Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Humility: The realization of our dependence on God………..One of the common denominators of greatness is acknowledging that dependence.


This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.  Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. – St John the Evangelist: (90AD: The Beloved Disciple)

Gospel Text: (JN 15:1-8)
Jesus said to his disciples:
"I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower.
He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit,
and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.
You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you.
Remain in me, as I remain in you.
Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own
unless it remains on the vine,
so neither can you unless you remain in me.
I am the vine, you are the branches.
Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit,
because without me you can do nothing.
Anyone who does not remain in me
will be thrown out like a branch and wither;
people will gather them and throw them into a fire
and they will be burned.
If you remain in me and my words remain in you,
ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.
By this is my Father glorified,
that you bear much fruit and become my disciples."

Spiritual pruning takes the form of letting God eliminate the vices in our lives so that the virtues can be properly nourished.  This is especially done by letting Him humble us and strip away our pride.  This can hurt, but the pain associated with being humbled by God is a key to spiritual growth.  By growing in humility, we grow ever more reliant upon the source of our nourishment rather than relying upon ourselves, our own ideas and our own plans.  God is infinitely wiser than us and if we can continually turn to Him as our source, we will be far stronger and better prepared to let Him do great things through us.  But, again, this requires that we let Him prune us.


Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Each one has to find his peace from within. And peace to be real must be unaffected by outside circumstances.


God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing. - C. S. Lewis: (1898 –1963: was a British writer and lay theologian)

Gospel Text: (JN 14:27-31A)
Jesus said to his disciples:
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.
Not as the world gives do I give it to you.
Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.
You heard me tell you,
'I am going away and I will come back to you.'
If you loved me,
you would rejoice that I am going to the Father;
for the Father is greater than I.
And now I have told you this before it happens,
so that when it happens you may believe.
I will no longer speak much with you,
for the ruler of the world is coming.
He has no power over me,
but the world must know that I love the Father
and that I do just as the Father has commanded me."

We are tempted to fear such trials, pain, hardships, and persecution. Jesus, however, gives us His own peace amid hardships. He specifically commands us: "Do not be distressed or fearful" (Jn 14:27). Therefore, do not shy away from hardships for God's sake; they are your battle scars which give glory to God. They are the brand marks of Jesus on you (Gal 6:17).

When the going gets tough, the tough love to get going.


Monday, May 20, 2019

“It is fashionable in some academic circles to exercise scholarly criticism of the Bible. In so doing, scholars place themselves above the Bible and seek to correct it. If indeed the Bible is the Word of God, nothing could be more arrogant. It is God who corrects us; we don’t correct Him. We do not stand over God but under Him.”


“...silence remains indispensable today as it was in the past. The Word of God is born out of the eternal silence of God, and it is to this Word out of silence that we want to be witnesses.” ― Henri J.M. Nouwen, The Way of the Heart: The Spirituality of the Desert Fathers and Mothers

Gospel Text: (JN 14:21-26)
Jesus said to his disciples:
"Whoever has my commandments and observes them
is the one who loves me.
Whoever loves me will be loved by my Father,
and I will love him and reveal myself to him."
Judas, not the Iscariot, said to him,
"Master, then what happened that you will reveal yourself to us
and not to the world?"
Jesus answered and said to him,
"Whoever loves me will keep my word,
and my Father will love him,
and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.
Whoever does not love me does not keep my words;
yet the word you hear is not mine
but that of the Father who sent me.

"I have told you this while I am with you.
The Advocate, the Holy Spirit
whom the Father will send in my name--
he will teach you everything
and remind you of all that I told you."

The good news is that faith leads to understanding.  This means that the more we are attentive to the voice of God speaking within us, leading and guiding us, the more we begin to understand His indwelling presence.  As St. Augustine said, “Faith is to believe what you do not see. The reward of faith is to see what you believe.”  Faith in God’s indwelling presence leads us to the answer of the question above.  The answer is one that God and God alone can give to us.  We can share our faith with others, give witness to His presence in our lives, and give those around us the answer to that question through faith.  How do I know God dwells within me?  The answer: Because I see Him there, I speak to Him there, and He speaks to me.  

Friday, May 17, 2019

“Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither”


'What does it profit a man to gain the universe if he loses his soul? A terrible thought, but profoundly true! As Saint Ignatius said: How insignificant earth seems to me when I consider Heaven.'  - St. Bernadette Soubirous: (1844 –1879: was the firstborn daughter of a miller from Lourdes)

Gospel Text: (JN 14:1-6)
Jesus said to his disciples:
"Do not let your hearts be troubled.
You have faith in God; have faith also in me.
In my Father's house there are many dwelling places.
If there were not,
would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?
And if I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come back again and take you to myself,
so that where I am you also may be.
Where I am going you know the way."
Thomas said to him,
"Master, we do not know where you are going;
how can we know the way?"
Jesus said to him, "I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me."

Reflect, today, upon this image of Heaven: our Father’s House.  Sit with that image and let God speak to you.  As you do, let your heart be drawn to Heaven so that this desire will help to direct your actions here and now.