Saturday, February 20, 2010

In Union With Christ

I am a man who knows affliction from the rod of his anger,

One whom he has led and forced to walk in darkness, not in the light;

Against me alone he brings back his hand again and again all the day.

He has worn away my flesh and my skin, he has broken my bones;

He has beset me round about with poverty and weariness;

He has left me to dwell in the dark like those long dead.

He has hemmed me in with no escape and weighed me down with chains;

Even when I cry out for help, he stops my prayer;

He has blocked my ways with fitted stones, and turned my paths aside.
It is in our anguish and pain that we find kinship with our Brother Jesus. Have you ever considered the thought of the bond we humans have through suffering? It is true that you can know a person by "walking a mile in their shoes." As a student of psychology and human behavior, I have witnessed the connection between behavior and pain. There is, what I would call an innate drive within us to avoid pain at all costs. What differs between people are two things 1. What one as considers painful. For example one child may consider his homework assignment "painful", while another child doesn't. 2. Whether one is willing to forgo pain, that is to endure it, for a greater reward. The classic case is when one begins "working out", an exercise regiment is always painful, especially at the initial stage but the payoff is worth it; feeling better, look better, slimmer waist, etc. In my humble opinion I think what Christ is telling us is that there is a level of being, in suffering, a divine level, superior to ours where we are united, a true union, with God. This parallels the desires of the flesh; our desires for pleasure. In both cases we are attempting to restrain the" beast" of our humanity. We use moderation and self control to "corral" our desires, in this state of detachment we are at the best receptive mode to embrace our spirituality. God's path to us is not cluttered with stuff and we are not distracted. In embracing our suffering, not ignoring it or "numbing" it with alcohol, drugs, or carnal pleasure, we ascend to this place of being that is the Cross. Pain and sacrifice are not be discerned in human understanding, that is God's lesson for humanity, for the Cross leads us to eternal life.

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