"Walking in the way and the love of the Lord"
Read Romans 12:14-21
See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springs up and causes trouble, and through it many become defiled. - Hebrews 12:15 (NRSV)
After examining the moss rose I had planted again this year, I was not disappointed. The roses in all their varied colors had burst into bloom. These lovely flowers had never failed to spread out quickly to fill my flower patch.
Then I took a closer look to see that some of the space was filled with a weed that looked a lot like the moss rose, but they are real troublemakers and difficult to pull out. After I cleaned out the flower patch, I had to watch for those nasty weeds to spring up again. They weren’t finished making trouble for me!
The Bible tells about a weed, bitterness, that — if allowed to grow and develop in our lives — will cause us lots of trouble. If bitterness takes hold, we will use words that hurt others instead of helping and healing them. The only way to get rid of bitterness is to pull it out by the root. And to do that, we need God’s help. When we ask God to clean bitterness from our lives, we must watch and pray, or it might spring up again. Removing bitterness allows love and forgiveness to spread and makes life beautiful again.
The Author - Shirley Myers (New York)Thought for the Day
Tending the garden of life with prayer will produce the blooms of a beautiful spirit.
Prayer: O God, take away our bitterness and replace it with love and kindness. May your love spread to those around us. Amen.
“Of all the apostolates open to all of us the most effective, the most far-reaching, the most consoling is Kindness. Kindness is one of God’s best gifts to the world. It drives gloom and darkness from souls. It puts hope into fainting hearts. It sweetens sorrow. It lessens pain. It discovers unsuspected beauties of human character. It calls forth a response from all that is best in souls. It purifies, glorifies, and enables all that it touches. It opens the floodgates of children’s laughter. It gathers the tears of repentant love. It lightens the burden of weariness. It stops the torrent of angry passion. It takes the sting from failure. It kindles courageous ambition. It lifts the unfortunate. It leads back the wayward. It walks in the steps of Our Savior.
Let us become apostles of kindness to partake of its sweetness, to aspire to its holiness.
The apostolate of kindness is exalted; It is sublime; It is Christ like.”
~Marian Fathers Stockbridge, Mass.
. . . I say to you, he who believes in Me, . . . greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father --John 14:12
Prayer does not equip us for greater works— prayer is the greater work. Yet we think of prayer as some commonsense exercise of our higher powers that simply prepares us for God’s work. In the teachings of Jesus Christ, prayer is the working of the miracle of redemption in me, which produces the miracle of redemption in others, through the power of God. The way fruit remains firm is through prayer, but remember that it is prayer based on the agony of Christ in redemption, not on my own agony. We must go to God as His child, because only a child gets his prayers answered; a “wise” man does not - (Matthew 11:25)
Prayer is the battle, and it makes no difference where you are. However God may engineer your circumstances, your duty is to pray. Never allow yourself this thought, “I am of no use where I am,” because you certainly cannot be used where you have not yet been placed. Wherever God has placed you and whatever your circumstances, you should pray, continually offering up prayers to Him. And He promises, “Whatever you ask in My name, that I will do . . .” (John 14:13). Yet we refuse to pray unless it thrills or excites us, which is the most intense form of spiritual selfishness. We must learn to work according to God’s direction, and He says to pray. “Pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest” (Matthew 9:38).
There is nothing thrilling about a laboring person’s work, but it is the laboring person who makes the ideas of the genius possible. And it is the laboring saint who makes the ideas of his Master possible. When you labor at prayer, from God’s perspective there are always results. What an astonishment it will be to see, once the veil is finally lifted, all the souls that have been reaped by you, simply because you have been in the habit of taking your orders from Jesus Christ.
Suppose a crisis were to come into your father’s or your brother’s life— are you there as a laborer to reap the harvest for Jesus Christ? Is your response, “Oh, but I have a special work to do!” No Christian has a special work to do. A Christian is called to be Jesus Christ’s own, “a servant [who] is not greater than his master” (John 13:16), and someone who does not dictate to Jesus Christ what he intends to do. Our Lord calls us to no special work—
He calls us to Himself. “Pray the Lord of the harvest,” and He will engineer your circumstances to send you out as His laborer.
Come to Me . . . --Matthew 11:28
Isn’t it humiliating to be told that we must come to Jesus! Think of the things about which we will not come to Jesus Christ. If you want to know how real you are, test yourself by these words— “Come to Me . . . .” In every dimension in which you are not real, you will argue or evade the issue altogether rather than come; you will go through sorrow rather than come; and you will do anything rather than come the last lap of the race of seemingly unspeakable foolishness and say, “Just as I am, I come.” As long as you have even the least bit of spiritual disrespect, it will always reveal itself in the fact that you are expecting God to tell you to do something very big, and yet all He is telling you to do is to “Come . . . .”
“Come to Me . . . .” When you hear those words, you will know that something must happen in you before you can come. The Holy Spirit will show you what you have to do, and it will involve anything that will uproot whatever is preventing you from getting through to Jesus. And you will never get any further until you are willing to do that very thing. The Holy Spirit will search out that one immovable stronghold within you, but He cannot budge it unless you are willing to let Him do so.
How often have you come to God with your requests and gone away thinking, “I’ve really received what I wanted this time!” And yet you go away with nothing, while all the time God has stood with His hands outstretched not only to take you but also for you to take Him. Just think of the invincible, unconquerable, and untiring patience of Jesus, who lovingly says, “Come to Me. . . .”
Prayerful Path/Mary Maddox
Saint James, pray for us that we may be willing to leave everything to follow Jesus as you did. Help us to become special friends of Jesus as you were. Amen