The redemption of the world – this tremendous mystery of love in which creation is renewed – is, at its deepest root, the fullness of justice in a human heart – the heart of the first-born Son – in order that it may become justice in the hearts of many human beings, predestined from eternity in the first-born Son to be children of God and called to grace, called to love. The cross on Calvary, through which Jesus Christ – a Man, the Son of the Virgin Mary, thought to be the son of Joseph of Nazareth – “leaves” this world, is also a fresh manifestation of the eternal fatherhood of God, who in Him draws near again to humanity, to each human being, giving Him the thrice holy “Spirit of truth.”
– Blessed Pope John Paul II, Redemptor Hominis
In this new year, as we prepare for the Year of Faith (which will begin on October 11, 2012), and as the Holy Father prepares for the Synod of Bishops on “The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith”, I think it would be well worth our time as members of this beautiful Church to consider how we share the good news of “the redemption of the world, this tremendous mystery of love.” In our waking, in our work and in all the joys and sufferings this new year brings, we will have a great plenty of opportunities to share the life-changing truth that we are called to grace, called to love.
Over break, I spent some time with a few teens from the Parish I left early last summer. One of them shared with me that she had not been attending Mass regularly since I have left. It was something said in passing, but my heart stirred and I knew that she was letting me know of a deeper longing in her soul. She probably would not put it so bluntly, but she knows she is called to grace and love. In the depths of our souls, we all know that very same desire, given to us by our Creator. I reminded her of the beauty and grace found in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, as well as the time it was offered the next day at the Parish, and encouraged her, once again, to never let a weekend pass without attending Mass and receiving the grace offered.
The Sacraments provide for us a wellspring of grace, as the Holy Father wrote in Redemptor Hominis, “Indeed, it is by the command of Christ himself, her Master, that the Church unceasingly celebrates the Eucharist, finding in it the ‘fountain of life and holiness’, the efficacious sign of grace and reconciliation with God, and the pledge of eternal life.” As the Christmas season draws to a close, let us remember these words, as they are the source of true joy and peace found in this season, given by our Infant lord, that will allow us to keep the true spirit of the season all year long.
The Christian message has a dynamite power, waiting to be used to change our world. (Sidebar: Fr. Robert Barron’s second lesson in the Catholicism Series has a great ending on this theme. Take some time to watch it. You won’t be disappointed.) Don’t let this year pass by without taking time to spend some time contemplating how you are going to blow up the dynamite of the Church.
(I would heartily recommend reading through Redemptor Hominis if you would like to be inspired to embrace this task. You can find it here if you want to print it out or read it online. Or, if want to purchase it in a small paperback, get it here.)