That one line from Pope Francis' Inauguration Homily stopped me dead in my reading tracks. It seemed to sum up what we are called to as Catholic Christians.
Christ is, or at least He should be the center of our lives. When we look around at the world and the culture, it is clear that so many have lost sight of this.
God, and more specifically, Jesus Christ is being pushed out of the fabric of daily life.
The mere prayerful mention of His name can bring a whole host of negative reactions.
So I see the Holy Father reminding us that we need to protect Christ in our lives as an awesome call to holiness. I also see it as a call to love; to love Christ, and to love Christ in each other.
As I thought more about this statement, I began to wonder how I can respond to this call to protect Christ in my life, and then live it in my daily life.
We are still in the season of Lent and fast approaching Holy Week. This holy season's practices of prayer, fasting and almsgiving are perfect ways to protect Christ in our lives.
By turning to God in prayer, we can listen to God speak to us in Scripture, in meditation on those Scriptures, and in prayer before Him in the Blessed Sacrament. We can discern what it is God wants each of us to do to protect the gift of faith He has given us.
Fasting, not so much from food, but from things that do not really matter, or that pose as a distraction to our spiritual lives will help us to protect Christ in our lives. When we turn off the TV, the radio, the cell phones, etc., we begin to focus more on Christ and His love for us, and ours for Him.
Almsgiving whether it be monetary, or the giving of our time and talents not only protects Christ in our own lives, but takes this protection to others as well.
In order for us to protect others and the creation God has entrusted to us, we need to begin with ourselves. Not in a selfish, self~centered way, but in loving ourselves as Children of God. The Cross is a good example. The vertical beam of the cross is our relationship with God through prayer and the sacraments. It is only through nourishing our souls and our lives in this way that we can take on the horizontal beam of sharing Christ with others. It is the old axiom of "You can't give what you don't have."
When we protect Christ in our own lives, we then have all that we need to go out and protect others, especially the poor and the marginalized.
So as we continue our Lenten journeys, let us protect, in our hearts and in our lives, God's greatest gift to us, His Son Jesus Christ. Then let's go share Him with those whom He has put on our paths.