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, June 13, 2009

The Ultimate Body

Soul of Christ, sanctify me
Body of Christ, save me
Blood of Christ, inebriate me
Water from Christ's side, wash me
Passion of Christ, strengthen me
O good Jesus, hear me
Within Thy wounds hide me
Suffer me not to be separated from Thee
From the malicious enemy defend me
In the hour of my death call me
And bid me come unto Thee
That I may praise Thee with Thy saints and with Thy angels
Forever and ever

St. Ignatius of Loyola has been widely credited for composing this beautiful prayer known as the Amani Christi or "Soul of Christ." As Catholics recently celebrated the Feast of Corpus Christi, perhaps a little reflection on the Body of Christ is in order, especially in a culture where the body gets ascribed so much value in some ways...and so very little in others.

Let the eyes rest upon the crucifix and behold the man, the divine man who was born to die for the purpose of one's salvation. His feet were once bathed in the tears of a sinner, but now they are affixed to a beam with a nail. A touch of his hand could heal the sick or drive out demons, but now they too are fastened to wood. His head was once anointed with expensive perfume, but now a crown of thorns bloody his scalp. His body is a mess. It has been spat upon, scourged, beaten, and pierced with a spear.

Body of Christ save me?

It proves hard to imagine, especially for the non-believer, that this crucified Christ could save anyone at this point. Look at Him. He is utterly destroyed hanging up there upon the cross. He could not help himself let alone bring salvation to humanity. And yet, that remains the immutable truth of exactly what He did. By dying He destroyed death itself.

This likely explains why He and his believers are so reviled in this culture of death. How could anyone who strives for a life of unrestricted freedom to do whatever one wants revere a symbol of complete constraint? The truth of the cross radiates the authentic freedom those who languish in a sea of relativism so desperately seek. Sadly, without faith, without grace, they would prefer to drown then embrace this life raft that stays ever within their reach throughout their lives.

Body of Christ save me!

It is the perfect prayer for this era.

A few weeks ago in Beaverton, Oregon a woman, eight months pregnant, had the misfortune of encountering a woman possessed by pure evil. This woman lured her victim into her home, then as near as authorities can tell, stabbed the pregnant woman and proceeded to cut the unborn child from her womb. The mother and child died. This murderer then hid the slain mother's body in the crawl space of her home and called 911 pretending that the dead baby was hers and that she had just given birth. It didn't take long for doctors to piece together the lie and the woman now faces charges for murdering the mother, but not the baby.

Oregon does not have a law that considers the unborn as having life protected by the criminal code of law. The State Senate tried to right this injustice, but the Democrats blocked a parliamentary procedure that would have brought the bill out committee and onto the Senate floor for debate. This happened not a long time ago, but rather, today, a few weeks after this ghastly murder. So far, no Democratic State Senator has stepped forward to explain their reasons, but one can surmise that pro-abortion lobbyists were hard at work in this state that is a bastion for the culture of death. Republicans, who are distinct minority have an uphill climb to bring Oregon in line with Federal Law and thirty-six other states which make it a crime to harm a fetus.

Body of Christ save me!

It's such an intimate entreaty. It's poignant. Genuine urgency accompanies this prayer. For faced with the reality of one's sinful nature ever seeking to make one's way to Our Lord through the muck of a fallen world that presents endless man-inspired remedies for that which ails one, and knowing through lived experience that those solutions proposed by man are in the end, charlatanism, a desperate plea to the Savior remains all that is left.

One cannot save oneself in this world. Heroic measures are needed. The body of Christ on the cross loudly trumpets one to be not afraid for the cavalry from Calvary is on the way. This army of one body, one spirit in Christ came to save not to condemn, and salvation remains available for all; for the rich whose wealth has distracted them away from God; to the homeless living on the margins of society; to the lukewarm who dabble but fail to commit to Christ; to the mother and child murdered in Beaverton; and, yes, even to their murderer. All are invited. Mourn for those who refuse to accept.

Rest one's eyes upon the crucifix and weep tears of humble joy. Marvel in the irony that the ultimate beauty of the human experience is not found in the body of a super model or an Adonis, but rather in the divine body whose beauty was despoiled by the sins of man. What should have been an ugly event at Golgotha turned into a glorious eternity for all of humanity.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55:8-9


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