"Walking in the way and the love of the Lord"
“What really matters in life is that we are loved by Christ and that we love Him in return. In comparison to the love of Jesus, everything else is secondary. And, without the love of Jesus, everything is useless.” ~Pope Saint John Paul II
Wow, Pope Saint John Paul II said it so well; not sure if there is anything left to say.
But I will try ...
The ultimate purpose of our life is to love.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” ~ Mk 12:30
Love God!! Love God with a pure and humble heart. Empty yourself before Him. When we let go of ourselves and allow Our Lord to use us, His graces will flow! When we empty ourselves, we will discover something beautiful. We will be filled with a joy so abundant and powerful, so natural that our real selves will shine. We will be moving along on our spiritual journey letting our love show...ready to use our gifts for the love of our God.
As it was written by Saint Faustina in her diary, “The Lord answered me, “My daughter, love has brought Me here, and love keeps Me here. My daughter, if you knew what great merit and reward is earned by one act of pure love for Me, you would die of joy. I am saying this that you may constantly unite yourself with Me through love, for this is the goal of the life of your soul. This act is an act of the will. Know that a pure soul is humble. When you lower and empty yourself before My majesty, I then pursue you with My graces and make use of My omnipotence to exalt you.” (Saint Faustina Diary, #576)
Listen to these words again, “Constantly unite yourself with Me through love, for this is the goal of the life of your soul” Love unites us, love binds us together, humble love calls God to pursue us with His graces. We are blessed and made whole by His love.
We hear this verse below all the time, but this time I want you to read it slowly. Reflect upon these words, reflect with humility, reflect with emptying of self.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
We all have that kind of love in our hearts; the choice is to let it out and into the world.
“Truly, every person was created with a desire and need in his or her heart to love God and feel His love. But it is what we choose to do with this desire—act upon it or ignore it—that draws us closer to the Father or away from Him. There are three specific reasons the Lord placed this desire for Him in our hearts. First, when we enter into a loving relationship with God, He is able and willing to offer His wisdom to guide us (James 1:5). Second, when we accept the Father’s love, we will be open to becoming the people He created us to be, living to our fullest potential. And third, when we embrace the Lord’s love, we will begin to see people and circumstances as He sees them—from the vantage point of His love. In light of this, why would anyone choose to refuse God’s love? If you are ready to reap the benefits of God’s perfect love, reach out to Him in prayer today. Ask Him to help you overcome the hindrances so that you may rejoice in His everlasting and tender care.” ~ SOURCE: In Touch Ministries
Let us pray,
Lord, I know my love is not perfect for You. I know you have placed the desire within me. Help me, this day, to open my heart more fully to You. Purify my love for you, allow me to love You above all things. You deserve my total and pure love. I thank you for the joy you have blessed me with, may I share this joy with others. If today, I do not feel your love, allow me to trust in you. Allow me to know Your love is there and is always there for me. Allow me to choose Your love and to accept it with open arms. Allow me to understand and feel Your mercy. Thank you, Jesus. Jesus I trust in You because I know that in my heart and in my soul, Love is all that matters.
Day 7 ... Los Arcos to Logrono ... 30 kms, 19miles
Today was one of our first full sunny days. Sunny but blessed with lots of clouds and cool breezes. Still it made for a long day into Logrono. Those last few kms are always a killer.Your body is tired and your brain knows it is close. So guess what, the body aches a little more than usual. For me, the most mental part of the day is those last few kms.
So here we were, about 4 kms outside of Logrono. Luca who was walking with us and from Argentina, decided to start calling Albergues to make a reservation because it was getting late in the day. Due to the number of pilgrims on the path nowadays, it doesn't hurt to make a reservation. This is when I learned that some Albergues take reservations.
As we continued walking in the late afternoon with the sun beating down on us at this point, we were all ready for a shower and a bed. We kept hearing Luca say, "Ok, Gracias" each time you could hear the disappointment in his voice. He kept trying one right after another. Only to find out that every Albergue and some of the smaller Hotels were booked for the night. We then realized it was a Saturday, this big town had a lot going on this weekend, and this town had no rooms. After walking for seven days, we had picked up our own little pilgrim family. There were eight of us. Which made it even harder to find a reservation, but you know what? We never thought of splitting up, we were a family and we were going to do this together!
We walked into Logrono with tired feet and a weary heart. We stayed positive and headed to the Church. We all had heard, when there are no beds, go to the church.
I will never forget the moment we knocked on that door. We were tired, hot, sleepy, thirsty, hungry and just wore out. I remember looking at the gentleman when he opened the door, we probably had desperation in our eyes. I believe I even held my hands in a prayerful manner as we asked if they had a bed. He said, "he wasn't sure he had 8 beds, but some could sleep on mats." He then said, "come on in and relax, while we see what we can do" He led us into a room, I think I floated into it.
I didn't care if we had to wait, it was air conditioned with chairs. We sat, took our shoes off and some of us even headed to the showers.
I remember sitting there and saying a short prayer. After about 30 mins, the gentleman came into the room and said he had 6 beds and they could put two of us on mats. We had are own little celebration. Now for the big surprise, the cost. Nothing! Donation only! It also included a community dinner, breakfast and a private prayer service in the church after dinner. It was absolutely perfect, we couldn't ask for more.
We were fed an amazing dinner of Paella. We ate as a family, shared where we were from, and sang a song for prayer "Ultreria"
After dinner, we gathered in the choir seats of the church for our prayer service. They handed out prayers in all different languages. We each took a turn saying a prayer in our own language. This community of the church was overwhelming. To hear all the prayers said in all the different languages, English, Spanish, German, Italian, Korean and even more! It was beautiful.
Tears of joy were definitely streaming down my face and many others!
After prayer it was time to clean up the kitchen and head to bed. We all took turns washing and drying. When one was washing, we formed a massage line. Everyone was getting their shoulders massaged! We all learned who gave the best massages.
Here again, the Camino has reminded me to always trust in Our Lord. He always takes care of us. Jesus, I trust in you!
Even when we didn't think there was a bed for our head, all we could do was walk. Moment by moment, step by step we made our way into Logrono. Praying every step of the way, trusting that all will be well. Not only was it well, it was beautiful.
So let us remember, when its looking like the path is getting difficult.
step by step,
prayer by prayer
trusting in Our Lord.
Our Lord will give us an answer better than we could imagine.
He always makes a rainbow out of a storm!
By: Fr. Thomas Rosica
Standing in the middle of the present day city of Nazareth is the mammoth Basilica of the Annunciation, built around what is believed to be the dwelling of Mary. In a grotto-like room at the heart of the basilica is a small inscription on an altar. It reads, "verbum caro hic factum est," here the Word became flesh. There, it is believed, the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary, and her response changed the world forever.
Imagine yourself in Mary's place, asked to say "yes" to a divine plan so vast, so profound and so seemingly impossible that you cannot comprehend it. "How can this be?" she asks, bewildered. She is rooted in the faith of her ancestors, and yet now an angel has appeared in the midst of everyday life, extending a startling invitation. "You have found favor with God," the angel says, "and you will conceive and bear His Son." Will she accept?
It is Mary above all others who can teach us what it means to live by faith, and how to respond when God's providence disrupts the daily course of our lives, overturning its rhythms and expectations. Despite her fears and uncertainty over how this promise could be fulfilled, she still answered "Yes." Are we able to respond to God this way?
When we reflect on the Annunciation to Mary, and her acceptance of the angel's message, we also reflect on our own vocation -- our own calling from God. In the Lord's Prayer, we pray, "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven" -- an echo of Mary's "Be it done unto me according to your word." Each time we commit ourselves to embracing God's call and accepting His will, we mark a new point on the path of our relationship with Him. For the rest of her life, Mary pondered her extraordinary encounter with God, turning the weight of the angel's message over and over again in her heart. From the manger to the cross, Mary's life was radically changed -- her relationship with God profoundly deepened -- the moment she said "Yes."
Mary received and welcomed God's Word in the fullest sense -- becoming impregnated with it, and bearing it to the world. Angels might not appear in our doorsteps, but we do encounter God in each of our daily prayers, and he whispers to us a similar invitation: Will we accept His love and bring it joyously to those around us? Will we trust in His providence, even when we can't see the path ahead? Amid the noise of everyday life, will we listen for and embrace his call?
When making his pilgrimage to the Basilica of the Annunciation, Pope Benedict XVI offered this prayer to the humble Virgin of Nazareth. It speaks for all of us who likewise seek to accept God's will with joy:
Mary, Mother of the "Yes," you listened to Jesus, and know the tone of his voice and the beating of his heart. Morning Star, speak to us of him, and tell us about your journey of following him on the path of faith.
A question for today:
When have I felt that God was calling me to something greater than myself? When have I succeeded, and when have I failed, in accepting His will? What was the outcome of those situations?
Written by Gail Rodgers
Lord, I want to trust you, but I don’t know how!
When life throws that curve ball and you have the wind knocked out of you, what do you do? Where do you turn?
When we were kids we used to put a small hole in each end of an egg and then blow the contents out. The egg looked like any other in the bowl, but it was hollow. When pressure was applied to it, it broke easily into shattered pieces. I often think of that egg as I field life’s curve balls and as I watch others do the same. A hollowness in our souls will leave us feeling shattered from the pressures of life.
When a relationship becomes strained, when illness robs your days, when your stomach churns with the stress of unpaid bills, when the unexpected happens, do you crumble like a hollow eggshell or do you know where to find strength for your inner soul?
God’s Word, the Bible, has principles for living. Principles written for us by the very God that created us and understands the hollowness that can creep unbidden into our souls. This is not merely positive thinking or visualization, this is help from the God of the universe, the same God that sent His son Jesus to be the source of everything we need to face the curve balls of life.
Listen to the promise for you that comes straight from the heart of Father God:
“May the God of hope
fill you with all joy and peace
as you trust in him
so that you may overflow with hope
by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Did you hear it? Joy, peace and hope offered to you by the God of hope!! This is not just a promise to “get by” or to be a “survivor” – it’s a promise of overflowing with hope – of being filled with joy and peace!!
Sounds a bit like fluff doesn’t it! Is it really possible to be pulled from the pit of despair and overflow with hope? Yes but it’s supernatural, it’s God’s part, He does it when we do our part.
And what is our part? It’s that little phrase sandwiched in – between the promise of being filled with joy and peace and the promise of overflowing with hope – our part is an individual thing – “as you trust in Him”.
But how? How does one trust? In the storms of life I find people desperately wanting to trust this God that offers hope, but simply not knowing how to when the waves are coming fast and threatening to pull them under.
God even gives us the formula in His Word. Listen to it – it comes from the book in the Bible named “Lamentations”:
“Because of the Lord’s great love
we are not consumed,
for His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
Great is His faithfulness.”
Lamentations 3: 22 & 23
When trouble strikes and our hearts grow faint we so often forget the great love our Father in Heaven has for us and we begin to doubt the goodness of God toward us. When that happens we begin to be consumed by our stress and our fears and begin to blame God. When we follow God’s formula and recall His great love for us, reminding ourselves daily of His compassion toward us, our hearts gain strength.
God knows the daily need we have to remember His kindness toward us in the middle of our unkind circumstances, so He calls us to focus on it every morning. His compassions that never fail us are His resources to carry us through our day and all the hard points in our present storm. Has hope, peace and strength vanished in the wind of your storm? His peace, His strength, His wisdom, His understanding, His hope will become yours as you ask Him for it – supernaturally His source of whatever you need today will become yours.
As you lean into His great love for you today, and lean on His resources you will not be consumed, you will not be crushed like the hollow eggshell. You will find Him faithful step by step by step – that’s trusting.
Never doubt the love and the goodness of God to you. He doesn’t promise a storm free life but He does promise to be the anchor in the storm so that you will not be overcome!
Trust Him daily. Trust Him hourly and learn to trust Him moment by moment. His resources will not only get you through but you will truly grow to experience Him as the source of hope overflowing “by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Try Him. Trust Him. He is our faithful God!
By Gerald M. Fagin, SJ
Mary at her Annunciation models faith for us. She shows us that faith is more than assent, but is also trust, commitment, obedience, and submission. Mary trusted in God’s promises, was obedient to God’s word of invitation in her life, surrendered to the mystery before her, and committed herself to be part of God’s plan of salvation in Jesus.
At the same time, we can easily romanticize the Gospel scene—Mary is at prayer, an angel appears, and she says a faith-filled yes. The Scripture also tells us that she was deeply troubled and wondered what the angel’s greeting meant. Certainly the angel’s explanation only left her with more questions and concerns. She did not say yes because she fully understood or had all her questions answered. She said yes in faith and trust. We do Mary a disservice to think she had some infused knowledge that dispelled all her doubts. She was a young woman of extraordinary faith. The “yes” at the Annunciation was not the first “yes” in her life nor would it be the last.
The really significant yeses in our lives also demand a great deal of trust and openness. We cannot know all the implications of them. We respond to the gift of God’s call in our lives. We say yes in hope and trust. Like Mary, we say “yes” to something being born in us that must grow and mature and take a shape we cannot predict. We are called to that depth of faith as we contemplate the story of the Annunciation and all the stories of the life of Jesus in the rest of the [Spiritual] Exercises. We are called to trust, obedience, surrender, and commitment in our own lives. We will hear an invitation to share in the work of Jesus and respond and live in faith.
Living in faith demands surrender to the stories of God and Jesus recorded in the Scriptures. Christian faith especially demands that we let the stories of Jesus shape our minds and hearts. Paul Wadell says that to live in faith means that we “appropriate these stories, striving to embody their viewpoints, values, and vision as our own. To assent to the truths of faith portrayed in the Scripture is to allow them to become the interpretative framework for our world.”
Wadell feels we need these narratives “to mold and shape us, especially in the attitudes and virtues of Jesus.” Ignatian imaginative prayer on the Gospel stories is a powerful way to grow in faith by putting on the heart of Christ. As Jesus trusted, obeyed, surrendered, and committed his life to the Father, we are to respond in the same way. All the contemplations on the Gospels throughout the Exercises foster growth in the virtue of faith that empowers us to trust God and commit ourselves to service.
Excerpt from Putting on the Heart of Christ: How the Spiritual Exercises Invite Us to a Virtuous Life by Gerald M. Fagin, SJ.
This reflection was written in 2011, but it still is true for our times now!! Let us pray and give thanksgiving!
Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name.
On this Thanksgiving Day, Americans are encouraged to pause and give thanks to God. In his Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1863, President Abraham Lincoln wrote: “The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added which are of so extraordinary a nature that they can not fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.”
As you may recall, in 1863, the United States was in the Civil War, a terribly brutal and emotionally horrifying experience. Thousands of young Americans had died, while others faced the prospect of imminent death. Yet, in the midst of such a challenging time, President Lincoln called upon Americans to remember the richness of God’s blessings and to be thankful.
So it should be with us. In many ways, 2011 has not been an easy year for our nation. We continue to struggle with economic hardships. Bad weather and natural disasters have devastated whole cities. Wars continue to take thousands of men and women away from their homes, and some of these brave soldiers will never return. Political tensions throughout the world bring the threat of further violence and death.
Thus, we need to hear the encouragement of Abraham Lincoln again. In spite of our challenges and setbacks, we have been richly blessed by God. Thanksgiving is due just as much today as it was in 1863, perhaps much more.
When we give thanks, we bring to mind God’s gifts to us. This, in turn, reminds us of God’s gracious nature. We think, not just of what God has done, but also of who God is. Thus, thanks is a point of entry to praise. In the language of Psalm 100, we enter God’s gates with thanksgiving, so that we might go into his courts with praise. There’s no biblical rule that states that thanks must always come before praise. But, for many of us, thanksgiving for what God has done leads us to praise God for who he is.
So, may you enter God’s gates with thanksgiving today, so that you might celebrate in his courts with praise! May God give you a rich and blessed Thanksgiving Day!
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: How is it possible to give thanks even in hard times? Does thanking God lead to praising God in your life? For what are you most grateful today?
PRAYER: Thank you, gracious God, for your abundant gifts to me. Thank you for giving me, not what I deserve, but so very much more. Thank you for the ways you have blessed me throughout my life. Thank you for allowing me to live in a country where I am free, safe, and prosperous. Thank you, most of all, for the gift of life you have given me through Christ. Thanks for the incredible privilege of knowing you and living my life in relationship with you, both now and forever.
All praise be to you, O God, giver of all good gifts! All praise be to you, because your grace and mercy are without end! All praise be to you for the gift of life in this world, and life forever in the age to come! All praise to you, O God, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen!
by Joyce Meyer
You shall not need to fight in this battle; take your positions, stand still, and see the deliverance of the Lord [Who is] with you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Fear not nor be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, for the Lord is with you. 2 Chronicles 20:17
All of us face various kinds of battles in our lives. No one escapes problems and challenges, which we often call “the storms of life.” The good news is that God already knows what He will do when we face difficulties. He has a plan to bring us victory. Second Chronicles 20 tells us that we do not need to fight our own battles because our battles belong to the Lord, not to us. All we need to do is take our positions and remain in them until our breakthroughs come.
What is that position? I believe it is worshipping God.
Unless we have a strong faith in God, anytime a storm comes into our lives, the first thing that happens is that we lose our peace and begin to feel fear. Our enemy, Satan, injects “what if” thoughts into our heads, and we often begin to think we will have the worst possible outcome.
As soon as this happens, we should realize what’s going on: The enemy is trying to keep us from going forward in God’s will and experiencing His good plans for our lives. God wants us to be totally free from fear. He doesn’t want us to live in torment, and He doesn’t want fear to stop us from confidently doing what He leads us to do.
When we have a deep understanding of God’s perfect, unconditional love for us, we realize He will always take care of everything that concerns us. That knowledge eventually delivers us from fear. As we gain experience with God and see that He always takes care of us and provides what we need, we begin to relax.
There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear brings with it the thought of punishment, and [so] he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love [is not yet grown into love's complete perfection]. 1 John 4:18
God moves on our behalf when we focus on Him instead of our fears. Thoughts or feelings of fear are nothing more than the enemy’s attempt to distract us from God and His will for our lives. We may feel fear at various times in our lives, but we can trust God. And if we need to do something, even though we feel afraid, we can do it.
This “do it afraid” theory is something God began teaching me years ago. I saw that when He told Joshua to “fear not” (see Joshua 8:1), He was actually warning him that fear would try to stop him from moving ahead with God’s plan for his life; instead of letting fear control him, he needed to be strong and full of courage and to keep going forward. He needed to fight and win the battle against fear so he could experience the victory of fulfilling God’s plan and enjoy everything God had for him.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7
When we feel fear or begin to have fearful thoughts, the first thing we should do is pray. I often say, “Pray about everything and fear nothing.” We should set ourselves to seek God until we know we have overcome our fears mentally and emotionally. As we seek God, we are focusing on Him instead of our fears. We worship Him for Who He is and express our appreciation for the good He has done, is doing, and will continue to do.
God has new opportunities and great things in store for us. To receive them, we will need to take extra steps of faith. That often means doing things we don’t feel like doing or may not even think will work. Our trust and reverence for God must be greater than what we think, want, or feel.
The enemy brings all kinds of storms into our lives. He also tries to use fear in many different forms to keep us from experiencing everything God has for us. Even though we may feel fear, we need to focus our attention on God. He has a battle plan for us, and He will give us courage and faith to receive the peace, victories and blessings He has for us.
If our lives are filled with plenty of praise for God’s mighty acts and worship for Who God is, we will see Him fight our battles for us and we will experience joyful victories.
By MARK ROBERTS OCTOBER 28, 2012
But I trust in your unfailing love. I will rejoice because you have rescued me. I will sing to the LORD because he is good to me. Psalms 13:5-6
There are times when it's fairly easy to trust in God's love, to rejoice in his salvation, and to sing because he has been good to us. I think of times in my life when I was overwhelmed by God's blessings, when I could hardly believe how good my life was.
Yet there are other times, aren't there? Times when life is hard, when sorrow fills our hearts, when we wonder if God is even there for us. In times of suffering and struggle, can we still trust in God's love? Can we rejoice? Can we sing with gladness to him?
Psalm 13 answers these questions in the affirmative. If you only read verse 5-6, you might think that David, the composer of this psalm, was experiencing one of those times of obvious blessing. But, then there's that word..."But." It suggests a contrast between the trusting worship of verse 5-6 and the earlier portion of the psalm. Indeed, when we look back, we see that David is feeling forgotten by God (13:1). He is struggling with anguish and sorrow every day (13:2). He is seeing his enemies appear to prevail over him and he's wondering how long this will go on (13:2-4).
But, in the midst of his desperation, David pauses to confess his trust and joy in God. He sings to celebrate God's goodness. How is this possible? First, David thinks back to times when God has rescued him in the past (13:5). He remembers that God has been good to him (13:6). These memories give David confidence to believe that God will rescue him yet again. Second, David remembers what is true about God, that which is true regardless of David's current experience. God has revealed himself to be a God of "unfailing love" (13:5). At times, it's hard for us to understand the ways God expresses his love for us. Yet, the fact of God's love is bedrock for our faith, indeed, for our very existence. This love, revealed most clearly in the cross of Christ, sustains us, encourages us, enabling us to trust the Lord and even to rejoice in the midst of hard times.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Have you ever found yourself like David, struggling with difficult and painful things in life, yet able to trust God and to rejoice in him? If so, what helped you to have such faith and joy? If not, what does this suggest to you? What helps you to trust God even when your circumstances are negative?
Gracious God, thank you for David's honesty in this prayer. There are times when it does seem that you have forgotten me, times when it feels as if you are looking the other way. I'm grateful for David's example of honesty with you. It helps me to speak truthfully with you, rather than to put on a show of false religiosity.
Thank you for David's example of trusting and rejoicing even in the midst of his struggle. Thank you for the times you have enabled me to have confidence in you though I was going through difficulties. Help me, I pray, to be able to trust you no matter what, to rejoice in your goodness. May I remember how you have blessed me in the past. And may my faith in you be built on the bedrock of your revelation in Jesus Christ.
Today, Lord, I pray especially for those who are struggling to believe, who wonder if you have turned away from them. Help them to have confidence in you. Reach out to them in your mercy. Lift them up by your grace. Amen.
2 Chronicles 16:9a
9 “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is completely His.
In life it is easy to plod our way along and forget the truth that God is intimately involved in His creation. When teaching the multitudes, Jesus observed the anxiety of people and pointed to the sparrow as an illustration. “Consider the sparrows,” Jesus said. “They don’t sow, reap, or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them.” He then reminded the people that God cares more for them than for the sparrow.
Problems are part of life. Storms come to every person. Yet when we see the hand of God working in our lives, storms lose their punch and anxieties lose their grip on our hearts. But there is one key to experiencing God’s power – our heart needs to be completely His. In the book of James we are told that a double-minded person is unstable in all their ways and can expect nothing from the Lord. A double-minded person is someone tossed back and forth by the cares of this life. They follow God, but then something turns their hearts back and they follow their own ways. They can never see God’s hand because they are not willing to stand firm long enough to see God work through any situation. Each time we take the reins from God, we steer away from where God is going. So how can we ever expect to receive what God is giving?
In Hebrews 10:38, the Lord says, “Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.” All of these things agree together. When you and I look at life, we are not facing our circumstances; we are standing on the path of God. The path leads to where God is taking us and the promises stored up for us. These promises are the things God earnestly desires to give us. The greater of these promises is the personal character being created within us that has eternal significance. And eternal merit.
Through faith we boldly step into the unknown, not because we are confident in our own strength, but rather, we are confident in the Lord. He leads us through each situation with the purpose of showing His power, shaping our character, and shaking loose the things in our lives that prevent us from running with endurance. Those who turn back miss the pleasure of God – and the goodness He will reveal to us and in us. Consider this wonderful passage in Psalm 33:13-15
13 The LORD looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men.
14 From the place of His dwelling He looks On all the inhabitants of the earth;
15 He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works.
Of course, this is the Old Testament times, but how much more true is this today. In the ancient world before Christ came, God worked in the lives of His people without the intimacy of close fellowship. Now that Christ has purified us, we are called the temple of the Holy Spirit. Beyond the cross, we have something the saints of old did not have. Now God’s dwelling place is within the hearts of His people. Therefore, how much more true is the promise that God fashions our hearts individually.
God is intimately involved in your life, shaping your character, and considering all your works. When the people asked Jesus to tell them how to do the works of God, He said, “This is the work of God, that you believe upon Christ.” This is the works God considers in your life. Do you believe on Him and walk by faith? Will you go where He is leading? Will you let go of the things God is removing so nothing can hinder you from receiving all God has in store for you?
This is the loyal heart – the heart that is completely His. The heart that does not turn back, but yields completely to the will and leading of God will find the secret counsel of God (Psalm 25:14). Then you will see God show Himself strong on your behalf. What a promise! The power of God doesn’t rest on the talented, wealthy, and respected personality. God’s power rests on the heart that is fully surrendered to Him. This means anyone can experience God’s best and His fullness of joy. But we can’t have His best without first letting go of our lives. God is drawing your heart. Let go and trust where He leads, and find the individual work God has planned for your life. Then you’ll have no regrets.
Written by Eddie Snipes
A friend emailed this out to our prayer group, it is perfectly said. I had to share.
BE ENCOURAGED The LORD himself goes before you!
Fear sometimes keeps us from doing what we ought to do. I hope these verses will give you some food to chew on and thoughts to dwell upon today and to keep them in your heart. As Christians, we need to be bold in proclaiming the kingdom of God, and we need to be prepared for those times, when we will not be welcomed with open arms with God's message. This morning a lady came to me asking for prayer because she feels she's being persecuted by some, and I gave her the scripture
"The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged,"
and also I gave her the prayer from today's One Bread One Body; Prayer: Lord, may I let You fight my battles, even if I seem to be a casualty. I really love this scripture from Duet 31:8, because me being visual, I can see the Lord walking ahead and making everything to kneel or bow down because the anointed (us) are coming to spread his message. Can you see it?
"The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged,"
The Lord's will be done in our lives!
1 John 4:18a - There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear
So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.
So what are you afraid of? What is keeping you from reaching your full God given potential? What is keeping you from accomplishing the task God has given you? Let us cast down every fear and all the other weights that beset us. Let us keep our eyes on the prize and let us run the race with boldness and courage knowing that God is on our side.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, Your perfect love is casting out fear And even when I'm caught in the middle of the storms of this life I won't turn back, I know you are near.
I will fear no evil
Thank you Linda for sharing!!
The word reminds me that sometimes, God just wants us to be still and have faith In Him.
When there’s a problem, or if there is something we want to do, we usually do not rest until the problem is resolved or we have completed what we want to do. Even if we cannot solve it, we do the best we can and do something about the situation. We want things solved at once, and we do what we can do achieve it. However, in today’s reading, we see that sometimes God wants us to be still.
They say that silent waters run deep. In the faith aspect, I believe that a silent and still heart, especially in times of trouble, is a sign of deep and great faith in God.
When the Israelites were being chased by the soldiers, they felt they would die already. However, as we say, if God brings you to it, he will bring you through it. God called the people out of the slavery in Egypt, and even if they felt they were hopeless and powerless against the soldiers and chariots, God is more powerful. No power in this world can stop God’s plans for our lives. God divided the sea and allowed the people to pass. Impossible situations give God the opportunity to do great miracles.
The LORD himself will fight for you; you have only to keep still.
There are a lot of times we feel helpless. We already did everything we could, but situations do not seem to improve. It sometimes seem hopeless. However, we should take comfort in today’s word, in today’s promise. God is loving, faithful and powerful. We just need to have faith in Him, and allow him to fight for us.
May we be comforted and inspired to still do the best that we could, but ultimately leave the rest up to God, having full faith in his plans, his power and his love.
Thank you for today. Thank you for another day to live. thank you for another week. Thank you for all the blessings. Thank you for the reminders. Lord, I am sorry for the times I lose faith in you. sorry for doubting you. sorry for the times I panic and think that everything is up to me. Help me build and strengthen my faith in you. help me trust in you, especially during seemingly hopeless situations. I just lift up everything to you. I know that as I do my best to live right and live for you, you will continue to bless and protect me. amen.
By: Msgr. Charles Pope
September 18, 2013
Impatience is a human problem, but we moderns must surely suffer from it more acutely. This is because many of our modern conveniences create the illusion, and to some extent the reality, of instant results. Flip a switch and the lights come on. Instant downloads supply our computers with music, games, software, and almost instant information.
Any delay in this process almost certainly infuriates us. The journey from east to the west coast used to take many months in a wagon train. And now it is accomplished in four to five hours. Despite this marvel, even a 20 minute flight delay infuriates us.
I remember as a child that we would be enticed to buy a certain product, say cereal, by being able to cut off the box tops. And, having saved four of them, I could mail them in to the address, to get a certain die cast or plastic toy, or other promotional product offered by the cereal company. Instructions always said, “Allow 3 to 4 weeks for delivery.” This is almost unthinkable today. What child would spend months eating cereal, clipping boxtops, and then wait 3 to 4 weeks for delivery?!
Yes, patience is a human problem, but it has a certain modern intensity about it. Expectations are premeditated resentments, and we have a lot of expectations about instant results. Thus resentments are always near at hand.
In the spiritual life especially and in personal growth we must learn to slow down to a more human pace, and also the pace of God. To many of us moderns, God is infuriatingly patient and slow. He, and the Church seem to think in terms of centuries, not a 24 hour news cycle.
And He leaves many things unresolved for quite a long time. Where was he when Hitler and Stalin and Mao and any number of unjust rulers were plying their wares? Why does he not thunder from heaven more often, as we sometimes read in the Old Testament?! Why does He not send jagged lightning bolts to destroy sinners from the face of the earth? (are you so sure you would escape?) And when will the Church he founded “get with the program” and start denouncing and excommunicating those who sinfully dissent?
Of course, while there is a place for discipline, even excommunication, the Lord warned of acting too hastily in the parable of the weeds and the wheat. The impatient field hand zealously wanted to rip out all the weeds, but the owner warned that the wheat might be harmed as well.
Many of us may well wonder what harm could come from wiping out a few sinners from the face of the Earth or expelling a few more heretics. The Lord does not explain why, but simply warns that hasty and severe actions may cause harm even to the wheat.
Yes, we are an impatient lot, no only with others, but also with ourselves. Why, we wonder can we not simply overcome certain sins by sheer force of will? Why are we not instantly more chaste, more generous, more kind, more zealous, simply by deciding to be so!? Why do prayers of deliverance and exorcism not have instant effects? Why does confession not solve sin at once by its grace?
In an instant result society, discouragement is right at hand. And even when we do make progress, suddenly setbacks are at hand. “I was doing so well!” We think.
Most confessors know by experience that perseverance is good and holy, but impatience is devilish. It is especially devilish because it tries to masquerade as piety, saying “You ought to be a saint by now!” But it is really pride. Yes it is pride to think you can go from 0 to 100 and skip all the steps the rest of us poor slobs need to make. Who am I to think I can simply lay hold of holiness by a few decisions? Holiness is far higher than I imagine in my reductive insistence that I ought to be able to lay hold of it in a moment. No, this is a journey, a journey with setbacks, and progress in fits and starts. Frankly even a lifetime may not be enough and purgatory is a likely pit stop for most of us after death.
Why so slow? Because grace builds on nature. And it is our nature to change slowly, almost imperceptibly. When I was an infant I looked nothing like I do today. Frankly my mother was grateful that I did not come forth from the womb at six feet tall and 200 lbs. No, I came forth at six pounds, sickly and dying. I was baptized immediately since I was not expected to survive. But having recovered, I have progressed today to what and who I am. But at no point could my growth be perceived. It was slow, steady, and also marked by setbacks, injury, and also growth spurts.
If this is the case with our bodies, it is also with our soul, which is the form of our body. I have made remarkable spiritual progress in the last thirty years of my life. But day by day, I noticed little change. Yet, by the grace of God I am what I am.
Sudden a rapid growth seldom lasts an is usually called cancer, a deadly disease. Healthy growth is organic, steady, slow, and almost imperceptible.
Impatience is a form of pride and it is not in wisdom that we indulge it. Scripture says,
Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay. See, the rash have no integrity; but the just one who is righteous because of faith shall live. (Habakkuk 2:2-4).
Finally some words of reminder and comfort. I am not going to say who wrote these words because I have sometimes discovered that we care more who said something, than what is said. You can Google a phrase and find easily enough who wrote this. But for now let the words themselves have the necessary impact. I have little doubt these words will bless you as they have often blessed me.
Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something
unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through
some stages of instability,
and that it may take a very long time.
And so I think it is with you;
your ideas mature gradually—let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don’t try to force them,
as though you could be today what time
(that is to say, grace and circumstances
acting on your own good will)
will make of you tomorrow.
Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.
Give Our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.
This link will take you to a funny video on our impatience! On Gloria.tv
"Do not be afraid. Go on speaking and do not be silenced." --Acts 18:9
On the first Christian Pentecost, the Holy Spirit dealt in a magnificent way with tongues. First, the Spirit appeared in the form of "tongues as of fire" (Acts 2:3). The apostles yielded their formerly silent tongues to speak in both native and foreign languages, proclaiming the prophetic Word of God (Acts 2:4ff). Their hearers used their tongues to repent and ask how to be saved (Acts 2:37).
Once the Spirit has your tongue, the battle begins. Satan accuses you of being foolish (Acts 2:13) and attacks any fears you may have. The world attempts to intimidate and silence you. This is what the apostles experienced once the Spirit took over their tongues. Nevertheless, the apostles yielded to the inspiration of the Spirit, not to the attacks of Satan and the world.
When we yield our tongues to the Spirit, the pressure to stifle the Holy Spirit and hold our tongues is so fierce that the Lord personally assures us: "Do not be afraid. Go on speaking, and do not be silenced, for I am with you" (Acts 18:9).
Today is the first day of the Pentecost Novena, nine days of prayer to prepare to receive the Holy Spirit in fullness at Pentecost. Give the Lord your mind, heart, soul, and tongue. Ask the Lord to teach you "what to say and how to speak" (Jn 12:49). Allow the Holy Spirit to control your speech in both your native tongue and in the spiritual gift of tongues.
Prayer: Father, I ask You in Jesus' name to prepare my heart to be a worthy dwelling place for the Holy Spirit.
Promise: "I give you My assurance, whatever you ask the Father, He will give you in My name." --Jn 16:23
Praise: St. Isidore and his wife were united in Holy Matrimony. They accepted their sacramental graces in full and are now both canonized saints.
“ Worry is like a rocking chair—it's always in motion
but it never gets you anywhere.”
by Joyce Meyer
Worry, feeling uneasy or troubled, seems to plague multitudes of people in our world today. It's human nature to be concerned about the bad situations in our world and in our personal lives, but if we're not careful, the devil will cause us to worry beyond what's reasonable.
So why do we struggle with it? And what good does it do? Worry is the opposite of faith, and it steals our peace, physically wears us out, and can even make us sick. When we worry, we torment ourselves—we're doing the devil's job for him! Worry is caused by not trusting God to take care of the various situations in our lives. Too often we trust our own abilities, believing that we can figure out how to take care of our own problems. Yet sometimes, after all our worry and effort to go it alone, we come up short, unable to bring about suitable solutions.
At a young age, I discovered firsthand that people hurt people, so I didn't trust others. I tried to take care of myself, deciding not to depend on anyone who would hurt or disappoint me. Too often our experiences in the world teach us this, and even after we become Christians, it takes a long time to overcome it. It's difficult to learn how to trust God, but we eventually must learn that trying to take care of everything ourselves is too big a task.
Cast Your Cares on the One Who Cares for You
First Peter 5:6-7 says, Therefore humble yourselves [demote, lower yourselves in your own estimation] under the mighty hand of God, that in due time He may exalt you, casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully. Since Jesus invites us to cast all of our care and worry on Him, why do so many of us refuse to let go? Apparently, we're not yet fed up with being miserable.
The only way to have victory in our lives is to play by God's rules, and He says we must quit worrying if we want to have peace. So when things come our way that cause us to be concerned, we need God's help. How do we get it? First Peter 5:6-7 lists two important steps: 1) humble yourselves, and 2) cast your care on Him.
That seems pretty clear and simple, yet some continue struggling because they're too bullheaded to ask for help. But the humble get the help. So if your way isn't working, why not try God's way? All of us would be better off if we'd learn to lean on God and ask for His help. But as long as we try to do everything ourselves, God will let us. He won't take care of our problems and worries—our cares—until we turn loose of them and give them to Him. Either we're going to do it or God's going to do it, but both of us aren't going to. Now, casting your care doesn't mean you can be irresponsible. God won't do for you what you can do yourself. You must do what you can do, and then trust God to do what you can't. When we humble ourselves and ask for His help, then He's able to release His power in our situations. It's only then that we can really enjoy life.
So the cure for worry is humbling ourselves before God, casting our cares on Him, and trusting Him. Instead of making ourselves miserable trying to figure everything out on our own, God wants us to place our trust in Him and enter into His rest, totally abandoning ourselves to His care. I know that when we are able to believe and say, "God, I trust You," it will literally change our lives. Psalm 37:3 says, Trust…in the Lord and do good.... God didn't create us to worry about helping ourselves all the time. He wants us to sow good seed by reaching out to help others. When we simply trust God and get busy doing the good things we know to do, then He'll bring a harvest of blessings into our lives and meet our needs.
Develop an Attitude of Faith and Prayer
I've learned that my attitude has a lot to do with living a worry-free life. There will always be situations that cause us concern, but with God's help, we can live above all of it and enjoy life. Cast your care on the Lord and say, "God, I trust You, and I'm going to enjoy the life You have given me." When you give your problems to God, you must also decide to be satisfied with His answers. Trusting God to do what's best for us involves dying to self. Paul said, ...it is no longer I who live, but Christ (the Messiah) lives in me; and the life I now live in the body I live by faith in (by adherence to and reliance on and complete trust in) the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself up for me (Galatians 2:20). You can trust God to do what's best for you, so you don't have to worry about it. When you have a positive attitude and keep your faith in God, you can't be defeated.
We must stop trying to make things happen the way we want and get to the place where we desire to please God more than ourselves. The Christ in us has to supercede what we want. Faith and the Word of God will help you overcome worry. Worrying involves negative thoughts, but speaking positive things out of your mouth will interrupt those negative thought patterns. When we are full of the Word of God, we can speak it out of our mouths in faith. Faith is stronger than doubt, negativism and unbelief. Faith has a positive attitude that can overcome our past and lead us into a great future. Faith is a powerful force that cannot be conquered. Another powerful force is prayer. When you're under pressure, it's always best to pray about it instead of talk about it. Prayer is the blueprint for a successful life. During His time on earth, Jesus prayed. He entrusted everything to God—even His reputation and life. We can do the same. We don't have to explain all the problems to Him; we can just give them to Him and ask Him to take care of everything. Don't complicate prayer. Just have confidence in simple, believing prayer.
Look at Paul's instructions in Philippians 4:6-7: Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. And God's peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. If you're a Christian who goes around burdened or weighed down all the time, something is wrong. You may have had faith in Christ for salvation, but you haven't moved into walking in faith daily for the life that God has given you. The Bible tells us that God is faithful—that's one of His major characteristics. He can be counted on to come through for us, so we should trust Him totally and completely. When we do, we'll be ready for anything that may come our way.
Allow God to Give You Peace and Rest
In Matthew 11:28, Jesus said, Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.] Jesus wants to ease our burdens and give us rest. The Message Bible says it this way: Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly (Matthew 11:28-30).
That sounds good, doesn't it? I've had enough heavy stuff in my life, and I want to be free. It's nice to know that we don't have to figure everything out. We need to get comfortable with saying, "I don't have a clue, but I'm not going to worry about it because God's in control. I'm going to live free and light!" When we're overloaded with the cares of this life—struggling, laboring and worrying—we need some help. Our minds need to rest from worrying about how to take care of problems, our emotions need to rest from being upset all the time, and our wills need a rest from stubbornness and rebellion. So we need to be humble enough to call out to God and say, "I need help!" Your beginning doesn't have to dictate your ending. Get God involved in every area of your life and allow Him to lead you into rest.
Worry or Worship?
Worry and worship are exact opposites, and we'd all be much happier if we learned to become worshippers instead of worriers. Worry opens the door for the devil, but worship is reverence and adoration for God that leads us into His presence. God created us to worship Him, and I don't believe we can walk in victory if we don't become worshippers. Sometimes when we don't have what we need or want, the enemy tries to discourage us and keep us from worshipping God. But when we know that God has our best interests at heart, we can worship Him regardless of our circumstances. Remember, God is good even when our circumstances are not! God doesn't always give us our heart's desire right away. He wants us to develop a deep, personal relationship with Him and an outrageous love for Him so much so that we can't live without it. This kind of relationship and love brings the worshipful attitude that God wants us to have.
To worship means "to reverence," or "to defer to." We are to have reverential fear and awe of God. We are to respect and honor Him, and defer to Him by submitting to and obeying Him, and adapt ourselves to His will. We must realize that Christ, living in us, has come to lead and guide us into a special lifestyle of worship and victorious living. When Satan throws worry on you, I challenge you to stop what you're doing, get down on your knees before God, and begin praising Him. Worship is a spiritual weapon, a warhead or bomb you can use against the enemy. Your prayers and worship will get you heavenly help, and you won't have to fight your own battles. God's grace and power can make things happen with ease that you can't bring about no matter how much you struggle.
So stop worrying about everything, give it to God, and live in grace. Grace isn't just divine favor—it's power! Don't waste another day of your life worrying. Determine what your responsibility is and what it is not. Don't try to take on God's responsibility. When we do what we can do, God steps in and does what we can't. So give yourself and your worries to God and begin enjoying the abundant life He has planned for you.
Incline your ear, Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and oppressed. Preserve my life, for I am devoted: save your servant who trusts in you. You are my God; be gracious to me, Lord; to you I call all the day. Gladden the soul of your servant; to you, Lord, I lift up my soul. Lord, you are good and forgiving, most merciful to all who call on you. Lord, hear my prayer; listen to my cry for help. On the day of my distress I call to you, for you will answer me. None among the gods can equal you, O Lord; nor can their deeds compare to yours. All the nations you have made shall come to bow before you, Lord, and give honor to your name. For you are great and do wondrous deeds; and you alone are God. Teach me, Lord, your way that I may walk in your truth, single-hearted and revering your name. I will praise you with all my heart, glorify your name forever, Lord my God. Your mercy to me is great; you have rescued me from the depths of Sheol. O God, the arrogant have risen against me; a ruthless band has sought my life; to you they pay no heed. But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in mercy and truth. Turn to me, be gracious to me; give your strength to your servant; save the son of your handmaid. Give me a sign of your favor: make my enemies see, to their confusion, that you, Lord, help and comfort me.
No matter what you are going through, God is worthy of our praise. "On the day of my distress I call to you, for you will answer me" God is good all the time and all the time God is good. So no matter your circumstance, good or bad, "Turn to me, be gracious to me; give your strength to your servant". Spend time in prayer today, thanking God for His goodness and praising Him for the good things He has done for you. Completely surrender your heart to Him,"I will praise you with all my heart, glorify your name forever". Gladden your soul and trust in Him. "Teach me, Lord, your way that I may walk in your truth" for we know, "that you, Lord, will help and comfort me."
Not fun being lost, searching
over and over again,
for answers that give
Not fun when clouds surround me.....
not fun being lost to myself...
can't even see the end of my hand,
asking the wrong questions,
over and over
and all the sign posts
seem to be missing...
lost, afraid, unrecognizable to myself,
simply and positively in darkness.
But if I am like those before me, then I am not alone.
Each one is my signpost and my companion....
I travel in good company; we all do.
The road is paved with their words of faith,
left for us like the stone path into a hidden garden.
One by one, step by step we follow after them....
Pick one stone to rest upon and listen.
St. Teresa of the Interior Castle explains...
St. Mother Teresa understands...
St. Padre Pio prays with us
and always, Mary our Mother intercedes for us.
All be well, I say
over and over and over
all will be well
by: Kathleen Aparo
If God so clothe the grass of the field . . . shall He not much more clothe you? —Matthew 6:30
A simple statement of Jesus is always a puzzle to us if we are not simple. How are we going to be simple with the simplicity of Jesus? By receiving His Spirit, recognizing and relying on Him, obeying Him as He brings the word of God, and life will become amazingly simple. "Consider," says Jesus, "how much more your Father Who clothes the grass of the field will clothe you, if you keep your relationship right with Him." Every time we have gone back in spiritual communion it has been because we have impertinently known better than Jesus Christ. We have allowed the cares of the world to come in, and have forgotten the "much more" of our Heavenly Father.
"Behold the fowls of the air" – their main aim is to obey the principle of life that is in them and God looks after them. Jesus says that if you are rightly related to Him and obey His Spirit that is in you, God will look after your ‘feathers.’
"Consider the lilies of the field" – they grow where they are put. Many of us refuse to grow where we are put, consequently we take root nowhere. Jesus says that if we obey the life God has given us, He will look after all the other things. Has Jesus Christ told us a lie? If we are not experiencing the "much more," it is because we are not obeying the life God has given us, we are taken up with confusing considerations. How much time have we taken up worrying God with questions when we should have been absolutely free to concentrate on His work? Consecration means the continual separating of myself to one particular thing. We cannot consecrate once and for all. Am I continually separating myself to consider God every day of my life?
Meditation: Matthew 7:21, 24-27
Saint John Damascene, Priest and Doctor of the Church
It did not collapse. (Matthew 7:25)
A family finds their house in danger of flooding because of local landscaping changes. To make things worse, they live in Ireland, where the most beautiful day can become a torrential downpour in the blink of an eye. Although they cannot control the weather, they learn that they can still be prepared. They buy sandbags, learn the early warning signs, and enlist help from friends. And so, even in the wettest weather, their house escapes devastation.
Today’s parable, which Jesus used to conclude his Sermon on the Mount, depicts two men who experience identical storms—but only one of them is ready for it. You see, Jesus knew there was no way for people to avoid crises. Hard times are bound to come, no matter how hard you try to avoid them. But that’s okay, because by putting into practice Jesus’ words in this sermon, we can learn how to survive every natural and spiritual storm. If his teaching forms the foundation of our lives, we won’t collapse at the first sign of trouble.
Sometimes you will receive a metaphorical slap on the cheek—snide criticism or unfair treatment perhaps. If you remember Jesus’ words about turning the other cheek, then instead of slapping back, you’ll remember God’s forgiving heart, and you’ll find the grace to react with peace instead of aggression and anger (Matthew 5:39).
Maybe the looming storm is the feeling that you may miss out on something you think you need or deserve. Rather than collapsing in anxiety, let your foundation be the promise that your heavenly Father will clothe and feed you in every way you need (Matthew 6:25-34).
Jesus promises that if you ask, you will receive (Matthew 7:7). If you keep this in the forefront of your mind, the first thing you will remember in any challenging circumstance will be how generous God is. Instead of trying to get through on your own strength, you will remember to ask the Lord for grace to overcome a temptation, for resources to perform a task, or for the energy you need to serve joyfully.
Isn’t Jesus marvelous? Not only does he teach us the right way to live; he also promises to support us in every storm of life!
“Lord, help me build on the solid foundation of your words.”
Psalm 118:1, 8-9, 19-21, 25-27
A calm mind is a great asset in this life. Without it, your devotional life will not bear much fruit. If your heart is troubled, you are vulnerable to the enemy of the soul. When you are agitated, you are not able to make good decisions. You will stumble into snares.
The enemy detests this peace in you. He knows that is the place where the Spirit of God dwells. That's why he devises such devilish ways to destroy this peace.
Avoid rash acts. Even if you are sure the Holy Spirit wants you to do something, wait. Put off doing it until your eagerness has declined. Introduced with that kind of self-control, a good work is more pleasing to God than if it were done hastily.
It is also necessary to overcome a certain inner regret. Sometimes we think our bad conscience is being generated by God when in fact it is the work of the devil. Here is the way to tell: If your regret results in greater humility and increases your desire to serve God, receive it with gratitude as a gift from heaven. If it creates anxiety, makes you sad, depressed, fearful and slow to do your duty, then we can be sure it has been suggested by the enemy. Disregard it.
Laurence Scupoli: The Spiritual Combat
When we watch our children going through hard times, struggling, hurting, fighting addictions of all kinds and suffering with any pain or illness, our faith in our prayers is tested. We have covered them in prayer for all those firsts in their lives. First day of school, spending the night away, riding a bike and then the driving and dating. And though we know prayer is the answer for everything we struggle with, waiting becomes so very hard where are children are involved. Our prayer seems dry. But what we may forget in those dry times is that God knows our faithfulness. He has seen our trust in him from the beginning. And it is that trust that will move us and our children along the path of faith.
Yes,sometimes life is difficult and painful. And although we may not feel his presence, his help is always there, ready and waiting, dry prayer or not. We just have to remember to take shelter in him daily. “He is my refuge, a Rock where no enemy can reach me. O my people trust Him all the time. Pour out your longings before Him, for He can help!”
If we trust and believe in Our Lord Jesus Christ, we will find peace for today, strength for tomorrow and hope for a brighter future for our children.
Remember as Our Blessed Mother often tells us in her Medjugorje messages, Pray...Pray...Pray.
Oh, Lord my God,
You have called from the sleep of nothingness
merely because in your tremendous love
you want to make good and beautiful beings.
You have called me by my name in my mother’s womb.
You have given me breath and light and movement
and walked with me every moment of my existence.
I am amazed, Lord God of the universe,
that you attend to me and, more, cherish me.
Create in me the faithfulness that moves you,
and I will trust you and yearn for you all my days.
Amen. -Joseph Tetlow, SJ
My Utmost for His Highest
Daily devotionals by Oswald Chambers
. . . I am with you to deliver you,’ says the Lord --Jeremiah 1:8
God promised Jeremiah that He would deliver him personally— “. . . your life shall be as a prize to you . . .” (Jeremiah 39:18). That is all God promises His children. Wherever God sends us, He will guard our lives. Our personal property and possessions are to be a matter of indifference to us, and our hold on these things should be very loose. If this is not the case, we will have panic, heartache, and distress. Having the proper outlook is evidence of the deeply rooted belief in the overshadowing of God’s personal deliverance.
The Sermon on the Mount indicates that when we are on a mission for Jesus Christ, there is no time to stand up for ourselves. Jesus says, in effect, “Don’t worry about whether or not you are being treated justly.” Looking for justice is actually a sign that we have been diverted from our devotion to Him. Never look for justice in this world, but never cease to give it. If we look for justice, we will only begin to complain and to indulge ourselves in the discontent of self-pity, as if to say, “Why should I be treated like this?” If we are devoted to Jesus Christ, we have nothing to do with what we encounter, whether it is just or unjust. In essence, Jesus says, “Continue steadily on with what I have told you to do, and I will guard your life. If you try to guard it yourself, you remove yourself from My deliverance.” Even the most devout among us become atheistic in this regard— we do not believe Him. We put our common sense on the throne and then attach God’s name to it. We do lean to our own understanding, instead of trusting God with all our hearts (see Proverbs 3:5-6).
The First Gaze
Monday, June 30, 2014
I am just like you. My immediate response to most situations is with reactions of attachment, defensiveness, judgment, control, and analysis. I am better at calculating than contemplating.
Let’s admit that we all start there. The False Self seems to have the “first gaze” at almost everything.
The first gaze is seldom compassionate. It is too busy weighing and feeling itself: “How will this affect me?” or “How can I get back in control of this situation?” This leads us to an implosion, a self-preoccupation that cannot enter into communion with the other or the moment. In other words, we first feel our feelings before we can relate to the situation and emotion of the other. Only after God has taught us how to live “undefended,” can we immediately stand with and for the other, and in the present moment. It takes lots of practice.
On my better days, when I am “open, undefended, and immediately present,” as Gerald May says, I can sometimes begin with a contemplative mind and heart. Often I can get there later and even end there, but it is usually a second gaze. The True Self seems to always be ridden and blinded by the defensive needs of the False Self. It is an hour-by-hour battle, at least for me. I can see why all spiritual traditions insist on daily prayer, in fact, morning, midday, evening, and before we go to bed, too! Otherwise, I can assume that I am back in the cruise control of small and personal self-interest, the pitiable and fragile “Richard self.”
Adapted from “Contemplation and Compassion: The Second Gaze”
(article by Fr. Richard available free on CAC website)
Gateway to Silence:
May I see with eyes of compassion.
“Do not be afraid.” We have read these words in the bible many times. We sing it in our songs. We hear our family and friends tell us not to worry. But we go on our fearful way, thinking our worry will solve the problem and then our fears will be gone with the wind.
We know in our hearts that Jesus is taking care of us. But why can't we get our thoughts to go along with our hearts? Why should that be hard? And the answer is in our humanity. Our weakness. We are tempted away from God and fall so easily into being lost in our questions. So we spend our time worrying, wasting our time and days. Worrying doesn't help anything, it just takes us away from Jesus. Worrying takes us out of the presence of God in the now and leads us nowhere.
I want you to remember something. Jesus is holding your hand. Just like Isaiah 41:13 says, 'I am holding you by your right hand – I, the Lord your God. And I say to you, do not be afraid. I am here to help you.'
Those are the words we need to live by. God is with us at all times, holding our hand. When we are worrying, we are letting go of Jesus' hand and saying, “Hold on Jesus. I am going to sit here alone for awhile. I need to figure this out.” Why would we want to make the choice to let go of Jesus' hand? Why would we want to tell Jesus to hang on a minute, while we worry about something we cannot change at that moment. Why would we let go of the loving hand of Jesus.
He has a wonderful plan for us. Part of that plan is allowing our Father to take care of us, allowing Him to hold us by the hand. In our most difficult times, when we do not feel God's presence and feel abandoned, those are the moments we need to hold on fast. Don't let go! Talk with Jesus, pray with Jesus and trust in Jesus. “Do not be afraid.”
By: Mary Maddox
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