Monday (November 18): “What do you want me to do for you?”

Daily Reading & Meditation

 Monday (November 18):  “What do you want me to do for you?”
Scripture:  Luke 18:35-43

35 As he drew near to Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging; 36 and hearing a multitude going by, he inquired what this meant. 37 They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” 38 And he cried, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 39 And those who were in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent; but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 40 And Jesus stopped, and commanded him to be brought to him; and when he came near, he asked him, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, let me receive my sight.” 42 And Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has made you well.” 43 And immediately he received his sight and followed him, glorifying God; and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.

Meditation:  Have you ever encountered a special moment of grace, a once in a life-time opportunity you knew you could not pass up? Such a moment came for a blind and destitute man who heard that Jesus was passing by. The Gospel of Mark identifies this man as Bartimaeus (Mark 10:46-52). This blind man was determined to get near the one person who could meet his need. He knew who Jesus was and had heard of his fame for healing, but until now had no means of making contact with the Son of David, a clear reference and title for the Messiah.

Faith and persistence is rewarded
It took raw courage and bold persistence for Bartimaeus to get the attention of Jesus over the din of a noisy throng who crowded around Jesus as he made his way out of town. Why was the crowd annoyed with the blind man’s persistent shouts? He was disturbing their peace and interrupting their conversation with Jesus. It was common for a rabbi to teach as he walked with others. Jesus was on his way to celebrate the Passover in Jerusalem and a band of pilgrims followed him. When the crowd tried to silence the blind man he overpowered them with his loud emotional outburst and thus caught the attention of Jesus.

This incident reveals something important about how God interacts with us. The blind man was determined to get Jesus’ attention and he was persistent in the face of opposition. Jesus could have ignored or scolded him because he was interrupting his talk and disturbing his audience. Jesus showed that acting was more important than talking. This man was in desperate need and Jesus was ready not only to empathize with his suffering but to relieve it as well.

The blind man recognized Jesus with eyes of faith
A great speaker can command attention and respect, but a man or woman with a helping hand and a big heart is loved more. Jesus commends Bartimaeus for recognizing who he is with the eyes of faith and grants him physical sight as well. Do you recognize your need for God’s healing grace and do you seek Jesus out, like Bartimaeus, with persistent faith and trust in his goodness and mercy?

Bartimaeus was not only grateful for the gift of faith and the gift of physical sight, but for the opportunity to now follow Jesus as one of his disciples. Luke tells us us that he immediately followed Jesus and gave glory to God. The crowd also gave praise to God when they saw this double miracle of spiritual and physical vision. Cyril of Alexandria, a 5th century church father, comments on this double vision:

Now that he was delivered from his blindness, did he neglect the duty of loving Christ? He certainly did not. It says, “He followed him, offering him glory like to God.” He was set free from double blindness. Not only did he escape from the blindness of the body but also from that of the mind and heart. He would not have glorified him as God, had he not possessed spiritual vision. He became the means of others giving Christ glory, for it says that all the people gave glory to God.(Commentary on Luke, Homily 126)

Do you give glory to God for giving you the “eyes of faith” to recognize him as your Lord and Healer?

“Lord Jesus, open the eyes of my heart and mind that I may see and understand the truth and goodness of your word. May I never fail to recognize your presence with me and to call upon your saving grace in my time of need and healing.”

Psalm 119:53,61,88,134,150,155,158

53 Hot indignation seizes me because of the wicked, who forsake your law.
61 Though the cords of the wicked ensnare me, I do not forget your law.
88 In your steadfast love spare my life, that I may keep the testimonies of your mouth.
134 Redeem me from man’s oppression, that I may keep your precepts.
150 They draw near who persecute me with evil purpose; they are far from your law.
155 Salvation is far from the wicked, for they do not seek your statutes.
158 I look at the faithless with disgust, because they do not keep your commands.

Daily Quote from the early church fathersThe blind man knows that Jesus is the Son of David and the Messiah, by Cyril of Alexandria (376-444 AD)

“The blind man must have understood that the sight of the blind cannot be restored by human means but requires, on the contrary, a divine power and an authority such as God only possesses. With God nothing whatsoever is impossible. The blind man came near to him as to the omnipotent God. How then does he call him the Son of David? What can one answer to this? The following is perhaps the explanation. Since he was born and raised in Judaism, of course, the predictions contained in the law and the holy prophets concerning Christ had not escaped his knowledge. He heard them chant that passage in the book of the Psalms, ‘The Lord has sworn in truth to David, and will not annul it, saying: “of the fruit of your loins I will set a king upon your throne”‘ (Psalm 132:11).

“The blind man also knew that the blessed prophet Isaiah said, ‘There will spring up a shoot from the root of Jesse, and from his root a flower will grow up’ (Isaiah 11:1). Isaiah also said, ‘Behold, a virgin will conceive and bring forth a son, and they will call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us’ (Matthew 1:23; Isaiah 7:14). He already believed that the Word, being God, of his own will had submitted to be born in the flesh of the holy Virgin. He now comes near to him as to God and says, ‘Have mercy on me, Son of David.’ Christ testifies that this was his state of mind in offering his petition. He said to him, ‘Your faith has saved you.'” (excerpt from COMMENTARY ON LUKE, HOMILY 126)

Meditations may be freely reprinted for non-commercial use – please cite: copyright (c) 2019 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

 

Daily Reflection

In today’s readings, the parable focuses on Jesus miracle of returning sight to a blind man who was sitting at the side of the road.  Jesus states, “Your faith has saved you,” as he performs the miracle and gives back the blind man’s sight.  As I reflect on this miracle I think of the many times throughout the day, evening, and week that my “faith has saved me.”  My eyes are open but in another way.  My faith and prayer this past week have prevented me from acting bitter or angry; it has stopped me from displaying unloving/uncaring behaviors; it has reminded me how I am loved by my family.  For this I am grateful.

And because I am imperfect and human; this week I have spoken words that I wish I had not; I have been unkind; and I have forgotten to do something that I promised; however, when I have asked for forgiveness, I am grateful that I have been forgiven.  God who is among us in all creation loves me with a love that I cannot even fathom, a love just for me, to fulfill a purpose.  In each of these moments during this past week and future weeks if I remember that and know my purpose for this moment is to care and to be kind and to show my love for my family, friends and co-workers then my faith has saved me and continues to save me daily.

November 18

MORNING

He stayeth his rough wind in the day of the east wind. Isa. 27:8

Let us fall now into the hand of the LORD; for his mercies are great. II Sam. 24:14

I am with thee, saith the LORD, to save thee: … I wilt correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished. Jer. 30:11

He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever. He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. Psa. 103:91014

I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Mal. 3:17

God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. I Cor. 10:13

Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not. Luke 22:3132

Thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall. Isa. 25:4

EVENING

I believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it; and, behold, the half was not told me. I Kings 10:7

The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here. Matt. 12:42

We beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

My speech and my preaching was … in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. I Cor. 2:45910

Thine eyes shall see the King in his beauty. Isa. 33:17

We shall see him as he is. I John 3:2

In my flesh I shall see God. Job 19:26

I shall be satisfied. Psa. 17:15

Reflection 322: The Obstacle of Pride

Reflection 322: The Obstacle of Pride

The Lord, in His abundant Mercy, comes to you day and night and joyfully enters your soul when it is open to Him.  Even the greatest struggles do not deter our Lord from coming to you.  But one thing, especially, keeps our Lord away.  And that is pride.  Pride is the mother of all sins and, simply put, is selfishness.  It’s a way of turning in on yourself as your primary concern.  The problem with this is that you were made, by God, for the purpose of giving yourself away.  It’s in your very nature to become a gift to others.  And only in giving of yourself to God and to others do you discover who you are and, in that act, you become who you were made to be.  So pride, in its attempt to become self-concerned, actually has the effect of destroying you.  Pride leaves you with yourself and allows no room for another, not even God (See Diary #1563).

Reflect upon the sin of pride today.  Here is an examination for this sin: Pride is an untrue opinion of ourselves, an untrue idea of what we are not.  Have I a superior attitude in thinking, or speaking or acting? Am I snobbish?  Have I offensive, haughty ways of acting or carrying myself?  Do I hold myself above others? Do I demand recognition?  Do I desire to be always first? Am I ready to accept advice? Am I in any sense a “bully” or inclined to be “bossy”?  Do I speak ill of others?  Have I lied about others?  Do I make known the faults of others?  Is there anyone to whom I have not spoken for a long time?  Am I prone to argue and be offensive in my arguments? Am I self-conscious?  Am I sensitive?  Am I easily wounded?  Reflect honestly on these sins today and seek freedom from them.

Lord, please free me from the self-centeredness that comes from pride.  May I seek the good of others with all humility and sincerity.  Free me from this sin, dear Lord, and help me to give myself away to You and to others, for in giving of myself I know I will find myself.  Jesus, I trust in You.

Calling Out for Mercy!

Calling Out for Mercy!

November 18, 2019
Monday of the Thirty-Third Week in Ordinary Time
Readings for Today

Dedication of the Basilicas of Saints Peter and Paul or Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne

[H]e kept calling out all the more, “Son of David, have pity on me!”  Luke 18:39c

Good for him!  Here was a blind beggar who was treated poorly by many.  He was treated as if he were no good and a sinner.  When he began to call out for mercy from Jesus, he was told to be silent by those around him.  But what did the blind man do?  Did he give in to their oppression and ridicule?  Certainly not.  Instead, “He kept calling out all the more!”  And Jesus took notice of his faith and healed him.

There is a great lesson from this man’s life for us all.  There are many things we will encounter in life that get us down, discourage us and tempt us to despair.  There are many things that are oppressive to us and difficult for us to deal with.  So what should we do?  Should we give in to the struggle and then retreat into a hole of self-pity?

This blind man gives us the perfect witness of what we should do.  When we feel oppressed, discouraged, frustrated, misunderstood, or the like, we need to use this as an opportunity to turn to Jesus with even greater passion and courage calling upon His mercy.

Difficulties in life can have one of two effects on us.  Either they beat us down or they make us stronger.  The way they make us stronger is by fostering within our souls an even greater trust in and dependence upon the mercy of God.

Reflect, today, upon that which tempts you the most toward discouragement.  What is it that feels oppressive to you and difficult to deal with.  Use that struggle as an opportunity to cry out with even more passion and zeal for the mercy and grace of God.

Lord, in my weakness and struggle, help me to turn to You with even more passion.  Help me to rely upon You all the more in times of distress and frustration in life.  May the wickedness and harshness of this world only strengthen my resolve to turn to You in all things.  Jesus, I trust in You.

Sunday (November 17): “Take heed that you are not led astray”

Daily Reading & Meditation

Sunday (November 17): “Take heed that you are not led astray”
Scripture: Luke 21:5-19

5 And as some spoke of the temple, how it was adorned with noble stones and offerings, he said, 6 “As for these things which you see, the days will come when there shall not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” 7 And they asked him, “Teacher, when will this be, and what will be the sign when this is about to take place?” 8 And he said, “Take heed that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name, saying, `I am he!’ and, `The time is at hand!’ Do not go after them. 9 And when you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified; for this must first take place, but the end will not be at once.” 10 Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; 11 there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven.

12 But before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake. 13 This will be a time for you to bear testimony. 14 Settle it therefore in your minds, not to meditate beforehand how to answer; 15 for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict. 16 You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and kinsmen and friends, and some of you they will put to death; 17 you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish.19 By your endurance you will gain your lives.

Meditation: How would you respond if someone prophesied that your home, land, or place of worship would be destroyed? Jesus foretold many signs that would shake peoples and nations. The signs which God uses are meant to point us to a higher spiritual truth and reality of his kingdom which does not perish or fade away, but endures for all eternity. God works through many events and signs to purify and renew us in hope and to help us set our hearts more firmly on him and him alone.

First signs of the end times
To the great consternation of the Jews, Jesus prophesied the destruction of their great temple at Jerusalem. The Jewish people took great pride in their temple, a marvel of the ancient world. The foretelling of this destruction was a dire warning of spiritual judgment in itself. They asked Jesus for a sign that would indicate when this disastrous event would occur. Jesus admonished them to not look for signs that would indicate the exact timing of impending destruction, but rather to pray for God’s intervention of grace and mercy.

Jesus said there would be many signs of impending conflicts and disasters – such as wars, famines, diseases, tidal waves, and earthquakes – which would precede the struggles of the last days when God’s anointed King would return to usher in the full reign of God over the earth. In that day when the Lord returns there will be a final judgement of the living and the dead when the secrets of every heart will be brought to light (Luke 12:2-3; Romans 2:16).

Jesus foretells the destruction of the Temple at Jerusalem
Jesus’ prophecy of the destruction of the temple at Jerusalem was a two-edged sword, because it pointed not only to God’s judgment, but also to his saving action and mercy. Jesus foretold the destruction of Jerusalem and the dire consequences for all who would reject him and his saving message. While the destruction of Jerusalem’s temple was determined (it was razed by the Romans in 70 A.D.), there remained for its inhabitants a narrow open door leading to deliverance. Jesus said: “I am the door; whoever enters by me will be saved” (John 10:9).  Jesus willingly set his face toward Jerusalem, knowing that he would meet betrayal, rejection, and death on a cross. His death on the cross, however, brought about true freedom, peace, and victory over the powers of sin, evil, and death – not only for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, but for all – both Jew and Gentile alike – who would accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Do you know the peace and security of a life submitted to the lordship of Jesus Christ?

We need to recognize the signs of God’s judgment, mercy, and grace to save us
Sometimes we don’t recognize the moral crisis and spiritual conflict of the age in which we live, until something “shakes us up” to the reality of this present condition. God reminds us that a future judgment and outcome awaits every individual who has lived on this earth. The reward for doing what is right and pleasing to God and the penalty for sinful rebellion and rejection of God are not always experienced in this present life – but they are sure to come in the day of final judgment.

The Lord Jesus tells us that there will be trials, suffering, and persecution in this present age until he comes again at the end of the world. God intends our anticipation of his final judgment to be a powerful deterrent to unfaithfulness and wrongdoing. God extends grace and mercy to all who will heed his call and his warning. Do not pass up, even for one day, God’s invitation of grace and mercy to seek first his kingdom of righteousness and peace. This day may be your only chance before that final day comes.

Satan destroys and kills – God restores and gives life
The real enemy of the Gospel – the good news of Jesus Christ – is Satan (also called Lucifer), the powerful leader of the fallen angels who rebelled against God and who were cast out of heaven. Satan opposes God and all who follow his rule of peace and righteousness (moral goodness) on the earth. Jesus calls Satan a “murderer” who turns brother against brother and the “father of lies” who twists the truth and speaks falsehood (John 8:44). Satan not only opposes God’s rule, he seeks to destroy all who would obey God. Satan will use any means possible to turn people away from God. He tempts people through envy, deception, hatred, and fear to provoke hostility towards those who follow the Lord Jesus Christ.

What is Jesus’ response to hostility and persecution? Love, forbearance, and forgiveness. Only love – the love which is rooted in God’s great compassion and faithfulness – can overcome prejudice, hatred, and envy. God’s love purifies our heart and mind of all that would divide and tear people apart. Knowing God as our compassionate Father and loving God’s word of truth and righteousness (moral goodness) is essential for overcoming evil. Jesus tells us that we do not need to fear those who would oppose us or treat us harshly for following the Lord Jesus. He promises to give us supernatural strength, wisdom, and courage as we take a stand for our faith and witness to the truth and love of Christ.

The Gospel is good news for the whole world because it is God’s eternal word of truth, love, pardon, and salvation (being set free from sin and evil) through his Son, Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus has won the victory for us through his atoning death on the cross for our sins and his rising from the grave – his resurrection power that brings abundant life and restoration for us. That is why the Gospel has power to set people free from sin, fear and death, and bring peace, pardon, and new life.

Endurance never gives up hope in God
Jesus tells his disciples that if they endure to the end they will gain their lives – they will inherit abundant life and lasting happiness with God. Endurance is an essential strength which God gives to those who put their trust in him. Endurance is the patience which never gives up hope, never yields to despair or hatred. Patience is long-suffering because it looks beyond the present difficulties and trials and sees the reward which comes to those who persevere with hope and trust in God. That is why godly endurance is more than human effort. It is first and foremost a supernatural gift of the Holy Spirit which enables us to bear up under any trial or temptation.

Endurance is linked with godly hope – the supernatural assurance that we will see God face to face and inherit all the promises he has made. Jesus is our supreme model and pioneer who endured the cross for our sake (Hebrews 12:2). “God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Jesus willingly shed his blood for us – to win for us pardon and peace with God. Our joy and privilege is to take up our cross each day to follow the Lord Jesus.

True martyrs live and die as witnesses of Christ and the Gospel of peace
The word “martyr” in the New Testament Greek means “witness”. The Book of Revelation says that “Jesus was the faithful witness …who freed us from our sins by his blood” (Revelation 1:5). Tertullian, a second century lawyer who converted when he saw Christians singing as they went out to die by the hands of their persecutors, exclaimed: “The blood of the martyrs is seed.” Their blood is the seed of new Christians, the seed of the church.

The third century bishop, Cyprian said: “When persecution comes, God’s soldiers are put to the test, and heaven is open to martyrs. We have not enlisted in an army to think of peace and to decline battle, for we see that the Lord has taken first place in the conflict.” True martyrs live and die as witnesses of the Gospel. They overcome their enemies through persevering hope and courage, undying love and forbearance, kindness, goodness, and compassion.

God may call some of us to be martyrs who shed their blood for bearing witness to Jesus Christ. But for most of us, our call is to be ‘dry’ martyrs who bear testimony to the joy and power of the Gospel in the midst of daily challenges, contradictions, temptations and adversities which come our way as we follow the Lord Jesus.

We do not need to fear our adversaries
What will attract others to the truth and power of the Gospel? When they see Christians loving their enemies, being joyful in suffering, patient in adversity, pardoning injuries, and showing comfort and compassion to the hopeless and the helpless. Jesus tells us that we do not need to fear our adversaries. God will give us sufficient grace, strength, and wisdom to face any trial and to answer any challenge to our faith. Are you ready to lay down your life for Christ and to bear witness to the joy and freedom of the Gospel?

“Lord Jesus Christ, by your atoning death on the cross you have redeemed the world. Fill me with joyful hope, courage, and boldness to witness the truth of your love for sinners and your victory over the powers of sin, Satan, and death.”

Psalm 98:5-9

5 Sing praises to the LORD with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody!
6 With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, the LORD!
7 Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; the world and those who dwell in it!
8 Let the floods clap their hands; let the hills sing for joy together
9 before the LORD, for he comes to judge the earth.  He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity.

Daily Quote from the early church fathersFirst signs of the end times, by Maximus of Turin (died between 408-423 AD)

“Perhaps you are anxious, brothers and sisters, at the fact that we hear constantly of the tumult of wars and the onsets of battles. Perhaps your love is still more anxious since these are taking place in our times. The reason is the closer we are to the destruction of the world, the closer we are to the kingdom of the Savior. The Lord himself says, ‘In the last days nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. When you see wars, earthquakes and famines, know that the kingdom of God is at hand.’This nearness of wars shows us that Christ is near.” (excerpt from SERMON 85.1)

Meditations may be freely reprinted for non-commercial use, please cite credits: copyright (c) 2019 Servants of the Word, source:  www.dailyscripture.net, author Don Schwager

 

Daily Reflection

As we come to the end of the liturgical year, these end-times readings invite me sit with the questions: What does God’s justice look like? What does God’s justice feel like, to me?

In scripture, over and over, God’s justice is often upside-down to my sense of fairness. God seems most unfair when I fall into looking at my actions like an ethical business exchange: I did “A” for God / my fellow humans / the earth, so God owes me “B.” (Often I find I have decided what I am owed without talking much to God.) If God doesn’t give me “B,” it feels as though God is unjust. If I lose “C,” it feels even worse. That’s not how God’s justice works, Jesus tells us. God’s justice lifts up the poor; holds servants in highest esteem; forgives the unforgiveable; loves when it hurts most to love.

Both the first reading and Gospel describe God’s justice as one experience from different perspectives. Justice is a sun: it destroys with a blazing heat and heals with rays of light. Justice is witness to God: it leads to martyrdom and eternal life. With end-times readings I always come back to C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce, my favorite allegory of the afterlife. In it, when people arrive in heaven, even the softest grass in heaven feels like knives to their feet: it is more real than they are. Those who let go of what is not real (that is, not of God) enter fully into God’s reality, and the grass feels soft. In the same way, perhaps the “sun of justice” burns away what is not of God. I would feel destroyed if my entire identity were wrapped up in something that is not of God, even in something beautiful that I seek to own (like the temple in the Gospel). But, if my identity were wrapped up in a relationship with God, I would feel healed with the removal of whatever distracted from that relationship. Jesus reminds us similarly in the Gospel: don’t get too attached to the present state of the world – even the beautiful parts, even your life here – because it all pales in comparison to the life God has in mind.

How, then, can I cultivate a disposition from which to meet God’s justice and feel healed rather than destroyed? I’d need to align my identity with God’s idea of justice, rather than my own. I’d need to practice mercy, to forgive others and myself. I’d need to practice love, to choose the good of another. I’d need to practice service, to meet people who awaken my compassion and grow in kinship with them. As my own ability to empathize and feel compassion grows, I will begin to see people as precious, the way God does. I will come to know that others’ healing is my healing, too. Maybe then the sun of justice will feel like healing rays.

I wish I could share the song “Hearts on Fire” by M.D. Ridge and Timothy Smith, but a recording is not publicly available. Instead, please enjoy “Find Us Ready” by Tom Booth. We’re singing both at St. John’s this weekend.

November 17

MORNING

Thy thoughts are very deep. Psa. 92:5

We . . . do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding. Col. 1:9

That ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Eph. 3:17-19

O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! Rom. 11:33

My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isa. 55:89

Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to usward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered. Psa. 40:5

EVENING

Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. Gal. 6:7

They that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same. Job 4:8

They have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind. Hos. 8:7

He that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption. Gal. 6:8

To him that soweth righteousness shall be a sure reward. Prov. 11:18

He that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. Gal. 6:8-10

There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty. Prov. 11:24

The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself. Prov. 11:25

He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. II Cor. 9:6

Reflection 321: The Seraphic Soul

Reflection 321: The Seraphic Soul

Everyone is called to holiness and in that holiness is able to obtain complete happiness.  But God always chooses some for a special mission of holiness, a higher form of holiness.  These souls could be called “Seraphic Souls.”  The classic example is to compare two glasses of water.  One is large and one is small.  They are both filled to the brim so they are both full.  But one contains more water.  So it is with holiness.  Some are given a special calling to reach a greater height.  All people are to be “full” of the Holy Spirit and, thus, obtain perfect happiness.  But some are invited higher in a unique way.  This is similar to the Nine Choirs of Angels.  The Seraphim are of the highest order and have as their sole purpose the worship and adoration of God.  The Guardian Angels are of the lowest order and have as their primary duty the service of man.  Each celestial being is perfectly happy and rejoices in the unique calling of each (See Diary #1556).

Reflect, today, upon this glorious ordering of holiness for angels and for humanity.  At first, it may not seem fair that some are given a special calling to holiness and even a special sharing in the sufferings of Christ.  We must all ponder this truth and rejoice in it.  And as for those seraphic souls in the world, and those given a special call to share in Christ’s sufferings, we should seek them out and seek the wisdom and grace that flows from their lives.  God has a good reason for such ordering; it’s our duty to embrace it with joy and to benefit from their blessed vocation.

Lord, I thank you for Your perfect wisdom in ordering the holiness of both angels and humanity.  Help me to always seek out those seraphic souls, the special saints, who have reached a glorious level of holiness.  Thank You for their witness and thank You for their freely embraced suffering.  May the world be continually blessed by their lives.  Jesus, I trust in You.

Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.130325_0023.jpg
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.