We have been speaking about the
personal, intimate, heart-felt experience of God in prayer that is called knowledge
of God. This knowledge is indispensable for one's growth in devoted
love,holiness, and intercession. We
have been created to know God personally. Yet, as intercessors we must realize
that we are to know the Lord also for the benefit of others. For,
intercession is always prayer for others. It is from the depths of devoted love
and sanctity that effective intercession comes forth. To know Jesus Christ is to
know the self-giving love of God in the world, for the world. To know Jesus
is to know the holiness of a heart that willingly accepts the cross for
others. To know Jesus is to know the self-emptying of the Eternal Word
in the world for the sake of salvation.
The mystery of the Incarnation is
about God and humanity 'coming together' as one in the divine person of Jesus
Christ; it is about the descent of God "in the form of a slave, in the form of
a fallen humanity, on account of sin" (CCC 602) for the purpose of the
intercessory-saving mission of Jesus; it is about the emptying of God (the
second person of the Trinity) into a human nature, the enfleshment of the
crucified Love of Jesus, the one Mediator between God and humanity:
not cease to be God when he became a human being, but he renounced all
divine privileges--honor, glory, power--in order to become the obedient servant
of his Father's plans"
(Days of the Lord, vol. 2; p. 222)
Paul says this about Jesus: "He emptied himself" (Phil. 2:7A). Through
the Incarnation the Eternal Word emptied himself to be with us in a human
nature in order to offer his life for us. This tells us something profound
about the "new humanity" that is present in Jesus--a "new humanity" we are all
called to participate in. For us, the path to this "new humanity" entails a
process of being emptied of "self"--hence, self-love, self-absorption, and
selfishness. For, love requires a constant self-renunciation if it is to grow.
Jesus emptied himself for the
Father's will to be fulfilled through the offering of his life for the
salvation of souls. This is New Covenant Love:
emptied himself to take upon himself the sin of mankind. He emptied himself
so that he could atone before the Father for all that needed redemption" (Poustinia,
by Catherine Doherty, p. 120).
Jesus desires to live the mystery of his Incarnation through each of us. He
wants to live his "desire" to do the Father's will, his desire to please the
Father in everything, and his desire to finish the Father's work given to him
(but now, through our humanity). In order to receive the gift of the mystery of
Jesus' Incarnation-- this mystery of Jesus to be fulfilled now through my
life--I must let go of "myself": "He must increase; I must decrease" (John
3:30). Jesus' whole earthly life was a mystery of redemption, culminating in
the supreme offering of his life on the "altar" of the cross as he took "our
death upon himself" (CCC 713).His
entire human life was a "yes" to God. Now, intercessors must allow Jesus to
continue to live his perpetual "yes" to the Father through our human lives, and
to allow Jesus to pray to the Father for others from within our humanity.
Am I allowing Jesus to live his self-emptying lifestyle through my humanity?
Is there an area of my life that I am afraid of letting go of?