LENTEN MEDITATIONS (2)
 All our fear of God is inspired by love; perfect love of God makes fear perfect. We show our love of God especially when we follow His advice, conform to His loves; and trust in His promises. We must follow the words of scripture; ‘And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, to love Him and to keep His commandments with all your heart and with all your soul, that it may be well with you.’ (St. Hilary [401-449] – Commentary on the Psalms)
 Our Lord spent three hours in redeeming, three years in teaching, and thirty years in obeying, in order that a rebellious, proud and diabolically independent world might learn the value of obedience ……
He passed practically the whole of His life in a despised village and degraded valley, with no flash of outward pomp, subject to a Virgin and a just man. What was all this but a lesson to the world that misunderstands power, either by glorifying it or by overthrowing it; namely that no one has the right to command until he has learned to serve, and no one has a right to be a master until he has learned to be a servant, and no one has a right to power until he has learned to be obedient. (Writings of Fulton J. Sheen [1895-1979] in Path to Peace)
Things to ponder: Before we can obey, we must first listen, to God, to the Church, to our families and our civil leaders. How often do we cut them off even before we have heard what they are saying? This Lent, I resolve to become a better listener.
 Man did not have the glory of God. The only way that man could receive this glory was by obeying God. Therefore Moses said, ‘Choose life that you and your descendants may live, loving the Lord your God and obeying His voice and cleaving to Him; for that means life to you and length of days.’
To prepare man for this life, God Himself spoke the words of the Decalogue, to all men alike. And so these words remain with us too. By His coming in the flesh God did not abrogate them; He extended and augmented them. As for the precepts which enslaved, however, God imposed these on His people separately through Moses. These precepts were well devised to instruct or punish them, as Moses himself said, ‘The Lord commanded me, at that same time, to teach you statutes and ordinances.’
But by the new covenant of liberty God cancelled those provisions which He had given to His people to enslave them and serve the purpose of a sign. At the same time the laws, which are natural and appropriate to free men and are applicable to all without distinction, were amplified and widened. Out of the abundance of His love, without grudging, God adopted men as His sons, and granted that they might know God as Father and love Him with all their heart, and follow His Word without turning aside. (St. Irenaeus [130-202], Against the Heresies)
 The cross points out that we should not be afraid of failures. Sometimes a failure is transformed into success. But even if that does not happen we need not be ashamed of our failures. Every resurrection has a cross behind it, but not every cross has a resurrection ahead of it. But in this particular case, namely the death of Jesus on the cross, God transformed death into a source of life itself.
Dying in order to live is the lesson of the cross. And yet how easy it is to preach on it, how difficult to follow? In our relationships with others we often refuse to die. Our pride and self-righteousness never leave us. We deny forgiveness to others, so we do not receive forgiveness from others. And we remain defeated, sick guilty, unfulfilled within, instead of being “ransomed, healed, reswtored, forgiven.” So too the institutions of the Church, of society, of politics often refuse to die even after having outlived their usefulness. How persistently we fight to preserve old structures in the name of tradition leaving no room for the young, the new, and the enthusiast to burst forth into new life as the resurrection light burst forth on the Easter morning? Christ is “the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1Cor 15:20). “Except a grain of wheat fall to the ground and die it shall never bear any fruit” (Jn 12:24). That we must die in order to live is the permanent lesson of the cross. (S.J. Samartha, The Pilgrim Christ)
Jakarta, March 20, 2011 [The 2nd Week of Lent]
The Christian Pilgrim (compiler)