"that I may live to God; with Christ I am nailed to the cross. And I live, now not I: but Christ liveth in me. And that I live now in the flesh: I live in the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and delivered himself for me." - Galatians 2:19-20 (Douay-Rheims)
"The cross reminds us that there is no true love without suffering, there is no gift of life without pain." - Pope Benedict XVI
In the Newman Club yesterda we had a meeting with about 10 people and we all sat around pictures of Jesus. Each picture represented a different part of Jesus' life and symbolized a different part of the person and work of Christ. We were asked to choose the picture we could most easily relate to, and then write our thoughts on what Jesus means to us in this part of his life.
I chose - predictable enough for a former Protestant - the Crucifixion.
I wrote that in the image of the crucifix (and the crucifixion), God has made visible to us the love he has. It is Christ doing what I could never do, and giving me what I could never deserve. In the satisfaction of Christ, God has bought me with his blood, he has become the ransom of my soul. Every week - every day - Christ offers himself for me again in mass, the same eternal sacrifice of Calvary, as in my sin I constantly re-crucify the son of God. He allowed his hands to be nailed in an open embrace forever, and my salvation is only ever one embrace away. God has loved me this much.
Others talked about Christ as their teacher, and healer, and it was beautiful. By the end of the meeting I had tears in my eyes, it reminded me of what Chesterton once said "Let your religion be less of a theory and more of a love affair."
This all reminded me of one of my favourite theology stories:
When the great Swiss Reformed theologian Karl Barth was asked what the greatest theological insight he had ever discovered in his life was, he replied, "Jesus loves me, this I know, for the bible tells me so".
One of my favourite things about Catholicism is whenever I enter a Church and see the crucifix above the altar, it always reminds me that the only reason we are still gathered here is because of Him.