KITCHEN TABLE CHATS

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I have worn many labels (Not in any particular order): Catholic, Wife, Mom,Gramma, Doctor, Major, Soccer Mom, Military Wife, Professor, Fellow.

All of these filter my views of the world. I hope that like St. Monica, I can through prayer, words and example, lead my children and others to Faith.
"The important thing is that we do not let a single day go by in vain without putting it to good use for eternity"--Blessed Franz J├Ągerst├Ątter

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Messenger of Penance

God seeks messengers of penance even today for the big cities, the modern Ninevehs. Have we the courage, the depth of faith, the credibility, to touch hearts and open doors to conversion?
--Pope Benedict XVI, Journey to Easter

It is not easy to be a messenger of penance. It means telling someone, “ I love you. I respect you. But you are walking away from God. Turn around. Come home.” And then that someone may say, “You are wrong. Get away from me. You are the one walking the wrong way. Stop attacking me. If God loves me he will take me as I am. If you loved me like God loved me you would accept me.” He walks away. You are left alone, your arms outstretched and empty. The embrace you hoped for never happens.

Christ, too, stretched out His arms. He was the messenger of penance for the people of Israel. He told them, “ I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father, except through me.” (Jn 14: 6) But his way was too hard. The people of his time said, “You are wrong. We don’t want a new way. Leave us in our old ways.” Instead of an embrace, he received death on the Cross.

The sign of true justice, of perfect justice, is to die voluntarily for the salvation of others. This sign Jesus gave. He is the truly just man. His sign is his death. His sign is his Cross. By it his sign will continue to the end of days, and this sign will be a judgment upon the world, a judgment on our lives. Let us, day by day and from now on, put our life under this sign. By making the sign of the cross at the beginning and the end of our prayer, we receive and recognize the sign of Jonah.
--Pope Benedict XVI, Journey to Easter

Today after Communion, I crossed myself. As I touched my right shoulder, I felt a little twinge. I shattered my wrist this past Thanksgiving. After surgery, nearly two months in a cast, and six weeks of occupational therapy, I am almost completely healed. Since my injury, making the sign of the Cross has been a deliberate act. It is only recently that I have regained enough range of motion to make a complete sign of the Cross. But when I get to the extreme ends of my range of motion, it hurts. After reading these reflections today, I think I will be grateful for this little reminder that following the Way of the Cross is painful. Painful, but necessary.

1 comment:

Barb, sfo said...

Wow--to think the mere act of a Sign of the Cross could be a penance for someone--all of us take for granted our ability to do this.

(Except, that is, for the little kids who still don't know their left from their right. Backyard-Neighbor Girl is 8 and is still a Lefty Blesser.)