“The Cup of Blessing I Will Raise”

Do not be afraid of Christ! He takes nothing away, and he gives you everything.

-Benedict XVI

The heart wants no trouble. There is a fear that God might burst in and lead us along ways out of our control. There is fear of God’s visit, fear of being consoled. A fatalism of sorts sets in; horizons shrink to the measure of one’s desolation or tranquility. One fears hope, preferring the realism of less to the promise of more.” -Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, “Healing from Corruption and Sin,” 1991

The fact of the matter is we all worship something. This is one of the biggest spiritual insights I’ve been given in the past few years. My heart tends toward adoring, towards lifting people and things up onto a pedestal. This is both a gift and a weakness: I love the cult of the saints, the burning of incense, the processions and robes. The trappings of beautiful worship have never struck me as ostentatious. But I have, on many occasions, given my worship to that which is unworthy of it.

When the object of one’s worship disappoints, it causes the heart to shrink. Perhaps nothing can be trusted. It is these hard hearts that Bergoglio addresses in the quote above: the hearts that have been corrupted by worshiping something that is less than God. The heart that is full of fear cannot embrace Christ. The heart that is attached to comfort cannot embrace Christ. The heart that is paralyzed at the idea of suffering for its beloved cannot embrace Christ.

My heart is weak and yet the Lord fought a long, difficult battle for it. When I am content to remain complacent, unthinking, unmoving, I tell God, “I’m not worth it–don’t stop here. No room in this inn.” And this is the deepest insult we can give our Lord, to tell Him that we are beyond Him, beyond His mercy. I once heard a Franciscan say that one way of measuring something’s worth is to see how much was paid for it. “His bones have paid my ransom,” and so I am no longer allowed to cater to a kind of false humility that shoos God away. He wants me alive, fully, and I must respond with gratitude.

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