‘That Christ may dwell by faith in your hearts’

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

THESE are words of St. Paul in his Letter to the Ephesians which is the second reading on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. (cfr. Eph 3,17) St. Paul fervently desires that Christ be truly in our heart so that we “may be able to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth, and length, and height, and depth, so as to know also the charity of Christ, which surpasses all knowledge, that you (we) may be filled unto all the fulness of God.”

Amazing and incredible what St. Paul is telling us about who we really are, what we truly are meant for! “Fulness of God?” We most likely would ask ourselves. Lord, that is too much. Why do you go to that extent, Lord? We are contented with simply being your creature, but why do you have to make us like you?

The only way we can accept these words is through our faith which is a gift given to us by God himself but which we have to respond as best that we could. We should just say, Amen, so be it, knowing that though our best efforts can go only so far, it will be God himself who will complete and perfect everything for us and with us.

The truth is that even if God is already with us, we should still feel the need to look for him in Christ and to welcome him into our hearts. That would be the beginning of the life-long process of identifying ourselves with Christ, which is what is proper for us. Let’s remember that, to put it bluntly, the ultimate purpose of our life here on earth is for us to be like Christ, to be another Christ, to be Christ himself.

We are supposed to be ‘alter Christus,’ the goal and ideal that is meant for us, though we need also to do our part, free beings as are, to achieve that status. God, our Creator and Father, wants us to be that way, though he does not impose it on us without our consent that should also be shown with deeds and not just with intentions or words.

We are supposed to be ‘alter Christus’ simply because, if we have been created in the image and likeness of God, and Christ is the Son of God who is the perfect image and likeness that God has of himself, then we can only conclude that we have to be like Christ.

In other words, Christ as the Son of God is the pattern of our humanity. If we want to know who we really are, how we ought to be, all we have to do is to look at Christ and try our best, with God’s grace, to identify ourselves with him.

More than that, because of our sin that defaced the original state in which we, in Adam and Eve, were created, Christ is the Son of God who became man to save us. The immediate conclusion we can derive from this truth of our faith is that for us to know how to handle our sinfulness, again all we have to do is to look at Christ and try our best, with God’s grace, to identify ourselves with him.

Christ gives us the “way, the truth and the life” so we can handle whatever situation we can find ourselves in this life and yet be consistent with our true identity as “alter Christus,” if not “ipse Christus,” another Christ, if not Christ himself!

Email: roycimagala@gmail.com

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