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Lord, help me to perceive your Love

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Many people live bathed in the love of their family and friends. Many people have a deep self-love, formed in a healthy manner from early childhood. For many of these people the Love of God is as visible as the rays of the shining sun. Yet, all around us are people who either don't appreciate the love of others, or wall off any advances of love out of mistrust, formed from a rocky youth. These people, subsequently, have a hard time perceiving the Love of God in their lives.

This is where the Cross of Jesus comes heavily into play.

The shining Jesus on the mountain, transfigured, and the many images of Jesus the King, or the Hollywood depiction of Jesus as a Harlequin novel cover boy, do nothing to bring Love to the heart of the hardened and calloused victim of a rough life. For only in the rejected, misunderstood, beaten, and bloodied Jesus can the seemingly unforgiven find forgiveness, compassion, wisdom, strength, and life changing Love in Divine Mercy.

Yet the Crucified Jesus comes in many forms.

For He comes in the wonderful Sacrament of Reconciliation. He comes in an unconditional friend--a fellow walking wounded, seeking to befriend, and lead, a fellow scarred and beaten sinner on the narrow path of sure Joy in Jesus. He comes in the Eucharist, as we receive the humble forsaken One, forsaken for the Love of the sinner--Loving them through grace into a new life of trust in God, trusting in His Love enough to willingly change through the Cross of grace. He comes in a renewed life of prayer; Holy Spirit power bursting forth from within, turning an isolated loner into a child of God, and a brother and sister of all.

He also comes from the greatest gift exemplified by the good thief 'who stole heaven.' He comes in a repentant and contrite heart.

In other words, He comes in His Holy Suffering, in communion with His suffering in ours, helping us to view life from the vantage point of the Cross, elevated from the ground of the common worldly ways, pointing toward heaven, with our arms, and heart, open to the Resurrection of His Love.