible for you. Your teammates might have health problems that make the final ascent impossible.

In other words: A greater power than you will determine whether or not you reach the top. Not you. If you become willful about summiting, what may very well happen to you? RIP.

So, dear brothers and sisters: Let’s kiss God’s earth at the bottom of the mountain of Easter. Let’s look up at God—the God-man, crucified and risen from the dead, ascended on high. Let’s look up at Him and say: Lord, Thy will be done.

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Hidden in the Dust

Lookout Mountain TN postcard Chattanooga

Anyone ever looked out from Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga, Tennessee? It’s the southwestern-most ridge of the Appalachians, about the same latitude as the southern end of the Appalachian Trail.

You look down on the Tennessee River winding its way through the valley below. Dramatic history lies hidden in the soil, so to speak.

Like the decisive military action of the Civil War. The Confederates had put the Federal Army of the Cumberland on its heels here, in the fall of 1863. The Union soldiers in Chattanooga were cut-off and starving. But General Ulysses Grant found a way to get supplies into the besieged city, by stealth and stratagem.

The Union troops survived, and then marched toward Atlanta.

Or, buried even deeper in the dust of the valley: the archaeological remnants of other ancient civilizations that once lived and thrived here. There’s a simple memorial to the Cherokee Trail of Tears in downtown Chattanooga: A set of stone steps that leads… into the river.

Cherokee John Ross
Cherokee leader John Ross

Remember, man, that you are dust.

All this history, and more, lies hidden in the dust, so to speak, of one Appalachian valley. What lies hidden in us? In the dust that we are?

For our sake God made His Christ to be sin who did not know sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

What lies hidden in our mortal flesh? Nothing less than this: the eternal God has called us to be His beloved children forever. We have a vocation unto undying life, the unending life of God’s powerful love. This mystery of life lies hidden in our now-mortal flesh.

Which means we have a Passover to celebrate. Our brother in this mortal flesh, Jesus Christ, has passed over from the valley of tears into the Kingdom of Light. Our life makes sense when we recognize it as a pilgrimage towards that Passover, Christ’s Passover.

In fact, that’s the only way that human life makes sense. Without Christ, we die meaninglessly on a big rock hurtling around a minor star in a vast, empty universe. With Christ: we march toward life. In Him, God Himself accepted our human death, in order to turn death into a door. The door that leads to the everlasting life of God.

So let’s prepare ourselves to celebrate Christ’s Passover. It’s in… how many days? Let’s pray, fast, and give alms in secret for forty days. Because what lies hidden in this mortal dust of ours is: life.

Supernatural Insights

Do you reject Satan, and all his works, and all his empty promises? Do you believe in Almighty God, in His Son Jesus Christ Who died and rose from the dead, in His Holy Spirit, and in His Church? [Spanish]

macbeth
Macbeth

Baptismal promises. They involve a decision, a choice. The fundamental choice of life: to reject the seduction of short-term satisfaction through sin and to embrace the call of God. To offer our lives in sacrifice to the Father, as Jesus did on the cross. To pass over to eternal life, by living for God.

We choose in response to God’s choice. As St. Paul puts it in our second reading at Holy Mass on Sunday, we are God’s “chosen ones.” He chose us for eternal life even before the foundation of the world. He inscribed our names in His Son’s Sacred Heart, numbering us among His adopted children.

Hopefully everyone knows the main reason we have the season of Lent: For the final preparation of adults preparing for baptism. During these six weeks, they dedicate themselves to an especially intense spiritual life, as the day when they will become Christians approaches. Let’s make sure we pray hard for them.

Many of us became Christians while we were still infants, carried to the baptismal font by our parents. They, with our godparents, made the baptismal promises that day. They chose on our behalf to reject sin and live for God.

Holy Mother Church gives us already-baptized people the forty days of Lent to renew the baptismal choice and make it more and more our own. After all, it takes a lifetime for anyone truly to choose God. The day of baptism comes and goes quickly, but we only really finish making our baptismal promises at the moment of death. In the meantime, we work on deepening our rejection of Satan and our faith in God.

Perhaps this is one reason why the Church always reads the account of the Transfiguration near the beginning of Lent. The main reason, of course, is: Christ let Peter, James, and John see His divine glory in order to prepare them for His Passion and death. Lent prepares us for the same thing.

Clovis Baptism St RemiBut there’s more. Lord Jesus allowed Peter, James, and John, to see what we normally cannot see here on earth. In heaven, the saints see what Peter, James, and John saw on Mount Tabor. But as we Christians make our pilgrim way through life, we must have faith that Jesus of Nazareth is God; we believe that He is.

For a moment, though, these three chosen Apostles saw. They saw the divinity of the Eternal Word made man. That was an extraordinary gift of insight, to be sure. But we, too, share in Peter, James, and John’s special vision of Christ in our own way. Christian faith gives us supernatural insight into the workings of divine Providence. We can learn to recognize temptations when they come our way, and to recognize the moments when God embraces us with His true love. Even though these two realities often wear disguises.

Anyone familiar with William Shakespeare’s play Macbeth? It involves a perfect example of what I mean. Early in the play, Macbeth thinks that Fate is “blessing” him with the opportunity to sit on the throne of Scotland. He thinks that the doors of ambition open before him because some higher power is working for his benefit. But Macbeth learns, in the the end, that an evil power has actually seduced him. Macbeth becomes king, but to his utter ruin. It costs him his happiness, his life, his soul.

May keeping Lent help us to put that in reverse. May we learn to see a temptation when it comes our way, no matter how shiny and attractive it may be. And may we learn to embrace with joy whatever little share in His Cross the good Lord gives us. Because to share in Christ’s cross is the greatest blessing we can receive in this pilgrim life.

Turning Our Backs on the Beloved World

noah-covenant

Our first reading at Sunday Mass reminds us about the covenant between God and Noah after the ancient flood.  As we read in Genesis, when God Almighty had decided to flood the earth completely, He did it with divine sadness.  He had made the world to be beautiful.  But Satan had befouled creation with so much sin and degradation that only a fresh start could get things back on-track. [SPANISH]

The flood didn’t mean the end of everything.  The same human race that God had created originally, and the same animals–all would survive, and provide a new beginning, after the flood.  But only one ark-full.  One isolated, solitary ark floating on the surface of an endless sea.

Now, we Catholics love the world.  We do not despise anything that God has made.  We know that He made everything to thrive, to flourish.

God made this cosmos—gave it a beginning, but not an end.  He made the world to endure forever, as an eternal temple of His light.  He even made the devil good, beautiful, powerful, vastly intelligent. God made Lucifer not for malice, but for love.

Lucifer, however, willed otherwise.  He willed destruction.  He wills the degradation of the world. And the devil has such skill in wreaking havoc that the world, which we love, which belongs to eternity—this world, at one point, justly got submerged under an endless sea.  God covered the earth with enough water to drown everyone and everything that didn’t make it onto the ark.  Not because God hated what He made, but because Satan had done his evil work so well.  All of the devil’s destruction had to be destroyed, in order that the world could thrive again. So the flood came.

christ-fastingNow, all of this happened to foreshadow of the mystery of Christ, and of Baptism into Christ. To begin Lent, we have to ask the question:  Where do we find the Kingdom of God?  In this world, or in another world?  Here, or somewhere else?

Yes.

The Lord Jesus went out into the ark of total solitude for 40 days.  He turned His back on the world, as if it were covered with an endless sea of water. We Catholics follow Christ into that ark of Lenten solitude, into the ark of self-denial.  We turn our backs on things like ice-cream and champagne.  We get into the ark of Lenten separation from the normal comforts of this earth.

The ark doesn’t have wifi or cable.  The berths on the ark do not have featherbeds.  But our Lenten observances do not involve self-loathing, nor world-hating.  We don’t hate ice-cream or champagne.  At least I don’t.  We don’t hate the world.  We don’t hate ourselves.

But the fact of the matter is:  The Enemy has enough power to just about ruin the world.  He has enough power to just about ruin us.  And He’s clever enough to ruin us with things so apparently innocuous as tvs, phones, ice-cream cones, donuts.

We do not undertake our Lenten penances with glee.  God did not gleefully flood the earth in the days of Noah.  God wouldn’t have flooded the earth at all, except He knew that, after forty days and forty nights of endless rain, He would set the rainbow in the clouds again.  Everything would start fresh and happy, with all the creatures from the ark standing on the fertile ground.  Birds singing and flowers starting to grow, like they had back in the Garden of Eden.

We undertake our Lenten penances because we love ourselves enough to hate how weak we can be.  We love the world enough to hate how it can lead us to make big mistakes in it. The world needs a big wash-down.  We need a big wash-down.

The world will never grow into the Kingdom of God, unless we love it enough to turn our backs on it for 40 days.  And we ourselves won’t make it to the divine Kingdom that this world will one day be, unless we deny ourselves and take up our crosses during Lent.  With the same kind of loving courage that led the Lord Jesus out into the desert.

More on the Essential Fact

At daily Mass on Saturday, the day before the third Sunday of Lent, we will read the Parable of the Prodigal Son. After that: only three weeks till Palm Sunday!

Let’s focus on this: Christ came to conquer death. To die as a man and rise again as a man. CNN can come and go; brackets can get filled out and busted. But this is the essential fact. Jesus said, “In My Father’s house, there are many dwelling places.” We live a mortal life in a sinful world, to be sure. But, fundamentally, we live in the Father’s house. And each of us has his or her own place in that house, no matter what—because of Christ’s conquest of death.

resurrectionWe read in the gospel at today’s Mass that Lazarus would gladly have eaten the scraps that fell from Dives’ table. Lazarus did not demand a widescreen hd smart tv. Lazarus did not style himself as some kind of high-rolling tycoon. He simply wanted his just portion of food.

But he did not get it. Because Dives did style himself a high-rolling tycoon and did demand a widescreen hd smart tv and did not concern himself with his fellowman.

Then death came for them both. And with death came justice.

Tomorrow at Holy Mass we will read a parable about how the Father built a fruitful vineyard with plenty of dwelling places, for his grapes to grow and for His children to reap the fruits. He sent His Son to collect His just portion. ( I guess the just portion of the Creator can only be our peaceful, worshipful love, right?) But they killed the Son and heir.

See the picture here? The Father wills peace, harmony, human co-operation. The Father wills the fruitfulness of His children. The Father reigns over a kingdom not of scarcity, nor of selfish luxury—but of tranquil, beautiful sufficiency for everyone. The Son fulfills the will of the Father perfectly. And, in this fallen world, it leads to His death.

When rich Dives cried out from hell, begging Abraham to send someone back from the dead to teach the world a lesson, Abraham demurred. ‘God already tried to teach the world a lesson! Didn’t He form a covenant and seal it with His life-giving love? How hard is it to obey the Ten Commandments? No more warnings.’

But, as we will read Saturday: Even without the warning that Dives begged Abraham to send, something managed to get through to the prodigal son. Something penetrated his soul, as he gazed upon the pig-slop that he wished he could feed himself upon. He languished in the muck, in this fallen world. But, somehow, he found a way to stand on the stone which the builders rejected. The stone which the builders rejected is Christ, the Prince of Peace, Who came seated on a donkey into Jerusalem, prepared to reign with love. But they rejected Him and killed Him.

The prodigal son managed to stand on that stone somehow, and he thought to himself, “In my father’s house, there are many dwelling places! There’s one for me.” And the father said, “This son of mine was dead, but now he lives!”

Christ conquered death. He conquered death with something. It’s the same mysterious something that somehow moved the heart of the prodigal son towards the truth of God.

Christ conquered death with the very life that the Father freely wills to give us. Christ conquered death with the Father’s gift of life. Abraham would not send a warning back from beyond the grave. But Christ did not hesitate to return from the grave with a gift. The gift of the fruitful life of the eternal springtime of God.

First and Second Regeneration

full_moon_2
Purim moon tonight. One more cycle to the holy Pasch.

On two occasions during Lord Jesus’ earthly life, the Father spoke out from heaven, saying, “This is my beloved Son!” At Christ’s Baptism. And at His Transfiguration.

Holy Baptism. One of the seven… sacraments. The sacrament of regeneration. God generated us in the first place, in the Garden of Eden. When Satan tempted us, we fell, and we became the sinful, mortal human race that we are. Then God sent His beloved Son to re-generate us.

We enter into the re-generation process through Holy Baptism. When we get baptized into Christ, everything starts fresh–human purity restored, an open-ended friendship with God begins.

Gerard David TransfigurationYou know that Lent exists primarily as the final period of preparation for adults who will be baptized during the night before Easter. Lent primarily means the final stage of study and purification for non-Christians about to become Christians. The ancient People of God passed dry-shod through the Red Sea and marched on, toward the Promised Land; Lent exists primarily for us to integrate the stranger and the sojourner among us into our nation, the pilgrim Church.

Lent also exists to remind us already-baptized Christians about what happened to us at the font. God regenerated us there, to live as His friends, as the children of His household. We need to reach into the depths of our souls to rediscover the always-new, always-fresh presence of Christ’s truth and life. When we were baptized into Him, Jesus claimed us as His forever.

We already-baptized people, as we reach into these lovely interior depths during Lent, usually find that we need to be re-cleansed by the baptismal water. And that’s as easy as… going to confession! One ancient name for the sacrament of Confession is… second Baptism.

But, speaking of second things—what about the second time the Father declared, “This is my beloved Son!” The gospel we read at Holy Mass every second Sunday of Lent. When the Lord’s body shone with brilliant divine light, transfigured. At that moment, the human regeneration accomplished by Christ, usually invisible to our eyes, was revealed.

St. Thomas Aquinas says that Christ’s Baptism in the Jordan River was the sacrament of our first regeneration. And Christ’s Transfiguration is the sacrament of our second regeneration. Our bodily resurrection. When Christ comes again, in the glory He revealed at the Transfiguration, sin and Satan and death will no longer have any power over us. According to God’s own design, we will shine then like the stars in the sky.

First Sunday of Lent Homily, Lectionary Year A

the-fall

Once every three years, we read the account of the Fall of Man at Sunday Mass.  To begin Lent.  We remember that somewhere in the murky past, we human beings had at least one moment of purity, when we enjoyed a better life–a life without all the struggles we now have.

We weren’t always this way.  We did not always lurch through our experiences in such a Homer-Simpson-like manner.  Our hearts did not always start fluttering whenever we see a frozen yogurt machine or a chocolate-chip cookie.  We did not always have such a hard time concentrating on God’s Word, while meanwhile having such an easy time concentrating on why so-and-so should have spoken to me before speaking to that other person—how dare she snub me!

We would still live in that paradise, in that peaceful Garden of a bigger life—if only we human beings did not have such a hopeless penchant for false pride.

“Oh, okay, Mr. Serpent!  You’re saying we human beings actually know better than God?  Really?  Well, we wouldn’t necessarily have thought that…  But if you say so.”

False pride.  True pride would have said to the serpent:  “Wait a minute.  God made us.  He loves us.  He has the best plan.  Maybe we don’t understand His rules perfectly.  But we will understand, in the end.  All will come clear in God’s time.  Meanwhile, we trust our heavenly Father!”

But:  We human beings tend to confuse ourselves with God.  Satan preyed on this.  He tricked us into doubting the heavenly Father’s Providence.  And we fell.

televisionA question:  We know from experience what it’s like to live now after the Fall of Man.  But how could we possibly know anything about what human life would have been like before the Fall?  How can we say what kind of life Adam and Eve had, before they ate the fateful apple?

Anybody know the answer?  In the fullness of time, the un-fallen Eve and the un-fallen Adam gave us a window into what our life was originally meant to be like.  Who brought the Garden of Eden back to the earth?  The Blessed Mother and her Son. Lord Jesus and the Blessed Virgin enjoyed perfect intimacy with the Creator. That intimacy teaches us about what life was like in the Garden of Eden. And, of course, it teaches us about heaven, too.

Question 2Death.  We fell from grace in the garden, and our mortal nature kicked-in. We are dust, and unto dust we shall return.  Did God punish us by allowing this?

Well, our First Parents succumbed to false pride.  Therefore, all their children inherit human flesh bearing the humiliating mark of inevitable death.  Sounds like punishment.

But maybe death came as a remedy for the Fall?  We lost the peace of perfect friendship with the Creator, and so this pilgrimage comes with daily doubts and struggles.  Death means the end of all this confusion and strife, the human agony that the Fall has caused.  Death means that our “fallen-ness” doesn’t last forever.  Death means the Lord has opened up a doorway that leads to something else, something other than just a life of tv, and failed diets, and paying bills, and never quite getting everything right.

The intimacy of Jesus with the Father.  The hungry man Who feeds on God’s truth says to the tempting devil, “Man lives on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”  The perfectly free, perfectly self-possessed man, united with the Creator, says to the tempter, “We owe our service to God alone, and we must not put His Providence to the test.”

christ-fastingNow, God may test us.  He may give us an unusually hard Lent.  A terribly frustrating Lent.  A Lent of good intentions that limp along lamely, well short of the mark.  If such be the Lent that the Lord has a mind to give us, so be it.  We will trust in His love and His mercy.  We will try to die to our own false pride.

If the Lord uses this Lent to draw us into a dark night of the soul, and we don’t feel His presence, and any good and hopeful future seems a long way off—we will praise and bless Him for it.  Nothing draws us closer to God than when He demands that we live by pure faith, without any consolations in this world.

Each of us has his or her own particular problems.  But we all have one problem in common:  We are members of the fallen human race.  And the Lord offers us all a common solution to our problem:  Faith.  Faith in Jesus Christ and faith in the heavenly Father Who, out of pure love, sent His eternally begotten Son to live a human life, so that we sinful human beings could get to heaven.

We want the intimacy with our Creator that we lost when our First Parents fell, the intimacy that we hope to have in the heaven that Jesus won for us. Indeed, we do have that intimacy even now—when the Spirit leads us stumblingly out into the desert, into the dark cloud of pure Christian faith.

The Desperate Son

christ-fasting

[also available in Spanish]

“This is my chosen Son.”  –Thus spake the Almighty, about our beloved carpenter of Nazareth, the most-famous Jew of all time.

A month and a half ago, we discussed the mystery of all the events in Christ’s life.

We take two things as givens—two facts, which we cannot comprehend, but which we nonetheless believe with absolute certainty.  1.  God became man, Jesus.  2.  The one true God is three divine Persons:  Father, Son, Holy Spirit.

Two dogmas:  Inc… and Tri…  The Scriptures drip with these two dogmas like a piece of French toast, ready to go on the griddle, drips with egg.  We hold the dogmas of Trinity and Incarnation as the foundation of everything we know.

tabor
Your servant on Mt. Tabor (’08)

‘People, here is my beloved Son.’  This statement sounded in the heavens, like thunder, perhaps.  Or like a mighty gust of wind.  I have stood on Mt. Tabor a couple times.  The wind can blow there with a vengeance.

God generally stays way above the level of human chat.  But, in this decisive moment of the Transfiguration, He spoke.  In thunder, or wind, or both, or in some other way.  He made Himself understood by human ears and little human minds.  ‘This is my Son, in Whom I take my delight.’

God’s eternal, divine delight—delight which endures like the most-ancient mountainsides, but which laughs with no less jollity because of that.  The eternal Father rests in an eternal state of thoroughly animated, sober inebriation—everlasting jolly contemplation of His chosen Son.  Nothing can disturb the peace; nothing can lessen the excitement of God the Father, as He gazes with love at God the Son, Jesus, the sandal-wearing Galilean.

A door open on eternity, the Father loving the Son.  And who are we?  Who are we to try to peer through that door?  Let’s remember one thing from last Sunday.  Then we can try to resolve the question.

Last Sunday we read:  “Jesus ate nothing for forty days, and He was hungry.”

Now, we can give up Snickers Bars for Lent, or drinking wine, or playing video games—it’s all good.  The Lord rewards every little sacrifice we make for Him.  But, if we really want to keep Holy Lent, we have to do something other than just a nifty little appropriate penance.  We have to contemplate those words, long and hard.  “He was hungry.”

Recently I had the privilege of encountering someone who had just had sudden heavy-duty brain surgery.  He could not talk.  He could not hold his head up.  He vomited everything they tried to get down his gullet.  He could not use his hands.  His head hurt as if there were no other reality on the face of the earth.

Forty days of fasting had gotten Christ to a physical state like that.

Continue reading “The Desperate Son”

Together on Ash Wednesday

Pope Francis ashesLent brings us together.  Ash Wednesday brings us together.

Not that the Church doesn’t always come together.  Church means ‘coming together,’ after all.  The Lord brings us together in church year-round.

But we know that Ash Wednesday and Lent bring us together more.  Because:  If there’s a single day of the year that marks us as Christians–a single most important day of them all–then, of course, that day is…

And honest Christians know we need forty days of special effort to prepare.  Forty days to “get it together” for the Holy Day of days, the day that represents eternal life.

So Ash Wednesday has brought us together, because all together we know we have to work for six weeks on getting it together.

How?  Let’s listen to the Holy Father…

For all of us, then, the season of Lent in this Jubilee Year is a favorable time to overcome our existential alienation by listening to God’s word and by practicing the works of mercy. In the corporal works of mercy we touch the flesh of Christ in our brothers and sisters who need to be fed, clothed, sheltered, visited; in the spiritual works of mercy — counsel, instruction, forgiveness, admonishment and prayer — we touch more directly our own sinfulness.

The corporal and spiritual works of mercy must never be separated. By touching the flesh of the crucified Jesus in the suffering, sinners can receive the gift of realizing that they too are poor and in need.

Feeding, clothing, sheltering, visiting, counseling, instructing, forgiving, admonishing, and praying for each other–because we sinners need the help that comes from touching the flesh of the crucified Christ.  Which is only as far away as the person closest to us who suffers.

________________

required:  no meat; only one full meal

good:  going to Mass and receiving ashes

Halfway to Jerusalem: Remember to Remember!

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We find ourselves near the mid-point of Lent. Halfway to Jerusalem, so to speak. It seems like Lent only just began, so that means Holy Week will arrive before we know it: The week of our most intense commemoration, our most intense remembering.

Lent unites us with the ancient Israelites. God liberated them from slavery in Egypt. They journeyed home to the land that God had given their father Abraham. During that journey, God gave them their law.

One of the most important precepts of the law was: Don’t forget what happened in Egypt! No matter how settled you may get in the Promised Land, no matter how comfortable: never forget! You were beggarly slaves, living in cruel desperation. God Almighty reached down from heaven and freed you!

The Passover remembrance involved a lot more than just a yearly ritual. It actually gave the ancient Israelites the foundation for all their piety and their morality. By remembering that they owed God everything–that they owed Him their freedom and whatever prosperity they had–by remembering that they, too, had been desperate and poor, they kept compassion for the desperate and poor alive in their hearts. Their commemoration of the Passover taught them not to turn away from the desperate soul in distress. Because they, too, had been desperate souls in distress, and still would be–were it not for God’s gracious mercy to them.

el-grecost-paulAs St. Paul has explained, what happened in Egypt occurred in order to give us an image of what Jesus was to do in Jerusalem. In the days of Moses, God saved one nation from slavery.

Then God came to the earth Himself, and He saved all of us from an even more desperate and poor state. Slaves not just of Pharaoh, but of Satan. Destined to die in misery and languish forever in a hopeless netherworld.

But God did not turn away from us–desperate as we are, helpless as we human beings are, in the face of our own weakness and our inevitable death. He did not turn away. He turned toward us. He offered His face to buffets and spitting. He spread out His arms for the nails. He bowed His Head in death for us, and He overcame our Enemy and rescued us for eternal life.

The precept of precepts in our Gospel law is: that we never forget this! That we live with the constant memory of Christ redeeming us from the most desperate slavery. That we live with the constant memory of Christ giving us an unimaginably wonderful destiny, immeasurably greater than we could ever deserve.

This remembrance gives us the foundation of our piety and our morality, too. Christ laid down all He had for us, when we had nothing. So we have to lay down all we have, to help the brother or the sister who needs something.

____________________________
h/t Dr. Timothy Gray