The Apostolate of the Laity

Waxing philosophical in communion with one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church.

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Location: Portland, Oregon, United States

I am just a sinner who holds fast to the notion that every human being on the planet is the result of a thought of God.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Risk Tolerance

The degree or amount of Christian faith one subscribes to has a strong correlation to one's tolerance for risk. What does it cost to follow Christ? Ultimately, everything. And therein lies the struggle of a lifetime. Does one become like the saints and surrender one's self to Our Lord, or does one cling to self and its concomitant distractions? The answer for nearly everyone including this writer as expected rests with the latter.

Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.
Pope Benedict XVI
Deus Caritas Est

In a culture so dominated by the science of everything, encountering takes some getting used to. Critical, historical examination seems to dominate the way Western society studies Christ. A new breed of Pharisees seeks to know God by material evidence. Logic over that which is indescribable. Instead of accepting the gift of the Divine's word in sacred scripture, they set out to discover a logical explanation to the extraordinary miracles. God created man in His likeness and image, and man turns around and tries to recreate God within the confines of his limited, fallen intellect. Our Lord gets reduced to the finite when He is infinite and far beyond humanity's full understanding. One can attach a myriad of adjectives to describe Jesus. Hebrew text gives the best description of Him, "King of kings, Lord of lords." Despite the best poet's efforts or the harshest critic's dissertations, The Savior cannot be understood in mere human thought. More is needed, primarily grace, and a willingness to cooperate with it.

Christ waits for one to encounter Him similar to how one encounters an awe-inspiring sunrise. Our Lord yearns for one to encounter Him similar to how a mother greets her newborn child forgetting the agony she moments ago endured and feeling only the joy of holding her child for the very first time. Jesus desires an encounter with one similar to how a young couple sees the love in each other's eyes and simply know that they were destined to be together.

Christ invites man to encounter Him. He is both an event and a person in one meeting, that being the Holy Eucharist.

What does it cost to follow Christ?

He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury; and he saw a poor widow put in two copper coins. And he said, "Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; for they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all the living that she had."
Luke 21:1-4

Quite often what one risks for Christ comes from one's abundance. This is not a monetary donation, but rather a commitment of spirit. One might pray when one has some spare time, but to actually schedule prayer in lieu of other important matters rarely happens. One goes to mass on Sunday, but would not think of interrupting one's day to share a Eucharistic meal any other day of the week. One might righteously speak of Our Lord among his fellow parishoners, but when the subject of religion comes up at work, silence rules.

Perhaps Christ allowed Himself to be crucified on the cross so man would have an ever present icon to remind him that following Jesus, means risking it all. One should gaze upon the cross and hear Christ whispering, "I risked it all so you could have eternal life. What are you willing to risk for me?"

What does it cost to follow Christ? Ponder that in the silence of the night, and honestly assess how much of that cost one is willing to pay, and never forget the beatific vision that stands to be gained.


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