Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Even Our Swords

“…You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind…” Luke 10: 27

Did you ever think about the basic difference between the Virgin Mary and Charlemagne? I didn’t think so.

Of course now that you are, you are probably thinking about her humility and relatively hidden life versus his worldly success and pride. She was a simple woman of no apparent consequence while he was a well-known ruler called “Charles the Great”. She was born and lived her life in a small portion of the world while he conquered peoples and nations.

But I didn’t ask about the most obvious difference, I asked about the basic difference. There is a story that I heard recently; it is a legend about Charlemagne and it might not even be true, but based on his life and his deeds, you could imagine it to be true. Either way it makes for a good story. It goes that when Charlemagne was being baptized, that he allowed every part of him to go under the water except for his arm and sword. The concept was that he wanted his soul to be God’s and to ultimately be saved, but that as a worldly king he could not submit his need for war to Christ. He realized that he needed to keep his ability to make war and be unmerciful with his enemies separate from his submission to Christ. In other words, he knew that if he submitted everything to Christ, then he would have to change everything about the way he thought, spoke and did things in his kingdom. It might have meant being able to defend himself and his people, but not the right to go conquer other peoples. It might have meant being able to imprison people for breaking his laws, but not executing them. Who knows, but the point is that like so many of us, Charlemagne wanted to keep part of himself for himself and not give everything to God.

On the other hand, we look to the example of our Blessed Mother, who at the age of about 13 had an angel appear to her and ask her to be the Mother of the Savior. She was a little scared and confused, but despite this she gave a wholehearted “yes”, her fiat being “Let it be done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1: 38). So here we have a little girl with no power of her own, no recourse or way to protect herself, saying “yes” to God without holding anything back; truly offering not just her mind and heart, but her whole body to the Lord for His purposes.

We need to look to Mary as an example of faith. It is tempting to be a “Charlemagne Christian” and to keep parts of our hearts, minds, bodies, wills, desires, dreams, etc. for ourselves. So many of us are afraid to give everything to Christ; scared that if we do he will ask us to do something we will hate, or that we can’t accomplish. But this fear is from Satan. We need to have the child-like trust of Mary. Only then can Christ do amazing things through us and only then can we truly bring Christ to others.

Dear Jesus, I want to be like Your Mother: holy, humble and willing to give You everything. Please give me the grace to surrender my heart, mind, body, soul and strength to You for Your glory and Your purposes. Amen.

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