The Path of Waiting by Henri Nouwen

Passion is a kind of waiting – waiting for what other people are going to do. Jesus went to Jerusalem to announce the good news to the people of that city. And Jesus knew that he was going to put a choice before them: Will you be my disciple, or will you be my executioner? There is no middle ground here. Jesus went to Jerusalem to put people in a situation where they had to say “Yes” or “No”. That is the great drama of Jesus’ passion: he had to wait for their response. What would they do? Betray him or follow him?

In a way, his agony is not simply the agony of approaching death. It is also the agony of being out of control and of having to wait. It is the agony of a God who depends on us to decide how to live out the divine presence among us. It is the agony of the God who, in a very mysterious way, allows us to decide how God will be God. Here we glimpse the mystery of God’s incarnation. God became human not only to act among us but also to be the recipient of our responses.

. . . And that is the mystery of Jesus’ love. Jesus in his passion is the one who waits for our response. Precisely in that waiting the intensity of his love and God’s is revealed to us. 

emphasis mine

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What Must Die by Richard Rohr

All the great religions of the world talk a lot about death, so there must be an essential lesson to be learned through death. The problem has been that we might know something has to die, but throughout much of religious history our emphasis has been on killing the wrong thing and therefore not learning the real lesson. Historically we moved from human sacrifice to animal sacrifice to various modes of seeming self-sacrifice, usually involving the body self.

God was not considered friendly. God was distant and scary. God was not someone with whom you fell in love or with whom you could imagine sharing intimacy. Instead, God was viewed as an angry deity who must be placated with some sort of blood sacrifice. Jesus presented a much different image of God, but it seems very hard for people to let go of their punitive ideas of God.

Sadly, the history of violence and the history of religion are almost the same history. When religion remains at the immature level, it tends to create very violent people who ensconce themselves on the side of the good and the worthy and the pure and the saved. They project all their evil somewhere else and attack it over there. At this level, they export the natural death instinct onto others, as though it’s someone else who has to die.

The truth is it’s you who has to die, or rather, who you think you are, the False Self.

Authentic religion is always about you. It’s saying you change first.

Dying:We Need It For Life

Emphasis mine

 

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