Papal Visit Countdown--7 weeks to go!
The scent! I LOVE THAT SMELL! It takes me back to my familiar. It makes me feel so secure, loved and carefree! Playing hide and seek with my sisters among the huge fig leaves, covering ourselves with their fuzzy mits, the heady scent of their milky sap and four-o’clock blossoms intoxicating the firefly-filled evenings. Ahh...happy childhood! When I get even the slightest whiff of figs, I am taken back to my grandmother’s garden, back to the warmth and embrace of that perfectly simple and beautiful time.
Fig leaves-- enchanting, inviting and perfect for hide and seek, but not so good for other things, like making clothing-- ask Eve. Sadly, just as she tried to hide her nakedness and shame with the ill-suited foliage we too attempt to make our own “coverings” for sin. We have come up with all sorts of ways to try to “clothe” ourselves, to cover our guilt instead of being washed clean of it, forgetting what Christ has already done for us from the cross. It’s as if we imagine that God has a heavenly ledger sheet, and as long as our good deeds outweigh our bad ones, we’re “covered.”
That's not what Scripture says:
1. Confess and believe.
“For, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9
2. Experience Him through the Sacraments.
“Peter [said] to them, ‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’” Acts 2:38
“Jesus said to them, ‘Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.’” John 6:53-54
“If we acknowledge our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrongdoing.” 1 John 1:9
3. Do as He asks.
“Jesus answered and said to him, “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.” John 14:23
4. But, thanks be to Him, it is ultimately by His grace and blood that we are washed clean from our sin. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9. “But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, then we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of his Son Jesus cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7
Thankfully, the blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin, sets us free from bondages of the enemy, and gives us access to the Kingdom of God, all brought to us by God the Father through our new Eve, Jesus’ mother, Mary. Think about it, Jesus' Father was God, but His mother was human. She gave Him His skin, His bones and His blood, the very blood that would be shed for you and me on the cross.
Just as Adam and Eve brought us sin, death and alienation from God by their disobedience, Jesus, the New Adam, and Mary the new Eve, have, by God’s grace, brought us a pathway back to God by their “Yes” to God--by their loving obedience to all He asked of them.
This truth was not taught to me as a child. I actually never gave much mind at all to Mary and her important role in salvation’s story. But you can read about how I was introduced to her HERE in Chapter 6, The Stoplight, in Metamorphosis of a Soul, and how she went from being a “liability” to an “asset” all in one, perfectly planned and heavenly orchestrated day.
How do you feel about the Mother of our Savior and Lord, the one who gave Him life and limb here on planet earth?
Perhaps spend this week pondering the miraculous weaving together of God’s grace-filled plan in order that we could be “covered.” Thanks be to God- all was tailor-made for us.
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to ransom those under the law, so that we might receive adoption. As proof that you are children, God sent the spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.
Thank You for all You have done for me through the birth, death, burial, and resurrection of Your Son, Jesus Christ. It is mind boggling to me how You wove together man’s free will and Your divine plan, and You still do! Thank You that You have made something greater than just a covering for all of my sin. You have made it possible to be washed clean from sin through the powerful blood of Your Son, Jesus Christ. Thank You that You used Mary, His mother, to fulfill the ancient prophecies and, at the proper time. You brought about Your great plan of salvation. Use me Lord, to do Your will, just like You used Jesus and Mary. Let me never hide from an opportunity, nor be ashamed to tell of Your wonders and Your amazing love. Thank You that You love me, call me Your own and have got me “covered.”
I ask this in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.