Saturday, October 31, 2015

Daily Thought For October 31, 2015

Why The Church Is Important

To put it quite concretely: It is the Church that, despite all the human foibles of the people in her, gives us Jesus Christ, and only through her can we receive him as a living, authoritative reality that summons and endows me here and now. Henri de Lubac formulated this state of affairs as follows: “Do they realize that if they still receive Christ, it is to the Church they owe it?… Jesus lives for us. But without the visible continuity of the Church, the desert sands would have long since swallowed up, if not perhaps his name and his memory, certainly the influence of his gospel and faith in his divinity.… ‘Without the Church, Christ evaporates or is fragmented or cancels himself out.’ And without Christ what would man be?” This elementary acknowledgment has to be made at the start: Whatever infidelity there is or may be in the Church, however true it is that she constantly needs to be measured anew by Jesus Christ, still there is ultimately no opposition between Christ and Church. It is through the Church that he remains alive despite the distance of history, that he speaks to us today, is with us today as master and Lord, as our brother who unites us all as brethren. And because the Church, and she alone, gives us Jesus Christ, causes him to be alive and present in the world, gives birth to him again in every age in the faith and prayer of the people, she gives mankind a light, a support, and a standard without which humanity would be unimaginable. Anyone who wants to find the presence of Jesus Christ in humanity cannot find it contrary to the Church but only in her.
With that we have already made the next point. I am in the Church for the same reasons that I am a Christian in the first place. For one cannot believe alone. One can believe only as a fellow believer. Faith is by its very nature a force for unification. Its primordial image is the story of Pentecost, the miracle of understanding among people who by their origins and history are foreign to one another. Faith is ecclesial or it is not faith. Furthermore, just as one cannot believe alone but only as a fellow believer, neither can one believe on the basis of one’s own authority and ingenuity, but only when there is an authorization to believe that is not within my power and does not come from me but rather goes before me. A faith of one’s own devising is an oxymoron. For a self-made faith would only vouch for and be able to say what I already am and know anyway; it could not go beyond the boundary of my ego. Hence a self-made Church, a congregation that creates itself, that exists by its own graces, is also an oxymoron. Although faith demands communion, it is the sort of communion that has authority and takes the lead, not the sort that is my own creation, the instrument of my own wishes.


Ratzinger, J. (2009). Credo for Today: What Christians Believe. (M. J. Miller, H. Taylor, M. F. McCarthy, A. Walker, J. R. Foster, G. Harrison, & M. J. O’Connell, Trans.) (pp. 193–194). San Francisco: Ignatius Press.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Daily Thought For October 30, 2015

The Importance of The Sabbath

Lectio

Luke 14:1–6

Meditatio

“… on the Sabbath.…”

Oh, that thorny Sabbath! It seems that every time Jesus turns around he is locking horns with someone over this day of rest. Today a man appears, suffering the joint pain and fever of edema, and everybody else wrangles over what’s “lawful.” Since Jesus is sharing a meal with lawyers of the Torah, whose giftedness lies in their razor-sharp minds, Jesus shrewdly frames his question to them in legal terms. Then, typically, he takes everyone a step further, from a father’s—and his Father’s—perspective, effortlessly healing the man in the process. They’re dumbfounded. Apparently they forgot who heals. If God heals—they suppose that this Jesus has no curative power of his own—then God must want to make his loved ones whole even on the Sabbath, especially on the Sabbath. With his example, Jesus challenges them to examine what this rest is really for.

They know that it hearkens back to Genesis, when God rested from creating the world. God wasn’t saying, “Finally we’re done!” God’s rest was not, as some imagine, divine inactivity. Look around: creation continues, even on Shabbat. God is pictured rejoicing at all that’s been accomplished and at how very good it is (see Gn 1:31). Through it, God, Israel’s bridegroom, reveals his love to his bride. How could Jesus not honor this rest and make this loved one whole? The Sabbath foreshadows that day when Jesus will share with us the ultimate rest he himself entered into with his risen humanity. “… a sabbath rest still remains for the people of God” (Heb 4:9). In Christian tradition, observance of Friday is meant to prepare us for the observance of Sunday. Why not begin anew with this Friday? How different our world would be if we paid more attention to this rhythm, two days in tandem, lived in tandem with the restorative life of God. This is the obedience of faith that is a condition for entering into God’s rest (Heb 4:1 ff.).

Oratio

“Lord even of the Sabbath,” I could use a reality check. How often Sundays have been the day I can either get my personal or family chores and shopping done, or pursue my interests without thinking of yours. What am I doing to my life? To others’ lives? To society? Besides my need for a little rest and recreation, I need time to focus the lens of my life on you. Help me find my happiness in looking to your glory—and that’s me, us, fully alive, alive in you.

Contemplatio

May I rest in you.


Daughters of St. Paul. (2011). Ordinary Grace Weeks 18–34: Daily Gospel Reflections. (M. G. Dateno & M. L. Trouvé, Eds.) (pp. 236–237). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Daily Thought For October 29, 2015

Do Not Stifle The Holy Spirit

The Scriptures say without hesitation that God's Spirit lives in us, gives us life, speaks to us in silence, inspires us, and that it is so much a part of us that we are united with the Lord in Spirit. This is basic Christian teaching. 

The Spirit of God is the soul of our soul! We are blind if we think that we are alone in the interior sanctuary. God is actually more present in this place than we are. We are constantly inspired, but we suppress the inspiration. God is always speaking to us, but the external noise of the world and the internal churning of our passions confuse us. We can't hear him speaking. Everything around us needs to be silent, and we must be quiet within. We need to focus our entire being to hear the soft whisper of his voice. The only ones who hear it are those who listen to nothing else. 
It is unfortunate that the soul is so infrequently still. 

Our selfish desires interfere with the voice within us. We are aware that it is speaking to us. We know that it wants something of us, but we can't understand what it is saying. Sometimes we are glad about that! 

The inspiration of which I speak is not identical to that of the prophets. They were commanded to speak certain words or to do particular things. On the contrary, this inspiration restricts itself to lessons in obedience, patience, meekness, humility, and the other Christian virtues. It is nothing more than a simple invitation from the depth of our being to be obedient to the will of God. 


Francois de Fenelon: Meditations and Devotions 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Daily Thought For October 28, 2015

Worship—God Invites & We Respond

The so-called Didache of the apostles, a book that dates from about 90 or 100 A.D., records a tradition that had long been accepted as a matter of course: “Assemble together on the Lord’s Day, break bread, and give thanks, having first confessed your sins so that your offering will be pure” (Did 14:1). We can be certain of this, then: it is not the role of the Church or of any individual Christian to decide whether or when we should celebrate the divine liturgy or what we should decide to do with our Sunday. Someone may object: But I dislike the bad air in the church and the worn-out hymns. It bothers me to kneel crowded together with all kinds of people whom I do not know and to hear the priest recite prayers that I cannot understand. I prefer to go up into the mountains, into the woods, or on the water, and I am more pious in God’s free nature than in a congregation that has nothing to offer me. In reply one might say: It cannot be that we choose for ourselves whether or how we shall worship God: what is important is that we respond to him in the place where he gives himself to us. We cannot decide on our own terms where God is to meet us, and we should not strive to reach him by our own efforts. He can come to us and let us find him wherever he chooses. What matters is not just some pious feeling of ours that relegates religion to the realm of the nonobligatory and private but the obedience that hears God’s call and accepts it. The Lord does not want our private feelings; he wants to form us into a community and to build the new community of the Church on faith. The body must share in the divine worship as must the community with its hardships and discomforts. That is why it is false to ask: “What do I get out of this?”


Ratzinger, J. (1992). Co-Workers of the Truth: Meditations for Every Day of the Year. (M. F. McCarthy & L. Krauth, Trans., I. Grassl, Ed.) (pp. 341–342). San Francisco: Ignatius Press.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Daily Thought For October 27, 2015

Groaning

We all do it—groaning. Something goes wrong, and we sigh dejectedly. We hear bad news, and we moan in disappointment. Disappointment in itself is a natural thing, but when you feel moved to groaning, what does it tell you about the situation? And more important, what will your groaning move you to do?

When you come right down to it, groaning is a sign that deep down, we recognize that all is not as it should be. We all have an inner, hidden sense of the glory God wants us to experience. And we all know that we fall short of that glory. We understand too that we are still works in progress, that we don’t yet experience the fullness of the life we were made for. And so we groan longingly, like a woman in labor. She knows that her baby is coming, but isn’t here yet. She knows that the process is painful, but she also trusts that the result will be glorious.

Believe it or not, groaning is actually a sign of hope! We groan because we know and believe that we are meant for more. We expect that wonderful glory that we do not yet see. If we had no more hope, we wouldn’t care anymore. We’d just resign ourselves to the status quo. But deep down, we know that God hasn’t given up! He’s still moving his creation forward to the glory he has intended for us.

So when you catch yourself groaning, recognize that it’s a good thing! Your inner self is recognizing that you are not yet clothed in glory—but you hope to be. There is more of the kingdom yet to be built, and you are longing to see it come to fruition. Use that groan as a springboard for intercession and action.

So rejoice! God isn’t finished yet. He’s still at work. Remember, childbirth is a process that, once begun, doesn’t stop until a new life comes into the world. You are undergoing a similar process—the birth of a new life in the glory of heaven. That’s worth a few groans, isn’t it?


“Lord Jesus, I so want to see the glory you have in store for me! Help me see the ways you are moving us all closer to that goal.”

Daily Reflection from The Word Among Us (www.wau.org)

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Daily Thought For October 25, 2015

Powerful Message From Pope Francis

The three Readings for this Sunday show us God’s compassion, his fatherhood, definitively revealed in Jesus.

In the midst of a national disaster, the people deported by their enemies, the prophet Jeremiah proclaims that “the Lord has saved his people, the remnant of Israel” (31:7).  Why did he save them?  Because he is their Father (cf. v. 9); and as a Father, he takes care of his children and accompanies them on the way, sustaining “the blind and the lame, the women with child and those in labour” (31:8).  His fatherhood opens up for them a path forward, a way of consolation after so many tears and great sadness.  If the people remain faithful, if they persevere in their search for God even in a foreign land, God will change their captivity into freedom, their solitude into communion: what the people sow today in tears, they will reap tomorrow in joy (cf. Ps 125:6).  

We too have expressed, with the Psalm, the joy which is the fruit of the Lord’s salvation:  “our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongues with shouts of joy” (v. 2).  A believer is someone who has experienced God’s salvific action in his life.  We pastors have experienced what it means to sow with difficulty, at times in tears, and to rejoice for the grace of a harvest which is beyond our strength and capacity. 

The passage from the Letter to the Hebrews shows us Jesus’ compassion.  He also “is beset with weakness” (5:2), so that he can feel compassion for those in ignorance and error.  Jesus is the great high priest, holy and innocent, but also the high priest who has taken on our weakness and been tempted like us in all things, save sin (cf. 4:15).  For this reason he is the mediator of the new and definitive covenant which brings us salvation.

Today’s Gospel is directly linked to the First Reading: as the people of Israel were freed thanks to God’s fatherhood, so too Bartimaeus is freed thanks to Jesus’ compassion.  Jesus has just left Jericho.  Even though he has only begun his most important journey, which will take him to Jerusalem, he still stops to respond to Bartimaeus’ cry.  Jesus is moved by his request and becomes involved in his situation.  He is not content to offer him alms, but rather wants to personally encounter him.  He does not give him any instruction or response, but asks him: “What do you want me to do for you?” (Mk 10:51).  It might seem a senseless question: what could a blind man wish for if not his sight?  Yet, with this question made face to face, direct but respectful, Jesus shows that he wants to hear our needs.  He wants to talk with each of us about our lives, our real situations, so that nothing is kept from him.  After Bartimaeus’ healing, the Lord tells him: “Your faith has made you well” (v. 52).  It is beautiful to see how Christ admires Bartimaeus’ faith, how he has confidence in him.  He believes in us, more than we believe in ourselves.

There is an interesting detail.  Jesus asks his disciples to go and call Bartimaeus.  They address the blind man with two expressions, which only Jesus uses in the rest of the Gospel.  First they say to him: “Take heart!”, which literally means “have faith, strong courage!”.  Indeed, only an encounter with Jesus gives a person the strength to face the most difficult situations.  The second expression is “Rise!”, as Jesus said to so many of the sick, whom he took by the hand and healed.  His disciples do nothing other than repeat Jesus’ encouraging and liberating words, leading him directly to Jesus, without lecturing him.  Jesus’ disciples are called to this, even today, especially today: to bring people into contact with the compassionate Mercy that saves.  When humanity’s cry, like Bartimaeus’, becomes stronger still, there is no other response than to make Jesus’ words our own and, above all, imitate his heart.  Moments of suffering and conflict are for God occasions of mercy.  Today is a time of mercy!

There are, however, some temptations for those who follow Jesus.  The Gospel shows at least two of them.  None of the disciples stopped, as Jesus did.  They continued to walk, going on as if nothing were happening.  If Bartimaeus was blind, they were deaf: his problem was not their problem.  This can be a danger for us: in the face of constant problems, it is better to move on, instead of letting ourselves be bothered.  In this way, just like the disciples, we are with Jesus but we do not think like him.  We are in his group, but our hearts are not open.  We lose wonder, gratitude and enthusiasm, and risk becoming habitually unmoved by grace.  We are able to speak about him and work for him, but we live far from his heart, which is reaching out to those who are wounded.  This is the temptation: a “spirituality of illusion”: we can walk through the deserts of humanity without seeing what is really there; instead, we see what we want to see.  We are capable of developing views of the world, but we do not accept what the Lord places before our eyes.  A faith that does not know how to root itself in the life of people remains arid and, rather than oases, creates other deserts.

There is a second temptation, that of falling into a “scheduled faith”.  We are able to walk with the People of God, but we already have our schedule for the journey, where everything is listed: we know where to go and how long it will take; everyone must respect our rhythm and every problem is a bother.  We run the risk of becoming the “many” of the Gospel who lose patience and rebuke Bartimaeus.  Just a short time before, they scolded the children (cf. 10:13), and now the blind beggar: whoever bothers us or is not of our stature is excluded.  Jesus, on the other hand, wants to include, above all those kept on the fringes who are crying out to him.  They, like Bartimaeus, have faith, because awareness of the need for salvation is the best way of encountering Jesus.

In the end, Bartimaeus follows Jesus on his path (cf. v. 52).  He did not only regain his sight, but he joined the community of those who walk with Jesus.  Dear Synod Fathers, we have walked together.  Thank you for the path we have shared with our eyes fixed on Jesus and our brothers and sisters, in the search for the paths which the Gospel indicates for our times so that we can proclaim the mystery of family love.  Let us follow the path that the Lord desires. Let us ask him to turn to us with his healing and saving gaze, which knows how to radiate light, as it recalls the splendour which illuminates it.  Never allowing ourselves to be tarnished by pessimism or sin, let us seek and look upon the glory of God, which shines forth in men and women who are fully alive.

Pope Francis — Closing Homily for the Synod on the Family


Saturday, October 24, 2015

Daily Thought For October 24, 2015

Afire With God's Love

For myself, I say this to you: The man who burns with the fire of divine love is a son of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and wherever he goes, he enkindles that flame; he deserves and works with all this strength to inflame all men with the fire of God's love. Nothing deters him: he rejoices in poverty; he labors strenuously; he welcomes hardships; he laughs off false accusations; he rejoices in anguish. He thinks only of how he might follow Jesus Christ and imitate him by his prayers, his labors, his sufferings, and by caring always and only for the glory of God and the salvation of souls.” 
faith

St. Anthony Marie Claret

Friday, October 23, 2015

Daily Thought For October 23, 2015

A Prayer From St. Teresa of Avila

May today there be peace within.
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be content knowing that you are a child of God.
Let this presence settle into our bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. 
It is there for each and everyone of you.


St. Teresa of Avila

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Daily Thought For October 22, 2015

A Church Is Not Just A Building


A church is not just a building in which something takes place every morning but which is then empty for the rest of the day. On the contrary, the universal Church is always present in a church because the Lord always bestows his presence there, because the mystery of the Eucharist is always present there, and because, when we enter it, we are always assumed into the divine worship of the whole believing, praying, and loving Church. There is today a great danger that our churches will become museums and will share in the fate of our museums: when they are not locked, they are robbed. They are no longer living. Only the presence of those who pray can protect the Church from within; only those who pray can preserve the houses of God as “open churches”. In the troubled times of World War II, Reinhold Schneider wrote these words: “Only those who pray can succeed now in keeping the sword from our heads.” A single hour of quiet listening to the word of God would often be more effective than whole days of sessions and discussions, and a moment of prayer would be more effective than whole stacks of paper, for it is not only what we do that makes us effective. Sometimes the impression arises that behind our hectic hyperactivity there lurks a paralysis of faith, since in the last analysis we have more confidence in what we ourselves contrive and accomplish. But we are effective by no means only through what we do but also through what we are if we become mature and free and genuine by sinking the roots of our being into the fruitful stillness of God. If we really say Kyrie eleison, if we really call to God out of the depths of our poverty, we thereby recognize what we are and what he is, and we really adore his glory, for we thereby say, according to the situation: Behold me, O God; I am nothing, but you are everything; I am full of misery, but you are rich enough to heal all the misery of this world; I am sinful and evil, but you are superabundant love. You do not love as human beings do, who love only those that appeal to them. You love the beggar in his rags, the prodigal son. You love us, not because we are good, but because you are good.

From: Bavarian radio broadcast, August 5, 1978


Ratzinger, J. (1992). Co-Workers of the Truth: Meditations for Every Day of the Year. (M. F. McCarthy & L. Krauth, Trans., I. Grassl, Ed.) (pp. 337–338). San Francisco: Ignatius Press.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Daily Thought For October 21, 2015

Great Advice from My Favorite Saint

Several times during the day, but especially in the morning and evening, ask yourself for a moment if you have your soul in your hands or if some passion or fit of anxiety has robbed you of it. Consider whether you have command of your heart or whether it has slipped into some disorderly passion of love, hatred, envy, covetousness, fear, uneasiness or joy. If you have gone astray, quietly bring your soul back to the presence of God, subjecting all your affections and desires to the obedience and direction of His Divine Will. Just as men who are afraid of losing a precious pearl hold it firmly in their hands, so we must keep a close watch on the precious pearl of our soul. 

Saint Francis de Sales

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Daily Thought For October 20, 2015

Stay Focused



THE VOICE OF CHRIST

MY CHILD, do not be curious. Do not trouble yourself with idle cares. What matters this or that to you? Follow Me. What is it to you if a man is such and such, if another does or says this or that? You will not have to answer for others, but you will have to give an account of yourself. Why, then, do you meddle in their affairs?

Behold, I know all men. I see everything that is done under the sun, and I know how matters stand with each—what is in his mind and what in his heart and the end to which his intention is directed. Commit all things to Me, therefore, and keep yourself in good peace. Let him who is disturbed be as restless as he will. Whatever he has said or done will fall upon himself, for he cannot deceive Me.

Do not be anxious for the shadow of a great name, for the close friendship of many, or for the particular affection of men. These things cause distraction and cast great darkness about the heart. I would willingly speak My word and reveal My secrets to you, if you would watch diligently for My coming and open your heart to Me. Be prudent, then. Watch in prayer, and in all things humble yourself.


Thomas à Kempis. (1996). The Imitation of Christ (p. 150). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Daily Thought For October 19, 2015

All That We Need


Lectio

Luke 12:13–21

Meditatio

“… one’s life does not consist of possessions.”

Some scripture scholars think that Luke’s Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles were written for Gentile Christians, in particular Christian communities struggling with equity among the haves and have-nots. Today’s passage is about greed and wanting to keep what we view as “ours.” Interestingly, Jesus doesn’t say that we should get rid of all our possessions. Instead, Jesus points out that neither the quantity nor the quality of possessions should define the quality of one’s life.

Jesus is speaking about the difference between possessing “things” and being possessed by them. The former points to an inner freedom, while the latter points to a kind of slavery. In this parable, the man is a fool not because he is rich, but because he hoards his belongings; he is a slave to “having.” We too can fall victim to our possessions. We become slaves to them when we are overly concerned about them and cannot openly share our things or give them away. The slave to possessions thinks, “What is mine is mine and no one can take it away.” If a possession “owns” us, we are no longer free to give it up. That possession can be as big as a car, as small as a piece of jewelry, or as inexpensive as a baseball card; it can even be all of those things combined. To hold onto these things with a tight fist is to have one’s life consist of possessions. The invitation to all Christians is to have some possessions and to enjoy them, but not to let them become the goal in one’s life. Rather, all that we have—whether we are considering nature, people, or possessions, are gifts received from God. We must allow this parable to question us about our possessions. Do we own them, or do they own us?

Oratio

The only thing I want or really need, Lord, is you. I ask that you possess me. As I look around where I am sitting and praying, I take a moment to really see all you have given me. Help me to loosen my grip on those things that I am holding tightly. You, Lord, and not things, are the source of my happiness. Thank you, Lord, for all the graces you have already given me, and thank you for all those that will continue to come for the rest of this day. Amen.

Contemplatio

Lord, you are all I need.


Daughters of St. Paul. (2011). Ordinary Grace Weeks 18–34: Daily Gospel Reflections. (M. G. Dateno & M. L. Trouvé, Eds.) (pp. 210–211). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Daily Thought For October 18, 2015

Love & Not Feelings Must Guide The Soul

Have great love for those who cause you suffering.  Do good to those who hate you…..It is not always within your power to control your feelings.  You will recognize that you have love if, after having experienced annoyance and contradiction, you do not lose your peace, but pray for those who have made you suffer and wish them well.

St. Faustina Kowalska


Saturday, October 17, 2015

Daily Thought For October 17, 2015

When God Touches A Soul

When God touches his soul man learns to see aright. Even if he had all possible possessions in heaven and earth, what would that be? The happiness of mere success, of mere power, of mere wealth, is always an illusory happiness; a glance at the world of today, looking into the tragedies of those powerful and successful people who have sold their souls for wealth, will show us how true this is. For those great fits of despair, against which all the refinements of desire and of its gratification are deployed in vain, do not occur among the poor and the weak but among those people who seem unacquainted with the troubles of life. Everything in heaven and on earth would be empty were it not for God, who has made himself our portion forever. “This is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent”, says the Lord in the Gospel of John (17:3). This is exactly the discovery expressed in Psalm 73. The supplicant sees God and discovers that he needs nothing more, that in his contact with God everything has been granted him, true life. “Nothing in heaven or on earth gives me joy without you, even though my flesh should fail—my happiness is to be in your presence.” Wherever such an encounter takes place, there is eternal life. The dividing line between temporal life and eternal life runs right through the midst of our temporal life. John distinguishes bios, as the passing life of this world, from zoē, as contact with the true life that wells up within us wherever we truly encounter God from within. This is what Jesus is saying in John’s Gospel: “He who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life; he … has passed from death to life” (5:24). The saying from the story of Lazarus runs along the same lines: “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die” (Jn 11:25 [emphasis added]). The same experience is expressed in various ways in the letters of Paul, as for instance when Paul the prisoner, in chains, writes to the Philippians: “To me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” He would prefer to be released from the flesh and to be with Christ, but he recognizes that it is more important for him to remain for his congregations (Phil. 1:21–24). “If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s” (Rom 14:8).


Ratzinger, J. (2003). God is Near Us: The Eucharist, the Heart of Life. (H. Taylor, Trans., S. O. Horn & V. Pfnür, Eds.) (pp. 139–140). San Francisco: Ignatius Press.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Daily Thought For October 16, 2015

HOW ONE SHOULD FEEL AND SPEAK ON EVERY DESIRABLE THING

THE VOICE OF CHRIST

     MY CHILD, this is the way you must speak on every occasion: “Lord, if it be pleasing to You, so be it. If it be to Your honor, Lord, be it done in Your name. Lord, if You see that it is expedient and profitable for me, then grant that I may use it to Your honor. But if You know that it will be harmful to me, and of no good benefit to the welfare of my soul, then take this desire away from me.”
     Not every desire is from the Holy Spirit, even though it may seem right and good. It is difficult to be certain whether it is a good spirit or a bad one that prompts one to this or that, and even to know whether you are being moved by your own spirit. Many who seemed at first to be led by a good spirit have been deceived in the end.
     Whatever the mind sees as good, ask and desire in fear of God and humility of heart. Above all, commit the whole matter to Me with true resignation, and say: “Lord, You know what is better for me; let this be done or that be done as You please. Grant what You will, as much as You will, when You will. Do with me as You know best, as will most please You, and will be for Your greater honor. Place me where You will and deal with me freely in all things. I am in Your hand; turn me about whichever way You will. Behold, I am Your servant, ready to obey in all things. Not for myself do I desire to live, but for You—would that I could do this worthily and perfectly!”

A PRAYER THAT THE WILL OF GOD BE DONE

Grant me Your grace, O most merciful Jesus, that it may be with me, and work with me, and remain with me to the very end. Grant that I may always desire and will that which is most acceptable and pleasing to You. Let Your will be mine. Let my will always follow Yours and agree perfectly with it. Let my will be one with Yours in willing and in not willing, and let me be unable to will or not will anything but what You will or do not will. Grant that I may die to all things in this world, and for Your sake love to be despised and unknown in this life. Give me above all desires the desire to rest in You, and in You let my heart have peace. You are true peace of heart. You alone are its rest. Without You all things are difficult and troubled. In this peace, the selfsame that is in You, the Most High, the everlasting Good, I will sleep and take my rest. Amen.

Thomas à Kempis. (1996). The Imitation of Christ (pp. 128–130). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Daily Thought For October 15, 2015

Patience & The Purification of the Soul


When flowers appear in our land,” says the Divine Spouse, “the time of cleansing and pruning is come.” What are the flowers of our hearts, Philothea, but good desires. Now, as soon as they appear, the hand must be put to the knife, to prune off from our consciences all dead and superfluous works. A foreign maid, when about to marry an Israelite, was to put off the robe of her captivity, to cut short her nails, and shave her hair; thus the soul that aspires to the honour of being spouse to the Son of God, ought to put off the old man, and clothe herself with the new; to cast off sin, and then cut and shave away all manner of impediments which may divert her from the love of God. The beginning of our health is to be purged from offensive humours. St. Paul, in a moment, was cleansed in a perfect manner; so were St. Catherine of Genoa, St. M. Magdalen, St. Pelagia, and some other saints; but this sort of purgation is wholly miraculous and extraordinary in grace, as is the resurrection of the dead in nature, and therefore we must not pretend to it. The ordinary purifying and healing, be it of the body or the soul, is only effected little and little, going on by degrees, with pain and labour.

The angels upon Jacob’s ladder have wings, yet they fly not, but ascend and descend from step to step. The soul which rises from sin to devotion is compared to the dawning of morning, which drives not away the darkness instantaneously, but by degrees. “The cure,” says a proverb, “which is made leisurely is ever the most assured.” The diseases of the soul, as well as those of the body, come posting on horseback, but depart leisurely on foot. Courage and patience, then, Philothea, are necessary in this enterprise. Alas! how much are those souls to be pitied who, seeing themselves subject to so many imperfections, having exercised themselves a little in devotion, begin to be troubled, disquieted, and discouraged, suffering their hearts almost to yield to the temptation of forsaking all, and returning back! But, on the other side, is it not also exceedingly dangerous for those others, who, by a contrary temptation, make themselves believe that they are cleansed from their imperfections the first day of their purgation, and esteeming themselves perfect, though scarce as yet roughly moulded, endeavour to fly without wings.

O Philothea, in what danger are they of relapsing, having been taken too soon out of the physician’s hands? “Rise not before it is light,” says the prophet: “rise after you have rested;” and he himself practising this lesson, and having been already washed and purified, yet desires to be cleansed again.

The exercise of cleansing the soul neither can nor ought to end but with our lives. Let us not, then, afflict ourselves with our imperfections, for our perfection consists in resisting them; and we cannot resist them without seeing them, nor vanquish them without encountering them. Our victory lies not in feeling them, but in not consenting to them. But to be disturbed by them is not to consent to them: nay, it is necessary, for the exercise of our humility, that we should be sometimes wounded in this spiritual combat; but we are never to be considered conquered, unless we either lose our life or our courage. Now, imperfections or venial sins cannot deprive us of spiritual life, for that is only lost by mortal sin. It then remains only that they deprive us not of our courage. “Deliver me, O Lord,” said David, “from cowardice and faint-heartedness.” It is a happy condition for us in this war if by always fighting we can be always conquerors.


Francis de Sales, S. (1885). An Introduction to the Devout Life (pp. 10–12). Dublin: M. H. Gill and Son.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Daily Thought For October 14, 2015

Pope Francis' Visit To Prisoners (Wow!)

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Good morning. I am going to speak in Spanish because I don’t speak English, but he [pointing to the interpreter] speaks good English and he is going to translate for me. Thank you for receiving me and giving me the opportunity to be here with you and to share this time in your lives. It is a difficult time, one full of struggles. I know it is a painful time not only for you, but also for your families and for all of society. Any society, any family, which cannot share or take seriously the pain of its children, and views that pain as something normal or to be expected, is a society “condemned” to remain a hostage to itself, prey to the very things which cause that pain.

I am here as a pastor, but above all as a brother, to share your situation and to make it my own. I have come so that we can pray together and offer our God everything that causes us pain, but also everything that gives us hope, so that we can receive from him the power of the resurrection.

I think of the Gospel scene where Jesus washes the feet of his disciples at the Last Supper. This was something his disciples found hard to accept. Even Peter refused, and told him: “You will never wash my feet” (Jn 13:8).

In those days, it was the custom to wash someone’s feet when they came to your home. That was how they welcomed people. The roads were not paved, they were covered with dust, and little stones would get stuck in your sandals. Everyone walked those roads, which left their feet dusty, bruised or cut from those stones. That is why we see Jesus washing feet, our feet, the feet of his disciples, then and now.

We all know that life is a journey, along different roads, different paths, which leave their mark on us.

We also know in faith that Jesus seeks us out. He wants to heal our wounds, to soothe our feet which hurt from travelling alone, to wash each of us clean of the dust from our journey. He doesn’t ask us where we have been, he doesn’t question us what about we have done. Rather, he tells us: “Unless I wash your feet, you have no share with me” (Jn 13:8). Unless I wash your feet, I will not be able to give you the life which the Father always dreamed of, the life for which he created you. Jesus comes to meet us, so that he can restore our dignity as children of God. He wants to help us to set out again, to resume our journey, to recover our hope, to restore our faith and trust. He wants us to keep walking along the paths of life, to realize that we have a mission, and that confinement is never the same thing as exclusion.

Life means “getting our feet dirty” from the dust-filled roads of life and history. All of us need to be cleansed, to be washed. All of us. Myself, first and foremost. All of us are being sought out by the Teacher, who wants to help us resume our journey. The Lord goes in search of us; to all of us he stretches out a helping hand.

It is painful when we see prison systems which are not concerned to care for wounds, to soothe pain, to offer new possibilities. It is painful when we see people who think that only others need to be cleansed, purified, and do not recognize that their weariness, pain and wounds are also the weariness, pain and wounds of society. The Lord tells us this clearly with a sign: he washes our feet so we can come back to the table. The table from which he wishes no one to be excluded. The table which is spread for all and to which all of us are invited.

This time in your life can only have one purpose: to give you a hand in getting back on the right road, to give you a hand to help you rejoin society. All of us are part of that effort, all of us are invited to encourage, help and enable your rehabilitation. A rehabilitation which everyone seeks and desires: inmates and their families, correctional authorities, social and educational programs. A rehabilitation which benefits and elevates the morale of the entire community and society.

I encourage you to have this attitude with one another and with all those who in any way are part of this institution. May you make possible new opportunities; may you blaze new trails, new paths.

All of us have something we need to be cleansed of, or purified from. All of us. May the knowledge of this fact inspire us all to live in solidarity, to support one another and seek the best for others.

Let us look to Jesus, who washes our feet. He is “the way, and the truth, and the life”. He comes to save us from the lie that says no one can change, the lie of thinking that no one can change. Jesus helps us to journey along the paths of life and fulfillment. May the power of his love and his resurrection always be a path leading you to new life.

Just as we are, seated, let us silently ask the Lord to bless us. May the Lord bless you and keep you. May he make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you. May he lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. Thank you.

Impromptu comments at the end of the meeting:

The chair you made is very nice, very beautiful. Thanks for your work.

Pope Francis Visit to Visit to Detainees at Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Daily Thought For October 13, 2015

Obeying The Spirit

Obeying the Spirit. Luke portrays Philip as an evangelist who is guided by the Spirit in extraordinary ways. Even if we are not literally “snatched away” from one place to another, Philip’s example can awaken in us a more expectant faith in the Holy Spirit’s active guidance in our lives and ministry. Philip, like Peter and Paul (see Acts 10:19; 16:6–10), was attuned to the Spirit’s voice and quickly obeyed his promptings. For us too, obeying the Spirit brings a fruitfulness that goes beyond what is possible by our own resources (see John 14:12; 15:8–10).

The word of God is not chained. God is often forced to “write straight with crooked lines” to accomplish his saving plan. Neither the killing of Stephen, the persecution of Christians in Jerusalem, the Samaritan misinterpretation of Christian miracles as magic, or even the status of being a eunuch—none of these could hinder God’s plan to spread the good news of salvation to all nations and all classes of individuals, from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth. When we are faced with bad news and failures, Acts reminds us not to lose heart. Our hope lies not in human success but in God, for whom nothing is impossible (Matt 19:26; Luke 1:37).


Kurz, W. S. (2013). Acts of the Apostles. (P. S. Williamson & M. Healy, Eds.) (p. 149). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Daily Thought For October 10, 2015

The Priestly Blessing

The LORD said to Moses: Speak to Aaron and his sons and tell them: This is how you shall bless the Israelites. Say to them: 

The LORD bless you and keep you! 
The LORD let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you! 
The LORD look upon you kindly and give you peace!

So shall they invoke my name upon the Israelites, and I will bless them. 


Numbers 6:22-27

Friday, October 9, 2015

Daily Thought For October 9, 2015

The Healing Power of Jesus

Lectio

Luke 11:15–26

Meditatio

“But if it is by the finger of God that I drive out demons, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.”

A woman in her fifties was an alcoholic without a job. She was heartbroken. I met her on a retreat, where she told me her story, and I prayed with her. We went back in prayer to the place in her life that needed the most healing: the birth of her first child. Her daughter had been taken away from her because she was “not suited to be a mother.” She was in her teens, unwed, afraid. She was never allowed to see her daughter, or the two children born after that. Now, almost forty years later, she still bore the scars of the shame and sorrow.

In prayer she took Jesus’ hand and returned to the hospital where she had given birth to her daughter. She remembered what was happening around her, words people said, what she felt. Then she stopped and observed Jesus looking at her with such compassion and love. When her daughter was born, he took her from the doctor’s hands with joy, raised her in the air and blessed his Father for her birth. Then he laid the child next to my friend. For the first time she “saw” her baby. Then I told her to wait because Jesus would say something just for her to hear. Jesus spoke healing words to her, words that swept away the demons of shame that had possessed her. “You are a good mother,” he told her. I gently started to cry, moved at Jesus’ goodness to her. A year later I met my friend again on retreat. She had a job, was attending A. A. meetings, and had met her three children, who had come searching for their mother.

The kingdom of God is nothing more than the presence of Jesus among us. It is not in the future or in the past, something far away, or only inside a sanctuary. Jesus is here and now for you and me, wherever we are. He still sweeps away the demons that possess us and weigh us down with shame and sorrow. Jesus is God-for-us.

Oratio

In the name of Jesus, may the kingdom of light and love shine in our darkness and turn our nights into days, our fears into hope, our hatred into love. Let the kingdom of God arise where once there were shame and sorrow, so that our earthly life will receive a new form as we await the day we will enjoy eternal life forever. Amen.

Contemplatio

Jesus, heal the darkest place of my life.


Daughters of St. Paul. (2011). Ordinary Grace Weeks 18–34: Daily Gospel Reflections. (M. G. Dateno & M. L. Trouvé, Eds.) (pp. 182–183). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Daily Thought For October 7, 2015

Rising Up From A Fall

If you commit some fault, do not get all worked up or make a big fuss about it; having acknowledged the fact that you have done something wrong, gently humble yourself before God and try to put your soul at rest, saying to yourself, "Ah, well! I have tripped but now I must walk slowly, watching my steps." Every time you fall, do the same and when you fall frequently, even though in minor matters, try to make as many acts of love as you can, because Our Lord says, "If you can trust a man in little things, you can also trust him in greater..." [Lk 16:10] 

St. Francis De Sales

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Daily Thought For October 6, 2015

Obedience To Christ Brings True Freedom

“Authority” … “obedience”. To be frank, these are not easy words to speak nowadays. Words like these represent a “stumbling stone” for many of our contemporaries, especially in a society which rightly places a high value on personal freedom. Yet, in the light of our faith in Jesus Christ—“the way and the truth and the life”—we come to see the fullest meaning, value, and indeed beauty, of those words. The Gospel teaches us that true freedom, the freedom of the children of God, is found only in the self-surrender which is part of the mystery of love. Only by losing ourselves, the Lord tells us, do we truly find ourselves (cf. Lk 17:33). True freedom blossoms when we turn away from the burden of sin, which clouds our perceptions and weakens our resolve, and find the source of our ultimate happiness in him who is infinite love, infinite freedom, infinite life. “In his will is our peace”.

Real freedom, then, is God’s gracious gift, the fruit of conversion to his truth, the truth which makes us free (cf. Jn 8:32). And this freedom in truth brings in its wake a new and liberating way of seeing reality. When we put on “the mind of Christ” (cf. Phil 2:5), new horizons open before us! In the light of faith, within the communion of the Church, we also find the inspiration and strength to become a leaven of the Gospel in the world. We become the light of the world, the salt of the earth (cf. Mt 5:13–14), entrusted with the “apostolate” of making our own lives, and the world in which we live, conform ever more fully to God’s saving plan.


POPE BENEDICT XVI (VISIT TO THE U.S.)
CELEBRATION OF THE EUCHARIST

Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York
Fifth Sunday of Easter, 20 April 2008

Monday, October 5, 2015

Daily Thought For October 5, 2015

Great Proverb

Those who conceal their sins do not prosper, 
but those who confess and forsake them obtain mercy.

Proverbs 28:13

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Daily Thought For October 4, 2015

Unless You Become Like A Child

Lectio

Mark 10:2–16

Meditatio

“… the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”

Children. To us children are lovable (most of the time), and bring smiles to our faces as we play with them, watch them at their games, or even put up with their tantrums. We put children first, denying ourselves what we need to make sure a child is provided for. In Jesus’ day, however, children were last. Sixty percent of children never reached adulthood. During their minor years they were on the same level as slaves. So when Jesus puts his arms around the children in a protective hug, he is sending a countercultural message. “This is what you can have if you live with the dependence of a child, counting solely on God for everything you need: intimacy with God, protection, safety, someone to look after you. This is the way I live with the Father, and I am inviting you to do the same.”

It is significant that this story follows that of the Pharisees testing Jesus, trying to trip him up, refusing to believe unless he meets their criteria. A child would never do that. We can certainly fall into the same trap, refusing to follow Jesus’ teaching because it doesn’t fit our idea of right and wrong. We, too, can be hard of heart before the law of God concerning the invitation to and promise of faithfulness in covenantal love represented in the covenantal fidelity of marriage.

Jesus certainly raises the bar in this section of Mark’s Gospel. It is difficult to be faithful to discipleship to Christ in the Church. I don’t think it was meant to be easy. I have seen struggling people, people in broken marriages, honest sinners who are inescapably dependent on God’s love and mercy in difficult situations. Though they have fallen short in keeping the law, they are “children,” and thus warmly embraced by Jesus.

Oratio

God, today I pray for people whom you long to embrace, but who, for whatever reason, find it difficult to trust you with their lives. I am one of them, at least at times, but at this moment I want to remember in prayer the following persons: (recall their names).

Contemplatio

I am your child, O God, and I need you in my life.


Daughters of St. Paul. (2011). Ordinary Grace Weeks 18–34: Daily Gospel Reflections. (M. G. Dateno & M. L. Trouvé, Eds.) (pp. 170–171). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Daily Thought For October 3, 2015

An Important Question & Challenge For Young People


Dear young people, let me now ask you a question. What will you leave to the next generation? Are you building your lives on firm foundations, building something that will endure? Are you living your lives in a way that opens up space for the Spirit in the midst of a world that wants to forget God, or even rejects him in the name of a falsely-conceived freedom? How are you using the gifts you have been given, the “power” which the Holy Spirit is even now prepared to release within you? What legacy will you leave to young people yet to come? What difference will you make?

The power of the Holy Spirit does not only enlighten and console us. It also points us to the future, to the coming of God’s Kingdom. What a magnificent vision of a humanity redeemed and renewed we see in the new age promised by today’s Gospel! Saint Luke tells us that Jesus Christ is the fulfilment of all God’s promises, the Messiah who fully possesses the Holy Spirit in order to bestow that gift upon all mankind. The outpouring of Christ’s Spirit upon humanity is a pledge of hope and deliverance from everything that impoverishes us. It gives the blind new sight; it sets the downtrodden free, and it creates unity in and through diversity (cf. Lk 4:18–19; Is 61:1–2). This power can create a new world: it can “renew the face of the earth” (cf. Ps 104:30)!

Empowered by the Spirit, and drawing upon faith’s rich vision, a new generation of Christians is being called to help build a world in which God’s gift of life is welcomed, respected and cherished—not rejected, feared as a threat and destroyed. A new age in which love is not greedy or self-seeking, but pure, faithful and genuinely free, open to others, respectful of their dignity, seeking their good, radiating joy and beauty. A new age in which hope liberates us from the shallowness, apathy and self-absorption which deaden our souls and poison our relationships. Dear young friends, the Lord is asking you to be prophets of this new age, messengers of his love, drawing people to the Father and building a future of hope for all humanity.

The world needs this renewal! In so many of our societies, side by side with material prosperity, a spiritual desert is spreading: an interior emptiness, an unnamed fear, a quiet sense of despair. How many of our contemporaries have built broken and empty cisterns (cf. Jer 2:13) in a desperate search for meaning—the ultimate meaning that only love can give? This is the great and liberating gift which the Gospel brings: it reveals our dignity as men and women created in the image and likeness of God. It reveals humanity’s sublime calling, which is to find fulfilment in love. It discloses the truth about man and the truth about life.

The Church also needs this renewal! She needs your faith, your idealism and your generosity, so that she can always be young in the Spirit (cf. Lumen Gentium, 4)! In today’s second reading, the Apostle Paul reminds us that each and every Christian has received a gift meant for building up the Body of Christ. The Church especially needs the gifts of young people, all young people. She needs to grow in the power of the Spirit who even now gives joy to your youth and inspires you to serve the Lord with gladness. Open your hearts to that power! I address this plea in a special way to those of you whom the Lord is calling to the priesthood and the consecrated life. Do not be afraid to say “yes” to Jesus, to find your joy in doing his will, giving yourself completely to the pursuit of holiness, and using all your talents in the service of others!

In a few moments, we will celebrate the sacrament of Confirmation. The Holy Spirit will descend upon the confirmands; they will be “sealed” with the gift of the Spirit and sent forth to be Christ’s witnesses. What does it mean to receive the “seal” of the Holy Spirit? It means being indelibly marked, inalterably changed, a new creation. For those who have received this gift, nothing can ever be the same! Being “baptized” in the one Spirit (cf. 1 Cor 12:13) means being set on fire with the love of God. Being “given to drink” of the Spirit means being refreshed by the beauty of the Lord’s plan for us and for the world, and becoming in turn a source of spiritual refreshment for others. Being “sealed with the Spirit” means not being afraid to stand up for Christ, letting the truth of the Gospel permeate the way we see, think and act, as we work for the triumph of the civilization of love.

As we pray for the confirmands, let us ask that the power of the Holy Spirit will revive the grace of our own Confirmation. May he pour out his gifts in abundance on all present, on this city of Sydney, on this land of Australia and on all its people! May each of us be renewed in the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of right judgement and courage, the spirit of knowledge and reverence, the spirit of wonder and awe in God’s presence!

Through the loving intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church, may this Twenty-third World Youth Day be experienced as a new Upper Room, from which all of us, burning with the fire and love of the Holy Spirit, go forth to proclaim the Risen Christ and to draw every heart to him! Amen.



Pope Benedict XVI -EUCHARISTIC CELEBRATION ON THE OCCASION OF THE 23rd WORLD YOUTH DAY
Randwick Racecourse
Sunday, 20 July 2008

Benedict XVI. (2013). Homilies of His Holiness Benedict XVI (English). Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Daily Thought For October 2, 2015

Disarming The Autopilot

Lectio

Luke 10:13–16

Meditatio

“Will you be exalted to heaven?”

Sometimes we might seem to live our faith almost on autopilot. It’s not that we don’t believe. We know we possess faith because we received that gift at Baptism. Our faith is evident because we faithfully attend Mass each Sunday. However, how have we assimilated faith into life? Is it obvious in our daily life? Today’s Gospel helps us reflect on these questions. God is disappointed with the people of Chorazin and Bethsaida. Why? In both towns, Jesus had performed signs and probably miracles, yet the inhabitants failed to accept his Gospel message. “Woe to you,” Jesus warns them for squandering a gift. If the cities of Tyre and Sidon, both notorious through Jewish history for their sinfulness, had heard Christ’s preaching and witnessed his signs, they would have repented. Jesus is saying, in a sense, that it is better to be wicked and know it, than to be so unaware, so unconcerned with spiritual things that not even the presence and activity of the Son of Man make any difference in your life. The wicked would at least be startled into a reaction when coming face-to-face with pure goodness. They are intense and alert, up to the challenge. Jesus would not approve of their ways, but he would rejoice at their openness to change. The people who most disappoint Jesus are the uninvolved, the lukewarm. Religion is not even an issue for them. There is nothing to discuss. Signs and wonders, if noticed, are passed off as “interesting.”

Lastly, Jesus rebukes the people of his own hometown, Capernaum. To them he is an upstart, someone pretending to be important. They refuse to even consider his claims. Do we take the words of Jesus seriously? Do we apply what he says to our lives? Are we spiritual minimalists? Are we doing no more than is our duty, like attending Sunday Mass, sending our children for instruction, reciting an occasional prayer? How about a sense that we have been baptized into Christ? Faith is who we are!

Oratio

Dear Lord, not one of us likes to hear your displeasure even when we merit a correction. But preserve us from the sins of indifference, smugness, and pride. These attitudes cause the soul to turn away from grace. You are ever prepared to gift us with understanding, desire, and fervor on our spiritual journey. Keep us open and eager to recognize the signs of your presence in our lives. Amen.

Contemplatio

Speak to us, Lord. We are listening.


Daughters of St. Paul. (2011). Ordinary Grace Weeks 18–34: Daily Gospel Reflections. (M. G. Dateno & M. L. Trouvé, Eds.) (pp. 164–165). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Daily Thought For October 1, 2015

Rejoicing in the Lord is Our Strength


Rejoicing in the Lord must be your strength! (Nehemiah 8:10)

What a wonderful occasion! After decades of exile, the people of Israel finally heard the Law of the Lord proclaimed in a holy ceremony. Special preparations had been made for the festive day, from the rich food and drinks right down to the distinctive platform Ezra used to read out the Law.

So why did the people start weeping when they heard Ezra proclaim God’s word? Why did the Levites have to go through the crowd trying to calm people down? Because they began to feel overwhelmed and discouraged by the gap between the life Ezra was describing and the life they had been living. They saw how distant from the Lord they had become, and they began to grieve.

It was only after the Levites’ words of encouragement that the people saw God’s Law as something more than a burden meant to condemn them. It was a precious gift that revealed not only the justice of God, but his faithful love and mercy as well. They helped the people see that if God had given them the Law, then surely he would give them the grace to live it out!

Isn’t that just how God is? We get bound up in guilt and shame, and he comes alongside us to lift our burdens. We worry about all that we won’t be able to accomplish, and he reminds us that we can do all things in him. We fret over our past failures, and he reminds us that he has cast our sins away as far as the east is from the west.

How many times have you felt uncomfortable going to Mass or Confession because you don’t want to face up to something that is lacking in your life? Don’t ever let that happen again! Remember the Levites and their words to the people of Israel. Make it a point to rejoice in your salvation, and let that joy give you all the strength and freedom you need!

“Father, I know I am your child. Thank you for calling me into your family!”

Daily Reflection from The Word Among Us (www.wau.org)