Monday, September 7, 2020

The Person of Jesus Gives Me the Truth of Myself

Saint Paul famously declared: "I no longer live; Christ lives in me" which means that "I live in faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me" (Galatians 2:20). 

Do we Christians view our lives in this way? 

There are times (fewer than I would like to admit) when I really do remember that I belong to Jesus, that the source of my identity and the energy that draws me to seek and build the good is His love and mercy.

Living faith is trust, and that requires me to realize that the source of my life is something more than a man who lived and died two thousand years ago. Jesus is the Risen One, glorified at the Father's right hand. He lives. He loves me and gives Himself to me now. There are moments when I remember this truth, this real fact that defines me and that defines reality right now.

But too often, it slips away from the present. Somehow, the truth of "Jesus loving me in this moment" subtly turns into "the Christian worldview" or "the Christian system of thought." These latter things, of course, have their place as aspects of living with Jesus, knowing and loving Jesus, following Him in the Church, and witnessing to Him in the world.

The problem comes when they become a substitute for the awareness of belonging to Jesus, of being in a relationship with the Person of Jesus who is present in my life, who is working by the power of His Spirit to make me an adopted son of the Father. When "Christian thought" loses its vital connection with the Person of Jesus, it atrophies. It becomes my system, my project, my way of defining myself.

It's so easy to become a member of the "Christian party," to fight for "Christian ideas," or even to discourse on things like love, mercy, and presence (such as I am doing right now) and forget all about the Person of Jesus Christ! I can so easily live as if He doesn't exist, which means, of course, that I live in the presumption that everything depends on me. 

Which, means, ultimately, that I am alone...

I am not saying that it is necessary to constantly conjure a picture of Jesus in my mind, or be obsessed with explicitly thinking about Him at every moment. No. This relationship is a living reality, an intimacy, which entails an attachment of the heart, an impetus for love.

He loves me and gives Himself for me: this is what constitutes the real value of my "self." How much do I live this and depend on it? Very little. I live in forgetfulness and distraction. 

But He never forgets.

The only way to grow in this awareness is to pray. "Jesus deepen my awareness of Your presence in my life. Deepen my trust in You."