In the end we are faced with the awesome paradox of Christian faith that defies human definitions of power. In Jesus’s apparent absolute powerlessness on the cross, indeed the complete self-abnegation of Jesus on the cross, God has radically overturned all human notions of power. Out of weakness comes strength; out of powerlessness comes power; out of death comes resurrection, life. This is part of the radical witness that Jesus, Paul, and Francis place before us: God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness stronger than human strength.
Our fraternities are the nurseries where God prepares, nurtures and strengthens us for our work in the world. In these “gardens of love,” all plants (us) are unique, varied and purposeful. Each has the capacity to give honor to God and to benefit others in some way. Now temptations blow through the garden, and often the way we “rub against each other” causes us to become irritated. If we rely on, or take pride in, our own gifts, friction and division will occur. If we learn to die to self and submit to the loving care of the Gardener (and our lawful superiors), His beauty, His love, and His peace will increase in us and overflow to all the world.
[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][fusion_dropcap color=”” boxed=”no” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]N[/fusion_dropcap]o circumstance in the world can ever prevent us from believing in God, from placing all our trust in him, from loving him with our whole heart, or from loving our neighbor. Faith, hope, and charity are absolutely free, because if they are rooted in us deeply enough, they are able to draw strength from whatever opposes them! If someone tried to silence our faith by killing us, our deaths would be the best possible proclamation of our faith! Love, and only love, can overcome evil by good and draw good out of evil.
You need to know what you believe. You need to know your faith with that same precision with which an IT specialist knows the inner workings of a computer. You need to understand it like a good musician knows the piece he is playing. Yes, you need to be more deeply rooted in the faith than the generation of your parents so that you can engage the challenges and temptations of this time with strength and determination. You need God’s help if you want to resist the blandishments of consumerism, if your love is not to drown in pornography, if you are not going to betray the weak and leave the vulnerable helpless.
So let us not run from our suffering. Let us not give in to the world’s constant offering of something to numb us to our suffering and to help us deny the reality of our death. Let us enter into our suffering together, supported in solidarity, so that we may find the strength of the Resurrection as a means to enter into the suffering of the poor, the sick, and the brother and sister sinners around us. This is our saltiness. This is being the salt of the earth, returning savor to human existence and preserving what nourishes.
~ Brother Charles, a minor friar blog
29. In the face of the present-day situation of the world, marked as it is by the grave sin of injustice, we recognize both our responsibility and our inability to overcome it by our own strength. Such a situation urges us to listen with a humble and open heart to the word of God, as he shows us new paths towards action in the cause of justice in the world.
~ Justice in the World, World Synod of Catholic Bishops, 1971
There is beauty and strength in vulnerability. From the cross, Jesus, the most perfect example of love, shows us how beautiful vulnerability can be. At the moment when Jesus was most vulnerable, when he was alone, beaten, stripped of everything, and hanging on a cross, he revealed the incredible strength of his love. If Jesus had been seeking success, he could have easily risen to power as king and forced the will of God upon people. Instead, he consistently chose vulnerability. We see it in his crucifixion, and we see it when our mighty God comes to be with us in the form of simple bread and wine in the Eucharist. Jesus freely chose to share in our daily human suffering, and in doing so he became united with us through his vulnerability—not through his success.
~ Claire McGrath, Redefining Sucess: The Beauty in Vulnerability | Catholic How
The follower of Christ doesn’t arm herself, in other words, but rather empties herself. That is what the Son of Man dared to do.
To empty ourselves takes all our hearts, all our minds, all our strength, all our souls, all our love. To empty ourselves is to weep for the unborn, and for the ones who were never conceived. It is to weep for the child who never was, and the mother who aborts; for the bully and the bullyer, the soldier and the conscientious objector, the homeless person and the wealthy person. It means to let go–completely–of the delusion that intelligence, willpower, force, or money will win the day.
To empty ourselves is a scandal. To empty ourselves is Christ.
Heather King, “Self Emptying”
We must meditate before, during and after everything we do. The prophet says: “I will pray, and then I will understand.” This is the way we can easily overcome the countless difficulties we have to face day after day, which, after all, are part of our work. In meditation we find the strength to bring Christ to birth in ourselves and in others.
~ Saint Charles Borromeo, via OH……….. FRANCESCO
We are at Jesus’ disposal. If he wants you to be sick in bed, if he wants you to proclaim His work in the street, if he wants you to clean the toilets all day, that’s all right, everything is all right. We must say, “I belong to you. You can do whatever you like.” And this is our strength. This is the joy of the Lord.
~ Mother Teresa, via OH……….. FRANCESCO