First Friday and The Revolution
Who is the head of your life?
I want to be revolutionized. I want my failures and ineptitude, my procrastination, sloth, pride, and fear to be things of the past – and my present to be full of strength and talent, courage and action, grace and active wisdom. Freed from the chains of yesterday, I want to project firmly into the future everything good and beautiful – and necessary – about me. I need something to transpire that will transform me completely into who I was created to be.
Let us be revolutionary.
Around 30 AD, a coarsely dressed, wild man of the desert proclaimed an uprising. With sharp clarity, he laid bare the corruption and tyranny of those in authority and relentlessly sliced deeper into the conscience of every man and woman. “Metanoia!” he shouted at the people. “Change! Be converted! Be revolutionized!” This man, named John, prepared the way for an absolute rebellion – not against a ruler of a nation or even an institution or government, but against the very darkness that lurks in the hearts of human beings. This darkness that seeps into the mind and soul, dividing one person from another, obfuscating the fullness of reality, and obliterating the human drive for sanctity – this darkness John saw as a slave master, locking the chains of selfishness upon people for generation after generation.
The tyranny of greed and conceit must be vanquished from the hearts of human beings if anyone is ever to be truly free. And the Light of the World must be allowed to tear down the walls of division, invade the plains of blind apathy, and create an insurgency of real love in the human heart. This is our destiny, this is our reason for being, our identity, the point of our lives. No longer will we be dependent upon the fleeting pleasures of the flesh and fickle accolades of the crowd – we will be independent beings, standing boldly in the truth of who we are, giving full allegiance only to the image in which we are created.
“Live free or die.”
John was not afraid to fire the first shot in this revolution. He fought for change and saw it coming – not the kind of change that politicians talk about and promise, but real change that is a total change of heart and will. In the greatest of rebellions, what John and his followers sought was a mutiny in every person’s soul: throw out the corrupting limitations of self-centered thinking and usher in the dominion of holiness, of grace, of loving kindness and true beauty. No earthly king or queen, no bed of silk or bag of gold should rule the human heart – only the Maker of the human heart should rule, so that every human being can live freely in the ways of truth and fulfillment, undaunted by suffering or darkness and guided by eternal power.
The zealous man, now known as St. John the Baptist, had the courage to rally the people in this uprising and stare down the enemy even as it bore down on him in his own heart. He never gave up. He never surrendered. And he lost his head for it. But, he was willing to suffer the loss of his head because he knew who the true Head is, who the ineffable and pure leader is. And he would rather die than suffer the enslavement of untruth.
“He must increase, but I must decrease.”
I am taking St. John the Baptist as my facilitator for this First Friday of July – which is the Fourth of July, Independence Day. On this day, the US celebrates the signing of a document – a document that could be said to have revolutionized the world. In 1776 AD, the ordinary citizens of the British colonies in America elected representatives to get together and tell off the tyrannical King of England. What those chosen officials did was make and sign a Declaration of Independence – and start a revolution. In remembrance of that day, we claim to celebrate freedom. But do we? We enjoy picnics and cookouts with lots of hot dogs and ice cream. But, on the next day, are we allowing our neighbors to starve from want of food or care? We shoot off brilliant fireworks, exploding in the night sky. But do we light up the darkness of our intellects, of our souls? We celebrate a change of leaders in the governing of our nation – but have we had a leadership conversion in our own personal lives?
Who is the leader of my life? Is it my self-indulgence, my apathy, and my vanity that is telling me what to do?
Who do I say that I am? My self-centeredness, my greed and my pride must decrease – and my reason for being, my will for my true destiny, my love and my light must increase. Who is my light? The Light of the World.
A man named John was sent from God.
He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him.
He was not the light, but came to testify to the light.
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
He was in the world,
and the world came to be through him,
but the world did not know him.
He came to what was his own,
but his own people did not accept him.
But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name,
who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision but of God.
And the Word became flesh
and made his dwelling among us,
and we saw his glory,
the glory as of the Father’s only Son,
full of grace and truth.
John testified to him and cried out, saying, “This was he of whom I said, ‘The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.’” (John 1:6-15.)
St. John the Baptist testified to the Light and he was revolutionized, receiving grace upon grace.
Promise and Prayer
The one thing that I know I will do is participate in the Sacred Liturgy of the Mass this First Friday, the Fourth of July. The secular world thinks that freedom and independence cannot be gained through religion – but they are still slaves in the darkness of the old order, while I am being called out into the Light.
start an uprising in my heart
today and every day.
Make a rebel out of me
so that I will
be radical and do something daring:
loving the unlovable,
teaching the unteachable,
forgiving the unforgivable,
and believe the unbelievable –
for you are the Head, and your Light is my life.
© Christina Chase 2014
All Rights Reserved
Christina Chase View All
Although crippled by disease, I'm fully alive in love. I write about the terrible beauty and sacred wonder of life, while living with physical disability and severe dependency. A revert to the Catholic faith through atheism, I'm not afraid to ask life's big questions. I explore what it means to be fully human through my weekly blog and have written a book: It's Good to Be Here, published by Sophia Institute Press.
Reblogged this on Divine. Incarnate. and commented:
Four years ago, the First Friday of July was also the Fourth of July, Independence Day. As we just celebrated the Fourth yesterday and First Friday is tomorrow, I’m sharing this post that deals with the need that all of us have to be revolutionized.
I’m glad you posted this again, Christina. The connections you make here have got me thinking. Tomorrow (Saturday) the Orthodox churches that follow the Julian calendar will honor John the Baptist. And my dear Greek friends who live in northern Greece always try to participate in liturgies at a restored 16th century monastery that is named after John, Iερά Μονή Τιμίου Προδρόμου (Holy Monastery of the Honorable Forerunner). I am going to send your reflection to them. Independence has long been an issue to Greeks, since they were freed from their 400 year subjugation to Turkey only in the last century.
See how your words can travel? All over the earth, thanks be to God.
Thanks be to God, indeed! (And thanks to Al. 🙂 ) “Honorable Forerunner” – love that. Sounds Asian.
Independence… Something that we all want, and yet, it has so many different meanings… Thank you for reflecting with me!
Your words always stir my soul….this time they stir my resolve. I must sweep out the resentment, the detest, the anger that dwells in me. Doesn’t matter that these things
are justified. What matters is that I rise above the reasons and look at the whole picture and follow that Light instead of floundering in the darkness that sometimes feels so comfortable. Thank you, Christina, for nudging me back onto the right path! ~ Sioux!
I appreciate this reflection on the reflection, Sioux. ❤
It can be scary to break out of the justified anger, sadness, the darkness that you said can sometimes feel so comfortable. So true! Praying for you and your family to keep rising up to the light. Blessings,