Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Spirituality: “The Serpent Lifted Up” By Pope Francis

The serpent is the sign for us. We think of the Book of Genesis: it was the serpent that seduced Eve that suggested that she sin … Christianity … is not a philosophical doctrine; it is not a program of life that enables one to be well-formed and to make peace. These are its consequences. Christianity is a person, a person lifted up on the cross. A person who emptied himself to save us. He took on sin. And so just as in the desert sin was lifted up, here God made man was lifted up for us. And all of our sins were there … One cannot understand Christianity without understanding this profound humiliation of the Son of God, who humbled himself and made himself a servant unto death on the cross. Thanks to the mercy of God, we glory in Christ Crucified. And that is why there is no Christianity without the cross, and there is no cross without Jesus Christ …

The heart of God’s salvation is his Son who took upon himself our sins, our pride, our self-reliance, our vanity, our desire to be like God. A Christian who is not able to glory in Christ Crucified has not understood what it means to be Christian. Our wounds, those which sin leaves in us, are healed only through the Lord’s wounds, through the wounds of God made man who humbled himself, who emptied himself … The cross is a mystery: the mystery of the love of God who humbles himself, who empties himself.

Where is your sin? … Your sin is there on the cross. Go and look for it there, in the wounds of the Lord, and your sins shall be healed, your wounds shall be healed, your sins shall be forgiven. God’s forgiveness is not a matter of cancelling a debt we have with him. God forgives us in the wounds of his Son lifted up on the cross.

Source: Magnificat, April, 2015, pp. 131-132.