The Tiger in the Cage

 

The following meditation is based on today’s second Mass reading of the first day of Advent 2016. In order to be an effective player in the Counter-Revolution, we must first have a real revolution of the heart… 

 

I am like a tiger in a cage.

Through Baptism, Jesus has thrown open the door of my prison and set me free… and yet, I find myself pacing back and forth in the same rut of sin. The door is open, but I do not run headlong into the Wilderness of Freedom… the plains of joy, the mountains of wisdom, the waters of refreshment… I can see them in the distance, and yet I remain a prisoner of my own accord. Why? Why don’t I run? Why am I hesitating? Why do I stay in this shallow rut of sin, of dirt, bones, and waste, pacing back and forth, back and forth?

Why?

I heard you unlock the door, my Lord. I caught a glimpse of your face of love, that seed of hope when you said, “I forgive you.I watched you turn and blaze a path—a holy path—through the tall grasses and thickets. I saw you walk on waters and pass through towering trees… and then begin to climb the Mountain of Love. You turned, and with eyes of love that my soul cannot forget, you reached out, motioned to me, and whispered, “Come, follow…” Then a cloud covered your place for a moment, and when it moved, you were no longer there, you were gone… all but the echo of your words: Come follow Me…

 

TWILIGHT

The cage is open. I am free.

For freedom Christ set us free. (Gal 5:1)

…and yet I am not. When I take a step toward the door, a force pulls me back? What is this? What is this tug that lures me in, this pull that seduces me back into the recesses of darkness? Get out! I cry… and yet, the rut is smoothly worn, familiar… easy.

But the Wilderness! Somehow, I know I am made for the Wilderness. Yes, I am made for it, not this rut! And yet… the Wilderness is unknown. It looks difficult and rugged. Will I have to live without pleasure? Will I have to give up the familiarity, the quick comfort, the ease of this rut? But this hollow I’ve worn isn’t warm—it is cold! This rut is dark and cold. What am I thinking? The cage is open. Run you fool! Run into the Wilderness!

Why am I not running?

Why am I listening to this rut? What am I doing? What am I doing? I can practically taste the freedom. But I… I’m only human, I’m only human! You are God. You can walk on water and ascend mountains. You are not really a man. You are God made flesh. Easy! EASY! What do you know about fallen human suffering?

The Cross.

Who said that?

The  Cross.

But…

The CROSS.

Because he himself was tested through what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested. (Heb 2:18)

Darkness is falling. Lord, I’ll wait. I’ll wait until tomorrow, and then I’ll follow you.

 

THE NIGHT OF BATTLE

I hate this. I hate this rut. I hate the smell of this filthy dust.

I set you free for FREEDOM!

Jesus is that you?! JESUS?

The path is walked by faith. Faith leads to freedom.

Why don’t you come get me? Path… rut…. path… rut…

Come follow Me.

Why don’t you come get me? Jesus?

The cage is open.

But I am weak. I like… I am drawn to my sin. There it is. That is the truth. I like this rut. I love it… I hate it. I want it. No I don’t. No I don’t! Oh God. Help me! Help me Jesus!

I am carnal, sold into slavery to sin. What I do, I do not understand. For I do not do what I want, but I do what I hate… I see in my members another principle at war with the law of my mind, taking me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Miserable one that I am! Who will deliver me from this mortal body? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Rom 7:14-15; 23-25)

Come follow Me.

How?

through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Rom 7:25)

What do you mean?

Each step from the cage is My will, My path, My commandments—that is, truth. I am the Truth, and the truth will set you free. It is the Way you should go that leads to Life. I am the Way the Truth and the Life.

through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Rom 7:25)

Then what should I do?

Forgive your enemy, do not covet your neighbour’s possessions, do not look lustfully at another’s body, do not worship the bottle, do not crave after food, do not be impure with yourself, do not make material things your God. Do not satisfy the desires of your flesh that are opposed to My will, My path, My commandments.

Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh. (Rom 13:14)

I try Lord… but why am I not advancing in the Way? Why am I stuck in this rut? 

Because you are making provisions for the flesh.

What do you mean?

You court with sin. You dance with the devil. You flirt with disaster.

But Lord… I do want to be free of my sin. I do want to be free of this cage.

The cage is open. The path is set. It is the Way… the Way of the Cross. 

What do you mean?

The path to freedom is the path of self-denial. It is not the denial of who you are, but who you aren’t. You are not a tiger! You are My little lamb. But you must choose to be clothed in the True You. You must choose the death of selfishness, the refusal of lies, the path of life, the resistance to death. It is to choose Me (your God who loves you to the end!), but it is also to choose you!—who you are, who you are in Me. The Way of the Cross is the only way, the way to freedom, the way to Life. It begins when you truly make your own the words that I spoke before I set out upon my own Way of the Cross:

Not what I will but what You will. (Mark 14:36)

What must I do?

Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh. (Rom 13:14)

What do you mean?

Make no exceptions my child! Steal not the glance at the comely woman! Refuse the drink that will drag you to despair! Say no to lips that would gossip and destroy! Turn away the morsel that would feed your gluttony! Hold back the word that would start the war! Refuse the exception that would break the rule!

Lord, this seems so demanding! Even the smallest of my sins, the little exceptions I make… even these?

I am demanding because I wish your happiness! If you court with sin you will lie in her bed. If you dance with the devil, he will crush your toes. If you flirt with disaster, destruction will visit you… but if you follow Me, you will be free.

Purity of heart. This is what you ask of me?

No, my child. This is what I offer! You can do nothing without Me.

How Lord? How do I become pure of heart?

…make no provision for the desires of the flesh.

But I am weak. This is first line of battle. This is where I fail. Will you not help me?

Do not look at the rut nor back at your past. Look neither to the right nor to the left. Look ahead to Me, to only Me.

But I cannot see you!

My child, My child… did I not promise that I would never abandon you? Here I am!

 

DAWN

But it’s not the same. I want to see your Face.

The path is walked by faith. If I say I am here, then I am here. Will you seek Me out where I am?

Yes, Lord. Where should I go?

To the Tabernacle where I look upon you. To my Word where I speak to you. To the Confessional where I forgive you. To the Least where I touch you. And to the inner room of your heart where I will meet you daily in the secret of prayer. This is how I desire to help you, My lamb. This is what is meant when St. Paul says:

…through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Through those conduits of grace I have provided through My Spirit and My Church, which is My Body.

To seek after Me, then, to do My will, to obey My commands, is what St. Paul means:

…to put on the Lord Jesus Christ.

It is to put on Love. Love is the garment of the true you, the one who was made for the Wilderness, not the Cage of Sin. It is to shed the tiger of the flesh and put on the wool of the Lamb of God, in whose image you were created.

I understand, Lord. I know in my heart of hearts that what you say is true—that I am made for the Wilderness of Freedom… not this miserable rut that keeps me enslaved and steals away joy like a thief in the night.

That is right, My child! Even though the way out of the Cage is the Way of the Cross, it is also the way to the Resurrection. To joy! There is joy and peace and happiness awaiting you in the Wilderness that surpasses all understanding. I give it to you, but not as the world gives… not as the Cage falsely promises.

My peace is received only through trust. The path is walked by faith.

So why am I always fighting against my own joy and happiness and peace, especially peace!?

It is the consequence of original sin, the scar of fallen nature. Until you die, you will always feel the tug of the flesh toward the Cage. But do not fear, I am with you, to lead you into the light. If you remain in Me, then even in the struggle, you will bear the fruit of peace since I am the root and stalk and Prince of Peace.

Come Lord, and pull me from this place!

No, My child, I will not pull you from the Cage.

Why Lord? I give you permission!

Because I have created you to be FREE! You are made for the Wilderness of FREEDOM. Should I force you into its plains, then you would no longer be free. What I have done through My Cross is broken the chains that bound you, burst open the door that held you, declared victory over the one who would lock you, and keep you from climbing the blessed Mountain of Love to the Father who awaits you. It is finished! The door is open…

Lord, I—

Come, My child! The Father awaits you with an eagerness that leaves angels weeping in awe. Do not wait any longer! Leave behind the bones, and dirt, and waste—the lies of Satan, your adversary. The Cage is his ILLUSION. Run, child! Run to your freedom! The path is walked by faith. It is tread by trust. It is conquered by abandonment. It is a narrow and rugged road, but I promise, it leads to the most beautiful vistas: the most delightful fields of virtue, towering forests of knowledge, sparkling streams of peace, and unending mountainscapes of wisdom—a foretaste of the Summit of Love. Come child… come to be who you truly are—a lamb and not a wild lion.

Make no provisions for the flesh.

Come and follow Me.

 

Blessed are the clean of heart,
for they shall see God. (Matt 5:8)

 

 

 

 

Baptism, by imparting the life of Christ’s grace, erases original sin and turns a man back towards God, but the consequences for nature, weakened and inclined to evil, persist in man and summon him to spiritual battle….

Venial sin weakens charity; it manifests a disordered affection for created goods; it impedes the soul’s progress in the exercise of the virtues and the practice of the moral good; it merits temporal punishment. Deliberate and unrepented venial sin disposes us little by little to commit mortal sin. However venial sin does not break the covenant with God. With God’s grace it is humanly reparable. “Venial sin does not deprive the sinner of sanctifying grace, friendship with God, charity, and consequently eternal happiness.

Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 405, 1863

 

IN CHRIST, THERE IS ALWAYS HOPE.

  

First published October 26th, 2010. 

  

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