Here’s a thought-provoking reflection from Schoenstatt Father Nicolas Schwizer. Perfect for Lent!

Do We Protect Ourselves from God’s Word?

I think we protect ourselves from his Word when:

1.  Ignoring the Word

A few simple questions:

Do we know the Gospel well?  Are we concerned about reading it, re-reading it, ten, one hundred times?  Are we concerned about deepening our knowledge of it…..of grasping all its richness?  Being disciples of Jesus, is the Gospel truly our fundamental text…..unique…..irreplaceable?

Would we be able to remain – for a month or a year – alone with the Gospel in our hands and with no other book?  How many copies of the Gospel have we already worn out…..worn out, in the material sense of the word, during our life?

Are there pages of the Gospel we could truly call “ours”….. pages we come back to frequently …..pages which we would be capable of commenting on with competence and warmth….. pages which always fill us with emotion and joy?

All conversion and renewal has its origin here:  having no fear of the Gospel.

2.  Ignoring the problems of our times

The Gospel is translated, embodied in time.  There are stars whose light reach us after thousands of years.  Something similar happens with the Word of Jesus.  Certain truths reveal unexpectedly the light, and we feel invaded by them only in contact with a determined historical event.  It could be said that it is time which pulls light from the Gospel.

A marvelous reciprocity exists.  The Gospel is disposed to illuminate the problems of all times.  But we can also say that the problems of a determined historical epoch illuminate the Gospel.  They make it clear, deepen all its aspects, and stimulate it to always produce a new light.

He who maintains himself outside life, maintains himself outside the understanding of the Gospel.

3.  To separate it from life

There is no worse betrayal of the truth than that of confining it in an abstract world, separating it from life… if on certain truths we would place the tag: “Impossible.”  It is much better to openly combat a truth than to relegate it to the limbo of things which have no relationship to life.

Are there sectors of our existence which – perhaps without our knowing it – through a kind of defense instinct, we have subtracted the influence of the Word of Christ?  What have we unattached from the Gospel?  By chance, are there truths we have cornered because they are too difficult?

If I say the truth, why do you not believe me?  This reproach from Jesus is always real for us.  Enough with our convincing ourselves that “to believe” is not only to think, but that it is living.  And in this sense, we often do not believe.  Once again we are obligated to acknowledge it:  too much religion and little faith.

Let’s not create illusions.  The truth which Christ presents to us is a crucified truth, not one which is applauded.  It is a truth against which many feel the need to throw stones, not a triumphant truth.  It is a truth which carries with it the sign of the nails, not a brilliant and attractive truth.  He who wants to separate this truth from the cross becomes a comedian of the truth, not its witness.  The guarantee for the authenticity and the validity of our words is “the sign of the nails.”

Dear brothers and sisters, with these words of Christ there is only one alternative:  or you embrace the crucified truth or you throw stones at it.

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