By Ron Pereira
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed. – Isaiah 53:5
I recently experienced one of the deepest, most intense, spiritual moments of my life.
Now, each night of a Troop 5 campout consists of a few things… awesome food, a saint story, and the Holy Rosary prayed around the campfire.
And this past Friday night was no different. My son and I enjoyed a nice dinner and Intentional Encounter’s own, Mike Short, shared the story of Cardinal Van Thuan, which was intense in its own right!
Praying the Rosary
Once Mike was done it was time to start the Rosary. Now, let me set the scene. It was cold this past weekend… at least for us Texans. It got down into the 20s so we were most definitely leveraging the warmth of the campfire.
So there I was sitting in my lawn chair close to the fire. And by close I mean to say that if I moved any closer the hairs on my legs would have been singed!
My 9-year-old son moved next to where I was sitting and we settled in to pray the Sorrowful Mysteries with around 50 other men and boys.
I lead the first mystery – the Agony in the Garden. And since I was leading around 50 other souls through the decade I was pretty locked in and focused on the mechanics. I mean, yes, I’ve prayed the Rosary many times but nobody wants to be the guy who forgets his place or messes up the prayer in any way!
The Scourging at the Pillar
Once we were done with the first mystery my friend, Andy, called out the second mystery – the Scourging at the Pillar. Since I wasn’t leading this decade I was able to sit back and really meditate on the mystery.
I remember looking deep inside the fire… where the orange coals seem to throb due to the extreme heat they’re giving off. And as I locked in on these coals I immediately thought of the pain our Lord endured during His scourging.
I imagined the Roman soldiers drawing their flagellums (whips) back. And as they were being drawn back I could see the iron balls and sharp sheep bones ready to thrash into our Lord’s back, buttocks, and legs.
I then imagined these soldiers unleashing every ounce of their power onto our Lord. And with each strike the lacerations across His back would tear into His muscles resulting in quivering pieces of raw, bleeding, flesh.
And, as I sat there moving through the decade I struggled to fathom the pain Our Lady experienced as she watched her son flogged like a common criminal.
I then looked down at my son and tried to imagine what I’d feel if someone stripped him and tied him to a tree and began to whip him with sharp sheep bones while I was forced to watch with no way to help or stop it.
I then wondered why, on this night, I was so moved by this mystery even though I’ve prayed it countless times before. But, for whatever reason, I was completely shaken to my core by the visions of what our Lord endured for me and for you.
So, what does this have to do with living intentional lives? What does this have to do with eating clean? What does this have to do with working out and not being a lazy, undisciplined, sloth like I was not so long ago?
Well, I contend it has everything to do with these things and every other aspect of our lives.
You see, if we truly believe there was a man named Jesus Christ who died for you and for me… then we’d realize how much He gave for us.
He was beaten to near death before a crown of thorns was pressed into His precious, bleeding, head. He was then forced to carry His own cross before being hung from it where, a few hours later, he died from asphyxiation.
And, to be clear, our Lord could have unleashed a heavenly fury onto these Roman soldiers. He could have stopped it all. But, he didn’t. Instead, He sacrificed His body and His life and took our sins – past, present, and future – to the cross.
Now, I don’t know about you but I want to be the best man I can be as a result of what our Lord did for me. I want to be the best husband, father, son, brother, friend, and entrepreneur I can possibly be.
So, when my alarm goes off at 5:45 AM and I know it’s time to get up and begin my morning routine but I just want to hit snooze one time and rest a little longer… I’m not going to.
Instead, I’m going to pop out of bed thankful that God has given me another day to be the best I can be. And then I’m going to attack every aspect of the day with intensity, focus, and purpose just like our Lord did for us.
So, my dear friends in Christ, I’d welcome you to do the same. Our lives are gifts. And, we have been given so much. And, as scripture tells us… to whom much is given, much is expected. The question is… what do you believe our Lord expects of you?
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