“Being inspired by the life and example of St Lawrence, and letting go of our earthly desires, to win the prize of heavenly salvation!”
(Based on the Feast of St Lawrence)
The forests of northern Europe and Asia are home to a little animal called the Ermine.
It is characterized by its snow-white fur
Some countries have the state robes of the judges lined with this fur…
… the white fur being a symbol of honour and purity.
The Ermine would do anything to protect and safeguard its fur.
Fur hunters however, take undue advantage of this weakness of the Ermine.
They don’t keep a snare to catch the ermine
Instead the smear filth on the entrance and the interior of its house – usually in a cleft of a rock, or the hollow of a tree.
The dogs are then left behind the ermine…
… Frightened, the ermine runs towards its home, the only place of refuge.
However, it finds the entrance dirty and unclean.
It is unwilling to spoil the pure white fur coat.
And so, the ermine makes a choice…
To give in to the hungry and fierce dogs…
… than to spoil the purity of the white fur!
A choice is made – to preserve purity, even at the cost of one’s life!
Every Christian is expected to do the same…
… preserve the purity of one’s holiness, even at the cost of one’s life.
Today we celebrate the Feast of one such Daring Christian – St Lawrence…
… who yielded his life than to lose his pledge to Christ
… who let go of his earthly desires, to win the prize of heavenly salvation
St Lawrence lived the words of Christ who exhorted:
“He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world, will keep it for eternal life!” (Jn 12: 25)
The Gospel Passage of the day is preceded by a very vital and crucial verse in the Gospel of St John…
Jesus says, “The Hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified” (Jn 12: 25)
The life of Jesus, as seen in the Johannine Gospel is a journey towards this climax aspect – The Hour!
What is “The Hour?”
The Hour is the hour of glorification
… the hour of His task as a Messiah, which is to be completed by His “lifting up” on the Cross!
It was the Hour when the Lord will conquer death, by submitting Himself totally to the Will of the Father!
Jesus never shied away from this Hour
He came into this world for this Hour
… Death was the goal of His Life, the gold that He was seeking.
He invites His followers to also make this choice…
… to lose one’s life, in order to gain life in Him!
… to die to oneself, in order to bear much fruit!
What are the implication of losing our life, in order to gain life in Him?
Letting go a life of sinful habits and tendencies…
… and making holiness and sanctity as our lifestyle
Seeking to put an end to our tendencies to self-boast or feed our pride…
… and instead, engaging in acts of humility and giving space for God’s Mercy
Letting go of our stubborn nature in reconciling with others…
… and trying to foster relationships based on self-giving and self-sacrifice
Seeking to avoid occasions of sin…
… and instead, creating opportunities for being consciously in the presence of God
By our Baptism, we have been blessed with the white robe of holiness and purity
Our Sacramental life keeps it unstained.
The world, on the other hand, constantly seeks to malign this pure robe…
… by its lures of impurity and filth
Like the ermine, we are faced to make a choice…
To die to the hungry and fierce world…
… than to spoil the purity of holiness!
Yes, we need to make a choice – constantly, at every moment…
A choice to preserve purity, even at the cost of one’s life!
Let us be inspired by the life and example of St Lawrence.
May his courage and valour help us also…
… to yield our life than to lose our pledge to Christ
… to let go of our earthly desires, to win the prize of heavenly salvation
Happy Feast of St Lawrence!
God Bless! Live Jesus!
Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
CHRIST DESCENDED INTO HELL
The frequent New Testament affirmations that Jesus was “raised from the dead” presuppose that the Crucified One sojourned in the realm of the dead prior to His Resurrection.
This was the first meaning given in the apostolic preaching to Christ’s descent into hell: that Jesus, like all men, experienced death and in His soul joined the others in the realm of the dead.
But he descended there as Saviour, proclaiming the Good News to the spirits imprisoned there.
Scripture calls the abode of the dead, to which the dead Christ went down, “hell”- Sheol in Hebrew or Hades in Greek – because those who are there are deprived of the vision of God.
Such is the case for all the dead, whether evil or righteous, while they await the Redeemer: which does not mean that their lot is identical, as Jesus shows through the parable of the poor man Lazarus who was received into “Abraham’s bosom”
“It is precisely these holy souls, who awaited their Saviour in Abraham’s bosom, whom Christ the Lord delivered when he descended into hell.”
Jesus did not descend into hell to deliver the damned, nor to destroy the hell of damnation, but to free the just who had gone before him (Cf. CCC # 632-633)