Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Orig: 12/12/07

I finally got around to starting on Christmas cards today -- sorry, I don't think you guys are on the list. But in writing a note to convey how things went for me last year, I decided to also include something I read last night. I thought it might be worthwhile for some of my other graying email friends also. So from my Christmas card letter:

"I think I’ll print on the back of this a few words I recently read which gave me some peace in dealing with changes in life. Perhaps it will you, also."

Remember Jesus Christ
Responding to the Challenges of Faith in Our Time

- By Raniero Cantalamessa, OFM Cap

Chapter 6: Obedient unto Death

Why does God want to be obeyed by us so much? Certainly not because he likes to give orders and have subjects! It is important because in obeying we do the will of God; we want the same things that God wants, and thus we fulfill our original vocation to be “in his image and likeness.” Dante Alighieri summarized all this in the verse: “in His will is our peace.”

One difficult case of obedience to circumstances is the one that comes to all of us because of age, namely, retirement from activity, the termination of a position, the need to hand over matters to others, perhaps leaving some projects unfinished and some initiatives still in process. Someone has jokingly said that the office of a superior is a cross, but that sometimes the most difficult thing to accept is not being raised up onto that cross but coming down from it, being deposed from the cross!

I am certainly not making fun of others in such a sensitive situation, since no one knows how he or she will react until it happens. This is one kind of obedience that brings us closer to that of Christ in his passion. Jesus suspended his teaching, stopped all activity, and did not let himself think of what would happen to his apostles. He was not anxious about what would happen to his words that were entrusted only to the poor memory of some fishermen. He did not let himself think of his mother, whom he was leaving alone, either. There was no complaint, no attempt to change the Father’s decision: “I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go hence” (John 14:31).

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