April 5, 2012

The Paschal Mystery

Those who yearn for a deeper friendship with Christ look to the Cross as the threshold of hope.  They see in  it their own failures, short-comings and inadequacies enveloped by the boundless mercy of God.  The weakness and evil each of us struggles against finds its limit before this inexhaustible mystery.  The whole world, every hardship that shakes it, every trial that overwhelms it, and every disappoint that threatens it, all of this revolves around the One crucified by love. We see in him a love that is stronger than death, a love no deluge can quench, the definitive victory of good over evil.  Who can separate us from Him?  It is enough to gaze into the face of the One who accepted death for our sake to know why the Christian does not lose hope in the midst of persecution, rejection, derision, abandonment or even death:

Progress is made only by imitating Christ. At the moment of his death he was certainly annihilated in his soul,without any consolation or relief, since the Father had left him in the deepest aridity.  The Lord was compelled to cry out, "My God, my God, why have your forsaken me?" (Mt 27:46, Ps 22:1).  This was the most extreme abandonment that Christ had suffered in his life.  And by it he accomplished the most marvelous work of his whole life.  What he did surpassed all the other miracles he had performed on earth or in heaven.  That is, he brought about the reconciliation and union of humanity with God through grace.  The Lord achieved this at the moment in which he was most annihilated in all things: in his reputation before people, since in watching him die they mocked him instead of esteeming him; in his human nature, by dying, and in spiritual help and consolation from his Father, for he was forsaken by his Father at the time, annihilated and reduced to nothing so as to pay the debt fully and bring people to union with God.  Likewise, the greatness of the work accomplished by those who are truly spiritual will be measured by their annihilation of themselves for God.  When they are reduced to nothing, the highest degree of humility, the spiritual union between their souls and God will be accomplished.  

From Ascent to Mt. Carmel, II, 8, 8-11.