Lenten Day of Recollection

To Know Christ And the
Power of His Resurrection

On Sunday, March 14, 1999, Fr. Don Tauscher, OSB, presented the conference, "To Know Christ and the Power of His Resurrection" to 24 Oblates and Candidates gathered at St. John's Abbey.  Oblates worshiped at Mass, then gathered for lunch. The conference afterward was held in the Chapel of St. Benedict.  Here are some of the highlights of the conference ...

Friedrich Nietzsche says the lust for power is what motivates us. As human beings there is nothing we like more than power. One aspect of the identity and mission of Jesus, other than His deeds or words, is His character and His correct use of power.

Christ's radical obedience to God and selfless love of other people are hallmarks for us. Jesus uses power for us, to help us, not over us. This is strongly in contrast to modern society and government where knowledge is power, especially if you know the right things about the right people. 

As Fr. Don broke open the Scriptures for us, he reminded us that ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ. Christ knew when to use his power. He knew power involves risks. He was also not afraid to break the Sabbath rules. It was not that Jesus did not respect the Sabbath, but that there was something more important than rules just for the sake of rules. Christ's miracles were an exercise of His power for the benefit of people in need, not to draw attention to His power. In fact, Christ warned the recipients to not go "blabbing" about the miracle but to focus on the spirit of service.

Fr. Don asked us to observe how Jesus responds to temptation. In reviewing the temptations of Christ in the desert, we were reminded that when offered to choose His own self-interest over the good of others, Jesus chose others. Despite remembering who He was, baptized and beloved, Jesus restrained His power.

Christ and His power are also evident in relation to forgiveness and reconciliation. To know Jesus is to know the power to forgive. We likewise hold people bound by not using our power to forgive. Jesus is also a model for use of power in suffering. Fr. Don reminded us to know Jesus is to know how to "suffer well," for the right reasons. 

Jesus used the power of prayer. Jesus' perfect prayer was a request followed by the complete ungrudging surrender to God's Plan. In Phil. 2:5-15 we hear "Christ emptied himself ... humbled himself...and became obedient to the point of death." Fr. Don tied the kenosis or self-emptying text with the third degree of humility of the Rule. We had time to contemplate our own kenosis. We were asked to consider concrete, specific examples, such as ....

Where and when am I asked to exercise power?... 

Where and when am I asked to surrender power?...

When do I find myself saying, "I am baptized, and therefore I do not..."

"I am baptized, and therefore I do ..."

What are some of my recurring temptations?...

How do I usually deal with them?...

In what ways am I stronger today than 10 years ago? 5 years ago? Last Year?...

How did this come about?...

Name some things that you and Christ have in common -- ways that you are alike:...