CONCLUSION

 

 

Grant that the whole world may be united in one fold under one shepherd. ‘Let them be of one fold and one pastor’ (Jn. 10:16)

                                                                                                                                                                                                            (St. Paul of the Cross, CP)

 

As I approach the sunset of my life, I have wanted to put down in writing some of the important spiritual experiences accumulated over my life span, picked up through key people, writings, Internet information and my own meditations. I have intended to focus my meditations centered in the Passion of Jesus Christ as he hangs and dies on the cross. This is at the center of human history which has led us Christians to talk about BC and AD. It is a key dimension to the Paschal Mystery, which is central to our faith in Christ: the Death and Resurrection of Christ, with its impact in our own life. It entails our conversion: to die to self and rise in Christ, which is the way we are introduced into our own pass-over. This starts with the impact of the Crucifixion of Christ as the Maximum Expression of SIN, which shocks us to the point of wanting to renounce it. And at the same time, that same Crucifixion is the maximum expression of LOVE by a God who is willing to give his life for us; this touches our heart and we feel befriended by God. This is CONVERSION, Passover. It helps us to start a process for the rest of our life, in dying to all that is bad and destructive in our life and rise in Christ to all that is constructive, Salvific. Gradually we begin to think like Christ, feel like Christ, speak like Christ and behave like Christ. We become his extended presence in the world, which is the deep meaning of the word 'Christian': Christ, the sacrament of the Father (Proto-Sacrament) and the Church, the Sacrament of Christ. Through the Church, Christ inspires and animates the world, so that it may mature in history, that is, pass over from a more imperfect situation to a more perfect one. More in detail, we can say that the Passover, open to every human being by Christ, is an invitation to pass from:

           

Sin----------------to------------Grace

Egoism----------to-------------Love

Pride--------------to---------Humility

Greed--------------to--------Generosity

Slavery----------to--------Freedom

Confusion---------to-------------Clarity

Injustice-----------to-------------Justice

Falseness----------to--------------Truth

Disunity-----------to--------------Unity

Disbelief----------to--------------Faith

Desperation------to--------------Hope

Anguish--------------to-----------Happiness

 

 

We must learn from Christ to 

LOVE

so strongly, that we

LOVE UNTO DEATH,

i.e. love until we die to all that produces death, in order that

 all that produces life may rise up in us.

 

 

 

We can sum this up, together with other examples, by saying that we must pass from a situation of death to a situation of life.

 

We must die in Christ, to DEATH,

in order to rise in the LIFE of Christ

 

The Passover is the internal movement of the salvation of Christ produced within us by His powerful love expressed fully on the Cross. This leads Him to the resurrection, and us, to salvation, as we respond to Him, allowing Him to change our lives, or be converted or pass over, by sharing in His Death and His Resurrection. This is the Passover, or Easter in English, though more similar in the wording in other languages, like "Pascua" in Spanish. This is the nucleus of Christianity. Without this, Christianity would be meaningless.

 

Christians celebrate in a special way the Passover of Jesus on Sundays and in a very special way once a year in Holy Week. Easter is the main feast for Christians.

 

As I mentioned before, I like to see life in a unified and connected way between the different aspects. The image with concentric hearts helps us visualize this reality. Summarizing my previous reflections, the center of life for instance, is sacrificial LOVE (Charity), (click link to view) the only type through which the Passover can take place. This is found at the heart of who CHRIST is, (click link to view) especially evident, when he dies on the Cross for us. He in turn is found in a central way in the EUCHARIST, (click link to view) the source and summit of Christian life (Vatican II). And the Eucharist is the heart of the CHURCH. (click link to view)  However the Church is not meant to be closed in 'spiritual club' with strange and incomprehensible rituals, but must be able to illumine the WORLD  (click link to view) with a message that is in an understandable language in word, witness and ritual. Truly this is to be in the world while remaining not of this world. (John: 17 15-16) The Church is Christ's spiritual instrument to enlighten realities in the world, where new ones emerge in history all the time, and it has a duty to speak up and address the world, enlightened by the Holy Spirit. As mentioned before, an example was given, i.e., recently, in 2015, Pope Francis wrote an Encyclical called 'Laudato Si', (On Care for Our Common Home). This Encyclical stresses the need for everyone to have respect for our Planet (our 'Common Home'), given the fact of our abusive behavior is endangering our very survival on it. This is an example of an experience that the Church receives, meditates on, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and then, being enlightened, responds to the reality, giving it meaning. Salvation is not just for the Church, but is sent to announce the gospel to the entire world. The Church is Christ's Sacrament in the world reaching out to it, trying to bring about Christ's Reign of Love, Justice, Truth, Freedom, Unity, Joy and Peace.

 

Carrying on with the idea of inter-relationship, of the different parts in the summary of my meditations, the following show how I see the 'number three-in-one' plays a part in our life. After all, God as One and Trinity, is reflected in all his creation including the angels.

 

God the Trinity

Son  (Truth)

Holy Spirit (Love)

Father (Good)

Arch-Angels

Gabriel

Raphael

Michael

Image in the Family

Child

Woman          

Man

Holy Family

Jesus

Mary  

Joseph

Relationships

God

Human Being

World

Virtues

Humility

Love   

Generosity

Sin

Pride

Selfishness

Greed

Theological Virtues

Faith

Charity           

Hope

Ordinary Means

Prayer

Charity           

Penance

Extraordinary Means

Obedience

Chastity         

Poverty

Roles

Prophecy

Priesthood      

Kingship

Vocation

Concentrated Life

Ministerial Priesthood

Laity

Faculties

Mind

Heart  

Will

Symbols

Myrrh

Frankincense

Gold

 

As we come to the end of these meditations, let us recall the last words of Jesus on the Cross: "Father, into your hands I commend my Spirit". It is truly a Trinitarian moment. The gospel of John is referring to the Holy Spirit here, poured out onto the Church. It is the beginning. Death to sin, which leads to death, leads us new life (i.e. death to death equals life). It is an offering of Sacrificial Love, offered to the Father, (like the vertical post of the Cross), for the Salvation of Humankind,( like the horizontal post of the Cross) bathed in the new life of the Holy Spirit. 'Christ dies, as the Church is born.' (Garcia 2002.p. 111) I finish with the powerful, enlightening words of Jesus at the Last Supper "MAY ALL BE ONE IN US." (Cfr. John 17:21)          

 

                                         

BIBLIOGRAPHY AND GOOD READING RESOURCES

 

APPENDIX

 

 

INDEX

 

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