Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Challenge

Jesus said to his disciples: "I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth.(Jn16:12-15) When we pray we should keep these words in mind. The Holy Spirit will guide us to all truth, and there are times when we will have to wait for an answer because we cannot bear it at the time. In order to find peace even in the midst of our struggle we must place all our trust and confidence in the Loving Mercy of our Father and of our Savior Jesus. That Loving Mercy is the Holy Spirit our Advocate and Guide. He is our Comfort in this vale of tears. By trusting in Him we are allowing ourselves to be guided in the truth and led to the Truth of our lives found in Jesus. Our constant desire to know things or to know the ending or to get over some thing or other is a hindrance to growth in our spiritual life. We do not need all the answers and there are some that we cannot bear. We should stop acting as if we are alone on this journey. We have an Advocate and Guide. The third Person of the Most Holy Trinity has been given to us; He is with us; He Loves us. As we prepare for the celebration of Pentecost in would be good to enter deeply into this mystery of the Loving Mercy of God who is our constant companion on this journey. To open our hearts to the Comforter, the Holy Spirit that He may truly guide us on our way. All too often we follow our own inner promptings and then convince ourselves that the Holy Spirit is in fact leading us. How our lives would change if we could be obedient to the True promptings of our Advocate and Guide. What great fruits we would see. What great peace we would have in our souls. But we would pay a great price. We would have to die to ourselves and submit ourselves to His Holy Will which is Love and Mercy Itself. Perhaps come this Pentecost we will be up for THE CHALLENGE. Perhaps during this month of Mary we could beg our Mother to intercede for us and prepare us to receive her Divine Spouse that we may be obedient to Him and follow Him with undivided hearts.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Lord's Delight

The Lord takes delight in his people.(Ps149) Often we give more credit to people than we do to God. It is easy to recognize how parents and grandparents delight in their children. But we cannot recognize the God delights in us. It is a strange thing really. We can accept the fact that parents delight in their children, that we delight in our children, but our God cannot or does not delight in us. Often we defend this foolish belief by claiming that God will be our Judge therefore He is constantly judging all that we do. We turn away from God claiming that we will never measure up so it is better to live according to our own rules. This is a poor excuse and a weak argument but many live by it, and many turn to it in times of trial. The Lord takes delight in his people.(Ps149) This is in fact the Truth of our life and the Truth of who God is as our Father. Our Father delights in us. Our Father delights in His children won to Him by the Suffering, Death, and Resurrection of His only Son, Jesus our Lord. Our Father delights in blessing us with His many gifts. The greatest of being the Holy Spirit our Advocate and Guide. With so many blessings, with such an outpouring of Love how can we still see our Father as judge and executioner. The Lord takes delight in his people.(Ps149) Our Father's Mercy triumphs over Judgment. He has made His Judgment it is For Mercy and Love. The Father's Glory is revealed in the expression of His Merciful Love. That Glory is Jesus our Savior exalted on the Cross and Raised from the dead that His Mercy may endure forever. As this Easter season draws rapidly to a close; as we prepare to receive the Holy Spirit it would be good to ask for a greater understanding of our Father in Heaven and the delight He takes in us each day.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Slaves or Friends

"I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing."(Jn15:12-17) If we would pay attention to these words there would be a lot more peace in our daily lives. Often our daily struggles blind us to the Grace of God. Often our daily struggles overshadow the Truth of what God is doing in our lives. Often our daily struggles leave us wondering what God wants from us, or what is He asking of us. More often than not in our own self centered way we wonder what we should do or could do in order to better understand what God is doing in our life. This scripture passage today reveals that in times of struggle it is not about the DOING but it is about BEING. Jesus reveals our identity to us. We are His friends, and as His friends we should know what He is doing in our lives. His Will is Love and Mercy itself even in our struggles, even in our sufferings, even in our temptations, even in our sins. He desires Mercy. Too often we act as if we were slaves not knowing what He is about. What is needed is Trust in His Loving Mercy. In order to do this we must recognize and embrace our true identity as friends of Christ the Bridegroom and rejoice in His presence. He is with us in our daily trials. He is about our salvation. He will not fail. Trust in Him and throw off the doubts, fears, and self pity that are the chains of slavery. Believe in His Merciful Love and live in the freedom enjoyed by the beloved friends of Jesus.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Living in Truth

"I have told you this so that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete."(Jn15:9-17) TheWill of our Father in Heaven is that we be filled with joy. Jesus reveals to us today that He wants to make up for what is lacking in our lives. Our joy is incomplete. There are too many things that weigh us down. Distractions, worries, anxieties, fears, wounds, temptations, addictions, sins, all these rob us of experiencing the joy of life. In a certain sense they keep us from seeing the truth of our life. But as Jesus prays today that we remain in Him and in His Love, He reveals to us that in doing so He will fill us with His own Joy and our joy will be complete. In His Love Jesus makes up for what is lacking in us. He completes us because He Loves us. This is not only true with the joy of life but in all things. Jesus makes up for what is lacking in our faith, in our ability to love, in our hope, in all things. We are not alone and we do not have to do things alone, on our own ability, by our own willing it. Jesus is with us. While we remain in Him we are filled to capacity and overflowing with all the gifts of Life and of Love that He gives to us. This is the Will of our Father in Heaven. Thus we are called to submit ourselves to His Holy Will which is Love and Mercy itself. Love and Mercy is what He longs to fill us with. This is so important for the spiritual life because discouragement or lack of discernment often blind us to the truth. Often people have an inflated opinion of themselves as if they are all right, in essence ignoring what God is doing for them or asking of them because they are content at the time with what they are doing or how life is going. The opposite to this is that they feel worthless as if God would not want anything to do with them. They are alone in their misery and think they are not worthy of God's Blessings or that they will never overcome their struggles thus they will never be pleasing to God. Both of these tendencies isolate us because they both ignore the Truth of our Father's Love and place the love of self at the center of our ones life. We must remain in Jesus for as our love is co-mingled with His Love we learn to truly love: as our joy is mixed with His Joy we can truly be joyful; as our hope is is co-mingled with His Hope we experience true Hope. In truth when we remain in Jesus we remain in Love, Joy, and Hope Itself for our Savior is the beginning and the end of all these. Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega not only of the Universe but of our very lives. In humility we are called to recognize this today and humbly begin to truly live through Him, with Him and in Him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit. In doing so we will be fulfilled and know the fullness of life in our Father's Loving Mercy.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Without Me You Can Do Nothing

"Without me you can do nothing."(Jn15:1-8) Often these words are ignored by the faithful. We have the I can do it mentality even in our spiritual lives. This is why we are often preoccupied not only with our successes but also with our failings. We believe that we should be able to succeed simply by willing it. We believe that we should succeed because after all we know better. We believe that we should be able to overcome our past or our present struggles. We believe that in doing so we can then we can present ourselves to God and be pleasing to Him. These are all lies, and a perversion of our faith as Catholics. "Without me you can do nothing." Jesus tells us today that we are to remain in Him. IN HIM! Thus we will be able to ask the Father anything and the Father will be glorified in pouring out His Mercy and Love upon us. It is not about our succeeding in making ourselves pleasing to God. It is about the Father's Love that makes us pleasing to Him. It is about our identity as sons and daughters. Only by remaining in the Son, through whom we have been adopted, can we live according to our Father's plan and thus give Him glory. And what is the Father's plan? That we know Him and His Love for us; that we love Him as He first Loved us; that we freely serve Him as His beloved children, bearing fruit and drawing others to the Truth of His Love. Thus we remain in the Son as He teaches us the way to the Father. Thus we open our Hearts to the Holy Spirit to be reminded of our identity and the truth of our life. This is the very foundation of all that we do. It is the foundation of our lives. It is the cause of our joy even in the midst of hardship and pain. As Catholics this is the witness we give to the World. We are called to bring Hope to a world darkened by sin and fear. We do so in Christ that we may bear much fruit. Not the fruit we long to produce but the fruit that the Father produces in us when we turn to Him and pray that His Will be done. It is easy to take the self help approach to spirituality but it is a false path that leads to emptiness and pain. It is a lonely path where we never feel good enough. Jesus never tells us we are good enough, He only tells us we are good. How then can we be sure that we are on the right path? Living a Sacramental Life is the first and most important criteria. It is expressly in the Sacraments that we remain in Jesus. Going to Mass as often as possible and never missing on Sunday except for serious illness or advanced age, as well as frequent Confession are a good first step in order to remain in Jesus. Praying the Angelus in the morning and at midday and in the evening to remind us of who we are is also a powerful way to begin on the path. If during midday or evening you make an examination of conscience so much the better. Pray your Rosary. Blessed Mother will guide you if you place all your trust in her. Also in praying the Rosary Mary will teach you how the Mysteries of her Son's Life, Death, and Resurrection apply to you and in fact were done for you specifically. Finally before you can even begin, pray to the Holy Spirit. Invite the Lover of your soul to draw you lovingly to Christ, and give you the strength to remain in Him. This in essence is an imitation of our Blessed Mother who was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit and was united to Jesus as His Mother according to the Will of the Father. We can imitate our Mother and the Holy Spirit will overshadow us as well. In His love we will be united to Jesus as brothers and sisters according to the Will of God the Father. Then He will do great things in us, we will bear much fruit and the Father will be Glorified. Leave your self help spirituality behind trust in the Lord for He has spoken: "Without me you can do nothing."