“Lent is a favorable season for deepening our spiritual life through the means of sanctification offered us by the church: fasting, prayer and almsgiving. At the basis of everything is the word of God, which during this season, we are, invited to hear and ponder more deeply.” (Pope Francis, Origins, p. 578)
The word of God we find in the Bible teaches us the destiny God has for each of us. The pathway we are to follow is one of love, trust and obedience. God in his love for us, gave his son as a sacrifice for our sins. Through the obedience of Jesus, who knew no sins, we obtained salvation and cleansing of our sins. The life of Jesus, lived in total obedience to his Father, in love and trust, is the life we are to follow. Jesus willingly faced his destiny when he rode into Jerusalem and met death on the Cross. This was no easy death: it was painfully cruel and crushingly humiliating to the son of God; but it was the death God chose for his son as he offered him up in love for us, as the sacrifice for our sins. The route we are to follow is the one Jesus took, along the Salvation Highway, which was paved with the stones of God’s commandments and sealed with God’s love leading to eternal life, for our destiny is everlasting life with God.
The cross and the crucifixion are crucial to the center of the Christian life. Does this sound like too many “c” in one sentence? The word crucial comes from the Latin for “cross”; every thing we believe follows our faith and growth in Jesus. The many acts of his love and his commitment to the obedience of his loving Father, even to death on the cross, show us our path to follow. This path leads us to eternal life with Jesus, his Father and the love of the Holy Spirit which binds us all together.
No greater love for humankind could be found than the pure love of God when he offered salvation to all who believed in the love of Jesus as he obeyed God, showing his love and trust of the Father, by walking toward his death, carrying the cross of our sins, knowing that the cross was not the end but the door of love through which he would pass into the loving hands of his Father. For Jesus says in Luke 23:46, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”
Familiar last words of our day, at bedtime, may be:
Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.
A new line to this prayer I would like to add:
For into your hands I now commend my spirit.
Connie Ruth Lupton, OSB, St. Benedict Monastery, Bristow, VA