Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Pull em up!

There is a saying that my friend uses.  He says "get ready, be ready, stay ready."   The first reading from 1st Peter reminds me of that saying.  Peter reminds us to gird up the loins of our mind.   That doesn't seem to say a lot to us in today's society.   Our clothes are normally already split up the middle.  Jeans, pants, shorts.. we can easily go from walking to running without really worrying about any preparation, as long as we pull them up ;)   Ages ago people wore robes though.   To gird your loins meant to tie them up, to form them into a kind of pant so that you could run freely.  If you didn't, you would likely trip and fall.

It has another echo though that we as Christians should be aware of, one that our Jewish brothers and sisters would see almost immediately.  That of the Passover.   Be ready.   Have your shoes on.  Eat with your staff in your hand.  Have your loins gird and ready to go.  The Passover is coming and you need to be ready to leave.   What good would it be for you if God came and freed you if you couldn't outrun the army of Pharaoh?    So gird your loins.  Get ready, be ready, stay ready.

Peter talks about girding the loin of our minds though.   "Therefore, gird up the loins of your mind, live soberly, and set your hopes completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Like obedient children, do not act in compliance with the desires of your former ignorance but, as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in every aspect of your conduct, for it is written, Be holy because I am holy."  Peter is challenging us to be alert because the devil is prowling about like a lion to devour us.   He wants us to fail, to sin.   Not only that, he wants us to wallow in our sin.. to think we are too bad, too horrible for God to forgive.  We must be ready at every moment.  Aware of what we are seeing, listening to, thinking.  Not out of some fear of doing something wrong.  No, out of love for Christ.

Jesus goes on to talk about the reward in Heaven, the reward for being Holy.   Just like the Apostles we are challenged to examine everything in our life and get rid of anything that prevents us from living our calling.  Even if it means giving up family, friends, wealth, power, success, pleasure, and honor.  All of those things will be restored 100 fold in Heaven.  Why?  Because of Christ.   Christ is the fullest revelation of God.   Everything we want to know about Him we can learn from the incarnation.  First and foremost, we see that Christ emptied himself of his power, of his glory, of everything that made Him God, to become a man.  To experience us fully, to draw so close to us that we ourselves can then draw closer to Him.   In Heaven, Christ will be our light, our glory, our honor.  It will be more amazing, more pleasurable, more real than anything we have ever experienced.

We don't have to wait till then though.   We can experience Christ fully right now, Heaven fully right now in the Sacraments.  The book of revelation gives us a view of Heaven, and we see that view lived out in the Mass.   At Mass, Heaven kisses earth!  It requires though that we gird up our minds!  Get ready, be ready, stay ready.   That's what we need to do before Mass.   We need to be ready for what is coming.  That means we need to be aware of what is coming.   It means we need to be in a state of grace.   It means we need to fast before receiving Him.  It means we need to go into mass with reverence and devotion, with the proper dispensation for receiving the grace of Christ in the Sacrament of the Altar.   In the Eucharist we can experience exactly what Jesus was speaking about... the fullness of God coming to reside in our minds, our hearts, our souls.  Do you believe that?   Lord I believe, help my unbelief.

His servant and yours,

"He must increase, I must decrease."