Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Alive Within Us

The other day, I made my first visit to the chapel this new school year. This chapel is heaven on earth, tucked away feet from the classrooms that cause me anxiety yet filled with complete tranquility. The moment the door shuts, I am overcome with a sense of comfort.

Already stressed out, I did not hesitate to get down to business. As I knelt before the Blessed Sacrament, I noticed something surreal. 

A crucifix I wear on a long chain under my shirt was sticking out in between the buttons on my uniform button-down. I looked down and noticed it, face up, Christ staring at me. And then a peculiar thing happened. It started moving, beating. It freaked me out at first, until I stopped to listen. And then I heard it. 

Ba-dum. Ba-dum. Ba-dum. 

The crucifix on my chest was moving along with my hearbeat, the "ba-dum" of my heart in perfect synchrony with its movements. What a gift from God. I'm sure I'll continue to find even more significance in this experience, but my first reaction was that God wished to remind me of His presence.  As I knelt before the Blessed Sacrament in the chapel, Christ was practically screaming at me (in the reverent silence) that He was present, that He was alive, and is alive.

Christ is alive. Sometimes it takes a Crucifix beating along with your heart to be reminded of this fact. But it's true. Christ is alive. He is alive in the Church, in the Eucharist, in the Sacraments, and in us. 

That's right. Christ is alive everywhere we look, especially within our own very hearts. It may seem obvious, but it's actually quite remarkable. He's not just a voice in our head. He's not just the star-filled sky. He is within us. His heart beats in synchrony with ours because He is united to our hearts in a deep and intimate connection.

  The blood that pumps through our veins is the same blood He spilled for our sake.

Think about it. No one has ever loved you as much as Christ does. His love is incomparable. So deeply does He care for us, that He has blessed us with His eternal presence. He is with us until the end of time. In the stars of the sky. In the Word of God we read. In the Sacraments we celebrate. And within us, each and every one of us.

We must be reminded of this fact if we wish to treat others and ourselves properly. Loving Christ can be as simple as loving your neighbor because Christ lives in that person and Christ is reflected by that love. His presence lives on in this mutual exchange of love.

And just as Jesus is alive today, He was alive thousands of years ago. He's not a fictional character. He's not a legend, or merely a distant figure in a history. He is human. He walked, He talked, He grew up, laughed, cried, you name it. He walked this very same earth and experienced this very same joy and suffering. He is united to us through the human experience. He is united to us through a love so strong that He died for us.

He's not just a tiny metal man on a tiny metal cross. When He was crucified, He felt everything that we feel. He suffered as much, even more, than we suffer. 

He had a beating heart. And one day, it stopped beating. He's just like us, except for one thing. His heart may have stopped beating out of His own physical body, but now it beats through us. Now we are His body, and He is our heart. Jesus lives through us, His followers. 

So let us not forget that every minute we have been blessed with a beating heart, we owe to God. Every breath we take is a gift from Him. Let's repay Him for His love, His sacrifice, and the gift of His presence by dedicating each heartbeat, each fragment of our day, to Jesus Christ. And let us never forget, that God is alive within our hearts, loving us with an incomparable, indescribable, and intimate love: a love that is real; a love that is undeniable; a love that would endure death to save you.

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