Friday, March 14, 2014

Afternoon meditation: Lenten Friday with Francis

Part of a continuing series of Friday reflections on Pope Francis' Lenten Message. 

Pope Francis began his Lenten message by taking us back to Christmas, reveling in the fact that God revealed his glory to us in such an unpredictable (and yet divine) way through the poverty of our own human nature. As St Paul wrote to the Corinthians (who didn't value human weakness and limitation very highly), "God chose the weak of this world to shame the that no human being may boast before God." And of himself, Paul testified (to those same Corinthians!), "When I am weak, then I am strong... the power of Christ rests upon me."

Here Pope Francis invokes the icon of the Baptism of the Lord. "When Jesus stepped into the waters of the Jordan...he did it to be among people who need forgiveness...and to take upon himself the burden of our sins."  There's an exchange taking place, an "admirabile commercium" (a "marvelous interchange," in the words of the liturgy in the Christmas Octave). It creates communion, an experience of the inner reality of the Trinity. The Incarnation, in other words, is not an alms given from abundance and tossed into a beggar's cup; it is a bestowal of all that God has. It is God, casting his lot with us.

Have you ever meditated on Christmas for Lent? How is Pope Francis' reflection helping renew your Lenten observance?

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