We are part of the Body of Christ on earth and we affect that Body by everything we do and everything we are.

     

Printed with the Ecclesiastical Approval of Joseph G. Vath, D.D.    
Bishop of Birmingham in Alabama    

     

Every Christian is "a letter from Christ" to the world, "written not with  ink, but with the Spirit of the living God," written, "not on stone tablets but in their living hearts." (2 Cor. 3:2-3)    

Every retarded, deformed, crippled, handicapped, or senile person, who has been baptized, is a powerhouse for good in a wicked world by reason of the grace of God that dwells in his soul. He need not understand or be able to explain that grace. It is enough that he possess it and his presence in the world makes that world and everyone in it better for his having been born, even though he himself may have little communication with that world, for he is a vessel that carries the light of the living God in a dark world.    

The aged and lonely, whose lives are considered useless because they cannot  produce at their fullest capacity, are veritable dynamos of spiritual energy when their souls possess the Presence of the Trinity through grace, their minds possess the wisdom that comes from experience and their spirits  possess the serenity of those who have fought the good fight and wait with  joy for the call of the Master.    

There are no barriers for Christians who work together with their Leader Christ, for the good of all. Each one is an important and precious part of  the whole. Rich and poor, sick and healthy, young and old, illiterate and genius all work together in the Divine Presence which dwells in each one as in a living Temple.    

Jesus needs them all, as some build by teaching, some repair by repentance, some make reparation by suffering, some enhance by joy, some guide by  ministering, some heal by caring, some provide by working and some enliven by loving. Whatever is their portion, the Christian is light, a beacon and an integral part of the Mystical Body of Christ.    

No Christian needs to feel lonely or useless. He does not look for applause and approval. The realization of bearing within his very soul the Divine Indwelling of Father, Son and Holy Spirit makes each one a powerful tool for  the salvation of the world. Each Christian is a powerhouse of grace reaching out and touching a neighbor by example and prayer. He is powerful no matter where he is or what he does, for the power he possesses is not his own, but the Power of Him who dwells within and in whom he "lives and moves and has his being."    

We are part of the Body of Christ on earth and we affect that Body by  everything we do and everything we are.    

A broken heart fills that Body with a throbbing loneliness. A smile makes it happy. A joy makes it thrill and a pain makes it cry.          

Sin makes it recoil in contortions of rejection and holiness builds it up to  renewed vigor. Grace is its life-giving blood, constantly renewing dead  cells and revitalizing healthy members. The Head of the Body is Christ and  to each of us He has given a function to perform, a part to play and a  position to hold.    

Each one of us is vital to the proper functioning of the whole body and  though our particular duty is unseen and unheralded, the whole body would  suffer without us.    

We need Jesus, but He also needs us. It is not because we can add anything  to Him that He needs us, for He is Infinite in all His Perfections. He  needs us because He wills to do so; He wills that we cooperate with Him for the salvation of the world. Through our neighbor He reaches out and says,    

"I need you."    

"I need your words of comfort in my sorrow, your assurance when I am sick,  your hope when I am discouraged and your love when the world grows cold - for what you do to the least, you do to Me."    

St. Paul lay on the ground struck with terror when he first heard his Lord  say, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?" (Acts 9:4/)    

"Who are You, Lord?" Paul answered. Yes, he knew the voice whose power  knocked him off his horse was the voice of God, but the God Paul knew was  only one God, Creator of the Universe, Creator and Lord of men, to be obeyed and feared.    

Paul was confused. "Lord," he was compelled to say, but who was this Lord?  

And then Paul had his first encounter with God-made-man-Jesus-Second Person  of the Holy Trinity. His whole concept of God was about to be changed. He was made to realize that his God lived in his neighbor. He would soon be  aware of that Presence when he was baptized by Ananias and the Holy Spirit  filled his soul with grace and light. "I will show him," Jesus told Ananias, "how much he must suffer for my Name."       

And so it was with Peter. Jesus said to him after the Resurrection, "Feed  My lambs; feed My sheep." (Jn. 21:17) Jesus needed Peter and all the  Apostles to lay the foundations of a new way of life - a life totally given to God, a life of joy and sacrifice, a life of love for one's neighbor.    

Jesus needed their martyrdom to witness to the power of His Name. He gave them power to heal, to reveal His concern for the sick. He gave them power  to cast out demons and share His pity for poor sinners. He gave them power to endure pain and to rejoice that they might give hope to others.    

Jesus needed these men and every facet of their lives to help save the world. Jesus redeemed us by His life, suffering and death. He needed these  men and many others who followed them to teach, proclaim, endure and to  rejoice.    

Jesus needed John - needed him to care for His Mother when the time came for Him to return to the Father. "Seeing His Mother and the disciple He loved  standing near her, Jesus said to His Mother, 'Woman, this is your son.'    

Then to the disciple He said, 'This is your mother.' And from that moment  the disciple made a place for her in his home. (Jn. 19:26,27)    

Jesus needed Mary, from whose Immaculate Body He took His Humanity. He  needed the strong and gentle Joseph to protect Him and His Mother during  their earthly sojourn.    

Jesus needed them all because Love reaches out for companionship, not in  order to receive but to give - not to add anything to Himself, but because  He wants us to experience the Joy of being of service and of being united to a loving, kind and good God.    

 

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