Posts Tagged ‘for when I am weak then I am strong’

Morning Prayer for Thursday, September 13, 2018 — Prayer Amid The Storms and Tempests

September 13, 2018

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God never promised us this life would be easy, but He does promise this: He is bigger than any storm we face in this world. And He’s always working for our good, even in the places where we can’t see, even in the circumstances that we don’t fully understand. He is with us, right in the midst of all we walk through.

Our storms might look different in this life, but they all have the opportunity to change us – forever. And God is the Only One who has the power to take what seems tragic and devastating to turn it around for good. It may not happen as quickly as we’d like, it may feel like a struggle; we might find ourselves longing for another way, but blessing will come from it. For it’s the way God works. The “good” will shine through.

In some of the most difficult times in life, I’ve learned the power of praying God’s words back to him. It alone holds the ability to soothe our souls, to refresh our spirits, and cause hope to rise above the pain we might be feeling. And though our circumstances may not be immediately changed, though our hearts may still be hurting, we’re reminded through His Truth to set our eyes on Him. And that’s the best place for them to be – in all of life.

Be assured today, He knows your way, He sees your pain, He hasn’t forgotten you, and He’s still at work, even through the most difficult of times.

Dear God,

– You remind us over and over in your Word that you are always with us. You tell us not to fear and you draw us close into your Presence. You’re the only place we find refuge in the storms that surround us right now Lord. You’re the only place we can find peace and strength. So we ask you for your words of truth and power to strengthen us in our inner being and life our hearts to you. Thank you for your goodness, thank you that you know the way we take and you have a plan. We look to you today our Lord and Savior, it’s your face we seek.

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear…” Psalm 46:1-2

– Thank you Lord for your Word that says you give us the power to come out of this trial “as gold.” Thank you that this storm will not last forever, but we’re only passing through. Thank you that nothing has taken you by surprise. You know our journey better than we know it ourselves, and you will use this time of testing for good.

“But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” Job 23:10

– Thank you Lord that you are victorious over every trouble and obstacle. Thank you that you have overcome sin, and death, and any evil that we may face today. And because of you, we too are overcomers. We too can have victory, and we can walk strong in your peace.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

– Thank you Lord that you are our Redeemer and will not waste our pain. Thank you that we can be assured all things, not some things but all, will work together for good, for those who love you and are called according to your purpose.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

– Thank you Lord that You are producing in us great endurance through the hard places. You are building spiritual muscle. We press in close to your Presence today, and no matter what obstacles we’re facing, we choose joy.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” James 1:2-3

– Lord, thank you that our comfort abounds through Christ. Nothing in the world can bring us the comfort and peace that you alone can offer. Thank you that you understand our trials, and you care. Through our own struggle and pain, help us to be your vessels to offer comfort and strength to others who are hurting.

“…Who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.” 2 Corinthians 1:4-5

– Thank you Lord that through every weakness and hard place, your strength is displayed in our lives. We can’t do it on our own. But you can, through us. Your power is Mighty within us, you are our Helper and our Strength. All things are possible through you.

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

– Lord thank you that through this trial you are using our lives and circumstances to make a mark on this world. Draw us close to yourself. May many know of your Great Name. May they hear of your works and miracles of your faithfulness. We choose again today to fix our eyes, not on all the troubles that surround, but on you alone.

“Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, for what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

– We praise you God, for you go before us and cover us from behind. You walk beside us and make our footsteps firm. You are our Protector and Defense. We never have to fear that we’re alone, thank you for your powerful Presence surrounding us. We renew our focus on You this day, and thank you advance for all that you will do.

“…for the LORD will go before you, the God of Israel will be your rear guard.” Isaiah 52:12

We love you, we need you, we choose to look to you today, and every day…

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Art: Jesus asleep in the boat by Jules Joseph Meynier



Morning Prayer for Sunday, July 8, 2018 — We are Called to be Faithful — Serving God, not man

July 8, 2018

There is a force for good in the world and when you are cooperating with that force for good, good things happen to you. You have free will, the choice to be on the side of right or on the side of wrong. This force for good we call God’s will. God has a purpose for the world and He has a purpose for your life. He wants you to bring all your desires into oneness with His desires. He can only work through people. If you try to make God’s will your own will, you will be guided by Him. You will be in the stream of goodness, carried along by everything that is right. You will be on God’s side.

I pray that I will try to make God’s will my own will. I pray that I may keep in the stream of goodness in the world.

–From The Book “Twenty-Four Hours a Day”

See also:

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Reflection by  The Most Rev Msgr William Goh Archbishop of Singapore

08 JULY, 2018, Sunday, 14th Week, Ordinary Time


SCRIPTURE READINGS: [ Ez 2:2-5Ps 123:1-52 Cor 12:7-10Mk 6:1-6 ]

Many of us have chosen to follow Jesus and serve Him by giving ourselves to Him in service, especially in the Church or even outside of our parishes and in NGO activities.  But serving the Lord is not always easy.  Serving people who appreciate us is very easy.  But when we have to serve those who are always fighting with us, criticizing and opposing us, it can get very tiresome and discouraging, especially when we are giving voluntary and free services.  This is how some of us priests, religious and church ministry members feel.  At times, we fail in our projects because of the lack of support, and then we are blamed for them.  This accounts for why many who serve in the Church or in charitable organizations become jaded, skeptical, resentful, disillusioned and angry with those in authority and those under them after some time.   Eventually, many leave the ministry as they do not want to waste time on ingrates.

This was the case for the Prophet Ezekiel and St Paul in today’s scripture readings. They faced the same struggles and experience of rejection, opposition and apparent failure in their mission.  The prophet Ezekiel was called by God to upbraid the people for their sins, their rebellion against Him.  He said, “Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, to the rebels who have turned against me. Till now they and their ancestors have been in revolt against me. The sons are defiant and obstinate; I am sending you to them, to say, ‘The Lord says this’.”  In spite of the fact that Ezekiel was prophesying to those in exile, they refused to admit their sins and repent.   St Paul similarly suffered persecution and opposition in his ministry.   In his letter to the Corinthians, he had to assert his authority as an apostle and a true disciple of the Lord in the face of those who raised objections to his position as an apostle of our Lord.  He had to face enemies from within and enemies from without.   Above all, he was suffering physically.  He spoke of “a thorn in the flesh”, which could have been a chronic ailment that was debilitating and constraining him from giving more fully to the ministry and preaching.

Jesus, too, was not spared of rejection in His mission.  In fact, His entire mission ended in apparent failure on the cross.  Although the outcasts, the sinners, the poor and the sick appreciated Him, the religious authorities and those who had political power and influence found Him a nuisance.   Even His own family members and friends rejected Him.  “Most of them were astonished when they heard him. They said, ‘Where did the man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been granted him, and these miracles that are worked through him? This is the carpenter, surely, the son of Mary.’ And they would not accept him.”

They were prejudiced against Him. Some were jealous of His talents, charisms and success.  He was rejected because He was seen as one of their peers and only a carpenter.  They had their preconceived notions of who Jesus should be and not who He really was.  They were blinded to the truth by their inner fears, so much so they could not hear Jesus and accept Him as the Son of God. As a consequence, they were the losers instead; not our Lord who came to save them.  The poignant words of Jesus summed up His own experience of being rejected when He remarked, “A prophet is only despised in his own country, among his own relations and in his own house’; and he could work no miracle there, though he cured a few sick people by laying his hands on them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.”  Indeed, Jesus could not work any miracles because no miracle could change their hearts since they could not accept His word or believe that He was from God.  Hence, Jesus looked elsewhere to serve those who had faith in Him and would respond to His Word.

In the light of what we see in the lives of great leaders, we must come to realize as well that they remained great leaders despite rejection, not because they were successful in their ministry but because they were faithful.  The measure of success in the eyes of God is not whether a leader can bring people to conversion, measured by productivity numbers and KPIs.  The success of a prophet is dependent on his obedience to God’s Word, not on whether others accept the message.  Whether they listen or not, is the grace of God and their cooperation with His grace.  That is why the Lord said to the prophet Ezekiel, “Whether they listen or not, this set of rebels shall know there is a prophet among them.”  Jesus said the same thing.  “A prophet is only despised in his own country.”  However, that does not make His his work less important.  We do not have to be respected or honoured to be useful to God.   We only have to do what the Lord asks of us.

So, we must not allow rejection, opposition and failure to keep us from serving God. We must never forget that we are serving God, not man.  St Paul wrote, “Whatever your task, put yourselves into it, as done for the Lord and not for your masters.  For the wrongdoer will be paid back for whatever wrong has been done, and there is no partiality.”  (Col 3:2325)  This is what St Teresa of Calcutta reminded her missionaries.  “What the Lord is asking of us is to be faithful not successful!”  

So, like St Paul, we must keep our conscience clear, doing our best.  Writing to Bishop Timothy, he said, “As for me, I am already being poured out as a libation, and the time of my departure has come.  I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  From now on there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” (2 Tim 4:6-8)  He was not always successful.  In fact, he also shared painfully about his opponents.  (cf 2 Tim 4:14-16)

Indeed, failures, weaknesses and persecutions keep us humble. This is God’s way of reminding us that it is His kingdom that He is building, not ours.  Ours is made by human hands but His is only possible in the power of His Holy Spirit.  When we are intelligent, bright, influential, wealthy and have plenty of resources, we will rely only on our own abilities and strength.  We become proud and self-reliant instead of depending on God.  People who can depend on themselves do not need to pray or depend on God because they can do it on their own.  That is why such proud people hardly pray, because they do not believe in the power of grace and prayer.

St Paul sees his weaknesses as strength instead.  He said, “In view of the extraordinary nature of these revelations, to stop me from getting too proud I was given a thorn in the flesh, an angel of Satan to beat me and stop me from getting too proud!”  It was his limitations, whether physical, material or opposition from his enemies that made him rely on God’s strength and not his own.  With regard to the thorn in his flesh, he said, “I have pleaded with the Lord three times for it to leave me, but he has said, ‘My grace is enough for you: my power is at its best in weakness’.”  Indeed, His grace was sufficient for St Paul, and for us too.

God does not always remove our weaknesses but He promises us His assistance and divine power.  With respect to his opponents, Paul wrote, “But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it.”  (2 Tim 4:17)    Indeed, God allows us to feel weak so that we can strengthen our Christian character and deepen our spiritual life.   Ezekiel was obedient to the word of God and He was filled with His spirit to carry out His work.  “As he said these words the spirit came into me and made me stand up, and I heard him speaking to me.”   When we are weak, God fills us with his power.  Only His strength can empower us to be effective and give our work lasting value, resulting in a real transformation of hearts, not just superficial results and activities that we see so often in some church programs.

At the same time, our weakness will demonstrate the power of God, that it is not on our own strength that we accomplish His work.  As St Paul wrote, “If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.”  (2 Cor 11:30)  “So I shall be very happy to make my weaknesses my special boast so that the power of Christ may stay over me, and that is why I am quite content with my weaknesses, and with insults, hardships, persecutions, and the agonies I go through for Christ’s sake. For it is when I am weak that I am strong.” (cf also 2 Cor 12:10)

So let us trust in the primacy of grace.  Only those who believe in grace will pray with faith and fervor.  Like the psalmist, we say, “To you have I lifted up my eyes, you who dwell in the heavens; my eyes, like the eyes of slaves on the hand of their lords.  Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy. We are filled with contempt.  Indeed all too full is our soul with the scorn of the rich, with the proud man’s disdain.”

Written by The Most Rev William Goh, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Singapore



  1. Where is my motivations when with others?
  2. What is my life purpose on this earth?
  3. What gives me meaning and value in my life?
  4. Where am I failing in sincerely loving others?
  5. How can I become more balanced as a person in offering compassion?
  6. How can I find God as my source to help me in my life’s struggles?

Prayer and Meditation for Sunday, July 8, 2018 — “For when I am weak then I am strong.”

July 7, 2018

Can I abandon myself? Can I pour myself out for others? — “As the LORD spoke to me, the spirit entered into me.”

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Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 101

Reading 1  EZ 2:2-5

As the LORD spoke to me, the spirit entered into me
and set me on my feet,
and I heard the one who was speaking say to me:
Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites,
rebels who have rebelled against me;
they and their ancestors have revolted against me to this very day.
Hard of face and obstinate of heart
are they to whom I am sending you.
But you shall say to them: Thus says the LORD GOD!
And whether they heed or resist—for they are a rebellious house—
they shall know that a prophet has been among them.

Responsorial Psalm PS 123:1-2, 2, 3-4

R. (2cd) Our eyes are fixed on the Lord, pleading for his mercy.
To you I lift up my eyes
who are enthroned in heaven —
As the eyes of servants
are on the hands of their masters.
R. Our eyes are fixed on the Lord, pleading for his mercy.
As the eyes of a maid
are on the hands of her mistress,
So are our eyes on the LORD, our God,
till he have pity on us.
R. Our eyes are fixed on the Lord, pleading for his mercy.
Have pity on us, O LORD, have pity on us,
for we are more than sated with contempt;
our souls are more than sated
with the mockery of the arrogant,
with the contempt of the proud.
R. Our eyes are fixed on the Lord, pleading for his mercy.
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Reading 2 2 COR 12:7-10

Brothers and sisters:
That I, Paul, might not become too elated,
because of the abundance of the revelations,
a thorn in the flesh was given to me, an angel of Satan,
to beat me, to keep me from being too elated.
Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me,
but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you,
for power is made perfect in weakness.”
I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses,
in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me.
Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults,
hardships, persecutions, and constraints,
for the sake of Christ;
for when I am weak then I am strong.

Alleluia CF. LK 4:18

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
for he sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MK 6:1-6

Jesus departed from there and came to his native place, accompanied by his disciples.
When the sabbath came he began to teach in the synagogue,
and many who heard him were astonished.
They said, “Where did this man get all this?
What kind of wisdom has been given him?
What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands!
Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary,
and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon?
And are not his sisters here with us?”
And they took offense at him.
Jesus said to them,
“A prophet is not without honor except in his native place
and among his own kin and in his own house.”
So he was not able to perform any mighty deed there,
apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them.
He was amazed at their lack of faith.
Reflection By The Abbot in the Desert

My sisters and brothers in Christ,

Are we able to see the presence of God in others?  Are we able to recognize that God speaks through others?  Do we see and acknowledge the prophets of our own time?  Today’s readings call us to open our hearts, our minds and our whole being to the presence of God in others.

The first reading today is from the Prophet Ezekiel.  God sends prophets to His people.  We don’t always like to hear the words that a prophet speaks.  On the other hand, not everyone who speaks is a prophet.  The Old Testament and the New both understand clearly that a true prophet must speak according to the Word of God, and not according to the words of men.

Today many claim to be prophetic, but most lack any claims to speaking the Word of God.  A true prophet in our Christian tradition must reflect both the Holy Scriptures and the Church.  The Prophet Ezekiel clearly speaks the same message as the other prophets and that message is always the same:  faithfulness to God’s word revealed in Holy Scripture, love for God, love for others, care for the needy and the oppressed.

This message of the Scriptures remains the same from the beginning to the end of the Scriptures.  The message always demands that we give up our own concerns and be concerned only for God and God’s message for us.  The moment we begin to seek our own good, our own enrichment, our own way of thinking—then we become unfaithful to the word of God.

The second reading today is from the Second Letter to the Corinthians.  Here we also listen to God’s word:  “I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”  We are invited to embrace the word of Jesus Christ with all our strength and all our being.  When we do embrace this word of God, we shall surely suffer and know our own weaknesses.  This also is a form of prophecy because the more we embrace Christ and follow His way, the more our lives speak about God and His incredible love for us.  We prophesy simply by living.

The Gospel today is from Saint Mark and takes us back to the challenge of rejection.  We should remember that Ezekiel told us that it does not matter if a prophet is recognized or not.  What matters is that the prophet speaks the word of God.  Today’s Gospel points out that we can reject a true prophet simply because we don’t believe that God acts in the ordinary events of our lives and in seemingly ordinary people.

God is always speaking to us:  in others, in the events of our lives, in the Church, in our world.  In order to understand God we must be attentive first of all to His revealed word.  When that revealed Word is our whole way of living, then we begin to recognize His word in all the other realities of our lives.  Today God invites us:  listen to the prophets!  Open your hearts and minds and beings!  God loves you and wishes to speak with you.  Harden not your hearts today!

Your brother in the Lord,

Abbot Philip


I am but an empty cup….fill me Lord, with your unlimited love…..

We who profess to be Christians, have been infused with the Christ Spirit whose life is intricately intertwined in the tattered threads of our humanity, and He is the One who works in and through us to bring about His plans and purposes for our lives, not we ourselves.

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I have discovered this faith life, is not so much about doing anything, it is all about being God’s Heart of love in the flux of life coming at me.

The Art of Surrendering

This life becomes a daily act of surrendering on my part and a daily action on God’s part to lead, direct, and guide in the continual high call upon my life in intricately allowing His Spirit life to manifest His love wherever I walk and with whomever I meet.

Letting go becomes a necessary process in moving forward in my journey as a woman of Faith in this world. God’s ways are not my ways.  Letting go so God’s love can saturate those places I am giving up in a consecrated devotion in desiring Him above anything else in this world.

God’s Redemptive Love

Paul prayed for the believers in Ephesus that they (along with all of us) would “be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height” and “to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God”(Ephesians 3:18-19).

I am not sure about you, but have you ever stopped to think about the multiple dimensions of God’s love—the breadth, length, depth, and height— that Paul mentions?

I can barely imagine such extraordinary, magnificent, gracious, glorious, expounding, expansive dimensions of this love, where I have only tasted a bit, barely scratching the surface of a love that is untainted by any human concept of love.

God’s love never gives up on me and He pursues me dearly all the days of my life.  His love is faithful, loyal, and remains steadfast.  His love requests no return.  His love is freely gifted to me. His love cannot be forced onto anyone.

Those who come to Him do so in response to His love. Love shows kindness to all. Love  went about doing good to everyone without partiality. Love did not covet what others had, living a humble life without complaining. Love did not brag about who He was in the flesh, although He could have overpowered anyone He ever came in contact with.

Love does not demand obedience. God did not demand obedience from His Son, but rather, Jesus willingly obeyed His Father in heaven. “The world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me” (John 14:31). Love was/is always looking out for the interests of others.

This love has a name, Jesus Christ, Father God, Holy Spirit, who dwell in a perfect union known in the fellowship of their love and when I abide, dwelling in this secret place, I  become their expression of love upon this earth..

When I am deeply touched in their love, I desire to fellowship in this Triune Godhead, receiving love into my heart each day.  It is in this known intimacy in having this near relationship with a living God where I become His love.

My God hears, always responding lovingly, desiring communion with us, calling us to Himself each moment.  God, whose timing is perfect and whose actions always stem from a purely motivatedfoundation of His true love for all mankind.

God’s Love dwells in me

Wherever I travel today, His love dwells in the core of my inner being.

God gave His love to me and offers His love to anyone who will receive it. In the gospel of it is writing;  “For God so loved the world.” John 3:16.  In John 16:27 we read, “For the Father Himself loves you.” The apostle John, again, speaks of God’s love in 1 John 3:1 when he says, “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us.”

These verses are simply a sampling of the many times this truth is expressed in the Scriptures. God is love, and He expresses His love in many ways.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.comWe All Struggle At Times

In those times of uncertainty, unknowing, wondering, it is His love I return in finding Him again, seeking His grace to help in sustaining me through any difficulties.  I myself have weather sudden and unexpected chronic health issues, unrelenting emotional/physical pain, lost job, death of loved one, estranged family members, etc.

Perhaps you too are struggling with some sort of unrelenting issues in your life.  We all do at times and we all need someone to help us to get through these times. We were never meant to be on our own in this faith life. God has gifted us with a community of saints all over the world.

It was in my search for His guidance to lighten my burdens in the dark times I found myself wondering, around, in and through, I discovered His love was the only way to be in this world, regardless of any life altering events that came my way.

It was in those times of not having answers, I realized, I have no power of my own to carry the divine nature of the Christ in me, and I needed to surrendered on a deeper level, allowing His Spirit room to move in the edges and in the corners of all the hidden regions of my heart.

In this process of letting go, in giving up of my ways, it was God’s love who continued to wash me, refreshing me by His Spirit of regeneration, and it was His love who continually changing my inner thoughts, attitudes to be more loving in my response with myself and with others.

Through all of the situations and circumstances in my life, it has been God who drew me nearer to His bosom of love, so that I could become God’s Heart, manifesting His genuine, sincere,authentic love towards others.

Manna From God

Each falling in my own strength, ushered me into the new land graced with honey combs, where I become strengthened in the daily manna from God’s hand, and all I had to do was to come to Him, again and again and again, as an open receptacles thirsting and hungering to receive His presence of love.

“Pleasant words are as a honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.” Proverbs 26:24

Yes, pleasant words, God’s words, scriptures are as honey – health for body and good for my soul. It’s especially healthy for my bones, the strength of body and combined with Holy Spirit living, He holds me together within His frame of Holinessknitting my flesh, bones and blood in the shed blood of the crossinterconnecting me in the sufferings of Christ.

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Book: Self-Abandonment to Divine Providence by Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Holy Spirit Power

In those times of my human failings, He stepped in, lifting me by His resurrection power of His Holy Spirit, where I became His adopted daughter, desiring only Him, longing to be with Him each day, pining to be filled with His sweet love and goodness towards me.

In this way I become the fragrance of His character walking this earthly pilgrimage one step at a time, in and by His abundant mercy and grace.

When I am in the dark, spiritually blind to the secret things of God, it is He who unveils His ways, His love, revealing spiritual insights that are birthed from those dark times when I became blind to His activity in my life, either through wrong decisions, or from life events.

I find myself bowing before Him in humility asking for His forgiveness in my errors in not being His love.

Stepping out in faith often requires me to fall flat on my face in the realization, on my own, I am unable, but in Him, I am more than able to fulfil the purposes and intentions He has on my life, and the greatest ones are in being His breath of love in the hearts of the men, woman and children I meet in my journey.

I do this one step at a time, one moment at a time, one hour at a time, one day at a time, one month at a time, one year at a time….

A New Day is Here

Today is a new day, to begin again. To begin again on the road that revives life in my soul and brings life to all those I touch, as I come into His presence with humbleness, asking forgiveness when I react from my flesh rather than responding through His love.

I am ever thankful for His tender gentle care towards me, as I ask again, for my God to pour into my dry days, His rain of lovefilling my empty cup by His streams of living waters, giving me His compassion for this day.

As I walk this road with others, one step at a time, in and by His ability, I am mindful, He has gifted me with sisters who join with me in this journey, to encourage, to support, to edify, to prayerful lift one another up, for in God we are never alone, and in the fellowship of one anthers’ company, we will never be alone!

The New Way is Love

In scriptures, the book of James tells us to not be surprised when troubles come our way, for we will have many in this world, but Jesus Christ and His love is the way in and through the hard times and Jesus Christ and His love is the way in and through all the good times.

It is in the dark times He draws me ever nearer to Him, as I draw ever nearer to His love, and I am are drawn ever nearer to the community of the saints.

“Draw near to God and He will draw near to me.”  James 4:8

I have learned this faith life is all of us gathering together, walking hand in hand, helping, assisting, being His love Heart, lighting the way for one other, where our love becomes the healing balm, uniting in the fellowship of the Triune Godhead and in the intimacy found in becoming vulnerable with one another in our relationships, where truth, honor and integrity become moral codes.

God as my Source

When I learn the art of dwelling in Him, coming to Him in each moment, drinking from the living waters in the well of life that will never go dry, I am learning the art of abiding, of resting, of being in His Spirit, who becomes the very breath in my lungs, granting me His new life each day generously filling me in His rich unlimited love.

His love becomes my source for enduring in the difficulties found in being human, in being born in the flesh having an earthly vessel, where I become weary at times, where I feel alone at times, where I see the tragedies all around me, and where I come face to face with the overwhelming suffering of people, often beyond what any human being seems capable of bearing.

Then I discover again, His supernatural ability enters into my humanness helping me to persevere in adversity, in the many life challenges, in the often unexpected arrival of life altering events, and in having weathered these times of intense unrelenting suffering.

God’s Agents offering Compassionate Caring

In and through my own pained sorrows, I have learned to carry the compassionate caring of my Lord, with all those I come face to face with who are daily suffering, and I become His active agent in pouring into their souls, an offering of His mercy and grace.

In becoming His holy breath of love in those who have lost hope, in those who are downtrodden, in those who are poor, in those who are ill, in those who know not my God, I can help to inspire a renewed hope simply through those acts of kindness in being sensitive in meeting others right where they are at, not forcing them to be where I am.

When we realize, we can be powerful influencers in our own sphere of the world, helping to ignite passions in others in desiring to seek out this God who is love, in developing spiritual patterns in a new way of being, and showing there is a way we can bridge all that comes to separate us in this world, in learning to relate with others, according to the teachings of Jesus Christ.

In this way we are instilling value and worth into the lives of those we touch, becoming God’s human agents, infusing His love into the souls of those we encounter and our lives become a balm of healing in the midst of the struggles of those we come face-to-face with in this world.

I am but an empty cup….fill me Lord, with your unlimited love…..

Living Intentionally


I have a few questions I would like us to reflect on.  If you wish to share your answers with us in the ‘Penny for your thoughts’ section at the end of this post, please do so, as we can all learn from one another.

  1. Where is my motivations when with others?
  2. What is my life purpose on this earth?
  3. What gives me meaning and value in my life?
  4. Where am I failing in sincerely loving others?
  5. How can I become more balanced as a person in offering compassion?
  6. How can I find God as my source to help me in my life’s struggles?


If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.

— Isaiah 58:10

See also 1 Samuel 1: 15



Reflection by  The Most Rev Msgr William Goh Archbishop of Singapore
Written by The Most Rev William Goh



On The Meaning of Suffering

August 14, 2016

The first time I experienced real suffering in my life I got mad at God: How could he give me such pain without my permission? I found out later that was my pride talking. God doesn’t need my permission for anything (what a shock). But if I get in tune with His plan maybe I can get more power from Him to get through whatever he has planned for me…

John Francis Carey
Peace and Freedom

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Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry the cross. (Titan/public domain)


By Brian Pizzalato


Two questions have plagued the minds of Christians and non-Christians alike: why is there suffering? Why does God allow suffering?


There is one person who stands out above all to give an answer to these deepest of questions, namely St. Paul. In St. Paul’s writings we find a greatly developed meaning of suffering. Pope John Paul II explains why St. Paul writes so much on suffering: “The Apostle shares his own discovery and rejoices in it because of all those whom it can help – just as it helped him – to understand the salvific meaning of suffering” (Salvifici Doloris, 1).


In this column we will consider Paul’s inward focus, the way in which he sees himself, through his suffering, as participating in salvation, especially the Passion, death, and resurrection of Christ. In the next column we will consider his outward focus, namely, his view on how his suffering affects others.


Paul understands that the suffering he endures serves as a way to be like Christ, as well as it being for Christ’s sake. Paul says: “Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as refuse, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own, based on law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God depends on faith; that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his suffering, becoming like him in his death, that if possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead” (Philippians 3:8-11)

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The Good Samaritan by Walter Rane

This passage follows a text where Paul speaks about all he had gained according to the flesh, being a Hebrew and a Pharisee. However, he now considers this gain to be loss and refuse, compared to gaining Christ through his sufferings. He gains righteousness not through his own power but through Christ’s.


Suffering is a participation in the mystery of Christ and is the way Paul can become like Christ. Suffering is his way of “becoming like him (Christ) in his death” so that he “may attain the resurrection from the dead” (Philippians 3:10-11). Through his suffering, Paul sees himself as participating in the Passion of Christ. Because we are being saved through the death and resurrection of Christ we must participate in his Passion to obtain salvation.


We see elsewhere in Philippians this notion of imitating Christ being gain for Paul, whether in death or life. He says: “For I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I shall not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain” (1:19-21).


For Paul to live is gain because while he suffers in this life he is imitating Christ and becoming more Christ-like. Further, to live is gain because while Paul lives he can spread the faith and be an example for the Christian community. He says, “But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account.” (Philippians 1:24) Also, to die is gain because if he were to die he would share in the resurrection of Christ. So whether he lives and suffers, leading to the resurrection for himself and others, or dies and shares in the resurrection himself alone, he will be united to Christ and be an example for all.


Another dimension of Paul’s thought on the meaning of suffering is his conception of suffering as a means for sanctification, keeping pride at a minimum and trust in God at a maximum. He says: “And to keep me from being too elated by the abundance of revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to harass me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I besought the Lord about this, that it should leave me; but he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’…For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities; for when I am weak then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).


It is in weakness that we are more apt to trust in Christ because we realize that what we accomplish is not of our own doing, but the grace of Christ is working in us. Furthermore, it is in our weakness and suffering that we grow in humility and cannot pride ourselves in our accomplishments. We suffer “to make us rely, not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.” (2 Corinthians 1:9)

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Much of our suffering is alone. If we have never asked God to be with us when we are alone, suffering may awaken this need….

Art: Jesus alone in the garden. Pray like you’ve never prayed before…

We see in these verses of 2 Corinthians 12 that this suffering is once again “for the sake of Christ.” It is through grace that Paul can be content with suffering. We receive here an insight into the effectiveness of grace. Grace helps us to participate in the salvific act of suffering and to be content with it.


This is why Paul can say in his letter to the Galatians that “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me…who loved me and gave himself up for me.” (2:20) Christ gave himself up for us in the salvific act of his Passion and death; Paul sees himself doing the same in participating in the Passion and death of Christ. Christ lives in him when he is “crucified with Christ.” John Paul II notes that “Christ also becomes in a particular way united to the man, Paul, through the cross” (SD, 20).

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Paul reveals to us the paradox of the cross. To be crucified usually means death, but for Paul it means Christ living in him. In suffering, when united to Christ, death now means life. This is why he says in 1 Corinthians: “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1:18).


There is this intimate bond between the cross, the epitome of the sufferings of Christ, and the suffering of the people which is a participation in the self-same cross. Thus participation in the cross through suffering is a way of obtaining grace, the power of God to participate in salvation. This is also why Paul can say elsewhere in Galatians: “Far be it from me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world…Henceforth let no man trouble me, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus” (6:14, 17).


Printed with permission from the Northern Cross, Diocese of Duluth, Minnesota.


Brian Pizzalato is the Director of Catechesis, R.C.I.A. & Lay Apostolate for the Diocese of Duluth. He is also a faculty member of the Theology and Philosophy departments of the Maryvale Institute, Birmingham, England. He writes a monthly catechetical article for The Northern Cross, of the Diocese of Duluth, and is a contributing author to the Association for Catechumenal Ministry’s R.C.I.A. Participants Book. Brian is currently authoring the regular series, “Catechesis and Contemporary Culture,” in The Sower, published by the Maryvale Institute and is also in the process of writing the Philosophy of Religion course book for the B.A. in Philosophy and the Catholic Tradition program at the Maryvale Institute.


Brian holds an M.A. in Theology and Christian Ministry with a Catechetics specialization and an M.A. in Philosophy from Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio.


On our Peace and Freedom web site, these are our three top “overnight reads” —


This little “anti-anxiety” prayer was a part of every Catholic Mass for centuries:
Deliver us, Lord, from every evil,
and grant us peace in our day.
In your mercy keep us free from sin
and protect us from all anxiety
as we wait in joyful hope
for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Another anti-anxiety prayer is this one:
God, I offer myself to Thee-
To build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt.
Relieve me of the bondage of self,
that I may better do Thy will.
Take away my difficulties,
that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help
of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life.
May I do Thy will always!
Thank you, God, Amen!

There are many painful experiences that are a part of our lives this side of heaven. These can be emotional such as disappointment, heartache, betrayal, sadness, loneliness, frustration, righteous anger and indignation. Or they can be physical sufferings from disease or injury, from torture, starvation or various other trials. The pain can be intensified when the victim is someone you love, or can even become overwhelming when a person you trusted is the source of the tribulations.

None of our earthly relationships are immune from suffering. It can be inflicted by strangers, co-workers, friends, family members, or even from those within the Church. Through it all we need to resist the temptation to become discouraged, disillusioned or to despair. We cannot let these situations defeat us. We especially cannot allow these events to cause us to lose fervor for the vocations God has given us. We must persevere and stay focused on Jesus Christ.

During these difficult times we can also look to our heavenly friends for prayer and consolation. Two shining examples for me are St. Paul and St. Francis de Sales. By contemplating their words of wisdom, I have received great comfort in the midst of earthly afflictions.

St. Paul and Lessons in Suffering

St. Paul is a powerful witness of what it truly means to be a Christian. His love for Christ and His Church is palpable in his writings. Paul demonstrates the humility, obedience, love and sacrifice required of all those who desire to live an authentic Christian life. He also teaches us how to embrace the inevitable suffering of this life with joy and to resist despair.

Paul writes to the Christians of Corinth of the suffering he endured. “We were so utterly, unbearably crushed that we despaired of life itself (2 Corinthians 1:8).” But, Paul understands one benefit of suffering is we learn to focus on God alone. He wrote, “Why, we felt that we had received the sentence of death; but that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead; he delivered us from so deadly a peril, and he will deliver us; on him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. (2 Corinthians 1:9-10)”

Paul later listed more specifically some of the trials he endured (2 Corinthians 11:23-29), including being harassed by someone who was like a thorn in his side (2 Corinthians 12:7). But Paul emphasizes we are never alone because Christ is always with us giving us the strength we need to persevere.

Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it should leave me, but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions and calamities, for when I am weak then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:8-10)

We are called to bear crosses in this life, and Paul teaches that through them we can develop endurance, character and a hope that will not deceive us (Romans 5:4-5). He shows us how we can also offer up our own sufferings for others (Colossians 1:24) in imitation of Christ. And Paul tells us God will bring about good for those who love Him (Romans 8:28) but this is not going to be without great suffering (Romans 8:17). Finally, Paul encourages us:

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or peril or sword?…No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us (Romans 8:35-37).

We are afflicted in every way but not crushed; perplexed but not driven to despair; persecuted but not forsaken; struck down but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For while we live we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh. (2 Corinthians 4:8-11)

St. Francis de Sales and Christ our Unchanging Lodestar

Another man of wisdom is a Saint form the sixteenth century – Francis de Sales. In his writing On the Devout Life (Part IV, chapter 13) he reminds us that in this world, there is constant change. “No two days are ever exactly alike” and, for man, “he is never long in any one condition.” Then he continues:

…his life on earth flows by like the mighty waters, heaving and tossing with an endless variety of motion; one while raising him on high with hope, another plunging him low in fear; now turning him to the right with rejoicing, then driving him to the left with sorrows; and no single day, no, not even one hour, is entirely the same as any other of his life.

All this is a very weighty warning, and teaches us to aim at an abiding and unchangeable evenness of mind amid so great an uncertainty of events; and, while all around is changing, we must seek to remain immoveable, ever looking to, reaching after and desiring our God. Let the ship take what tack you will, let her course be eastward or westward, northern or southern, let any wind whatsoever fill her sails, but meanwhile her compass will never cease to point to its one unchanging lodestar. Let all around us be overthrown, nay more, all within us; I mean let our soul be sad or glad, in bitterness or joy, at peace or troubled, dry and parched, or soft and fruitful, let the sun scorch, or the dew refresh it; but all the while the magnet of our heart and mind, our superior will, which is our moral compass, must continually point to the Love of God our Creator, our Saviour, our only Sovereign Good.

He is exhorting us to never forget, throughout this life, whether we are experiencing consolation or affliction, we must firmly grasp the unchanging love of God. In doing so, we will be enabled to remain unshaken and unmoved. There will be no tempest too great and no darkness inescapable. Christ is our unchanging lodestar. We are to rely only on Him and nothing will overtake us.

By Allison Low

See also:

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