“Do to others as you would have them do to you.” (Luke 6:31).
I was reading Saint Augustine’s “Sermon on the Ascension of the Lord” and I came across a passage that I found beautifully comforting…
“Christ is now exulted above the heavens, but He still suffers on earth all the pain that we, the members of His body, have to bear. He showed this when He cried out from above: ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?’ (Acts 22:7) and when He said: ‘I was hungry, and you gave Me food.’ (Matthew 25:35).” (PLS 2, 494-495).
And I have been reflecting on the persecutions of Saul, who would later become Saint Paul, and on the hunger and the suffering of all the millions upon millions of human souls… Because I have been reflecting on the blessed gift of Christ Body and Blood.
You see, I – like every other soul that has lived on this earth – has suffered some small (or large) cross. And I – like every other soul that has lived on this earth – has felt, at times, alone in my misery.
And yet, that feeling of aloneness and that feeling of misery is a mere illusion of the evil one. You see, while Saul was persecuting the Christians, Christ was there – being persecuted with them. And while Christians (and non-Christians) are being persecuted today, Christ is there with them too. And while the poor and the hungry and the outcast are making do with the scraps that the world has thrown their way, Christ is there too – making do just as they are…
There is a real reason why Christ told us to treat others as we wish to be treated… “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” (Luke 6:31). For the way that we treat others is in fact, the way that we treat God Himself!
And, even despite all the imperfections and limitations of my miserable human nature, there is something profoundly wonderful in understanding that despite the NECESSITY of my suffering (as a mechanism of purification to allow me to atone for my sins), it is Christ who is suffering with me. And this is not because I wish to cause my Beloved to suffer any more than He already suffers, but it is because I can see His INFINITE love for me in His refusal to leave even a soul as miserable as mine…
For my Beloved is suffering it right now – just as I too am suffering.
And He – God the Son – is not there figuratively… He is there ACTUALLY suffering with me (and with you too) as of ONE BODY – joined with us through His own Mystical Body.
And that really is the true gift of the sacrifice of God the Son! You see, God is begotten of the Virgin so that He could ASSUME a BODY… After all, without the assumption of a HUMAN BODY how could He ever have had a body with which to share in my suffering?
And knowing that, how could I help but give GLORY to God?
For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.