Wednesday, November 10, 2010

You are more

Tenth Avenue North in their new album "The Light Meets the Dark" released a song titled "You are More."
You are more than the choices that you've made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You've been remade.

'Cause this is not about what you've done,
But what's been done for you.
This is not about where you've been,
But where your brokenness brings you to

This is not about what you feel,
But what He felt to forgive you,
And what He felt to make you loved.

All through life we learn by trial, success and error. Life is full of high points full of happiness and joy, but also has its share of the low points filled with regret, shame, and sorrow.

Several men we have met thus far in our door-to-door journeys are war veterans. Gentlemen usually higher up in age, married, and when we ask them if they attend mass/church anywhere their response is:
"I quit going to church, I don't feel I can go back because of what I've done."
usually when that phrase passes through their lips they also lower their eyes, looking away as the memories of past shame are recollected to them. And even with encouraging invitation that the Lord is always merciful and waiting, their pain is still present.

As humans we live in the world in and through experiencing through our senses, the input of data and stimuli is taken in through the senses and recorded into our memory, stronger than any computer. And even though our bodies heal, there are still scars, still the memories that may fade and become lighter with the passing of time but never seem to go away. Even Christ maintained his wounds after His resurrection. The apostles were astounded that He had truly lived in what He was preaching, that He was dead and now He is alive through the power of God. They knew where He had been, what He had done, but they now see the power of the resurrection, the saving power of God over death. And of course we all know the story of "doubting Thomas" who had to even touch the wounds the Lord had suffered to believe that they were real, to have faith that the Lord was telling the truth in who He was.

Our whole lives are full of wounds and pain, things that hurt, things we'll never forget. We feel like slaves to our past because the burden of the chains that we are carrying are too heavy to ignore. Even St. Augustine is quoted begging people to pray for his soul at the time of his death because he knew himself more intimately than anyone else, and the responsibility and power of the actions of his life. Some of the greatest saints before their conversion were considered some of the worst sinners. St. Paul himself was on a mission to persecute the Church before the Lord struck him from his horse.

What then are we do to? Continue being lugubrious? Dwell on our death?
Or do we accept the free gift of life given through Christ?
"For freedom Christ has set us free; stand fast therefore and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery." Galatians 5:1
Freedom? yoke of slavery? All we know and are fully able to understand is the weight of our sin.

"For our sake he made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God." 2Corinthians5:21.
He came to take our burden and give us His own life? He came to take the death that we deserve so as to give us His life? To become the sacrifice Himself so that we could be the beloved children?
Christ came to say that YOU ARE MORE.

Even to the point of taking our sin, our burdens and saying: "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me;
for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you
will find rest for your souls. For my yoke
is easy, my burden is light."
Matthew 11:28-30

He took the chains of our sin and gave us His freedom!!!!!

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says the act and grace of Baptism not only purifies and washes away sin, but also acts so as to make the person a "neophyte" a new creation. CCC1265.

"From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once regarded Christ from a human point of view, we regard Him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, HE IS A NEW CREATION; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to Himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation." 2Corinthians5:16-19

A few years ago I can remember being in the presence of the Lord at an ADORE night, completely engrossed in my own sin. I was not Catholic at the time and had not been to reconciliation as of yet, but it was at this time that the conviction and horror of sin had been revealed to my heart. Misery is not even a sufficient word to describe this time in my life, so sitting in the presence of the Lord I tried my absolute best to be able to give Him my burdens, but the guilt was too heavy. That night there was no music during exposition, so silence fill the room. During those agonizing minutes the MC slowly picked up the microphone and said one phrase:
"I know your sin, I know your shame, do you truly know my forgiveness?"
He placed his microphone down, and those were the only words spoken during that entire time. Words that ring in my ears to this day.

Matthew Kelly, when speaking on the different levels of intimacy, gives some very precise and keen insight to love. There are two levels that either break or make a relationship.
-The first is opinions, the next is Faults/Fears/Failures.
He says these are the downfall or upbuilding because they aren't based on understanding the other, but on acceptance. We as humans can't fully understand until we have experienced, and it is in sharing our faults/fears/failures that we are known. For "to be known is to be loved, and to loved is to be known." For it is in knowing someone, and accepting them as they are, naked and broken, that is where love is given and known.

"Nor do I seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe that I may
understand. For this too I believe, that unless I first believe, I
shall not understand."
--St. Anselm

What's so shocking and nearly impossible to understand is:
"God knows what He wants, and he wants what He knows."

"Law came in, to increase the trespass; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more." Romans 5:20

This is why "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." Galatians 2:20

"But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died
through one man's trespass, much more have the grace of
God and the free gift in the grace of that one man Jesus Christ
abounded for many. . .
Then as one man's trespass led to the condemnation for
all men, so one man's act of righteousness leads to
acquittal and life for all men."
Romans 5:15&18

"What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? Of course not! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, although you were once slaves of sin, you have become obedient from the heart to the pattern of teaching to which you were entrusted. Freed from sin, you have become slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your nature. For just as you presented the parts of your bodies as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness for lawless ness, so now present them as slaves to righteousness for sanctification. For when you were slaves of sin, you were free from righteousness. But what profit did you get then from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now that you have been freed from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit that you have leads to sanctification, and its end is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Romans 6:15-23
So then my brothers and sisters:
"Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have a peace with God
through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through Him we have obtained access
to this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in our hope of sharing
the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing
that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character,
character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because
God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who
has been given to us. . .But God shows His love for us
in while we were yet sinners Christ died for us."
Romans 5:1-5&8
It is in revealing our faults/fears/failures that Christ is able to come in and heal. When we goto the doctor can he treat and heal what is wrong without us telling or showing him? No, we must be open, show him our wound or tell him what is wrong so he can take care of it. It is in those moments where we feel lowest, feel worst, that Christ lifts us up and gives us the free gift of His love. He wants us, and even after He knows us He still wants us!!!!!!

This is why St Paul wrote "'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' I will all the more gladly boast of my weakness, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities; for when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

He isn't saying we should run into the streets and confess our sins to anyone and everyone,
He is saying that GOD WANTS OUR BROKENESS because it is in our being broken
is where we experience love, it is where we are healed. Where God reveals His power.
In our wounds. . .He heals.
In our shame. . .He restores goodness.
When we are lost. . .He finds us.
In our deafness. . .He restores hearing.
In our blindness. . .He restores sight.
When we are in darkness. . .He is light.
In our weakness. . .He gives strength.
In our death. . .He gives life.

It is right in that moment that Christ comes, lifts the yoke from our shoulders and says:
You are more.

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