The Building of a Civilization of Love

The third area of commitment that comes with love is that of daily life with its multiple relationships. I am particularly referring to family, studies, work and free time. Dear young friends, cultivate your talents, not only to obtain a social position, but also to help others to “grow”. Develop your capacities, not only in order to become more “competitive” and “productive”, but to be “witnesses of charity”. In addition to your professional training, also make an effort to acquire religious knowledge that will help you to carry out your mission in a responsible way. In particular, I invite you to carefully study the social doctrine of the Church so that its principles may inspire and guide your action in the world. May the Holy Spirit make you creative in charity, persevering in your commitments, and brave in your initiatives, so that you will be able to offer your contribution to the building up of the “civilisation of love”. The horizon of love is truly boundless: it is the whole world!

- Pope Benedict XVI, WYD 2007 MESSAGE, Growing in love each day

3:12. Not as though I had already attained, or were already perfect: but I follow after, if I may by any means apprehend, wherein I am also apprehended by Christ Jesus.
3:13. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended. But one thing I do: Forgetting the things that are behind and stretching forth myself to those that are before,
3:14. I press towards the mark, to the prize of the supernal vocation of God in Christ Jesus.

-St. Paul to Philippians

Friday, July 13, 2007

The meaning of "5"

Today it's Friday. Let's think about this number "5".

I originally wrote a very longo post, I decided to remove some information which I will post under a different subject.

For a long time I have always believed that numbers have special meanings. The Bible clears shows use numbers such us 3, 6, 7, 10, 12 in a particularly loud way. Since it was on Friday that Jesus was cruxified, "5" seemed to indicate to me horror, pain, sorrow, etc. This belief was reinforced in my by what keeps happening in my personnal life. When I was 5, I lost my first little sister at birth, When I was 10, the war broke in Rwanda where I was born, the same war which culminated on the genocide. When I was 15, my parents divorced, and I ended up with two step-families. When I was 20 (that is the year 2000), I lost my family (mom, step-father, and three siblings) in a massacre. This event was particulary filled with 5s:

It was on Friday, five people died, and were buried after five days. Few months earlier I had joined schoenstatt, so I was trying to make sense of all of this in terms of divine providence. because of the state of their new 'marriage', my parents were not in communion with the Church. I remember seeing the in Church on Christmas or Easter and wondering how it must feel not to receive communion. But they were good people. They tought me to love people and everybody without distinction, which was a strange attitude in those countries of Great Lakes of Africa. It is this attitude which cause the massacre: We had refused to support an extremist side of a political party. Considering the status of my step-father, a highly educated doctor who had refused to go oversee for a better life, but chosen to remain with fellow countryman and help them, and his involvment in peacetalks that were working to restore peace in my country, we were considered worthy of extermination. But me and my little sister survived. Throught out the horrible event which lasted less than 10 min, we were praying the Jesus prayer.

But before I had prayed a novena to the divine mercy. When I prayed it, my first intentions where for other many people we had lost earlier, but for reason unknown to me I had decided to include '5' random people for my current living family for whenever God will chose to call them. I had found this novena from a friend at school, and it looked like a unusual treasure in wich I had to use to the maximum. God heard this prayer in all unexpected ways shown in little before and after the tragedy. But "5" still felt like an alarming signal for a sad event.

This discouraged me, because it made me think that at this signal tragedy was simply unavoidable. During 2005, I dismissed lots of divine providence signal to act. Always fearing that my action my provoke s0mehow a 'tragedy', I will only pray and say to myself that God is all powerfull. If I pray, God will give me clarity, and will see and do his will... which He gave. But because my prayers were not enough, doubts and fear overloaded my spirit. I should have thought of Jesus in the Garden of Getsemani and listened carefully to what he told the disciples. Here, Jesus prayed for his sacrifice for his Church, his Bride. When he prayed: " if thou wilt, remove this chalice from me: but yet not my will, but thine be done. " he indicated that this 'Friday' was not a day of horror and fear, but a day of sacrifice for love. Unfortunately, the weakness of disciples made it for themselves a day of sorrow and fear. We only need to read what happened next. The disciples became weak and fall asleep, when they woke up, they run away. Peter tried to stay with the Lord as far as his poor heart could allow him to. Out of fear, he cut the ear of one of the soldier, but that was not the Lord's way. Later, Peter denied Jesus three times.

How hard it must have been for Peter after he had denied Jesus. It can be hard to deny a friend, or more a dear friend, but how about God? Peter was the first to affirm the divinity of Christ. Plus imagine if God had shown you your destiny and in a matter of few hours, you destroy it yourself. Jesus, had told Peter that he was to be the foundation stone of his Church, his Bride. After denying Jesus, three times, Peter could very well be tempted to think with a quite high certainty that Jesus could not dare to trust such a person for such high business. But, Peter dared to hope that Jesus will forgive him. With his faith, he knew that God fix destiny once for all, from eternity. So, if Jesus had made a decision, nothing, no sin could prevent God's will to be done. He trusted Jesus, and later Jesus who is always faithfull kept his promise. Peter was made our first Pope. The faith of Peter is the faith of the Church and the faith of christians: The belief that God's Mercy is greater than any sin we can comit, the belief that the Church will last until the last day. The following verse show us that the only place where God's will is not done is outside of Eternity, outside of Reality (Jesus), that is in Past and/or Future.

But the angel said to me, "Why marvel? I will tell you the mystery of the woman, and of the beast with seven heads and ten horns that carries her. The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is to ascend from the bottomless pit and go to perdition; and the dwellers on earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, will marvel to behold the beast, because it was and is not and is to come."--Revelation 17:7-8

You can see that the Beast is not in the "Present", only in the Past and in the Future. We have to remember that this Beast is Satan, the Liar, the Accuser, the Murderer...from the Beginning. He destracts us from the present to behold the past (for remorse/pride of our deeds) or the future (in prideful ambitions or despair).

But Jesus who is Reality is in eternity. By his incarnation he brough eternity in time. "In Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, time becomes a dimension of God, who is himself eternal. With the coming of Christ there begin "the last days" (cf. Heb. 1:2), the "last hour" (cf. 1 Jn. 2:18) and the time of the Church, which will last until the parousia. " As the Third Millennium Draws Near So that thrugh the 'narrow way' (way of Jesus) we can live in eternity while we are in time. We are written in the Book of life only when we love like Jesus. The "Beginning" means eternity because Jesus is himself "The Beginning" (the Alpha). Being written in the book of life means being connected and rooted in Jesus: Living in Jesus Christ.

Dispite the fact that disciples disapointed Jesus in his hardest time, they were only able to look in his eyes, and be confident enough to be his apostles, only after they had understood the mystery of death and resurrection. They accepted his eternal love in them. They started to see things as God sees them. They were not ashamed or proud of whatever their past was. Their past was sanctified and was used to radiate the Glory of God who is pure love and all powerfull.

For Peter, Good Friday was not longer a day of shame/horror/fear, but a day of God's love. God allows human weakness to show so that he can destroy it by the power of his love. Isn't the purpose of our live "to know, love, and serve God"? The purpose of our existance is to know what Love is. To know that Love is all that there is and that it is powerfull and nothing stands against it. To know the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity and that alone, it is worth our praise as long as we live.

It was on that same Good Friday that Jesus said that he was going to be in paradize with the 'good thief'. They were three crosses on calvary. To me they symbolize that whichever way we take in our life, we will always end up on a cross because our nature has fallen. All we can do is to chose which cross we have to end up with.

  1. The cross of Christ. Cross of innocent victims or heroic saints.
  2. The "good thief" cross is the ones of those who accept their guilt and offer up their cross to God in praise of his divine justice, but also his mercy: "Remember me when you are in Paradize".
  3. The "bad thief" cross is the ones of those who live through their suffering with curses. Who hide behind their pride, and sometimes end up in suicides like Juda.
We all take one of the three crosses every once in a while. But what matters most is which one we are taking 'Now and at the Hour of our death'. That's because this one will seal where we spend our eternity.

Suffering is unavoidable. Between our world and the lost Paradize there is the cherubs of Genesis and their flaming swords. We can only go back to paradize by passing through these swords, that is through the right cross. We have to go through the nigh of death on the appropriate cross so we can wake up in paradize.

"Whoever does what I command, the Father will love him, and we will come in him and dwell in him" says our Lord. With Love we have the Trinity within us. We seek the Father's justice by offering the sacrifice of the Son, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. On this Earth our lives are sacrifices. Christian life is a sacrifice. There may not be happyness, but there should always be joy.

But prayer is the first requirement in order to know the right sacrifice to offer. Many people suffer and they think they are sacrificing themselves for Love. But We have to remember Jesus in the Garden. Let's see again what happen in the Garden.

St. Luke:
22:39. And going out, he went, according to his custom, to the Mount of Olives. And his disciples also followed him.
22:40. And when he was come to the place, he said to them: Pray, lest ye enter into temptation. 22:41. And he was withdrawn away from them a stone's cast. And kneeling down, he prayed. 22:42. Saying: Father, if thou wilt, remove this chalice from me: but yet not my will, but thine be done.
22:43. And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony, he prayed the longer.
22:44. And his sweat became as drops of blood, trickling down upon the ground.
22:45. And when he rose up from prayer and was come to the disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow.
22:46. And he said to them: Why sleep you? Arise: pray: lest you enter into temptation.
22:47. As he was yet speaking, behold a multitude; and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them and drew near to Jesus, for to kiss him.
22:48. And Jesus said to him: Judas, dost thou betray the Son of man with a kiss?
22:49. And they that were about him, seeing what would follow, said to him: Lord, shall we strike with the sword?
22:50. And one of them struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his right ear.
22:51. But Jesus answering, said: Suffer ye thus far. And when he had touched his ear, he healed him.

Jesus, prayed hardest and offered the perfect sacrifice
Peter prayed less and fell asleep, he fell into temptation and offered an unproper sacrifice
Juda was not even there he offered the worst sacrifice.

That is how prayer is proportional to the sacrifice we offer and what our "5" may mean for us.
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