April 2, 2010
El Abiodh, Taize
Suffering. Sacrifice. Service.
This Holy Week, and especially today, I have been reminded of what it means for me to be a Christian. A Missionary, as well. And that is to suffer, to sacrifice and to serve.
We saw how Jesus suffered for us. Even His closest friends did not believe at one point. Or denied Him. And how He suffered for us. We can only dream to be given that opportunity to suffer for others, as He has suffered for us.
We have seen His ultimate sacrifice. Giving up His life, at 33, for us. Now, 33 years old is when you are more or less stable, ready to give more to your work. Start, or grow, your family. And realize the more important things in life. Would we be willing to give all that up for God? I am turning 35 this year, would I be willing to give up everything for Him? Christ did.
And we have felt His serving us. By humbling Himself and washing our feet. By showing us that we do not need grandeur and trumpets blazing for us to do His will. We don’t even need commendations and awards. All we need is to serve Him fully. With all that we have. And we will get our rewards in due time.
I was brought to thinking about Pope Benedict. He is currently suffering because of attacks against him by the liberated media. Media is calling him names, questioning his authority and even clamoring for a woman Pope (a Nope, as she was called – trying to degrade us by making fun of us). He is also sacrificing for our good. He is taking the brunt of the attacks, and many Catholics are just watching from the sidelines. Maybe we are in that state of denial and unbelief, that we are just letting this happen, without our saying anything. And Pope Benedict is doing all of this to serve us. He is leading us through service, and showing us that we can be strong and steadfast in the midst of adversity, opposition and persecution.
I wish I had time to meet Pope Benedict at the IYF last week. After crying, I would really have told him that we are with him 100%. And that he has our prayers, support and trust as he leads us all to Christ. As he suffers, we too are suffering. As he sacrifices, we too sacrifice. And as he serves, we too serve. Just as we saw in Jesus.
It is so cold here, I can’t stay outside for more than a few minutes. How do people live in cold weather? And to think it is already Spring. What more in Winter? Des found out that even our meal area is different from where the youth get their meals. Yesterday, we got our food where the youth get theirs. And it is outdoors. So it was C-O-L-D! Now, it is indoors. Thank God for being over 25.
After morning prayers I decided to spend some quality time at the Crypte (which is the Chapel). Des went to a group meeting (and I think watched a video of Taize… which I will do later). I needed this time with God. After all the preparations for Rome, traveling to Rome more than a week ago, the IYF, going to Vienna, and then commuting to Taize; and also missing my babies terribly, I just need this chance to recover, reflect and be silent. Maybe this is one message that God wants me to hear, here in Taize. Take time out to reflect and be silent. Also, spend time with my wife. And know that my family is being cared for, not only by people, but by my Father.
This really is a beautiful place. Simple, yet full of Spirit. I will really encourage people to stop by if ever they are in Europe. It is refreshing.
And now it is time for midday prayers.