Spirituality for Today – August 2009 – Volume 14, Issue 1

Editorial – When Love Intervenes

By Rev. Raymond Petrucci

The buzzing and chirping of small living things mixes with the heat and humidity and creates the voice of deep summer. Surrounded by these sounds, Allena Hausen set out to do her chores on her farm in Caliente, California. She labored at her tasks unaware of another sound approaching – that of a black bear. Springing out from an area of heavy vegetation, the great beast grabbed the diminutive woman in its massive claws, sinking its teeth into her face. She felt that her death was near. Suddenly, like some scene from a medieval bear baiting, Allena Hausen's two large and powerful dogs appeared and distracted the bear from its human prey. She heard her mastiff cry out in pain. Hausen thought, "If Duke is willing to die for me, the least I could do is try to escape." Escape she did. After numerous and painful surgeries, she has recovered from that terrifying and near fatal encounter.

Mankind seeks a society where virtue and righteousness abound...

Is there someone in our lives who loves us enough to be willing to risk his or her life in order to save us? Is there anyone who would make a great sacrifice for our well being? Is there one whose love runs to such depths that he or she would be considered the very embodiment of the word itself? How about Jesus Christ? The centuries that have past since Christ's saving acts and the beautiful rituals that have developed to celebrate the salvation of his people have obscured the graphic realities, the "bath of pain" that Jesus endured for us. Yet, it is not even the horrifying suffering that ought to motivate our response, but the fact that Jesus, the innocent one, took upon himself the sins of all. In my hospital ministry, I see suffering and death every day. Many times patients would tell me that they need to offer up their suffering, but it is awfully hard for them to maintain their resolve. I thought to myself: How would they or I like to endure a total physical and emotional agony that was brought on by the very people for whom you were suffering? Christ poured out his heart and soul out of love for a mass of ingrates and a blindly hostile crowd who cried out for his death. Then again, there were the few, the terrified followers, hiding and fearing for their own lives that, nonetheless, were faithful in their way. It would be from within this crumbling remnant that an inner strength would slowly grow and a great zeal for the kingdom would overcome them. Through their encounter with the risen Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, they would spread the new faith throughout the world. Many of these and those converted by their efforts would wear the meritorious crown of martyrdom. From these men and women, redemptive suffering was a tangible truth.

How often we live our days oblivious to what may be lying in wait in the bushes. And when we are in the clutches of the beastly claws of sin and death, do we know who will rush to our defense and who will provide us an avenue of escape? Mauled though we may be, we confidently reach for the healing touch of Christ the Savior. Take heed of his wounds, by them we have been healed.

The world is an odd place. Mankind seeks a society where virtue and righteousness abound and yet humans themselves place the most effective roadblocks before their realization. Indeed, if peace and justice ultimately are to be found, it is before the judgment seat of God that may be revealed. In human history, however, evidence of all that Jesus taught and manifested has been lived. Countless men and women of faith have worked to make visible the presence of the one who rescued them and continues to rescue us. Let each of us say, "If Jesus was willing to die for me, the least I can do is to live for him."