Saturday, July 20, 2013

"After confession," says St. Chrysostom, ”a crown is given to penitents."

Go to your confessor; open your heart to him; display to him all the recesses of your soul; take the advice that he will give you with the utmost humility and simplicity. For God, Who has an infinite love for obedience, frequently renders profitable the counsels we take from others, but especially from those who are the guides of our souls.--St. Francis de Sales

Gospel Text: (MT 12:14-21)
The Pharisees went out and took counsel against Jesus
to put him to death.

When Jesus realized this, he withdrew from that place.
Many people followed him, and he cured them all,
but he warned them not to make him known.
This was to fulfill what had been spoken through Isaiah the prophet:

Behold, my servant whom I have chosen,
my beloved in whom I delight;
I shall place my Spirit upon him,
and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles.
He will not contend or cry out,
nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets.
A bruised reed he will not break,
a smoldering wick he will not quench,
until he brings justice to victory.
And in his name the Gentiles will hope.

At one time or another you may have had the misfortune to work for an unreasonable boss, someone who found fault with everything you did. You had to resubmit entire reports because of just one mistake. He or she was always criticizing you for the smallest things, and you spent most of your day fearing what kind of trouble you would find yourself in. Because of that fear, you really didn’t respect his or her authority.

That’s not Jesus! He is more like a servant than a master. He came to lift us up to God, not force us into submission.

This is how God still works with us. It may be hard to believe, especially when it comes to our faults. If we focus too much on them, we may start to view God like that ruthless boss. We fear that he’s always unhappy with our performance. And yet the fact is that he loves us as we are right now even with our sins—bruises and all! As one spiritual writer puts it, “When God loves me, I must accept myself as well. I cannot be more demanding than God, can I?” An understanding of that love has to be the foundation for our walk with him.

No doubt, there is some imperfection or sin in your life that you would like to be rid of. It may be gossip, anger, impatience, gluttony—you name it! But instead of thinking about your inclination to do these things, try thinking about Jesus. Imagine him looking at you with unconditional mercy. Go ahead and receive that mercy and let it transform you. In him, you can patient, kind, and loving. In him, you can look on others with that same mercy. Just let him love you, and he will take care of the rest!

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