Sunday, March 4, 2012

Reflection From The Cross

Christ on the Cross:Eugene Delacroix

My main spiritual reading and guidance this Lent comes from the Jesuits at The Spiritual Exercises Blog. I have followed the Lenten Retreat they offer each Lent for the last three years. The exercises are based on the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius of Loyola.
One of the exercises this past week that has stayed with me is one in which we are asked to reflect on our weakness in refusing love and while doing so to imagine ourselves before Christ dying on the cross. We then ask Him to reflect ourselves back to ourselves.
I found this very powerful and also painfully beautiful. Seeing myself before Love itself in my own weakness and inability to love, I didn't see or feel shame, guilt or His reproach; I saw myself reflected back though His eyes of love, mercy and compassion. It made me think of Mother Teresa's beautiful reflection I Thirst. What I saw in myself was the lack of love I so often have for myself and others and the answer to filling that lack. Looking past what was reflected back to me, I saw Christ's thirst for me, for each of us to accept His love and then give it freely as He was doing there on the cross.
I have come to learn, often the hard way, that we cannot love others, or even ourselves if we do not first accept the love of the Father that comes through Christ. In putting myself before the dying Christ this week, I was able to see my own weakness, but reflected back to me through Christ's eyes the reflection was tempered with His love, mercy and compassion.
I can leave the scene of the Cross and think back to what is revealed on Mt. Tabor. Jesus revealed His glory to Peter, James and John that day to strengthen them for what they would witness in His Passion and Death. He strengthened them for what would come in their own lives: Peter to lead the Church, John to go from his youth to live in exile in his old age, and James for his martyrdom.
I use to wonder why we hear the account of The Transfiguration during Lent, but I see it is to strengthen us as well. To come down from that mountain and walk with Christ to the Cross where we can see His ultimate example of love and see ourselves reflected back to us through that love.

12 comments:

Michael said...

Wonderful reflection! I feel like I learn more about the Transfiguration each year.

God Bless.

Colleen said...

This is just so beautiful. I love it and need it, too. I must add though, that I have more confidence in Jesus' love for me than I used to. I often picture Jesus loving eyes after receiving communion.
Thanks for reminding me about the Spiritual Exercises! I knew I was forgetting something!
Hugs and blessings!

Patricia said...

Beautiful reflection, Karin. Thank you! It's so good to be reminded of His unfailing Love..no matter what state we might be in.

Thanks for sharing about the Spritual Exercises Blog. I will definitely go check it out. Sounds wonderful.

May God continue to bless your Lenten Season.

Love,
Patricia

Karinann said...

Thank you Michael, Colleen and Patricia.
The Spiritual Exercises blog has been so helpful in keeping me focused during Lent.
Blessings to you all.

Colleen @ ID said...

I might do this next year, Karinann. I seem to have my spiritual exercises ready for this Lent.

This is a beautiful meditation. Putting yourself before love itself, seeing yourself reflected back through the compassionate eyes of Jesus.

Karinann said...

Colleen,
Glad your spiritual exercises are going well this Lent. This particular reflection was a powerful one.
Thanks for your comments on it.
God bless.

Just Be Real said...

Lovely, thank you. Colleen, shared with me your blog. Blessings.

Karinann said...

Thank you, Just Be Real and welcome.

Holly@A Life-Size Catholic Blog said...

I love the blog you've highlighted here. I've never visited there. I'm so glad you wrote about your wonderful experience. It moved me to click and find a great resource.

Blssings

Karinann said...

Jackie,
Thanks for visiting and glad you liked the link to the Spiritual Exercises blog.
God bless.

Dance Farrell said...

The Transfiguration is indeed so very appropriate. One cannot but marvel at how succinctly the divine plan is orchestrated.

Christ so well knows our ups and downs, our cyclic nature. He knew so clearly that to understand the Cross, we would need the mountain experience. I think it is the same for us now.

It is so common for me to see God in the setting sun, or a child's face, only to be confused in a bout of disappointment at the wolds injustice, or my own personal failings.

Ebb and flow, Tabor and Cross. It makes trusting just a little bit easier.

Karinann said...

Dance Farrell,
I could not agree more about the ebb and flow of Tabor and Cross.
Thanks and welcome.

Closing Prayer

Psalm 45: Canticle of Love to the King

My heart overflows with a good theme;
I address my verses to the King;
My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
You are fairer than the sons of men;
Grace is poured upon Your lips;
Therefore God has blessed You forever.

Gird Your sword on Your thigh, O Mighty One,
In Your splendor and Your majesty!
And in Your majesty ride on victoriously,
For the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness;
Let Your right hand teach You awesome things.
Your arrows are sharp;
The peoples fall under You;
Your arrows are in the heart of the King’s enemies.

Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
With the oil of joy above Your fellows.
All Your garments are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia;
Out of ivory palaces stringed instruments have made You glad.
Kings’ daughters are among Your noble ladies;
At Your right hand stands the queen in gold from Ophir.