Poverty to need Christ, Faith to touch Christ

Br Samuel gave the following reflection during a holy hour a week ago and later sent to your humble blog editor — just too good not to post…

In a couple of days, Jesus will enter into Jerusalem. The King comes to redeem the world…my world. He humbly rides into the city, sitting on a donkey…Much like here on the altar right now… There was and is no pompous procession to be seen, no angels nor saints visible to the eye, no sign of his mighty power, and yet, that’s precisely the sign of his omnipotence…He’s here, on the altar, patiently waiting for me to acknowledge his presence, his love, his careful watch over me…

And my response can be two-fold: The first, telling my Lord that I don’t want him and that I don’t need him…that he’s walking into Jerusalem in vain…

I can only imagine how Christ sees me entering the chapel, how I’m either half asleep, or how my mind wanders into a thousand things, and how most of my visits start and end without even having said, “Good morning” or “Thank you” to Him…How he sees me living as if I didn’t depend on Him…He sees how my attitude throughout most of the day is made up of what ‘I’ think ‘I’ have to do, what ‘I’ have to do, what ‘I’ want to do, how ‘I’ would like to do it…He sees how I try so hard to be self-sufficient. All my thoughts, decisions and actions rotate around myself…Sometimes, He even sees how I make my resolutions to conquer my dominant defect, and my vices and imperfections…and how I have a perfect mathematical program made to solve my problems this year…but I am the one who has to fulfill it…And I can hear Christ say to me from the altar, “You live as if you don’t need me.”…And it’s true…My life doesn’t seem to depend essentially on the Eucharist…I could live one day without receiving communion, and I wouldn’t even notice a difference! Instead of “Christus Vita Vestra” on the front door, they should have “Christus Aliquando Vita Vestra”…It seems like I need him only to get me out of the quick sand. Otherwise, I can fare pretty well by myself…In the personal revelations to Catherine Emmerich, Christ was weeping when he entered Jerusalem…And he weeps when he enters my heart…because sometimes, he experiences my indifference towards him, shown in my attitudes…Nevertheless, he still saves me, even if I don’t acknowledge him….

The second response is: Lord, help me realize that I can’t live without you, but help me also to desire you, and want to you. I can only desire you if I have nothing else…Poverty and Faith, hand in hand…This is what I ask of you tonight Lord. I want to change my attitude of indifference.

I professed my vow of poverty a couples years ago, but I ask myself if I am really poor? “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for the Kingdom of God is theirs.” The Kingdom of Christ in our souls…Christ in our souls…But I have so many lifelines that aren’t the Eucharist…How often I can hear myself saying, “I need primerisima, I need recreation, I need to talk right now, I need more brotherly support, I need my security of my vocation, I need security in knowing that I can do this or that apostolate well…etc…etc…” All things that are good and needed for a balanced religious life…But when I find myself needing these things, and looking for them more than I look forward to mass or adoration, or time spent in the heart of Christ…That’s when I forget that Christ himself starts to cut my lifelines, one by one, to shake me up and take all my securities away, so I have no other rock than Him…because everything else is sand…And it’s uncomfortable, very uncomfortable and painful…that’s why the Pharisees were so uneasy… “Stop it Lord!” “Stop taking my securities away!” “Tell your disciples to be quiet!” “If they stop, the rocks will start shouting!” replied Jesus…Rocks…events, circumstances, words, everything around me starts speaking about Christ and his hand in my life…Lord, grant me a greater faith, so as to see You as my All, my only certainty…

Right after the entrance into Jerusalem, the children in the temple were still acclaiming Him as King…They couldn’t stop…They had such a simple faith, that they could see everything our Lord was for them…How happy and what a consolation that was for our Lord’s heart, seeing that in less than a week, he was to be put to death…

It’s amazing how Christ can love me so much! Mon. Luis Martínez says in his book, that if I were the only person in the world, the only object of his love, God wouldn’t love me anymore than he already loves me now. His love surpasses all my dreams…Infinitely. Everything I am, everything I do, depends on how much I have let Christ transform my heart. He wants me to grow in faith, so I can see how much my life really depends on Him in the Eucharist…Just going to mass every single day…if I really knew the depth of the mystery in which I participate every day, I would die…Christ gives me the grace to participate in my Redemption every single day…Redemption! Every single day I can experience His immense love…His immense love for me right now…I can only imagine how much it cost him to stay here in the Eucharist with me. Only now do I understand a little more why indifference is so painful for Christ. There he is, day after day, the faithful friend.

Something that attracted me to the Legion was how Father celebrated the mass…how he would hold up the Eucharist for such a long time to emphasize the culminating moment of history, my history, my day…Attending a funeral last week, an elderly priest who concelebrated said to Fr. Justin, “Never lose that love for the Eucharist!” He said that because he saw how a legionary celebrate mass…We have such a great grace that we can spend so much time meditating on…

I receive Christ in communion every single day. He wants me to unite my imagination with His, my thoughts with His, my desires and feelings with His, my intuitions, my actions, my all with His… And little by little I start thinking like he thinks, desire what he desires, do what he does, imagine what he imagines, feel what he feels…In that moment, when he gives himself totally to me in communion and even right now on the altar, he says, “I have only you right now. I created this universe, I who keep everything in being, I have only you right now.” Fr. Tadeusz says, “It is humanly speaking, quite insane for Him to fall in love with the likes of me…” But he does…And it takes a simple faith, like that of the children in the temple, to believe. My cross, my sin, my defects are so humiliating…I’m so ashamed because of my cross…My soul is so stained and covered with scars…How can God love a wretch like me? It is through faith that I see God who doesn’t judge me by human categories….that maybe he loves me with my imperfections and not despite them, that he bestows on me more mercy and grace, more loving care to mend my wounds…Right now he might seem so far away, so distant and disconnected, but with faith I can see how close he is to me…Just for me…I will lay my cloak down before him to step on, like the blind man of Jericho, and cut my lifelines, and stop pretending I can fare well without Christ…Souls don’t need me…they look for Christ in me…That’s something very clear, almost the first brick wall you run in to during internship.

Lord, grant me the spirit of true poverty, so as to truly desire you, because I can’t live without you…The poorer I am, the more I will realize that I need You…only You, and therefore desire You more…because you’ll be my only Treasure…and the more faith I have, the more I will see You really present in my life…the Eucharist acting in every fiber of my being, in every moment of my day…

 

About Br Samuel Chow LC

Br Samuel Chow was born in Toronto to Chinese immigrants. After entering the Legionary novitiate in Canada, Brother Samuel studied in Spain and completed a bachelors in Philosophy in Rome. He has carried out apostolic missions to Hong Kong and chaperoned Chinese youth to the World Youth Day in Rio De Janeiro last summer. Br Chow is currently on internship in Cheshire, CT where he is a mentor for young adults.
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