Lent Day 21 - LIFE OF CHRIST, by Fulton Sheen

Lent Day 21 - LIFE OF CHRIST, by Fulton Sheen

LENT DAY 21 – Friday March 29


“Our Blessed Lord had said His last word to the world; He had worked His miracles as a sign of His Divinity; He had finished the business His Father had given Him to do. The time had come to address to His Heavenly Father the high priestly prayer of “Mission accomplished.” “Father, the Hour has come. Give glory now to Thy Son, that Thy Son may give glory to Thee. Thou hast put Him in authority over all mankind, to bring eternal life to all those thou hast entrusted to Him. Eternal Life is knowing Thee, Who are the only true God, and Jesus Christ Whom Thou hast sent. I have exalted Thy glory on earth by achieving the task Thou gavest Me to do; now, Father, do Thou exalt Me at Thy own side, in that glory which I had with Thee before the world began.” (John 17:1-5)


Eternal life He defined as knowing the Father and His Divine Son, Jesus Christ… What was remarkable about His affirmation that He is Eternal Life was that it came within eighteen hours of His death… He was the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” by Divine intention. Now had come the “Hour” or moment of execution of that intent. With it, He asked the Father to take His human nature into the glory of the pre-existent majesty of the Godhead.


Our Divine Lord here noted the continuity of a mission from the Father to Himself, and Himself to the Apostles…


After having asked that the Apostles be kept in love, Our Lord asked His Father that they be kept from evil. He said that He was leaving the world, but they were to stay in it, even though the world would hate them as the world would crucify Him. They, and all who would be united with Him through this apostolic body, were to be in the world, but not of it. Our Lord did not ask His Father that they be preserved from sickenss, mock trials, false charges; He asked only that they be kept from sin. Material assault from without must be met by spiritual resistance from within.


The Father was now asked to keep them holy: “I am not asking that Thou shouldst take them out of the world, but that Thou shouldst keep them clear of what is eveil… Keep them holy, then, through the truth; it is Thy word that is truth.” (John 17:15)… Religion is indeed a life, but it grows out of truth, not away from it. It has been said it makes no difference what you believe; it all depends on how you act. This is psychological nonsense, for a man acts out of his beliefs. Our Lord placed truth or belief in Him first; then came sanctification and good deeds. But here truth was not a vague ideal, but a Person… Sanctity becomes the response the heart makes to Divine truth and its unlimited mercy to humanity.


He held back nothing; all that he was in Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity He would lay down for them in total surrender… No one would lead Him to slaughter, He would offer Himself “for their sakes” in order to be the fountainhead of their lives. Then both he that sanctified and they who were sanctified would be one. The sins of the world were transferred to him, and the Cross was the result; His holiness and sanctification were transferred to His Apostels and those who, through them, would believe in Him. “Christ never knew sin, and God made Him into sin for us, so that in Him we might be turned into the holiness of God.” ( 2 Corintians 5:21)


The third part of His prayer was for those who through the centuries would believe in Him because of the Apostles. “It is not only for them that I pray; I pray for those who are to find faith in Me through their word; that they may all be one; that they too may be one in us, as Thou, Father art in me and I in Thee; so that the world may come to believe that it is Thou Who has sent Me. And I have given them the privilege which Thou gavest to Me that they should all be one, as We are one; that while Thou art in Me, I may be in them, and so they may be perfectly made one. So let the world now that it is Thou Who hast sent Me, and that Thou hast bestowed Thy love upon them, as Thou hast bestowed it upon Me.” (John 17:20-23)


Though He was now addressing only eleven men, He had in mind all the millions who later would believe in Him through them and their successors. A bond of unity must exist between believers and Him, built on that higher unity which exists between Him and the Father… As the body is one because it has one soul, so shall humanity be one when it has the same Spirit which makes the Father and Son one in heaven.”


(Chapter 40, pgs. 668 – 679)

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