Tuesday, February 14, 2006
The Agony in the Garden and True Submission to God
May God bless the most holy rosary; it leads me daily to greater love for Christ.
I was praying with the Mystery of the Agony in the Garden. This mystery has always led me deeper in my love for Christ. It is at once a human and divine moment; and in a way our Lords' most human moment.
He is suffering deep within His soul. He knows what His Father wills, but does not wish it. In a real way there is a moment of fear, a struggle with the acceptance of His Fathers' will. A great pain and an inward battle make the savior of the world to sweat blood.
He will miss his friends, His family and life itself. He knows that there will be a Resurrection. And still, the suffering that is to come is unwanted. He asks for the cup to pass from Him. But in the end He says, with all sincerity and love, "Not my will, but yours be done." It is true submission to the will of God. It is a moment where we are shown how to deal with our own suffering as a human being.
It is a lesson that in these last few weeks is very relevant to the world.
'Islam means “Peace” and "submission". It comes from the term 'aslama, which means "to surrender, resign oneself." In Islam, the fundamental duty of each member is to submit to Allah (Arabic for "the God") and whatever Allah wants of them. A person who follows Islam is called a Muslim, and this means "one who surrenders to God."
But what I've seen is people taking upon themselves Gods' tasks. It is not the given to mankind to kill for God. It is not given to humanity to smite nations in Gods' name. God does that, He has done that Himself and does not call upon us to do it. If we raise our hands it should be in the defense of the oppressed.
This does not mean we do not defend the weak. We are not idle bystanders in the story of salvation. Social Justice is a concern for us all. To uplift the weak and the suffering is the duty of all people. We are called to defend the name of God in peace. We are called to raise our hands in the defense of our brothers and sisters. If God wishes to punish a nation for blasphemy, He has proven He will.
There are principles for a just war in the Catholic faith:
1. the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain;
2. all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective;
3. there must be serious prospects of success;
4. the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. The power of modern means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition" [CCC 2309].
None of them say to fight to protect God. It is all to protect each other.
We are told:
To instruct the ignorant
To counsel the doubtful
To admonish sinners
To bear wrongs patiently
To forgive offences willingly
To comfort the afflicted
To pray for the living and the dead
We are told:
To feed the hungry;
To give drink to the thirsty;
To clothe the naked;
To harbour the harbourless;
To visit the sick;
To visit the imprisoned
To bury the dead.
And whatever we do to the least of our brothers, we do that to Christ.
But fundamentalist Islam does not submit to God, they try to usurp the authority of God. To defend God, we defend each other. To offend God, we kill each other. They oppress others and claim the rights and duties of the creator.
To submit to God we submit to the service and defense of each other. We submit to our suffering in the certainty that God has a plan and all things are part of it. We accept that even as we suffer, God will turn it to good.
When I was 10 my mother died. She suffered for a long time with cancer. I can honestly not remember a time when she was not sick. I asked her once why God would do this. She told me that her faith in God was not shaken by the suffering. God did not send suffering, but He turned it to good. And that if she had to suffer so that another person, who would lose faith would not, she accepted that.
That is submission to God.
Mother Theresa said:
Give yourself fully to God. He will use you to accomplish great things on the condition that you believe much more in His love than in your own weakness.
To kill in the name of God while oppressing others is to believe in your own weakness. It is an effort to earn salvation through the blood of others rather than through the Love of God. It is submission to fear.