Thursday, October 17, 2013

A Reflective Response to "Making Our Deaths Gifts"

In the late 90's I was formed as a Benedictine Monk. One of my daily practices was to sit before the Cross with the Corpus of Christ and say "You Oh Christ are the Resurrection and the Life." As I was meditating and saying this that still, small voice began to gently knock on the door of my heart. Clearly it said "Do you, do you really believe that?" Of course I do, I am a Christian! Once again I began the chant, "You Oh Christ are the Resurrection and the Life." That voice returned, nudging, inviting me to beg the question, "Do you, do you really believe that?" This question occurred three time but on the third time I paused knowing something greater, deeper was posing this question. I knew it was the Christ whom I sat before both in image and in presence. The Christ not only of Divinity but of humanity. The Christ who suffered, had fear, died and knew resurrection. I was being asked to face my fear of death, I needed to reckon with the fact that I was unsure of this resurrection that accompanied death. Oh I was sure of death all right but the resurrection? As I did this that still, small voice returned and it made a promise to me, "I will teach you many deaths in your life so you will know deep within you heart many resurrections so on that day I call you to your final death you will say without doubt, without fear, "You Oh Christ are the Resurrection and the Life and you will say it with all of your body, soul and spirit!"

Since that time it has come to pass in relationships, in health challenges and in every day simple challenges that I have been asked to let go and die. Always Christ has appeared beside me, around me, beneath and above me and sometime it appeared he was absent in my own blindness and darkness. Was he? Never.

One month ago I had a below the knee amputation and needless to say I was stunned. As I have journeyed through this experience I have known fear, doubt and frustration. I have known another death. I have also experienced grace, letting go and being grateful. Grateful for my friends and family who have prayed for me, served me in practical ways and through these graces brought me to my knees in humility and in acceptance. It is here that I have known the Christ of suffering, the Christ of death and the Christ of the Resurrection and Life! I am humbled. My complacent self is revived and I am able to see where I was blind to the love of Christ through my family and friends and say to them, "I love you!" From death into life, from prison into freedom and a proclamation of heart that resounds,"You Oh Christ are the Resurrection and the Life!"

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