Monday, May 21, 2012

Be brave: I have conquered

The antiphon for Benedictus in Morning Prayer reads:
In the world you will have trouble, but be brave: I have conquered the world. Alleluia.
The first part of this prayer is the understatement of the century. The troubles that accompany this life can be defining moments in people's lives; whether they will choose to believe, or attempt to control their own destinies.

The world isn't perfect as a result of sin, yet so many of us turn a blind eye to the reality of sin. One grave act committed by a human being (believer and non-believer, alike) causes a ripple effect through the fabric of humanity. Sin is pervasive, undermining all that we do. Affecting our judgment, it makes what is wrong look morally acceptable and somehow compassionate -- (Just consider this piece from the Washington Post this weekend). And, for this reason, in this world we will have trouble. No doubt.

Even the most fervent of saints was not without trouble in this world, i.e. St. Philomena, Bl. Teresa of Calcutta, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Pio of Petrilcina, St. Isaac Jogues, St. Stephen, St. Paul, etc., all suffered terrible trials for the salvation of souls. Those who live to worship God, spread His Gospel and bring others to salvation, well, they will know the trouble of the world more bitterly than most. Yet, they were brave and trusting. You will notice in their lives a sense of joy, peace and charity toward others.

Why?

Because of the promise in the second part of this antiphon.

I have conquered the world. Sin, if we are brave and hold fast to the hope of eternal life, will have no power over us. St. Paul explains it to the Colossians this way:
And even when you were dead [in] transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, he brought you to life along with him, having forgiven us all our transgressions; obliterating the bond against us, with its legal claims, which was opposed to us, he also removed it from our midst, nailing it to the cross; despoiling the principalities and the powers, he made a public spectacle of them, leading them away in triumph by it. (Col 2:13-15)
We are secure in the Cross. Jesus has conquered; He has triumphed!

Be brave!

Trust that while things may seem difficult here, as long as we persevere, Jesus has conquered sin and death. Our reward is fixed in heaven if we believe, and if we are obedient in love; that means to frequent the Sacraments, obey the Commandments, love our neighbor as ourselves and worship God with all you heart, soul, mind and strength. Jesus has indeed ascended to His throne in heaven at the right hand of the Father.

The victory is won. We are His -- now to get the rest of the world to assent.

Alleluia!

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