Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Sacred Meditations Passage

This coming is Christ the King Sunday in some of our churches. Gerhard shares some relevant words about the fruits of our King's suffering (upon which the Holy Gospel sets our meditation):

There are three things that always must be observed in this mystery: the mercy of the loving God, the merit of the suffering Christ, and the grace of the Holy Spirit calling us through the Gospel. The mercy of God is universal because he loved all the world (John 3:16). “The world is full of the mercy of the Lord” (Psalm 33:5). For this reason God’s mercy is indeed greater than heaven and earth—it is just as great as God is (Sirach 2:23), for God is love (1 John 4:16). He has testified in his own Word that he wants no one to die (Ezekiel 33:11). If this were insufficient, he also confirmed it with an oath. If you cannot believe God when he promises, at least believe on account of the fact that he took an oath concerning your salvation. He is called the Father of Mercies (2 Corinthians 1:3) because he by his very nature has mercy and pardons. The cause and origin of the demonstration of mercy is in God’s own nature. Judging and avenging are foreign to him. Thus mercy more than punishment is seen to proceed from his heart.
The merits of Christ are also universal because he suffered for the sins of all the world (1 John 2:2). What then can demonstrate the mercy of God more plainly than the fact that he loved us when we did not yet exist, for it is out of God’s love that we have been created. He furthermore loved us when we were enemies. It was out of love that he gave the Son for our redemption (Romans 5:8). To the sinner sentenced to eternal torment and unable to redeem himself from that sentence, God the Father says, “Take my one and only Son and give him for yourself.” The Son himself says, “Take me and redeem yourself.” Christ is the flower of the field (Song of Solomon 2:1), not of the garden, because the fragrance of his grace is not restricted to a select few but is open to all. And lest you doubt the universality of his merits, Christ was praying for the ones crucifying him as he suffered and was shedding his blood, for the very ones who were shedding his blood (Luke 23:34). The promises of the Gospel are also universal because Christ says to all, “Come to me all who labor” (Matthew 11:28). What has been obtained for all is also offered to all. As many good things as he has extended to the pilgrim through faith, that many you will obtain. God denies his grace to no one except the one who deems himself unworthy of it.

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