Today is the Memorial of Saint Francis of Assisi. The Gospel reading from Luke 10 tells that the seventy-two disciples returned rejoicing and said to Jesus, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name." Jesus responded, "Do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice because you names are written in heaven." Father M in his homily stressed that we are not to rejoice at what we can accomplish in the Lord's name. Rather, our goal is to follow Christ like a child as St. Francis did ~ I could sense the pure joy in following the Lord like that and letting everything else go.
Saturday, October 4, 2014
I was doing the treadmill at a nearby gym early this morning. Today being Saturday, there were more TVs turned on than people exercising. One channel was broadcasting a car race. You saw clusters of cars going continuously around the track. Each driver tried to get ahead of the others and they were all back to where they were again and again, the whole time on the same level track. The scene depicted the common life we live. We also try to get ahead in the world, expending much energy and not getting anywhere. Even if we succeeded, we are still embedded in the world, not getting any closer to God. Rather a sad scene.
There is any number of ways to get to hell, but that doesn't matter a bit because we have one sure way of getting into heaven ~ that is believing and following Christ. Hallelujah! ("To hell with hell" came to my mind, but "hallelujah" was better.)
Friday, October 3, 2014
Today being the first Friday of the month, we had Eucharistic adoration after Mass. As I looked upon the Blessed Sacrament displayed, the true body of the Lord, the one I adore and pray to, I realized that this bread also came into me earlier to mingle with me, to be dissolved by me, and to become part of me. He is almighty, yet he stoops so low as to become united with me, a lowly sinner, physically. This is just hard to believe!
A Christian's urge to evangelize stems from the joy of having found Christ. Having discovered the truth, he simply wants the whole world to know. The urge is spontaneous and entirely unselfish. It is not wanting to impose your beliefs on others. And it should never be judgmental. Thinking that you are saved and those who do not listen to you are lost forever is totally out of place. Protestant missionaries entering Catholic countries to convert Catholics, believing that all Catholics are lost, are all misguided because they don't realize that they are actually breaking up the body of Christ! The "original sin" here all originated with Martin Luther who began the Protestant Reformation.
You make the effort to surrender to God. God now sees that you've given him permission to transform you and starts to work on you. As you experience interior changes taking place, you also experience freedom, peace, and excitement. Your growing intimacy with God continues . . . all doubts about his existence vanishes . . . his beauty and loveliness overwhelm you to the point that you can't help but fall in love with God ~ your beloved Father in heaven, the beloved Son your Lord, and the Holy Spirit! All this happens with frequent reception of the Holy Eucharist and continual prayer over a period of time. At the end, you are one with God ~ you are his and he is yours. What a glorious relationship!
Humility is the virtue that mankind lacks the most, especially among men. A humble person is seen to be weak, notwithstanding the fact that it takes courage to be humble. Without humility, one does not hear God. To bring these lost sheep back into his fold, the Lord may allow something harsh to happen to bring back their senses. His mercy knows no bounds.
Thursday, October 2, 2014
Today is the Memorial of the Guardian Angels. Here are the thoughts that came to me after receiving Holy Communion. Nothing can possibly replace God to fulfill us, let alone for all eternity. Seek whatever you want and can find in this world and your life will still remain empty because all things in the world pass. Furthermore, knowing that you yourself will pass one day makes seeking fulfillment seem somewhat silly or plain meaningless. Therefore, God who alone exists and remains the same forever has to be our perfect fulfillment. By believing in and relying upon him, we are assured of eternal happiness.
Wednesday, October 1, 2014
This morning I could go visit someone who I knew had already received the last rites or go on the roof of my house to clear all the rain drains before the rains arrive. The choice became clear when I asked myself what if this were my last day on earth. Clearing the drains or not showed up as being almost inconsequential when compared to giving consolation to a soul who's about ready to meet the Lord.
I do feel that we are not giving God, our Lord, the respect he deserves. We treat him too casually. Whether you know him well or not, he is our creator. Even if you are an atheist, knocking him whom you don't even know is out of place. Know that God is God and watch your behavior.
Today's communion antiphon: Thus says the Lord: Unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. This completes what Jesus expects of us to be like St. Therese: (1) Seek guidance from God alone, (2) Follow him single-mindedly, and (3) Believe in him like children.
In today's Gospel reading from Luke 9 at Mass, Jesus makes it clear that following him comes before fulfilling all other obligations. The key saying is the last verse: No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God. If we want to follow the Lord, we must respond without hesitation. I am now praying for a fallen-away Catholic friend who told me that he's not ready to consider coming back to the Church yet because he still had a number of things to settle first. There will always be things to settle in life ~ postponing making the most important decision of your life because of them is definitely being foolish.
Today is the Memorial of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, my beloved model saint. The entrance antiphon, based upon Deuteronomy 32.10-12 reads: The Lord led her and taught her as the apple of his eye. Like an eagle spreading its wings, he took her up and bore on his shoulders. The Lord alone was her guide. I underline the last sentence because it reminds me to always go to God first to seek his guidance in everything. Never leave God out of our life.