The ultimate proof
HINTS AND TRACES - Fr. Roy Cimagala (The Freeman) - May 25, 2020 - 12:00am

I’m referring to what could be considered as the ultimate proof that we are true Christians. I imagine that it would be the willingness to offer our life for others, for our faith, for the Church, the way Christ himself offered his life as the ultimate act of his redemptive love for us in full obedience to the will of the Father. (cfr. Mt 26,39)

Christ did many, countless good things from the beginning of his earthly life all the way the end. He preached, performed miracles, travelled extensively just to reach out to people. But all these weren’t enough. He capped everything by offering his life on the cross. By so doing he assumed all the sins of men, past, present and future, and conquered them precisely through his death and resurrection.

Now if our Christianity goes all the way to that extent, I believe that constitutes the ultimate proof of our Christianity. That would clearly show we are truly and vitally united with Christ, since only with Christ can we go that far, i.e., for us to give our all.

We can already be a Christian just by being baptized and doing some good work. But if our life happens to involve suffering, especially of the extreme type, and eventually death, again especially a cruel death, and we still are willing to accept and bear them as part of God’s will for us, that would be clear proof that we are completely with Christ.

No wonder that in the different causes of canonization for some people proposed for sainthood, those of the martyrs are given a quicker and shorter pass for the simple reason that they identified themselves with Christ more clearly. Their heroic acts of love for God are more patent.

This was the case of St. Lorenzo Ruiz and St. Pedro Calungsod. Though they didn’t write any theological books and the like, their identification with Christ through their martyrdom can be more easily seen. The cause for canonization for those of pastors, religious, etc., requires greater scrutiny and a longer process.

We should try our best that in our effort to be like Christ, we develop that attitude of being willing to offer our life for God and for others. Such attitude would clearly indicate that we have that love that Christ has, the love which is the very essence of God, as St. John said in his first letter—“God is love.” (1 Jn 4,8)

This is the love that summarizes and perfects all the virtues and all that’s good and proper for man as a child of God, image and likeness of his, meant to share in God’s very own life. It’s a love that knows how to be humble, patient, compassionate, merciful, generous, magnanimous. It’s a love that knows how to be completely detached from earthly things to give our whole heart to God.

It’s the love that follows to the letter and the spirit behind all of Christ’s teachings and example. It is the love that brings Christ to life in us. Christ wouldn’t just be a historical character or a reference point. With this love, Christ becomes alive in us. He and us become one.

We have to develop this kind of love in the daily events of our life. In things small or big, ordinary or extraordinary, we should see to it that we are willing to give our all, including our life.

This isn’t easy to do, but neither is it impossible. As long as our union with Christ is vivid and intimate, we know that nothing in the world can stop us from giving ourselves completely to him. Everything becomes a means, occasion and reason to give ourselves to him.

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