Whenever the shining sunbeams gather in the focal point of a lens, it can ignite a piece of paper (a cigarette paper for example).
This also happens to our hearts, for whenever they are placed at the focus of the cross where God’s love congregates, Divine Love inflames them.
Let me, my dear reader; try to collect together these sacred beams which are for the tremendous knowledgeable love of CHRIST in the focus of the Golgotha cross through a magnificent phrase stated by the Philosopher of Christianity: Apostle Paul, expressing the impact of the cross on our life:
For the message of the cross is foolishness for those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:18)
May these words with the Divine power ignite our languid hearts.
Come with me dear to enjoy what this verse carries of rich and beneficial elements of grace for our spirits.
In fact, my article is neither a coherent research, nor a divided sermon, nor a directed teaching. They are merely thoughts covering events which crossed my mind when GOD honoured me through availing me the visit to the holy land for the first time in 1995. My only concern was to feast my eyes on the sight of Golgotha Mountain where Lord Jesus Christ was crucified as a sacrifice for my sins “Delivered for our sins”.
I talked to myself saying, while shivering and frightened under the cross “No one but myself deserved to be crucified to death for my so many sins, and my corrupt nature”.
I heard a voice coming from eternity, so deep and strong, uttering the sweet words of the apostle:
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans.5:8)
It touched the depth of my heart these so kind words of my faithful Saviour:
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life”
The tears dropped from my eyes, and the groaning of my heart echoed in my ears. The earth swirled around me to throw me in the arms my crucified beloved, and to hear his voice resounding, addressing me and all the crowds:
“Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing “
My whole being was shaken and I responded with shame covering all my face: “I am not like those, Lord, for whom you gave an excuse, I know the sins I commit”.
A kind hand tapped my shoulder, and whispers penetrated my ears saying: ”Son, you surely know the crime of your doings, but the excuse I give you is that you do not know the extent of the pains that your sins inflict deep down myself and in my heart”.
I cried from the depth of my heart “ Forgive me God for I am a sinner”. I woke up from my atonement and found myself thrown under the feet of the beloved who died on the cross for the sake of my sins and resurrected for my vindication
I remembered what my teacher St. Cerille the Jerusalemer said the day he stood at the same place thousands of years ago and sang:
“How kind is the love of God, because the faithful spent long years ago satisfying Him. During those long years of asceticism, the only thing they wanted to achieve was God s approval. Lord Jesus is ready to grant it to you now at this hour, and transfer you to the paradise where he placed the thief”.
Do not doubt its possibility because the one who saved the thief on his sacred Golgotha at the moment of his faith can also save you with your faith. These words fell on my heart like dew refreshing my inside and wiping the tears off my eyes.
I thanked God from deep inside me who allowed this grace that I do not deserve.
The cross was indeed a sacred lens that gathered the divine rays of love in a focus that set fire in my depth.
I was certain at that time that the death of Lord Jesus Christ on behalf of all humanity, despite being an old fact dating from thousands of years, it becomes a new discovery having its power and piercing effect when man attributes this glorious deed to himself personally.
This is exactly what happened to all those, whose depths were inflamed by the Divine love.
Yes, the message of the cross for those who are saved is the lens of God that inflames and sets their hearts on fire through that tremendous love.
On the other hand what a great loss inflicts the one who does not designate this salvation to himself. The message of the cross becomes without any sense for them, since they do not know its inflaming power.
Apostle Paul elaborated the principle of designating the sacrifice for oneself when he applied this on himself saying:
“Who loved me (myself) and gave himself for me (myself)” (Galatians 2:20)
Dear reader, place your heart in the focus of the inflaming lens of the cross now to ignite your depths with the fire of the Divine love. This is what I truly pray for and what will make my heart definitely happy.
Fr Zakaria Botrous