Christian, recognize your dignity and, now that you share in God's own nature, do not return to your former base condition by sinning. Remember who is your head and of whose body you are a member. Never forget that you have been rescued from the power of darkness and brought into the light of the Kingdom of God.
NOW again I will speak, Lord, and will not be silent. I will speak to the hearing of my God, my Lord, and my King Who is in heaven. How great, O Lord, is the multitude of Your mercies which You have stored up for those who love You. But what are You to those who love You? What are You to those who serve You with their whole heart? Truly beyond the power of words is the sweetness of contemplation You give to those who love You. To me You have shown the sweetness of Your charity, especially in having made me when I did not exist, in having brought me back to serve You when I had gone far astray from You, in having commanded me to love You. O Fountain of unceasing love, what shall I say of You? How can I forget You, Who have been pleased to remember me even after I had wasted away and perished? You have shown mercy to Your servant beyond all hope, and have exhibited grace and friendship beyond his deserving. What return shall I make to You for this grace? For it is not given every man to forsake all things, to renounce the world, and undertake the religious life. Is it anything great that I should serve You Whom every creature is bound to serve? It should not seem much to me; instead it should appear great and wonderful that You condescend to receive into Your service one who is so poor and unworthy. Behold, all things are Yours, even those which I have and by which I serve You. Behold, heaven and earth which You created for the service of man, stand ready, and each day they do whatever You command. But even this is little, for You have appointed angels also to minister to man—yea more than all this—You Yourself have condescended to serve man and have promised to give him Yourself. What return shall I make for all these thousands of benefits? Would that I could serve You all the days of my life! Would that for but one day I could serve You worthily! Truly You are worthy of all service, all honor, and everlasting praise. Truly You are my Lord, and I am Your poor servant, bound to serve You with all my powers, praising You without ever becoming weary. I wish to do this—this is my desire. Do You supply whatever is wanting in me. It is a great honor, a great glory to serve You and to despise all things for Your sake. They who give themselves gladly to Your most holy service will possess great grace. They who cast aside all carnal delights for Your love will find the most sweet consolation of the Holy Ghost. They who enter upon the narrow way for Your name and cast aside all worldly care will attain great freedom of mind. O sweet and joyful service of God, which makes man truly free and holy! O sacred state of religious bondage which makes man equal to the angels, pleasing to God, terrible to the demons, and worthy of the commendation of all the faithful! O service to be embraced and always desired, in which the highest good is offered and joy is won which shall remain forever!
Thomas à Kempis. (1996). The Imitation of Christ (pp. 117–119). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems.
Faith is the answer to fear. Deep down we are all afraid: of suffering, or of dying, or of God’s judgment, or of the unknown, or of weakness, or of our lives slipping out of our control, or of not being understood and loved. We sin because we fear. We bully because we are cowards. Faith casts out fear as light casts out darkness. God has shone his light into our world, and it is stronger than darkness (Jn 1:5). That light is Jesus Christ.”
My hope is in Christ, who strengthens the weakest by His Divine help. I can do all in Him who strengthens me. His Power is infinite, and if I lean on him, it will be mine. His Wisdom is infinite, and if I look to Him for counsel, I shall not be deceived. His Goodness is infinite, and if my trust is stayed in Him, I shall not be abandoned.
If it’s a mistake to add the burden of the past to the weight of the present, it’s a still worse mistake to burden the present with the future. […] We are obliged to plan for the future and take thought for tomorrow. But we should do it without worrying, without the care that gnaws at the heart but doesn’t solve anything—and often prevents us from putting our hearts into what we have to do here and now. Hearts anxious about tomorrow can’t be open to the grace of the present moment.
from Interior Freedom, by Fr. Jacques Philippe p.87
If you wish to strengthen your confidence in God still more, often recall the loving way in which He has acted toward you, and how mercifully He has tried to bring you out of your sinful life, to break your attachment to the things of earth and draw you to His love.
Redemptive Suffering Makes Us More Compassionate & Generous
What really hurts is not so much suffering itself as the fear of suffering. If welcomed trustingly and peacefully, suffering makes us grow. It matures and trains us, purifies us, teaches us to love unselfishly, makes us poor in heart, humble, gentle, and compassionate toward our neighbor. Fear of suffering, on the other hand, hardens us in self-protective, defensive attitudes, and often leads us to make irrational choices with disastrous consequences.
from Interior Freedom by Fr. Jacques Philippe p.47
The spiritual life would be unlivable if negation and repression were the only legitimate responses to our desires. But the spiritual path is not a way of negation but an education of desire: progressively learning to leave superficial desires behind in order to let the deepest desire emerge, the one that carries the call addressed to us by God.
If you want to personally kick some demon booty, I have a fast acting tactic that will work instantly. Entitlement is our society's opium. It is what demons spoon feed us to keep us addicted to the pursuit of worldly pleasures. Feeling that you have a "right" to something, in essence means you are demanding that whatever that "something" is, it be handed over to you NOW. Break that habit! Practice the virtue of gratitude. Be grateful for what you already have without the expectation of more. It will help you see that life is a gift from God and not an expectation. Heed the words in Colossians 2:6-7 (NIV), "So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness (gratitude)." By adopting an attitude of gratitude, I guarantee that your outlook on the meaning of life, and your purpose on earth will change for the better. This will have the demons retreating in disgust from your space. Practicing this virtue of gratitude is the first step of empowerment; taking back control of your life from demons means you are no longer a slave to the demonic spirit of entitlement. "Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." (Ephesians 5:1-2, NIV)
Once you begin to embrace gratitude, you will see the world in a more positive light. Instead of focusing on what you don't have in life, look for God in everyone you meet. The more you find evidence of it no matter how insignificant or small, you will draw closer to God. When I see a stranger entering the post office and waiting to hold open the door for me as I enter, I know I have found evidence of God. Random acts of kindness aren't isolated occurrences, but affirmations from heaven that God is with you! Try performing random acts of kindness. By doing so, you are a personal witness to the world and demons of the FACT that God is alive and manifesting Himself daily in our lives. Jesus himself admonished us to practice kindness in Matthew 5:6, "let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven". from A Message of Hope — Confession of an Ex-Satanist: How to protect yourself from evil by Deborah Lipsky pp. 147-148
Dear brothers and sisters, our life and our journey are frequently marked by difficulty, misunderstanding and suffering. We all know it. In a faithful relationship with the Lord, in constant, daily prayer, we too can feel tangibly the consolation that comes from God. And this strengthens our faith, because it enables us to have an actual experience of God’s “yes” to man, to us, to me, in Christ. It makes us feel the fidelity of his love which even extended to the gift of his Son on the Cross. St Paul says, “for the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we preached among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No; but in him it is always Yes. For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why we utter the Amen through him, to the glory of God” (2 Cor 1:19–20). The “yes” of God is not halved, it is not somewhere between “yes” and “no”, but is a sound and simple “yes”. And we respond to this “yes” with our own “yes”, with our “amen”, and so we are sure of the “yes” of God. Faith is not primarily a human action but rather a freely given gift of God which is rooted in his faithfulness, in his “yes”, which makes us understand how to live our life, loving him and our brethren. The whole history of salvation is a gradual revelation of this faithfulness of God, in spite of our infidelity and negation, in the certainty that “the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable!”, as the Apostle declares in his Letter to the Romans (11:29). Dear brothers and sisters, God’s way of acting—very different from ours—gives us comfort, strength and hope because God does not withdraw his “yes”. In the face of stressful human relations, even in the family, we often fail to persevere in freely given love which demands commitment and sacrifice. Instead, God does not grow tired of us; he never wearies of being patient with us and, with his immense mercy, always leads the way and reaches out to us first: his “yes” is absolutely reliable. In the event of the Crucifixion he offers us the measure of his love which does not count the cost and knows no bounds. St Paul writes in his Letter to Titus: “the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared” (Tit 3:4). And because this “yes” is renewed every day, “it is God who … has commissioned us; he has put his seal upon us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee” (2 Cor 1:21b–22). Indeed, it is the Holy Spirit who makes God’s “yes” in Jesus Christ constantly present and alive and creates in our hearts the desire to follow him so as to enter totally into his love, one day, when we will receive a dwelling-place in heaven not built by human hands. There is no one who has not been touched and called into question by this faithful love, which is also capable of waiting even for all those who continue to respond with the “no” of rejection or of the hardening of their hearts. God waits for us, he always seeks us out, he wants to welcome us into communion with him to give to each one of us fullness of life, hope and peace. Dear friends, prayer is the encounter with a living Person to listen to and with whom to converse; it is the meeting with God that renews his unshakeable fidelity, his “yes” to man, to each one of us, to give us his consolation in the storms of life and to enable us to live, united to him, a life full of joy and goodness, which will find fulfillment in eternal life. In our prayers we are called to say “yes” to God, to respond with this “amen” of adherence, of faithfulness to him throughout our life. We can never achieve this faithfulness by our own efforts; it is not only the fruit of our daily striving; it comes from God and is founded on the “yes” of Christ who said: my food is to do the will of the Father (cf. Jn 4:34). It is into this “yes” that we must enter, into this “yes” of Christ, into adherence to God’s will, in order to reach the point of saying with St Paul that it is not we who live but Christ himself who lives in us. Then the “amen” of our personal and community prayers will envelop and transform the whole of our life into a life of God’s consolation, a life immersed in eternal and steadfast love. Thank you.
Excerpts from the General Audience Teaching of May 30, 2012 - Pope Benedict XVI
I AM NOT A CARELESS GOD. However, when I allow difficulties to come into your life—events that you know I could have prevented—you may feel as if I am being careless with you. In those times, remember that I have fully equipped you to handle whatever comes your way. What you need is: help in using the equipment. My Word and My Spirit are freely available to help you. The Bible imparts to you essential wisdom: My promises to be near you and take care of you, exhortations that help you avoid sinful snares, offers of forgiveness when you "miss the mark," and much more. It is important not to be surprised or alarmed by the many trials that enter your life. Until you reach your ultimate home in heaven, you will be at war. Adopting a wartime mentality makes it easier to handle difficulties as they arise. You don't waste time and energy bemoaning your circumstances, and you avoid the trap of feeling singled out for hardship.
I do indeed equip you to handle adversity well. But you have to make the effort to use what I provide: My Presence, My Word, My Spirit. Come to Me when you are heavy laden, and you will find rest for your soul. "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." ISAIAH 41:10 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 1 PETER 5:8-9 "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." MATTHEW ll:28-29
Dear Jesus, help me to spread your fragrance everywhere I go; Flood my soul with your spirit and life; Penetrate and possess my whole being so completely That all my life may be only a radiance of yours; Shine through me and be so in me That everyone with whom I come into contact May feel your presence within me. Let them look up and see no longer me—but only Jesus.
But let us return to the temptation. Its real contents become apparent when we realize that over the course of history it keeps taking on new forms. The Christian emperors after Constantine immediately tried to make the faith a political factor that would be conducive to the unity of the empire. The kingdom of Christ was now expected to assume the form of a political kingdom with its splendor. The impotence of the faith, the earthly powerlessness of Jesus Christ, was now supposedly compensated for by political and military might. In every century, in many forms, this temptation to secure the faith with power has arisen again and again, and over and over the faith has come close to being suffocated in the embrace of power. The battle for the freedom of the Church, the battle over the fact that Jesus’ kingdom cannot be identical to any political construct, must be fought in every century. For the price to be paid for fusing faith and political power, in the final analysis, always consists of placing faith at the service of power and bending it to political standards. In the narrative of the Lord’s Passion the alternative that is at stake here appears in a striking form. At the climax of the trial, Pilate has the people choose between Jesus and Barabbas. One of the two will be set free. But who was Barabbas? Usually we think only of the formulation found in the Gospel of John: “Now Barabbas was a robber” (Jn 18:40). But the Greek word for “robber” had acquired a specific meaning in the political situation in Palestine at that time. It was the equivalent of “freedom fighter” or “member of the resistance”. Barabbas had taken part in an insurrection and furthermore—in this connection—had been accused of murder (Lk 23:19, 25). When Matthew says that Barabbas was “a notorious prisoner” (Mt 27:16), it shows that he was one of the prominent members of the resistance movement, probably the one who actually instigated that uprising. In other words: Barabbas was a messianic figure. The choice, Jesus or Barabbas, is not coincidental: two messianic figures, two forms of messianic belief stand in opposition. This becomes even more evident when we reflect that “Bar-Abbas” means “Son of the Father”. It is a typically messianic appellation, the cultic name of a prominent leader of the messianic movement. The last great messianic war of the Jews had been waged in the year 132 B.C. by Bar-Kokhba—“Son of the Star”. The construction of the name is the same; the same intention is announced. From Origen we learn yet another interesting detail: In many manuscripts of the Gospels, well into the third century, the man in question is called “Jesus Barabbas”—Jesus, Son of the Father. He appears as a kind of doppelgänger [double] for Jesus, who of course understood the same claim in a completely different manner. The choice, then, is between a Messiah who wages battle, who promises freedom and an earthly kingdom of one’s own, and this mysterious Jesus, who proclaims that losing oneself is the way to life. Is it any wonder that the crowds prefer Barabbas? If we had to choose today, would Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of Mary, the Son of the Father, have a chance? Do we know Jesus at all? Do we understand him? Do we not have to make an effort, today as always, to become acquainted with him all over again? The tempter is not so crude as to recommend to us directly that we should worship the devil. He only suggests that we should decide on what is reasonable, choose the advantages of a planned and thoroughly organized world, in which God may have his place as a private concern but must not interfere in our essential purposes. Soloviev ascribes to the Antichrist a book entitled The Manifest Way to Peace and Welfare in the World, which becomes, so to speak, the new Bible and has the worship of well-being and of rational planning as its actual subject.
Ratzinger, J. (2005). On the Way to Jesus Christ. (M. J. Miller, Trans.) (pp. 96–97). San Francisco: Ignatius Press.
No medicine is more valuable , none more efficacious, none better suited to the cure of our temporal ills than a friend to whom we may turn for consolation in time of trouble, and with whom we may share happiness in time of joy.
Faith is an orientation of our existence as a whole. It is a fundamental option that affects every domain of our existence. Nor can it be realized unless all the energies of our existence go into maintaining it. Faith is not a merely intellectual, or merely volitional, or merely emotional activity — it is all of these things together. It is an act of the whole self, of the whole person in his concentrated unity. The Bible describes faith in this sense as an act of the "heart" (Rom 10: 9). Faith is a supremely personal act ... It transcends the self, the limits of the individual. Augustine remarks that nothing is so little ours as our self. Where man as a whole comes into play, he transcends himself; an act of' the whole self is at the same time always an opening to others, hence, an act of being together with others. What is more, we cannot perform this act without touching our deepest ground, the living God who is present in the depths of our existence as its sustaining foundation. Any act that involves the whole man also involves, not just the self, but the we-dimension, indeed, the wholly other "Thou," God, together with the self. But this also means that such an act transcends the reach of what I can do alone. Since man is a created being, the deepest truth about him is never just action but always passion as well; man is not only a giver but also a receiver ... Faith is a perishing of the mere self and precisely thus a Resurrection of the true self. To believe is to become oneself through liberation from the mere self, a liberation that brings us into communion with God mediated by communion with Christ.
from Benedictus Day by Day with Pope Benedict XVI p.124
The Gospel presents Jesus in the waters of the Jordan River, in the midst of a marvelous, divine revelation. St. Luke writes: "After all the people had been baptized and Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, 'You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased”' (Lk 3: 21-22). In this way, Jesus is consecrated and manifested by the Father as Messiah, Savior, and liberator. In this event - attested to by all four Gospels - the transition from the baptism of John the Baptist, based on the symbol of water, to the baptism of Jesus happens "in the Holy Spirit and fire" (Lk 3:16). The Holy Spirit, in fact, in the Christian Baptism is the principal architect: it is He who burns and destroys Original Sin, restoring to the baptized the beauty of divine grace; It is He who delivers us from the dominion of darkness, that is to say, of sin, and transfers us into the realm of light, that to say of love, truth and peace: this is the realm of light. Think of to what dignity Baptism elevates us! "See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are!" (1 Jn 3:1), says the Apostle John. This stupendous reality of being children of God involves a responsibility of following Jesus, the obedient Servant, and reproduce in ourselves His features: that meekness, humility, tenderness. And this is not easy, especially when all around us there is so much intolerance, arrogance, harshness. But with the strength that comes from the Holy Spirit, it is possible!
The Holy Spirit, received for the first time on the day of our Baptism, opens our hearts to the truth, the whole truth. The Spirit pushes our life down a demanding path, but one joyous in charity and solidarity toward our brothers. The Spirit gives us the tenderness of God's forgiveness and pervades us with the invincible power of the Father's mercy. Do not forget that the Holy Spirit is a living presence and is life-giving in those who welcome Him, and prays in us and fills us with spiritual joy. excerpt from the Angelus Message of Pope Francis, January 10, 2016
He saw clearly that humankind has been lifted to a new plane through the miracle of the holy night and the encounter with Christ; that human beings now had new strength and the new responsibility of bearing witness. What had been enough before was enough no longer….
This is his message and his judgment. He challenges us to get out of our rut. As we draw near to God the old and familiar become useless. God will transform us into faithful witnesses if we earnestly and with complete surrender turn to him for help. Alfred Delp, S.J. Reflecting on the Martyrdom of St. Stephen
Great Advice On Friendship With Jesus When Pope Met With Young People
Question: Your Holiness, I am Vittorio, I am from the Parish of St John Bosco in Cinecittà. I am 20 years old and am studying educational sciences at the University of Tor Vergata. Once again, in your Message you invite us not to be afraid to respond to the Lord with generosity, especially when he suggests following him in the consecrated or priestly life. You tell us that if we are not afraid, if we trust in him, then we will not be deceived. I am convinced that many of us, here or among those at home who are watching us this evening on television, are thinking of following Jesus in a life of special consecration, but it is not always easy to understand if this is the right path. Can you tell us how you yourself came to understand your vocation? Can you give us some advice so that we can really understand whether the Lord is calling us to follow him in the consecrated or priestly life? Thank you. Answer: As for me, I grew up in a world very different from the world today, but in the end situations are similar. On the one hand, the situation of "Christianity" still existed, where it was normal to go to church and to accept the faith as the revelation of God, and to try to live in accordance with his revelation; on the other, there was the Nazi regime which loudly stated: "In the new Germany there will be no more priests, there will be no more consecrated life, we do not need these people; look for another career". However, it was precisely in hearing these "loud" voices, in facing the brutality of that system with an inhuman face, that I realized that there was instead a great need for priests. This contrast, the sight of that anti-human culture, confirmed my conviction that the Lord, the Gospel and the faith were pointing out the right path, and that we were bound to commit ourselves to ensuring that this path survives. In this situation, my vocation to the priesthood grew with me, almost naturally, without any dramatic events of conversion. Two other things also helped me on this journey: already as a boy, helped by my parents and by the parish priest, I had discovered the beauty of the Liturgy, and I came to love it more and more because I felt that divine beauty appears in it and that Heaven unfolds before us. The second element was the discovery of the beauty of knowledge, of knowing God and Sacred Scripture, thanks to which it is possible to enter into that great adventure of dialogue with God which is theology. Thus, it was a joy to enter into this 1,000-year-old work of theology, this celebration of the Liturgy in which God is with us and celebrates with us. Of course, problems were not lacking. I wondered if I would really be able to live celibacy all my life. Being a man of theoretical and not practical training, I also knew that it was not enough to love theology in order to be a good priest, but that it was also necessary to be always available to young people, the elderly, the sick and the poor: the need to be simple with the simple. Theology is beautiful, but the simplicity of words and Christian life is indispensable. And so I asked myself: will I be able to live all this and not be one-sided, merely a theologian, etc.? However, the Lord helped me and the company of friends, of good priests and teachers especially helped me. To return to the question, I think it is important to be attentive to the Lord's gestures on our journey. He speaks to us through events, through people, through encounters: it is necessary to be attentive to all of this. Then, a second point, it is necessary to enter into real friendship with Jesus in a personal relationship with him and not to know who Jesus is only from others or from books, but to live an ever deeper personal relationship with Jesus, where we can begin to understand what he is asking of us. And then, the awareness of what I am, of my possibilities: on the one hand, courage, and on the other, humility, trust and openness, with the help also of friends, of Church authority and also of priests, of families: what does the Lord want of me? Of course, this is always a great adventure, but life can be successful only if we have the courage to be adventurous, trusting that the Lord will never leave me alone, that the Lord will go with me and help me. Pope Benedict XVI Meeting with Young People in Preparation For World Youth Day April 6, 2006
Church grows from the inside to the outside, not in reverse order. She signifies, above all, an interior union with Christ; she forms herself in the life of prayer, in the life of the sacraments; on the fundamental dispositions of faith, hope, and love. Therefore, when someone asks: What must I do so that Church will come into existence and continue to grow? the answer must be: You must strive above all to ensure that there is faith, that hope and love are actively present. Prayer builds the Church and the community of the sacraments in which she raises her prayer for us. This summer I met a priest who told me that what struck him most forcibly when he accepted the post as pastor was that, for decades, his parish had produced no vocations to the priesthood. But what was he to do? No one can make vocations; only the Lord can give them. Does that mean, however, that we must fold our hands and do nothing? He made up his mind to make on foot each year for this intention the long and arduous pilgrimage to Our Lady’s shrine at Altötting and to invite all those who shared his intention to accompany him and pray with him. Every year more persons joined him on his pilgrimage and this year, to the immense joy of the whole village, they were able, for the first time in living memory, to celebrate a First Mass. The Church year grows from within—we say that in reference to the body of Christ, but it is true also in another respect: Christ formed a body for himself and I must incorporate myself into that body as a humble member—there is no other way of finding and holding him in his entirety, for I myself have become a member, an organ, of his body in this world and, therefore, for eternity. With this realization, the liberal notion that Jesus is interesting but that the Church is an unsuccessful undertaking automatically fades away. Christ exists only in his body, not just as an ideal; that means: with all those others—with the permanent, time-transcending community that is his body. The Church is not an idea, but a body, and the scandal of the Incarnation, on which many of Jesus’ contemporaries came to grief, continues in the vexations of the Church, but here, too, the saying is applicable: Blessed is he who is not scandalized in me. This communal character of the Church necessarily means, then, her we character: she is not just somewhere; we ourselves are the Church. Certainly, no one can say: “I am the Church”; each must and may say: We are the Church. And “we”—that is not just a group that isolates itself, but one that belongs to the whole community of all the living and deceased members of Christ. Thus a group can really say: We are the Church. The Church is here in this accessible we that removes boundaries—not just social and political boundaries, but also the boundary between heaven and earth. We are the Church—from this proceeds our co-responsibility, but also the privilege of being co-workers; from this comes our right to criticize, but we must always begin with self-criticism. For Church—we repeat—is not just somewhere, someone else; it is we who are the Church.
Ratzinger, J. (1992). Co-Workers of the Truth: Meditations for Every Day of the Year. (I. Grassl, Ed., M. F. McCarthy & L. Krauth, Trans.) (pp. 14–15). San Francisco: Ignatius Press.
“Since every man of whatever race is endowed with the dignity of a person, he has an inalienable right to an education corresponding to his proper destiny and suited to his native talents, his cultural background, and his ancestral heritage. At the same time, this education should pave the way to brotherly association with other peoples, so that genuine unity and peace on earth may be promoted. For a true education aims at the formation of the human person with respect to the good of those societies of which, as a man, he is a member, and in whose responsibilities, as an adult, he will share.”
GOD'S JUSTICE REQUIRES that he give the creatures whose nature he himself endowed with intelligence all that is needed by them to fulfill the God-imposed demands, and to achieve the God-assigned aims. Also, his justice requires that, in case they fulfill those demands, a proper reward be given and, in the event of their slighting and setting aside God's demands, a proper punishment be meted out to them. However, God is not only the Maker and Lord but he is also man's Father and best friend. Therefore, between God and ourselves there exist not only relations that are based on justice, but also those relations which are proper to God's fatherhood and friendship towards man; they reach much deeper because they are based on love. Love as the bond of family life ... regulates sharing [all goods] not according to the measure of strict justice but according to the measure of mutual love of parents and children. We should apply those fundamental notions also to our relations with God .... The essence of justice consists in giving that which is strictly due; but the essence of mercy is to take into account not only that which is strictly due, but also weaknesses, infirmities, and defects of all kinds, and in considering them, to give more than is required by merit and to punish less for offenses than the guilt deserves.
Servant of God Father Hyacinth Woroniecki, O.P. (from the Magnificat Year of Mercy Companion p.39)
Rejoice in this day of life, being willing to follow Me wholeheartedly—wherever I lead. Anticipate blessings as we journey together. Since I created this day of life and presented it to you free of charge, I want you receive it gratefully. Your natural tendency when you awaken is to assess the day before you, trying to discern how good (or bad) it will be. You do this almost unconsciously, often basing your conclusions on something as trivial as the weather. I urge you to break free from this habit so you can be more receptive to Me and My blessings. A thankful attitude is immensely helpful. If you awaken to find a dark, rainy day, you can thank Me for the rain. Having done so, you will be much less likely to grumble about the weather. Also, remember that I have arranged the conditions of your day. So you can assume there is much good to be found in it. Rejoicing will help you find many blessings in this day. If your circumstances are looking rather bleak, then be joyful in Me—your faithful companion. I want you to enjoy Me and look for precious gifts I've placed along the path we are following. In faith, be on the lookout for good things great and small. Also, because I am your Teacher, I promise to provide learning opportunities as we travel together. When you reach the end of this day, stop and look back at the distance we have covered. Take time to ponder what you have learned and to savor the gifts you have found. Let your mind dwell on these things as you lie down to sleep, rejoicing in Me and My blessings.
This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. PSALM 118:24 "You call me 'Teacher' and 'Lord,' and rightly so, for that is what I am." JOHN 13:13 I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me.
Being Church means being God’s people, in accordance with the great plan of his fatherly love. This means that we are to be God’s leaven in the midst of humanity. It means proclaiming and bringing God’s salvation into our world, which often goes astray and needs to be encouraged, given hope and strengthened on the way. The Church must be a place of mercy freely given, where everyone can feel welcomed, loved, forgiven and encouraged to live the good life of the Gospel.
Pope Francis The Joy of the Gospel (Evangelii Gaudium) #114
The Lord bless you and keep you! (Numbers 6:24) How many New Year’s resolutions have you come up with? How many do you think you’ll forget by the end of January? Every new year is filled with great promise, but it also has a fair bit of uncertainty. Who knows what the future holds? As Mary prepared to have her baby circumcised, she probably felt a similar mixture of anticipation and apprehension. “The angel didn’t give me too much detail. What will our future be like? Will my child be accepted? Or rejected?” But Mary answered her fears in the best way possible: she recalled God’s faithfulness in the past and held onto the promise that God had made his own “resolution” to bless and keep his people. She recalled how God reassured Joseph that she had not been unfaithful. She recounted the way God had opened doors for her in Bethlehem so that she had a safe place to give birth. She remembered the shepherds and their stories of angelic visitors. God had protected her from shame; blessed her with a loving, faithful husband; and sent visitors at just the right time to remind her of his love and care. At every step of the way, God had blessed her and kept her, just as he had done for her people over the centuries. Why would he abandon her now? What was last year like for you? It might have been just another year with the usual ups and downs. Or like Mary’s, it might have been a year of significant changes and challenges. Either way, take some time to recall one or two memorable situations. Try to see how the Lord has blessed you and kept you through them. Look for the ways he has proved his faithfulness to you. Let this “inspired remembering” fill you with hope for the year to come. Let it remind you that God, your heavenly Father, has resolved to love you and care for you all year long.
“Father, help me remember how you have blessed and kept me. Give me faith to entrust this new year to you.” Daily Meditation from The Word Among Us (www.wau.org)