The Church will enter the glory of the kingdom only through this final Passover, when she will follow her Lord in his death and Resurrection. The kingdom will be fulfilled, then, not by a historic triumph of the Church through a progressive ascendancy, but only by God’s victory over the final unleashing of evil, which will cause the Bride to come down from heaven. God’s triumph over the revolt of evil will take the form of Last Judgment after the final cosmic upheaval of this passing world. Catechism of the Catholic Church 677
I find God amazing in the plentiful ways he speaks. Something can be true for an individual person but mirror the larger church. I was pondering the passage above, 667. It is speaking of the end times, but written within it, you can see the life of any Saint who endured tremendous suffering, minus them descending from heaven, that’s the part we have to wait for. God is wanting to triumph over evil in the human heart, when all hearts have this triumph, when all hearts mirror the Immaculate heart, her heart will triumph, God’s heart will triumph.
One thing I know for sure is that God’s timing is not our timing. We usually fast track what God is patient about. Unlike us, he is slow to anger, and rich in kindness. We often get angry at Him when suffering drags on, we fail to see His kindness in the middle of it. For if He acted too soon, we may not be purified and He wants our glory to be great.
Why am I speaking about all this? Because I see the intensity of suffering increasing. I see mental and even physical anguish among individuals increasing. Especially as the Church herself can seem like she is abandoning her teachings, particularly on the moral life; the teaching lived and loved by so many Saints. Those of us who see the train wreck of more pain that this abandonment of teaching will cause, feel rejected, abandoned, and forgotten. These spirits are rampant. It’s like all hell has broken lose.
For an individual the path of the Spiritual life is long and winding. It begins with a recognition that you are a sinner and you realize there is someone who loves you anyway. This compels you to change. It is a love story. God chases, man finally sees, man responds to the love by changing His ways. I feel certain many in the church haven’t actually encountered Jesus, if they had, they wouldn’t dig so deep into their sin claiming to be proud of it. Encountering Jesus changes you and you finally understand that the teachings are for your good. If only we realized He is truly present in the Eucharist and we can encounter Him everyday.
This love affair with God, when it is new, it is amazing. Your eyes begin to be opened to all that you didn’t see; the reality of your smallness; the greatness of God. You even witness miracles. This is where you begin to despise the world and the things of the world, you want to reject them, the vanities, the lust, the foul language, the greed. You feel called higher. You want to be better.
This is like when the Apostles first met Jesus and walked with Him. This is where you meet your redemption. Most people are content to stay here. But the trajectory is always a forward motion, both for the individual and for the church. If you stay on the path, you will eventually find yourself in a Passion.
The Passion is where the facade of all that man has built both globally and inside one’s heart is really torn down by God in order to bring something greater. Saints understood this. This path veers off from you despising the world and wanting to reject or forget it, to a path where the world despises you and wants to forget and reject you. You feel abandoned. The demons of rejection and abandonment scream at you. This is where you find out if your journey with God has transformed you into love or if you are still addicted to ego. If all hell breaks loose and is unleashed upon you, can you still speak that God is good? When the world hates you, do you hate in return? This isn’t just walking with Christ, this is crucifixion with Christ. Can you set aside your own will, surrender it, in order to let God fill you with His?
This is a necessary path. The first path, the walking with Christ, it brings redemption. The second part, the crucifixion, it brings restoration, full glory and full healing.
I read the other day from the Diary of Saint Faustina (268) a conversation between Jesus and Faustina.
Saint Faustina: Jesus was suddenly standing before me, stripped of His clothes, His body completely covered with wounds, His eyes flooded with tears and blood, His face disfigured and covered with spittle. The Lord said to me:
Jesus: The bride must resemble the betrothed.
Saint Faustina: I understood these words to their very depth. There is no room for doubt here. My likeness to Jesus must be through suffering and humility.
Saint Faustina understood the path to full glory.
For us, it is a question of if we are willing. Are we willing to go there?
Many think they are willing. Peter certainly did. But in the end, he didn’t go the distance to the Cross. He turned to his sword and denied His Lord, a reaction not born of love. But God is so good He redeemed even those who denied Him, because after they fell, they accepted His mercy and He gave them the opportunity to bear much fruit and merit glory. Peter would later be handed another Cross. This time he faced it. Peter was restored. Only Judas didn’t turn to His mercy. Judas was overtaken by despair.
The kind of surrender to the Will of God that can face the Cross, is exemplified by the Blessed Mother, and John who took her into his home. Much of what Mary did was hidden. Mary stood in the confidence of God. Mary didn’t fight against being rejected or forgotten by the world. This is something she was willing to accept, for she totally knew who she was because of Christ’s love that saved her.
Mary didn’t just say yes at the beginning when the miraculous angel appeared to her bearing good news. She said yes every single day in all the hidden ways she loved that we don’t know about. And when the Cross came, though Jesus felt forsaken, she didn’t abandon Him. She didn’t abandon God at the Cross. She was so filled with love that she trusted and believed when it felt and looked like she shouldn’t. Is there a suffering you feel you cannot bear? A suffering that makes you rage at God? Consecrate yourself to her Immaculate Heart. She will help you to go the distance.
Perhaps our church will look like Peter did. Denying the truth, then repenting, then hiding, then being restored by the Power of God. Whatever the case, the more of us that can stand at the Cross coming our way, the more restoration awaits. If we become like Peter, we must return to mercy. We must not become like Judas giving into despair.
We humans are made up of our memory, our intellect and our will. Our intellect helps us to know what is true. Our will, we want to surrender it to God, but we need our memory to do this. Our memory helps us to savor those sweet times when we first encountered Christ. We remember the love, we remember the miracles. It’s how we can know God’s promises are true and we can surrender our will to God’s Will and not abandon God at the Cross. We remember Resurrection. Lord, remember us.
Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you will also appear with Him in glory. Collossians 3:2-4
Beautiful! This reflection is deep in the immense sea of God! I hear God speaking through His Divine Will in your writing.
Fiat and Joy!