As imitators of Jesus Christ, the Lamb
of God, intercessors are called to follow his way of life in the world.
A section of the refrain of a contemporary, Christian song states, "Rid me of
myself, I belong to you, lead me, lead me to the cross" ("Lead Me To The
Cross", by Brooke Ligertwood, 2006, Hillsong Music Publishing). The Holy Spirit
wants to lead each of us to the cross where the "false self" (e.g. the self
effected by concupiscence, worldly attitudes, and the influences of the seven
capital sins) is put to death. In Jesus' earthly life, on the cross the supreme
act of sacrificial, saving Love was expressed through the total emptying of the
Lamb of God. Jesus emptied himself for the salvation of souls in obedience to
the Father. Now, he invites intercessors to do the same. This self-emptying
--this interior stripping of self--is a life-long process of passing through
'death to self' to life in the Spirit. This process is a participation in the
emptying and dying of the Lamb of God in the World:
"So death is
at work in us, but life in you" (2 Cor. 4:12)
As intercessors we are members of the
Church, the Body of Christ--a "Mystical" Body--and are called to share in and
to perpetuate his offering on the cross through our self-emptying lifestyle
choices and our intercessory prayer. A Mystical Body always united with its
Head is called to have a 'mystical power' in its prayer. This empowered prayer
is most potent when we are emptied of self, when we allow the Spirit of Jesus
to dwell more fully within us,and when
we allow the His Holy Spirit to groan within us for others. The more that the
"voice" of the "false-self" (e.g. negativity, pessimism, complaining,
murmuring) is put to death within us, the more that the "heart cry" of Jesus
can come forth and be heard in the presence of the Father from within us.
It is God's Love that empties us. The
profound, personal experience of knowing God should lead us to desire to
be emptied of self-love (self-absorption) and selfishness: Knowing God
to the extent of 'forgetting" self (self-denial). This is the heart-felt
experience of being known (being so personally loved by God) to the
point of letting go of "me". God's Devoted Love reflects the rich depths of His
desire for each of us. He desires each of us to cooperate, to respond with a
desire to lay down our lives for Him. A contemporary, Christian song, "Empty
Me", words it this way:
burn away my desire for anything
That is not
of You and is of me.
I want more
of You and less of me.
you fill me with You, with You"
by John Comer and Gene Way, 2003. 50 miles)
The more that we cooperate with the
Holy Spirit, the Sanctifier, and the more of the false self that we allow to be
purged fromwithin us, the more filled with God's presence we will
become. We will begin to experience a change of inner perspective of life--no
longer living from our own perspective but now more from God's perspective. We
will become more emptied of self-interest and more opened to God's concerns and
interests in the world. We will begin to identify with, have more authentic
compassion for, sinful, hurting humanity. The inner "eyes" and "ears" of our
hearts will begin to "see" and "hear" more in line with God's vision and
listening in the world. Faith, hope, and love will begin to blossom. This
process of being emptied is the way to spiritual maturity; for, it allows more
of the "mature heart" of Jesus to dwell within us for God and others. This is
the transformed interiority that we will love from, pray from for others , and
give from sacrificially.
Where does selfishness have a grip on my life?
2)Am I aware of the "voice" of the false self
within myself, and how it manifests at times?