Christ is the compass guiding us through every storm to safe harbor. He dwells in the inmost chambers of our heart as well as in the mundane details of our workaday world.
This dynamic, transforming relation descends from the Holy Spirit into our human spirit; it deepens our prayer life and initiates our consent to the commission Christ gives us to “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19).
Whether we are rich or poor, robust or weak, the voice of our Master is the one we hear. His humanity makes it easier for us to converse with him heart to heart; his divinity draws us to the awesome possibility of intimacy with the Trinity.
Our relationship is at once immanent and transcendent, rooted in everyday reality yet wholly ineffable. Christ’s love pierces like a radiant light through the shadows of our sinful condition. With each act of adoration, we anticipate the day when duty is done and we meet one another in an eternal face to face.
Inspiring us to pursue this master-disciple relationship is the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, the Holy Spirit. Our rebirth in Christ through Baptism cleanses us from the stain of original sin and readies us to model our existence on Christ’s life from the secrets of Nazareth to the splendor of Easter morn.
To conform to Christ is to banish any semblance of self-sufficiency and to align our will to the will of the Father for us.
While we are “in the body,” we will have to cope with the ravages of original, personal, and social sin that take root in us every time we choose the path of disobedience rather than the way of obedience to God’s loving and allowing will.
The inclination to self-centeredness lingers like a viral infection; it poisons in subtle ways our spiritual perceptions and motivations.
These crevices of egoism widen when we least expect it. They serve to remind us that we need prayer and penance to strengthen our spiritual life as much as we need food and drink to sustain us bodily.
Our innate narcissism veils the truth of who Christ wants us to be and of what we ought to do for his sake. Despite the fact that a fog of falsehood obscures our true self and hampers our longing for union with him, the Holy Spirit invites us to trust in the Lord and never to lose hope in the promise of salvation.
To experience Christ’s nearness, we would do well to cultivate a quiet heart and seek moments of stillness. Such prolonged periods of recollection free us from worry about the past or anxiety about the future.
Serenity of spirit diminishes the push and pull of pride-filled preoccupation. Grace grants us new ways and means to cope with the conflicts and challenges each day holds.
Even under harsh and forbidding circumstances (sudden illness, the death of a loved one, the parting of friends), we hold fast to Christ’s promise that he will be with us until the end of the world (see Matthew 28:20).
Being led by the Lord to new heights of faith, hope, and love relieves us from any frantic attempt to reach self-perfection or to seek substitutes for the Sacred.
Every deficiency we experience becomes an invitation to be more fully transformed by the truth that nothing we do, nothing we possess, will ever be adequate to satisfy our longing for union with the Lord of history beyond the bounds of time.
Just as Jesus gave his life for us, so we must be willing to lay down our lives for others (see John 15:13). This Christ-centered mode of existence enhances our effectiveness. We are at one and the same time attached and detached, enjoying what we have to do but not becoming discouraged if our plans go astray.
The more self-giving love replaces the selfish grip of narcissism, the more compassion we show for self and others wounded by sin. We relish every chance Christs gives us to sacrifice self-centeredness and serve others. We become more patient with them. We endure the pain that accompanies parting from the safety zones of self-satisfaction.
Though at times it may feel as if we are losing ourselves, in truth we are gaining the grace of true selfhood (see Matthew 10:39). What we give up in egoism we receive in intimacy
with the Divine. Inner tension decreases, and we see with eyes of faith the task of evangelization that lies before us.
What exhausts us is not the dedicated performance of duty but the frantic, tense, and willful way in which we go about it. Now is the time to worry less and do more to fulfill our commitment to this centerpiece of Christian presence without any quest for our own glory.