by Dallas Carter Jr., President of EPIC Ministry
“Even now, says the Lord, return to me with your whole heart” (Joel 2:12)
Aloha mai kākou,
As the Lenten season comes to a close and we near the celebration of the Sacred Triduum and Easter, we begin, as a Church, to more deeply reflect on the life, death, and resurrection of Our Lord and the salvation that he offers us through the great Paschal Mystery. I would like to offer you a brief reflection on salvation for you to consider as you finish your Lenten journey and look to arise anew in Christ on Easter Sunday.
I often reflect on salvation as simply a chance to NOT go to hell. I certainly don’t want to go to hell and it is helpful to have guidance from our Holy Church on what we can do to avoid eternal punishment and to make it to heaven! I know the rules of God and the Church, I try really hard to follow those rules, and I try to frequent the sacrament of Confession when I go off track.
However, salvation is about so much more than simply an acquittal of the punishment we rightly ought to receive as a result of sin…Salvation is so much more than just a get-out-of-jail-free card. Jesus gives himself completely on the cross. It was the supreme self gift. As He says himself in Jn 15:13, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
"Jesus gives himself completely on the cross. It was the supreme self gift."
What more then is there to salvation that we ought to reflect on during this special time in our liturgical calendar? The compendium of the catechism says, n.85 (cf. 2 Peter 1:4), that one of the reasons that God became man and died for us on the Cross was so that we could be partakers in His Divine Life. This means that a big part of embracing our salvation in Christ is for us to share in the very life of God and not necessarily only after we die; but now, here on earth. He entered our plight as mankind, died our death, and rose again to new life. He assumed our humanity so that he could infuse it with his divinity. In which ways do you partake in the Divine Life? In which ways do you live out your salvation now while you journey with Christ here on earth?
We are all wounded, we are all broken in some way. Salvation then is not just about forgiveness… It is about filling us with Divine life. Salvation is not only about how to get to heaven, it is about healing our brokenness and making us whole. Our Lord wants us to be with Him. He wants us to return to Him; but He wants us to return to Him with whole hearts. Imagine a piece of wood into which a big nail is hammered. Removing the nail would be like the forgiveness we receive through salvation. However, even after the nail is gone, there is a big hole left in the wood. The salvation God offers us is more than just removing the nail. God removes the nail but also desires to fill the hole that is left behind. If we embrace our salvation daily and give Jesus access to all parts of our life, He can begin the process of not only offering us forgiveness, but also filling the holes left behind from the brokenness and wounds of our lives.
"God removes the nail but also desires to fill the hole that is left behind."
As we “look toward heaven” as an EPIC community this year, and as we near the celebration of the Sacred Triduum wherein we remember the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord, the question for us should not only be “what must I do to be on the path to heaven?” but rather it should also be “what can I do to be a greater partaker in the Divine Life that God is offering us? What can I do to allow God access to my life so that He might heal my brokenness? What can I do to allow God to make my heart whole?”
Ad Jesum Per Mariam,
Dallas Carter Jr., MPT
President, EPIC Ministry