Treat Jesus as a Friend
Monday, February 13, 2023
by Fr. David M. Knight
View readings for today:
Editor's note: Father Knight had many talents. Unfortunately, computer file management was not one of those talents. Thus, I have so far been unable to locate Fr. Knight's reflections on the daily readings from today until Feb 22 (Ash Wednesday). Consequently, starting today, I will post selections from The Five Promises of Baptism on weekdays. (Full copies of the booklet are available here.) On Sundays, I will post reflections on the Mass readings -- if I can find those files! Pray for me! ~~ Lynne Marie
We can't treat Jesus as God and human at the same time-at least, not all of the time. If we tried to treat him always as God, this would be so inhibiting that soon we would find ourselves "forgetting" to keep him with us. We would just forget to invite him to some of the places we are going, or to take part in some of the things we are going to do.
Jesus is the Savior. He deals with sin. He took us, with all of our sins, into his own body on the cross. He was "made sin" for us. The best thing we can do if we are going to sin is ask him to come with us. He may not be able to actively participate "in us and through us" in what we are going to do, but he can keep what we do from being as bad as it might be. And he can heal and repair us when it is over.
Something to Ponder
To ask Jesus to leave when we are sinning is like asking a doctor or nurse to leave the room when we are gushing blood or our bowels are erupting. The messier things are with us, the more we need the person whose skill is precisely in dealing with that; whose call is to deal with it; the one who knows how to clean up and cure the mess we are in. And wants to.
That is what Jesus does as Savior. When sin is going on, he wants to be in the middle of it, doing what he can to stop it or keep it from getting worse. He said, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners." (See Mark 2:14-17)
Why don't we take him at his word?
What is written above is the "worst case scenario." We needed to consider it because this is the problem people immediately jump to when they are told they have "become Christ;' or that they should try to stay conscious of Christ's presence within them all day long. But the truth is, most of the time we are not determined to sin! Most of the time, if we remember to ask Jesus to "do this with me, do this in me, do this through me;' we will try to do what he wants us to do. If what we were intending to do seems incongruous with asking Jesus to do it with us, we will quite often decide not to do it. And
if we were intending to do something good, it is very likely we will get some insight and do it even better.
A Simple Suggestion: THE WIT PRAYER
The simplest, easiest way to "be Christ'' in everything you do simple but not simplistic-is just to form the habit of saying the WIT prayer. Every morning, as soon as you awake, offer your body to Christ as you did on the day of your Baptism, to be his body.
If you are young and agile (and alone), do it passionately: kneel and extend your arms in the form of a cross. Otherwise, say before you get out of bed, before you even open your eyes, "Lord, I give you my body. Live this day with me, live this day in me, live this day through me. Let me think with your thoughts and speak with your words and act as your body on earth."
Continue throughout the day to pray before everything you do, all day long: "Lord, do this With me, do this In me, do this Through me:' That is the WIT prayer. It is the easiest, simplest way to grow into "being Christ."
To Be Christ is to be the Messiah
What is the goal of all this? Essentially, it is just to realize, to take seriously and try to live up to the mystery of our Baptism. To the mystery of our new identity, our true identity, as having "become Christ."
What does "Christ" mean? It is the Greek word for "Anointed;' which in Hebrew is "Messiah:' By Baptism we have "become the Messiah." *
Christ has no lips to speak with now but ours, no hands to comfort with but ours, no feet to travel with but ours. Where we go, he goes. Where we, the members of his body, do not go he cannot be humanly present. Jesus continues to be Messiah in us; and "in him" we are, and are called to act as, the Messiah in our time and place.
What does this mean in practice? In practice it means that we allow, and consciously try to allow, Jesus in us to "save" everything we are involved in. By acting with us, in us, and through us in everything we do.
*The anointing with chrism in the rite of Baptism for infants is called the "messianic anointing:' It commits, consecrates, and empowers the baptized to continue the mission of Jesus the Messiah, the ''Anointed One:' The words of anointing are, ''As Christ was anointed Priest, Prophet, and King, so live always as a member of his body." This is the "job description" of a Christian. See the Rite of Baptism for Children, ''Anointing with Chrism;' no. 98, and the explanation of this in The New Dictionary of Sacramental Worship, ed. Peter Fink (Liturgical Press, 1990), page 275.
Reflections brought to you by the Immersed in Christ Ministry