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Are You Like Christ or Are You Christ!

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This past Sunday I was standing next to my husband at church.  This is a rare occurrence because my husband is a Deacon and he’s typically on the altar sitting next to the priest and not in the congregation with me and the kids.  I am so glad that he was there as I needed his support for the very powerful Gospel reading.  I needed to feel the squeeze of his hand…I think he also needed to feel the squeeze of my hand.  The Gospel was filled with challenge, after challenge. 

·         Love your enemy

·         Do good to those who hate you

·         Bless those who curse you

·         To the person who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other one as well, and from the person who takes your cloak, do not withhold even your tunic.

·         Stop judging…stop condemning,…forgive…give! 

Wowzah!!!  This was a tall order, and likely a lecture we should hear daily.  My pastor, (who is an amazing preacher) began his homily by saying, “Jesus MUST just be joking around right?”  After we stopped giggling, he proceeded with a message that will forever change my life!  He spoke eloquently as to why all of this was important to the Christian life, but he summarized it with a statement that hit me clear over the head: “We are not called to be LIKE Christ, we are called to BE Christ!” 

I grew up in a time when WWJD (What Would Jesus Do) was a saying that people lived by.  We wore the saying on a bracelet, I did too!  It was black with white letters.  This saying made me want to be “like” Him, it didn’t call me to “be” Him!  What a profound difference one word makes!  I am the face of Christ!  I am His hands, His feet, and yes, especially His heart!  This powerful, yet simple statement, that I need to BE Christ profoundly changed my outlook on life.  I need to wake up, get off my butt, and get to work!

I typically think that I am a pretty good person…but am I Christ…goodness no!  I avoid my enemies.  I do not go out of my way to do good to those who don’t like me.  I certainly don’t bless those who curse my name, nor do I offer my other cheek to someone who has hurt me.  I can be judgmental, I can withhold forgiveness, and I don’t give to others as often as I could!

I desire to always be the best version of myself, but our Gospel from Luke reminded me of just how far away I am from the person I want to be…the person God desires me to be.  This week I have been spending my prayer time reflecting on what I can do to BE Christ in this world and working on the person that I am.

Are you like Christ or are you Christ? What a good challenge this is to all of us as we approach the Lenten season.  What can we do this Lent to make sure that we are Christ to the world around us?  What areas of our life do we need to refine and grow in, so that at the end of our lives, when we are measured, we are not shocked by the results.

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In our mission statement at CatholicMarriagePrep.com we say: “Agape Catholic Marriage Preparation invites couples to a deeper relationship with each other and with Christ, one couple at a time.  Online, on-demand instruction rooted in Saint John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, combined with personalized mentoring from a trained married couple, builds a foundation for a strong, healthy, Christ-centered marriage between a man and a woman.”  Who does that best serve?   From the very inception of CatholicMarriagePrep.com serving military couples has always been on our hearts, even offering a military discount.

Tara Brooke
28 June 2022

Wow!!!  Yes, that is the correct word to begin this blog post!  I think I am still in shock!  On the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus our country just experienced the overturning of an almost 50-year-old law regarding abortion.  Roe vs. Wade was overturned!  

One You May Have Missed

Edmund Adamus
16 September 2016
Global
Spirituality
Health
Society
Year of Mercy
Over the holidays I read the excellent book by Dawn Eden: "Remembering God's Mercy. Redeem the Past and Free Yourself from Painful Memories." I highly recommend this little book (it’s not a lengthy tome!) because it's well worth reading before the Jubilee Year of Mercy has run its course on the Solemnity of Christ the King in November. Dawn is a dear friend of mine and I've had the joy and privilege of collaborating with her on several occasions since we first met at a Theology of the Body conference in Dublin over 10 years ago.  And she has twice been a guest speaker for the annual Theology of the Body lecture I've hosted in Westminster diocese since 2004.  Dawn is candid about the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder she has suffered due to sexual abuse she suffered as a child.  This is not a new revelation as she disclosed it in her previous books.  What's unique about this analysis is how she weaves much of the thought and teachings of Pope Francis on the subject of mercy into how she herself has experienced the deep and mystical power of healing and reconciliation over a long period of her life. I was reminded of how much healing I need in my own life and relationships, but also just how often God has blessed my soul with what one author I once read describes as "savage grace."  That almost sounds like an oxymoron for we often only associate the concept of grace with tenderness, gentleness and peace. Grace is often all these things, but I think what Dawn’s book reveals in a fresh way is how such qualities of grace are in fact the fruits or end result of a process rather than the beginning.  Oftentimes the Lord (being the all loving Father that He is) allows us to go through a painful process of inner purification and humbling experiences precisely because, if we didn't, the graces we so earnestly desire and need would not take root in us in such a way so that we in turn, by "Remembering God's Mercy" towards us, are better able to be eager channels of it for others, especially those who have hurt us in the past; which if were honest can often be close family members. There's one final little twist in Dawn's story towards the end of the book which for me sums up how God's mercy really is working and at work in our lives at every stage ....often at the darkest of moments and when we might imagine we are as far away from God as we can possibly be, just as Dawn was at the age at which (without realising it) the Holy Spirit was gifting His presence to her through a piece of music.  Only much later in her life did she understand its powerful significance for the whole of her life. I'm delighted that Dawn will now be teaching seminarians as a Doctor of Theology.  She is truly a great gift to the Church in these times.  Read the book.  -Edmund Adamus

 

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