Thursday, April 9, 2009

Daily - 4/9/09

Isaiah 52:13-15, 53:1-12 (Good Friday, first reading)

Chapter 52
13 See, my servant shall prosper, he shall be raised high and greatly exalted.

14 Even as many were amazed at him-- so marred was his look beyond that of man, and his appearance beyond that of mortals--

15 So shall he startle many nations, because of him kings shall stand speechless; For those who have not been told shall see, those who have not heard shall ponder it.

Chapter 53

1 Who would believe what we have heard? To whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?

2 He grew up like a sapling before him, like a shoot from the parched earth; There was in him no stately bearing to make us look at him, nor appearance that would attract us to him.

3 He was spurned and avoided by men, a man of suffering, accustomed to infirmity, One of those from whom men hide their faces, spurned, and we held him in no esteem.

4 Yet it was our infirmities that he bore, our sufferings that he endured, While we thought of him as stricken, as one smitten by God and afflicted.

5 But he was pierced for our offenses, crushed for our sins, Upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole, by his stripes we were healed.

6 We had all gone astray like sheep, each following his own way; But the LORD laid upon him the guilt of us all.

7 Though he was harshly treated, he submitted and opened not his mouth; Like a lamb led to the slaughter or a sheep before the shearers, he was silent and opened not his mouth.

8 Oppressed and condemned, he was taken away, and who would have thought any more of his destiny? When he was cut off from the land of the living, and smitten for the sin of his people,

9 A grave was assigned him among the wicked and a burial place with evildoers, Though he had done no wrong nor spoken any falsehood.

10 (But the LORD was pleased to crush him in infirmity.) If he gives his life as an offering for sin, he shall see his descendants in a long life, and the will of the LORD shall be accomplished through him.

11 Because of his affliction he shall see the light in fullness of days; Through his suffering, my servant shall justify many, and their guilt he shall bear.

12 Therefore I will give him his portion among the great, and he shall divide the spoils with the mighty, Because he surrendered himself to death and was counted among the wicked; And he shall take away the sins of many, and win pardon for their offenses.


This probably the most quoted part of the Song of the Suffering Servant, and it clearly lays out Christ's purpose.

It took me until I was 32 years old to even begin to think about WHY Christ had to die. I knew the words "for our sake he was crucified," but I had no grasp of why that had to be. Why he had to come, why he had to live the life he lived, and why He had to die. Truthfully, there's a part of me that will never understand why that all had to come to pass in this fashion.

Regardless of my ability to understand it, Christ came for a purpose. Every gift he had was made for that purpose. He lived his whole life toward that purpose, beginning to end. Everything he did was focused on that purpose.

Lately I've been reading "Introduction to the Devout Life" by St. Francis de Sales, and it spends some time talking about how we as individuals can apply that to our own life. Here's how the thinking goes:

- Consider your strengths, gifts, talents, etc.
- Understand that they came from God, NOT me
- Be thankful for those gifts
- Realize that God gave them to you for a purpose
- Use them for their intended purpose

I've just started taking the time to go through this mental process. The first thing I can say is that it's humbling. The second thing I can say is that it is life changing. It really forces you to think. What am I good at? God made me this way ... have I thanked Him? WHY has God made me this way, and given me the gifts that He has?

And here's the life-changer ... am I using this gift the way God wants me to?