LENTEN REFLECTION – Tuesday of the Fifth Week – 4 April 2017
Look at the cross of Christ – Blessed John Henry Newman
“Look around, and see what the world presents of high and low. Go to the court of princes. See the treasure and skill of all nations brought together to honour a child of man. Observe the prostration of the many before the few. Consider the form and ceremonial, the pomp, the state, the circumstance and the vainglory. Do you wish to know the worth of it all? Look at the cross of Christ.
Go to the political world. See nation jealous of nation, trade rivalling trade, armies and fleets matched against each other. Survey the various ranks of the community, its parties and their contests, the strivings of the ambitious, the intrigues of the crafty. What is the end of all this turmoil – the grave! What is the measure – the cross.
Go, again, to the world of intellect and science. Consider the wonderful discoveries which the human mind is making, the variety of arts to which its discoveries give rise, the all but miracles by which it shows its power. And next, the pride and confidence of reason and the absorbing devotion of thought to transitory objects, which is the consequence. Would you form a right judgment of all this? Look at the cross.
Again, look at misery, look at poverty and destitution, look at oppression and captivity. Go where food is scanty, and lodging unhealthy. Consider pain and suffering, diseases long or violent, all that is frightful and revolting. Would you know how to rate all these? Gaze upon the cross.
Thus in the cross, and Him who hung upon it, all things meet. All things subserve it, all things need it. It is their centre and their interpretation. For He was lifted up upon it, that He might draw all peoples and all things to himself.
………………..And so, too, as regards this world, with all its enjoyments, yet disappointments, let us not trust it. Let us not give our hearts to it. Let us not begin with it. Let us begin with faith. Let us begin with Christ. Let us begin with His cross and the humiliation to which it leads. Let us first be drawn to Him who is lifted up, that so He may, with Himself, freely give us all things. Let us “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,” and then all those things of this world “will be added to us.”
They alone are able truly to enjoy this world, who begin with the world unseen. They alone enjoy it, who have first abstained from it. They alone can truly feast, who have first fasted. They alone are able to use the world, who have learned not to abuse it. They alone inherit it, who take it as a shadow of the world to come and who for that world to come relinquish it.”
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