THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
Her Doctrine and Morals
Fourth Sunday after Easter
19 May 2019
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Once again, Jesus would have us consider the ebb and flow of this life. Far from resisting and fighting against this constant change or flux, we are to welcome it as coming to us from the hands of our loving Father in Heaven. It is necessary that Jesus should leave the Apostles so that they could receive the Holy Ghost.
In this life, God gives us something that is good and then He asks us to sacrifice this good so that we might receive an even greater good. The Apostles were required to let go of Jesus so that He could return to the Father, but God's desire is to fill them with even greater graces when they receive the Holy Ghost to live within them and transform their very bodies into His Temple. Materially we are asked to sacrifice the comfort and security of infancy in order to enter into childhood, our childhood is then, in turn, sacrificed so that we may receive the greater good of adolescence and that is to be sacrificed so that we may enter into maturity and adulthood. Adulthood then gives way to old age, and finally, old-age gives way to death and hopefully eternal life in Heaven. Whatever station in life we find ourselves in or whatever we find a sense of security or comfort in, God invites us to make a leap of faith and let it go so that we may advance or receive something even better. The ultimate goal is that we will joyfully and willingly let go of this physical life and the material world so that we may receive an eternal one.
We must constantly prepare ourselves to take the next step that God has laid out before us. As we spoke of last week, we experience in this the pendulum of our lives swinging from joys to sorrows and then back again. Joy fills us when we become used to or comfortable where we are or with what we have been given. Sorrow then comes when we must let this go, but then the next good that takes the place of the previous one gives us ever greater joy.
In our spiritual lives, we must pass through various stages or degrees. These are not easily designated or delineated. Sometimes they overlap and we move back and forth between them. In general, Jesus gives Himself to us in stages. We receive Him and rejoice in this, only to be asked to let go of it. Then He fills that void with an even greater gift of His Presence within us, and this too we are asked to empty ourselves of all attachments so that He can even more intimately enter in with us. His previous presence is not lost, but rather our selfish attachment to Him is lost. His presence or intimacy is not removed but rather advanced and increased as more and more of us is given over to Him. The ultimate goal of this gradual ebb and flow is the total removal of us and the complete filling or replacement with Jesus Christ. "No longer I, but Jesus Christ living within me."
In today's Gospel Jesus is preparing the Apostles to freely let go of Him so that the Holy Ghost may come to them. They are sorry at the thought of losing Jesus (the greatest good they have ever known). But this is necessary so that room is made for the Holy Ghost in their hearts, minds, and souls. However, Jesus is not lost to them in all this. The Holy Ghost is going to build upon the life of Jesus within them. The Holy Ghost is going to make them remember what Jesus has told them. The Holy Ghost is going to give them an ever greater understanding of all that Jesus has said and done. The Apostles have not lost anything when Jesus ascended into Heaven, rather this apparent loss became the occasion of the greatest increase.
In our lives, we must always seek to welcome this sacrifice and embrace self-denial for this is the only way that we can truly advance and enter into ever greater unity with God and draw ever closer to eternal happiness in Heaven. In whatever state of intimacy and love of Jesus that we leave this world in, that will be our state for all of eternity. Many will die without any love of God in their hearts. They will have clung to the material things of this world refusing to make any sacrifice and thus will have deprived themselves of any spiritual advancement. Sadly, they will spend eternity not loving God in Hell. Some will have made a little progress and will thus receive the great grace of avoiding Hell but incapable of reaching greater heights in Heavenly glory and intimacy with God. A few generous souls will have given everything (especially their own will) and will have allowed Jesus to completely live in them, and these will be given the best places in Heaven.
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