20 April 2016

A collection of various posts that I recently shared on FB; reflections on *Called to Love*

The enemy reserves a special hatred for children and for mothers. That is because he knows that this is how and where salvation comes and that if we discover the joy of the child, all his strategems fail. Children are perilous to his aims; as they are crucial to God's.

You know, I never really thought about "treating someone as an object" and so "using" them. It's all that's left if I do not receive the person as a gift, seeing their dignity as a child of God, seeing them not merely as His handiwork, but as the objects of His love that He has entrusted to me in that moment out of love for me also. To let their worth to God become their worth to me.

In today's epistle (Jubilate, historic) we were exhorted to abstain from the passions of the flesh which wage war against the soul. The "soul" here stands in for the whole being alive with God's life, and thus to abstain from everything which wars against our dignity as the children of God. Always the passions of the flesh urge us to use others as things, as an instrument, a tool for our own pleasure. God summons us to receive them as gifts from His loving hands. The passions war against the soul precisely because they damage our own dignity by us becoming exactly what we treat others as: mere objects, instead of precious gifts. You are more than your itches. You are a beloved child of the heavenly Father.

It ends in resurrection because Love cannot and will not be defeated. Not by your sin. Not by your death. And Love doesn't settle for some piece of you. Love embraces and thus saves the lot!

Freedom doesn't mean getting to do whatever you want to do, whenever you want to do it. That doesn't lead to freedom but to slavery to your own urges. Freedom means being a beloved child of the heavenly Father. Freedom means you have a home and a love that you never lose.

If concupiscence is using others as an object, then we can understand that at its deepest level the First Commandment tells us that we must not treat God as an object that we put among our other objects; but precisely as a Person [actually a community of Persons!] whom we cannot possess, but can only receive and rejoice in.

Sin in its essence is flight from communion with God into solitariness where we lose not only God, but losing Him lose ourselves and others. That the Lord Jesus bears the sin of all upon His cross means that He enters the solitariness (Eli, Eli..) to fill it from within with that from which we sought to flee. He does this that there might be nowhere and no condition in which we find ourselves, where the loving embrace of God in Christ does not reach out to hold us. This is forgiveness.

Or, said another way, sin in its essence is not merely the breaking of a rule but a fleeing from our dear Father, from Love Himself. But precisely at the point where all our flight from Him in all its terror meets, we encounter the gift of His love, bigger and more awesome than we ever dared dream, in His crucified Son. A surprising gift beyond anything we could ever conceive! And this Love (i.e., the Holy Spirit) lifts us up and carries us home, wanted, cleansed, forgiven, shining in a donated holiness.

The certainty which the Gospel offers you is that you are loved by the heavenly Father in the gift of His Son with a love that never changes or stops or ceases, and which is beyond all measure; which is a lot more and better than a ticket *to* heaven. It is the gift of heaven itself.

Heaven is the home that Christ has opened, revealed, and given to us in the heart of the Father. To say "heaven is my home" is to say "God is my Father, Christ is my brother."

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