Posts Tagged ‘indwelling of the Holy Spirit’

Does the Holy Spirit Live in You?

August 22, 2018

The indwelling of the Holy Spirit

Image may contain: indoor

The Holy Spirit is not an “it.” The Holy Spirit is a Person. The Bible says that He is not something, He is Someone. He is God. There are three Persons in the Trinity–God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

The Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit is all-powerful. We read in Micah 3:8, “I am full of power by the Spirit of the Lord.” The Bible says that God is present everywhere. No matter where we go, He is there. “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?” (Psalm 139:7). The Holy Spirit can be in both your heart and my heart, even though we may live a thousand miles apart.

The Holy Spirit has all knowledge. The Bible says, “The Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God” (1 Corinthians 2:10). It is the Holy Spirit who teaches us and takes us deeper and deeper into God’s truth as we go along in our Christian life. We are to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ, but we can grow only by the help of the Holy Spirit.

The moment that we receive Christ as Savior, the Holy Spirit comes to live in our hearts. Our body becomes the temple of the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit helps us live the Christian life. There is not a person anywhere who can be a Christian without the Holy Spirit. There is not a person who can follow Christ without the help of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit sees everything that goes on. He knows what goes on in our hearts. He knows what goes on in our minds. Nothing is hidden from Him. And in Hebrews 9:14 the Bible says that the Holy Spirit is eternal.

The Spirit is called holy. The Bible says, “Be holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16). And one of the Holy Spirit’s ministries is to help make us holy. We ought to be more holy today than we were yesterday. We should always be conforming more to the image of Jesus Christ, and it is the Holy Spirit who helps us in this growing process.

Conviction of Sin
First, the work of the Holy Spirit is to convict us of our sin. Jesus said, “And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (John 16:8). The Holy Spirit uses a mother’s prayers, a tragic experience, a pastor’s sermon or some other experience to convict us of sin and of our need to turn our lives over to Jesus Christ. He points to us and says, “You are a sinner. You need to repent.” We don’t like to hear that, but that is the work of the Holy Spirit. Without that work we could never have our sins forgiven. We could never be saved. We could never go to Heaven.

New Life
Second, the Holy Spirit gives new life. The Bible says that we are dead in sins and trespasses. Our spirit within us, made in the image of God, is dead toward God. Mankind needs life. All have sinned. Therefore, all are dead toward God. The Holy Spirit gives us new life in Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). You must be born again. And the Holy Spirit is the One who does the work of making you a born-again person. It is a supernatural act.

Paul said to Titus, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5). Our good works and all the good things that we have done are not going to save us. We are saved by the mercy of God, by the grace of God. It is something I didn’t earn, something I didn’t work for. It is the gift of God, the gift of salvation.

Indwelling Spirit
Third, the Holy Spirit indwells us. Many of you are spiritually dead and are completely immersed in our hedonistic culture. God says, “I will put my Spirit in you. I will come to live in you.” Your body becomes the temple where God dwells by His Holy Spirit.

That is the reason we should never take anything unclean into our bodies. That is the reason we should discipline our bodies. God loves your body. He doesn’t want it polluted by fleshly lusts and the things to which you give yourself. The Bible says, “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16).

Power to Serve Christ
Fourth, the Holy Spirit gives you power to serve Christ. “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me” (Acts 1:8). I couldn’t do the work I am doing without the power of the Holy Spirit. I am a communicator of God’s message. He called me and gave me that gift. What counts is the message that–according to Scripture–Christ died for our sins, He rose again, He is coming back again and He is ready to come into your heart by the Holy Spirit and make you a new person. That is the Gospel.

The Holy Spirit produces the fruit of the Spirit, which is “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). There are people whom you may not be able to love easily. But the Holy Spirit will give you the power to love them. Love is the greatest evidence that you know Christ. The Holy Spirit can love through you.

There are times I feel that I don’t have joy, and I get on my knees and say, “Lord, where is the fruit of joy in my life?” I find that the joy is there, down deep. It is a deep river. Whatever the circumstances, there is a river of joy.

The peace that passes understanding comes from the Holy Spirit. Whatever the circumstances, I have peace in my heart. I know where I am going, I know where I have been. And I know why I am here–by the Holy Spirit.

Do you know Christ? The Holy Spirit comes to magnify, to glorify and to exalt the Son. Jesus said the Holy Spirit shall not speak of Himself. He comes to magnify the Lord Jesus Christ. He comes to glorify Jesus Christ (John 16:13-14). And the Holy Spirit is pleased when you glorify Christ in your life.

It is the Holy Spirit who draws you to Christ. It is the Holy Spirit who convicts you of your need of Christ. There is only one way of salvation, and that is Christ. It is a dangerous thing to resist the Spirit. “Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?” (Hebrews 10:28–29).

I am asking you to give in to the call of the Holy Spirit. I am asking you to say, “I want Christ in my life, to be my Lord and my Savior.” I know thousands of churchgoers who need to come to Christ, led by the Holy Spirit. You need to say, “I want Christ in my heart.” Say, “I want to know I am going to Heaven. I want my sins forgiven. I want to start a new life.”

By    •   April 30, 2009

https://billygraham.org/decision-magazine/may-2009/does-the-holy-spirit-live-in-you/

****************************************************

Image may contain: one or more people

Catholics often encounter the Holy Spirit and we may, from time to time, find people truly able to carry the gift of the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

Fr. Edward Leen’s book “Holy Spirit” is a great read for any Christian. Leen believes that the Holy Spirit lives inside each of us in a phenomena known as the “indwelling of the Holy Spirit.” Believers say this indwelling of the Holy Spirit makes for the “Sanctity of Human Life” in each of us. And how do we make the most of this most precious gift? We live within God’s Law (The Commandments), and we seek to do the Will of God.

Matthew Kelly tells us in “The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic” to pray and meditate, to study and stay true to the scriptures, to pour ourselves out in loving service to others and to evangelize to have a spectacular God-centered life!

Image may contain: text

“Twelve-step programs teache, of course, twelve steps. Matthew Kelly suggests we can boil those down to just Four Signs of a Dynamic Christian/Catholic.”

Advertisements

Prayer and Meditation for Thursday, August 23, 2018 — “I will put my spirit within you and make you live by my statutes” — Am I seeking to follow the Lord Jesus?

August 22, 2018

Image may contain: 7 people, indoor

“Behold, I have prepared my banquet,my calves and fattened cattle are killed,and everything is ready; come to the feast.’

.

Thursday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 422

Reading 1 EZ 36:23-28

Thus says the LORD:
I will prove the holiness of my great name,
profaned among the nations,
in whose midst you have profaned it.
Thus the nations shall know that I am the LORD, says the Lord GOD,
when in their sight I prove my holiness through you.
For I will take you away from among the nations,
gather you from all the foreign lands,
and bring you back to your own land.
I will sprinkle clean water upon you
to cleanse you from all your impurities,
and from all your idols I will cleanse you.
I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you,
taking from your bodies your stony hearts
and giving you natural hearts.
I will put my spirit within you and make you live by my statutes,
careful to observe my decrees.
You shall live in the land I gave your ancestors;
you shall be my people, and I will be your God.

Responsorial PsalmPS 51:12-13, 14-15, 18-19

R. (Ezekiel 36:25) I will pour clean water on you and wash away all your sins.
A clean heart create for me, O God,
and a steadfast spirit renew within me.
Cast me not out from your presence,
and your Holy Spirit take not from me.
R. I will pour clean water on you and wash away all your sins.
Give me back the joy of your salvation,
and a willing spirit sustain in me.
I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners shall return to you.
R. I will pour clean water on you and wash away all your sins.
For you are not pleased with sacrifices;
should I offer a burnt offering, you would not accept it.
My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit;
a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
R. I will pour clean water on you and wash away all your sins.

Alleluia PS 95:8

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
If today you hear his voice,
harden not your hearts.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MT 22:1-14

Jesus again in reply spoke to the chief priests and the elders of the people in parables saying,
“The Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king
who gave a wedding feast for his son.
He dispatched his servants to summon the invited guests to the feast,
but they refused to come.
A second time he sent other servants, saying,
‘Tell those invited: “Behold, I have prepared my banquet,
my calves and fattened cattle are killed,
and everything is ready; come to the feast.”‘
Some ignored the invitation and went away,
one to his farm, another to his business.
The rest laid hold of his servants,
mistreated them, and killed them.
The king was enraged and sent his troops,
destroyed those murderers, and burned their city.
Then the king said to his servants, ‘The feast is ready,
but those who were invited were not worthy to come.
Go out, therefore, into the main roads
and invite to the feast whomever you find.’
The servants went out into the streets
and gathered all they found, bad and good alike,
and the hall was filled with guests.
But when the king came in to meet the guests
he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment.
He said to him, ‘My friend, how is it
that you came in here without a wedding garment?’
But he was reduced to silence.
Then the king said to his attendants, ‘Bind his hands and feet,
and cast him into the darkness outside,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’
Many are invited, but few are chosen.”
.
*********************************************
.
Related:
.
.
.
**********************************************************

Image result for Monastery of Christ in the Desert, photos

From The Abbot

Monastery of Christ in the Desert

My sisters and brothers in Christ,

Banquets and parties—and yet the invited don’t show up.  Today’s readings are about God’s invitation to you and to me.  Will we answer his invitation?

This is a strong message because so many in our world do not want salvation for everyone nor even do many people want good things for everyone.  There is enormous competition in our world—and so many, perhaps even ourselves, want to be ahead of others.  Such desires destroy our humanity.  We can strive to be the very best person that we can be—but never in competition with another.  We can strive to serve others to the best of our ability—but not by competing with others.  God wants us all to be saved and that should always be our prayer for our sisters and brothers.  May they be the person that God has created them to be:  and if they are better than we, so be it.

Saint Paul is teaching us:  “I know how to live in humble circumstances; I know also how to live with abundance.”  (Philippians 4:12)  The challenge is for us to live the same way.  Whether we have power and might and money or whether we have nothing, we must know how to live for God’s glory and not for our own purposes.

Today’s Gospel from Saint Matthew brings us back to banquets!  Now the King, God Himself, is giving a banquet and those invited don’t come to the banquet.  Jesus uses this image as an image of the Kingdom of God.  We are all invited!  Are we going to respond to the invitation of Jesus?  God wants us.  God also invites us to live in a way given to us by Jesus Himself.  So many people today no longer believe that Jesus is Lord, that Jesus is God, that Jesus is Savior.

When we acknowledge that Jesus is Lord, God and Savior, then we can understand how important it is to respond to His invitation and to live as He has shown us:  love for all others, sacrifice of ourselves for the sake of others, trying to give our lives completely to the Lord through the service of others.

Just as in today’s Gospel, God will not force us.  Jesus accepts our freedom to reject Him and His invitation to the banquet of the Kingdom.  Even though Jesus is God and Lord, He will never compel us against our own choices.  So we are left in the end with our own choice:  I don’t have to be perfect.  I don’t have to do everything right.  I can make mistakes.

At the center of my heart there is only question:  Am I seeking to follow the Lord Jesus?

Your brother in the Lord,

Abbot Philip

****************************************

.
Reflection by The Most Rev Msgr William Goh Archbishop of Singapore
.
23 AUGUST, 2018, Thursday, 20th Week, Ordinary Time
DISPLAY THE HOLINESS OF HIS NAME

SCRIPTURE READINGS: [  Ezekiel 36:23-28Matthew 22:1-14 ]

Happiness and joy in life are always portrayed as a Wedding Feast.  A “wedding” because it is a celebration of love.  A “feast” because it is the way in which we participate in the love of the couple.  This explains why we do not celebrate our wedding privately as a couple in the Registry of Marriages, but we have witnesses and most of all, a religious and a social celebration.  Through the wedding, the couple profess their love for each other for the rest of their lives.  Such a love must be permanent and indissoluble so that it can withstand the trials and storms of life that would surely come in time.  This is why the bible underscores the indissolubility of marriage, without which couples would easily give up trying to perfect their love in times of difficulty, whether because of differences in personality or in issues pertaining to their relationship, family, children, work and friends.  Indeed, as Jesus remarked, “It was because you were so hard-hearted that Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.”  (Mt 19:8)

This is the faithful love that God has for His people.  God invites us to the Wedding feast of His Son.  He wants us to celebrate the love that He has with His Son so that we can partake of His divine love.  For all generations, God has been preparing us to share in His Trinitarian love through Christ Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit.  When He made the covenant with His people, He meant it to be permanent.  In spite of man’s sins and infidelity, God remained faithful to His covenant.  He did not change His mind or give up on humanity regardless how obstinate, evil or incorrigible we were.  He continues to send us messengers, one after another, to invite us to the banquet of love and life.  This is what the first part of the parable of the Weeding Banquet seeks to illustrate.

Yet, we read that this invitation to love and life continues to be rejected even today.  The rejection of God’s invitation by the leaders and the people of Israel continues in our days.  Many of us are like them, rejecting the call of God’s prophets to repent of our sins and to turn back to Him.  Instead, like them, we are also so absorbed in our worldly endeavours, in our work, business, and pleasures.  Indeed, “they were not interested: one went off to his farm, another to his business, and the rest seized his servants, maltreated them and killed them.”   So many of us put money, power, and worldly success first before God and before authentic love.  Even our relationships with people are based on an “I-it” relationship, that is one of use and manipulation, not one of self-giving to the other.   Some do not simply reject the call of God but they, like the Israelite leaders, react with hostility by attacking God and His Church simply because they feel annoyed by the call to holiness, integrity, justice.

Nevertheless, God’s plan is undefeatable.  Man might close the door but God will open the window.  When the chosen people of God rejected Him, God extended His call to the Gentiles and to sinners. He said to His servants, “’The wedding is ready; but as those who were invited proved to be unworthy, go to the crossroads in the town and invite everyone you can find to the wedding.’ So these servants went out onto the roads and collected together everyone they could find, bad and good alike; and the wedding hall was filled with guests.”   Such is the graciousness of God and the insuperable plan of God for humanity.  Israel was supposed to be the light of the nations. “It is too light a thing that you should be my servant  to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the survivors of Israel; I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” (Isa 49:6)  But they failed in that responsibility.  Therefore, God turned to the Gentiles through St Paul who said, “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken first to you. Since you reject it and judge yourselves to be unworthy of eternal life, we are now turning to the Gentiles.”  (cf Acts 13:46f)

Today, we belong to God’s Chosen people because of God’s gracious love.  We are the people of the Promised Land.  We are the New Chosen People of God.  By His grace alone, we are here.  Indeed, we have received the forgiveness of God.  Like those from the highway, we are invited to the Wedding Banquet.  God’s grace is free.  Most of all, we have been forgiven of our sins and we have a future.  We are given a new heart because of the gift of the Holy Spirit given to us at baptism.

This is the fulfillment of the prophecy of Ezekiel in the first reading.  “I am going to take you from among the nations and gather you together from all the foreign countries, and bring you home to your own land.  I shall pour clean water over you and you will be cleansed; I shall cleanse you of all your defilement and all your idols.  I shall give you a new heart, and put a new spirit in you; I shall remove the heart of stone from your bodies and give you a heart of flesh instead.  I shall put my spirit in you, and make you keep my laws and sincerely respect my observances.  You will live in the land, which I gave your ancestors.  You shall be my people and I will be your God.”

Unfortunately, there is another group of people that have lost God again after conversion.  These are fellow Catholics.  They are the ones portrayed in the gospel as the man without the wedding garment.  In those days, all guests were provided with the wedding garment.  They were expected to respect the host by participating in the celebration fully.  But the man was careless and negligent.  He went to the wedding without the garment, which is the baptismal garment which we were given at our baptism.  Instead, they continue to wear their old clothes.  In other words, they have not given up the sinful way of life that they lived before baptism.  They have not died to the Old Adam in them.  They have been negligent in their faith.  They do not belong to any Catholic community and are unsupported in their faith.  As a consequence, although baptized, they remain with the world.

Today, we are called to assume the responsibility of being the light to the nations.  Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth” and “You are the light of the world.  A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”  (Mt 5:13-16)   In this way, we will display the holiness of His great name that has been profaned among the nations in the world.  We are called to be the holiness of God.  By living holy lives based on the gospel of love and compassion, we show forth the glory of God and His holiness.  In this way, we show that we are truly sons and daughters of God our Father who loves us all.  God’s face and glory can only be seen through us, His children.

What is the path to holiness?  Pope Francis in his latest apostolic exhortation reiterates the call to holiness.  He wrote, “At its core, holiness is experiencing, in union with Christ, the mysteries of his life. It consists in uniting ourselves to the Lord’s death and resurrection in a unique and personal way, constantly dying and rising anew with him. But it can also entail reproducing in our own lives various aspects of Jesus’ earthly life: his hidden life, his life in community, his closeness to the outcast, his poverty and other ways in which he showed his self-sacrificing love.”  (GEX 20)  Most of all, we are called to be the holiness of God by living out the beatitudes in our lives.  By so doing, Jesus says we live a blessed and a happy life.  It is this kind of life that can display His love and His holiness.  By living a life of compassion for the poor and a life of forgiveness and mercy for the weak, we will bring sinners, those who have left the Church and those who have never known God’s love to find Him.  In the final analysis, holiness of life is to display the mercy, compassion, forgiveness and the love of God in words and actions.  This is aptly summed up in the parable of the Last Judgement when the criterion for entering the kingdom is based on love, mercy and compassion.  (cf Mt 25:31-46)

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

Bishop Barron on the Parable of the Wedding Banquet

.
*********************************************
.
Reflection by Darris McNeely
.

In the parable, Jesus tells of a king who prepares a great marriage feast for his son. None of the first round of invitees is willing to come, and a second group is invited. While everyone who comes is sitting at the tables enjoying the occasion, one man is singled out for attention because he does not have on the right garments.

“But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless” (Matthew 22:11-12). It doesn’t say he was naked, but he was missing something. He did not have on a wedding garment.

Why is the matter of proper dress at a wedding so important? It’s important because the man was making a statement against what the marriage feast represented. His presence was an intolerable offense.

I know this seems like an overreaction to a modern mind. Dress at any formal event today is more casual than it once was. To understand what we are dealing with here, let’s back up into the story.

A king’s marriage for his son

The rest of this parable is a straightforward story that begins like many of the others—”The kingdom of heaven is like …” In this case it’s like a king who arranges a marriage for his son and sends out invitations. A wedding celebration given by a king is quite an important event. His son is a prince, and such an affair demands attention.

The big royal weddings of our time command a lot of attention. Two years ago Prince William, the grandson of England’s Queen Elizabeth II, was married in Westminster Abbey while the whole world watched. Many who were not invited would have paid a princely sum to get in the door of that wedding.

Because of the interest shown in a modern royal wedding, it’s hard to understand in this parable why some would reject the invitation. But it says, “They were not willing to come” (Matthew 22:3). Even when the event was described—a menu of prime rib, steaks and all you can eat, and dancing to a full orchestra under the stars on the palace grounds—they still wouldn’t come.

The king’s servants, sent to encourage them to attend, were seized by them and treated in a shameful manner, showing great dishonor to the king. The wrath of the king was kindled to a white-hot fury: “But when the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city” (Matthew 22:7-8).

The marriage feast would still go on, regardless of the fact that those invited would not attend. The king decreed that the invitation go out “into the highways,” giving people everywhere from all walks of life, “both good and bad,” opportunity to attend the marriage of his son and the planned festivities. This was an unprecedented invitation. People from all nations were given opportunity to choose to come, or not, to the marriage feast. In this parable is profound teaching.

A calling to salvation

God’s calling or invitation is not a light matter. The calling to salvation, pictured here by the glory of a marriage feast, is a beautiful, precious and once-in-a-lifetime matter. It’s why the garment, or lack of one, was such an issue for the king.

The garment is important to understand. And the attitude of the guest in not wearing the garment is also important. Let’s first look at what the garment represents.

This is where it gets easy because the Bible tells us exactly what the garment of this parable means. Revelation 19 states: “And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, ‘Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.’ And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints” (Revelation 19:6-8)

There it is, spelled out for us. At this marriage of the Lamb, Jesus Christ, to His Bride the Church, she has put on “fine linen,” which is defined as “the righteous acts of the saints.” It is all about personal righteousness—good decisions made by the individual (and the Church is made up of people) that put together a seamless life of godly character and good works. This requires repenting of sin, accepting the sacrifice of Christ to purge our sins, and receiving God’s Holy Spirit to enable us to live in obedience to God’s laws.

The Bible uses clothing as an analogy to show how we “put on” behavior that is pleasing to God.

Notice how the apostle Paul describes this in a passage where he teaches how to put off bad habits and put on good habits: “But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:20-24).

Read the rest:

https://www.ucg.org/the-good-news/lessons-from-the-parables-matthew-22-the-invitation-to-the-wedding-feast

Morning Prayer for Sunday, August 19, 2018 — My First Responsibility Is To My Higher Power, I Am a Loyal Citizen After That — What we seek cannot be found completely in this life

August 19, 2018
Image may contain: 4 people, text
Thought for the Day

“People of faith have a logical idea of what life is all about. There is a wide variation in the way each one of us approaches and conceives of the Power greater than ourself. Whether we agree with a particular approach or conception seems to make little difference. There are questions for each of us to settle for ourselves. But in each case the belief in a Higher Power has accomplished the miraculous, the humanly impossible. There has come a revolutionary change in their way of living and thinking.” Has there been a revolutionary change in me?

Meditation for the Day

Worship is consciousness of God’s divine majesty. As you pause to worship, God will help you to raise your humanity to His divinity. The earth is a material temple to enclose God’s divinity. God brings to those who worship Him a divine power, a divine love, and a divine healing. You only have to open your mind to Him and try to absorb some of His divine spirit. Pausing quietly in the spirit of worship, turn your inward thoughts upward and realize that His divine power may be yours, that you can experience His love and healing.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may worship God by sensing the eternal Spirit. I pray that I may experience a new power in my life.

.
Related:
.

God will help you to raise your humanity to His divinity: Many Christians call this the “indwelling of the Holy Spirit.”

Book:

Image may contain: one or more people

Morning Prayer for Saturday, August 18, 2018 — Seeking a Power greater than ourselves

August 18, 2018

Image may contain: sky, tree, cloud, plant, outdoor and nature

Thought for the Day

“We of agnostic temperament have found that as soon as we were able to lay aside prejudice and express a willingness to believe in a Power greater than ourselves, we commenced to get results, even though it was impossible for any of us to fully define or comprehend that Power, which we call God. As soon as you can say that you do believe or are willing to believe, you are on your way. Upon this simple cornerstone a wonderfully effective spiritual structure can be built.” Am I willing to depend on a Power that I cannot fully define or comprehend?

Meditation for the Day

We seek God’s presence and “they who seek shall find.” It is not a question of searching so much as an inner consciousness of the Divine spirit in your heart. To realize God’s presence you must surrender to His will in the small as well as in the big things of life. This makes God’s guidance possible. Some things separate you from God – a false word, a fear-inspired failure, a harsh criticism, a stubborn resentment. These are the things that put a distance between your mind and God. A word of love, a selfless reconciliation, and a kind act of helpfulness – these bring God closer.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may think and say and do the things that bring God closer to me. I pray that I may find Him in a sincere prayer, a kind word, or an unselfish deed.

****************************************************

Morning Prayer for Tuesday, July 17, 2018 — God does not withhold His presence from you.

July 17, 2018

Image may contain: sky, cloud, ocean, outdoor, nature and water

God does not withhold His presence from you. He does not refuse to reveal more of His truth to you. He does not hold back His spirit from you. He does not withhold the strength that you need. His presence, His truth, His spirit, His strength are always immediately available to you, whenever you are fully willing to receive them. But they may be blocked off by selfishness, intellectual pride, fear, greed, and materialism. We must try to get rid of these blocks and let God’s spirit come in.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may remove all blocks that are keeping me from God. I pray that I may let God come into my life with power.

Related:

 

*************************************
.
Reflection by  The Most Rev Msgr William Goh Archbishop of Singapore
.
17 JULY, 2018, Tuesday, 15th Week, Ordinary Time
PRIDE AND FEAR AS THE CAUSE OF OUR DOWNFALL

SCRIPTURE READINGS: [ISA 7:1-9MT 11:20-24 ]

In the first reading, we read of the precarious situation, Judah was in.  She was under attack by the Northern Kingdom of Israel who was in league with the king of Aram to capture Jerusalem.  Remaliah, king of Israel, “lay siege to it; but he was unable to capture it.”  Of course, this brought fear into the hearts of the king of Judah and his people.  They knew that they would not be able to hold out against their enemies for long.  There would be bloodshed and destruction of the capital.  “Then the heart of the king and the hearts of the people shuddered as the trees of the forest shudder in front of the wind.”

Surely we can empathize with the Ahaz, the king of Judah in his plight.  Necessarily, if we were in that situation and especially if knowing our decision would affect the lives of so many people, we would have considered all the possible outcomes and made a logical and calculated decision to protect the country.  If we were the king of Judah, what decision would we make?  Most likely, the same logical decision as King Ahaz.  Life is full of politics.  We make use of one group of people to fight another.   Therefore, in the mind of King Ahaz it would not be long before Judah would fall under siege from the kings of Israel and Aram.  So in order to find military support, he welcomed the Assyrians to his country.  She became affiliated with the powerful empire of Assyria, paying gold and silver as tribute to the Assyrians. Indeed, they eventually destroyed the Northern Kingdom. The inhabitants from the Northern Kingdom of Israel were the first batch of Israelites to be exiled in 722 B.C.  As Isaiah prophesied, “Six or five years more and shattered Ephraim shall no longer be a people.”

However, by inviting the Assyrians into his kingdom, Ahaz created more trouble for his kingdom.  With a foothold in the country, the Assyrians gradually weakened the city, attacking Judah a few times.  However, it would be to the Babylonians that Judah would fall 250 years later, in 587 B.C.   All these happened in fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah, when he said to King Ahaz, “These two smouldering stumps of firebrands, or because Aram, Ephraim and the son of Remaliah have plotted to ruin you, and have said: Let us invade Judah and terrorise it and seize it for ourselves, and set up a king there, the son of Tabeel.  The Lord says this: ‘It shall not come true; it shall not be.’”

Indeed, the lack of wisdom prevents us from looking further into the implications of what we do for the future.  This is the sadness and the lack of foresight of the world today.  We look for instant benefits and pursue immediate gratification.  But we will eventually suffer, as is already happening today – birth control, aging population, euthanasia, same-sex union, adoption of babies by same sex couples, divorce and falling marriages, dysfunctional families, etc.  More and more, society will become dysfunctional.  This explains all the senseless killings and murders in some countries.

Fear drove King Ahaz to put God outside his decision-making considerations.  He did not trust in God enough to believe that He would be able to help him.  He relied on his might and political maneuvering.  He thought he knew better what to do instead of listening to the Word of God.   This was in spite of the fact that God did not expect him to have pure faith in Him, as demonstrated by His wanting to authenticate His promise through the sign that He would give Him, “Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, saying, ‘Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven’. But Ahaz said, ‘I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test.’”  (Isa 7:10-12) Isn’t this what we do as well? When we do not intend to listen to His word or do His will, we avoid praying or listening to His Word for fear that His word would prick our conscience and we would hesitate in carrying out our will.

If it is not fear that drives us to destruction, then it would be pride.  This was certainly the case of the Jews living in Bethsaida, Chorazin and Capernaum.   These were cities bordering the Sea of Galilee.  These cities, Capernaum, Chorazin and Bethsaida formed what is called the “Evangelical Triangle,” the region where most of Jesus’ miracles were displayed (Mt. 11:20).   In these three places, Jesus performed His miracles.  They were the first cities that Jesus sought to evangelize and demonstrate the coming of God’s Kingdom through His miracles of healing and exorcism.  Yet, the hearts of the people remained hardened.  Hence Jesus said, “Do not give what is holy to dogs; and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under foot and turn and maul you.”  (Mt 7:6)

Yet, there is also a warning for those who reject the Lord in their lives because of other preoccupations.  Those of us who have received more, more would be demanded of us.  “For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away.” (Mt 25:29)  Jesus is firm about the consequences for those who reject Him because they will bring about their own destruction.  And as the Lord said, it would be worse than the punishment inflicted on the cursed cities of Tyre and Sidon.   “Alas for you, Chorazin! Alas for you, Bethsaida!  For if the miracles done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.  And still, I tell you that it will not go as hard on Judgement day with Tyre and Sidon as with you.”  Self-sufficiency makes us proud and arrogant because we think we can do everything by ourselves.  Only those who have suffered much in life know what humility is.

Indeed, the sin of pride is truly a great obstacle to anyone who wants to come close to God or to find the fullness of truth.  For when we are proud or self-sufficient, we tend to rely on ourselves.  Even if we pray to God, it is just a routine and at most a safety measure.  But deep in our hearts, we are not too sure that God can be of real help to us.  We take things into our own hands as Ahaz did.  Pride prevents us from listening to others and trusting in our opinions only.  The book of Proverb warns us, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”  And to Capernaum, the Lord pronounced judgement as well.  “And as for you, Capernaum, did you want to be exalted as high as heaven?  You shall be thrown down to hell.  For if the miracles done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have been standing yet. And still, I tell you that it will not go as hard as the land of Sodom on Judgement day as with you.’”

We need to pray for the gift of humility, because this is the gateway to faith in God.  If many do not trust or believe in God, it is because they think they know better than God and that they can resolve all the mysteries of life on their own.  Only in humility can we come to know where we stand as human beings in this world, our limitations and our total dependence on the blessings of God.  We should be grateful for what we receive.  This has always been the case for Mary and all the great saints in history.  It was because of their humility that the Lord inspired them to do what they did.  God always works great wonders for those who are humble in obeying His word, like the apostles and all holy men.

In the final analysis, we can live in peace, free from fear and anxiety only when we place all our hope in God.  This is what the Prophet Isaiah says to us all.  “Pay attention, keep calm, have no fear, do not let your heart sink.  But if you do not stand by me, you will not stand at all.”  Standing by the Lord Jesus is the only way to overcome all things in life.  Faith in His saving grace and cooperating with Him fully is the way to surrendering all our fears to Him.  As it is said, we must do our best and let God take care of the rest.  We must not manipulate people but allow the process to unfold itself whilst we continue to work for Him.   Faith and humility therefore are two virtues that go together because they are dependent on each other like brothers.

.
Written by The Most Rev William Goh

Image result for God's light, photos

 

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.”

Related image

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.
.
Image result for an angel of Satan, pictures

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.

backlit cemetery christianity clouds
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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.

green trees surrounding lake

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.

Image may contain: one or more people and text

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

 

http://www.catholic.sg/archbishop/scripture-reflection/

.

*********************************

Morning Prayer for Thursday, June 28, 2018 — Maintain your calm and composure amid pressing duties and unending challenges

June 28, 2018

If you can take your troubles as they come, if you can maintain your
calm and composure amid pressing duties and unending engagements,
if you can rise above the distressing and disturbing circumstances in
which you are set down, you have discovered a priceless secret of
daily living. Even if you are forced to go through life weighed down by
some unescapable misfortune or handicap and yet live each day as it
comes with poise and peace of mind, you have succeeded where most
people have failed. You have wrought a greater achievement than a
person who rules a nation. Have I achieved poise and peace of mind?

Meditation For The Day

Take a blessing with you wherever you go. You have been blessed, so
bless others. Such stores of blessings are awaiting you in the months
and years that lie ahead. Pass on your blessings. Blessing can and does
go around the world, passed on from one person to another. Shed a
little blessing in the heart of one person. That person is cheered to
pass it on, and so, God’s vitalizing, joy-giving message travels on. Be a
transmitter of God’s blessings.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may pass on my blessings. I pray that they may flow into
the lives of others.

Image may contain: one or more people

Book: Holy Spirit by Fr. Edward Leen
.
Every human being has the spark of God within. What we want to do is make that spark into hot, life saving flame! We want the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

Related:

Prayer and Meditation for Sunday, June 24, 2018 — “The LORD called me from birth, from my mother’s womb he gave me my name.”

June 23, 2018

He made of me a sharp-edged sword — He made me a polished arrow

For surely the hand of the Lord was with him

God wants us all to reflect the mysteries of God and to point to God by everything in our lives.

Image may contain: one or more people

John the Baptist, wood carving

Elizabeth and Zechariah named him, “John” which in Hebrew means, “God is gracious.”

Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist – Mass during the Day
Lectionary: 587

Reading 1 IS 49:1-6

Hear me, O coastlands,
listen, O distant peoples.
The LORD called me from birth,
from my mother’s womb he gave me my name.
He made of me a sharp-edged sword
and concealed me in the shadow of his arm.
He made me a polished arrow,
in his quiver he hid me.
You are my servant, he said to me,
Israel, through whom I show my glory.Though I thought I had toiled in vain,
and for nothing, uselessly, spent my strength,
yet my reward is with the LORD,
my recompense is with my God.
For now the LORD has spoken
who formed me as his servant from the womb,
that Jacob may be brought back to him
and Israel gathered to him;
and I am made glorious in the sight of the LORD,
and my God is now my strength!
It is too little, he says, for you to be my servant,
to raise up the tribes of Jacob,
and restore the survivors of Israel;
I will make you a light to the nations,
that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.

Responsorial Psalm  PS 139:1B-3, 13-14AB, 14C-15

R. (14) I praise you, for I am wonderfully made.
O LORD, you have probed me, you know me:
you know when I sit and when I stand;
you understand my thoughts from afar.
My journeys and my rest you scrutinize,
with all my ways you are familiar.
R. I praise you for I am wonderfully made.
Truly you have formed my inmost being;
you knit me in my mother’s womb.
I give you thanks that I am fearfully, wonderfully made;
wonderful are your works.
R. I praise you, for I am wonderfully made.
My soul also you knew full well;
nor was my frame unknown to you
When I was made in secret,
when I was fashioned in the depths of the earth.
R. I praise you, for I am wonderfully made.

Reading 2  ACTS 13:22-26

In those days, Paul said:
“God raised up David as king;
of him God testified,
I have found David, son of Jesse, a man after my own heart;
he will carry out my every wish.

From this man’s descendants God, according to his promise,
has brought to Israel a savior, Jesus.
John heralded his coming by proclaiming a baptism of repentance
to all the people of Israel;
and as John was completing his course, he would say,
‘What do you suppose that I am? I am not he.
Behold, one is coming after me;
I am not worthy to unfasten the sandals of his feet.’

“My brothers, sons of the family of Abraham,
and those others among you who are God-fearing,
to us this word of salvation has been sent.”

Alleluia  SEE LK 1:76

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
You, child, will be called prophet of the Most High,
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel  LK 1:57-66, 80

When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child
she gave birth to a son.
Her neighbors and relatives heard
that the Lord had shown his great mercy toward her,
and they rejoiced with her.
When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child,
they were going to call him Zechariah after his father,
but his mother said in reply,
“No. He will be called John.”
But they answered her,
“There is no one among your relatives who has this name.”
So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called.
He asked for a tablet and wrote, “John is his name,”
and all were amazed.
Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed,
and he spoke blessing God.
Then fear came upon all their neighbors,
and all these matters were discussed
throughout the hill country of Judea.
All who heard these things took them to heart, saying,
“What, then, will this child be?”
For surely the hand of the Lord was with him.
The child grew and became strong in spirit,
and he was in the desert until the day
of his manifestation to Israel.
.
***********************************************
.
Reflection From The Monastery of Christ in the Desert
.

My sisters and brothers in Jesus Christ,

Instead of the regular Sunday Mass, today we have the Birth of Saint John the Baptist.  John the Baptist has a huge role in the life of Jesus and prepares others to know of the coming of salvation and of Jesus.  John the Baptist was recognized as a strong religious presence before Jesus was recognized—and John always points to Jesus.  In the same way, you and I must learn always to point to Jesus by the way we live our lives and in our speaking, writing and thinking.

The first reading today is from the Prophet Isaiah.  Isaiah tells us of his own awareness that God had called him to be a servant of God’s presence in all that he does.  Isaiah realized that God had created him to testify to God’s presence and to proclaim God’s presence in his life.  This reading reflects an awareness that many of the prophets had that God wants us all to reflect the mysteries of God and to point to God by everything in our lives.

You and I are invited today to know that God is also calling us in the same way, with the same intensity.  God loves us.  God wants us.  God wants us to proclaim His presence and His works to everyone.  Most of us don’t do that in our lives, but our not doing it does not change God’s wanting it.

The second reading is from the Acts of the Apostles.  It reflects another human trait:  when we someone good, we tend to think of them not only as set apart, but better than ourselves.  The challenge is that God wants us all to be saints.  The word “saint” makes us think of someone better than ourselves.  God wants us all to be saints, not to look better than others, but to reflect His goodness and love to all.  It is always the challenge of doing only what God wants.  This is the challenge of spiritual combat and we are all invited to such spiritual combat.

Saint John the Baptist took up the challenge of doing God’s will and tried to do God’s will with all his being.  John the Baptist took up the spiritual combat of not doing his will but God’s will.

The Gospel today, from Saint Luke, tells the things that happened before the birth of John the Baptist.  The neighbors all knew that there was something special about this child.  We can all claim that there was nothing special about our birth, but it is not so.  The birth of new life, of a new child, is always special—but we don’t pay attention to that aspect.  Today as there are fewer and fewer births in the western world, we begin to see how special each one is.  Only as we begin to pay attention to God do we begin to understand how special each human being is and how each human being can draw others to God and to the mysteries of faith.

May we come to know how special each life is, our own included, and how each of us can point to the Lord Jesus and draw others to Him.

Your brother in the Lord,

Abbot Philip

Morning Prayer For Saturday, June 23, 2018 — Constant Contact with God — Where your treasure is; there will your heart also

June 23, 2018

“How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple-minded?
And how long will scoffers delight in their scoffing
and fools hate knowledge?
Turn back at my reproof
behold, I will pour out my spirit to you;
I will make my words known to you.

Proverbs 1:22-23

(Don’t get Stuck on Stupid)

Image may contain: cloud, text, nature and outdoor

Do not be focused on yourself

No chain is stronger than its weakest link. Likewise, if you fail in the
day-by-day program, in all probability it will be your weakest point.
Great faith and constant contact with God’s power can help you
discover, guard, and undergird your weakest point with a strength not
your own. Intelligent faith in God’s power can be counted on to help
you master your emotions, help you to think kindly of others, and help
you with any task that you undertake, no matter how difficult. Am I
master of my emotions?

Meditation For The Day

You need to be constantly recharged by the power of the spirit of
God. Continue with God in quiet times until the life from God, the
Divine life, by that very contact, flows into your being and revises your
fainting spirit. When weary, take time out and rest. Rest and gain
power and strength from God, and then you will be ready to meet
whatever opportunities come your way. Rest until every care and
worry and fear have gone and then the tide of peace and serenity, love
and joy, will flow into your consciousness.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may rest and become recharged. I pray that I may pause
and wait for the renewing of my strength.

From the book “Twenty Four Hours a Day”

***********************************

“Jesus told his disciples a parable about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary.”

How often we get weary of praying when God does not answer our prayers the way we want Him to answer them!  How slow we are to recognize that God knows better than we what is truly good for us!  How difficult it is to remain praying for what we think is right when nothing good seems to happen to us and when we sense that God has abandoned us!

God never abandons any of us but instead is always with us, seeking to form us as wonderful and loving human beings who have the strength to do what is right and good.  To form anyone requires that we learn how to persevere, how to keep going in the midst of any difficulties, how to accept that if we persevere and keep trying, eventually we see the hand of God present and his loving presence beside us.

My sisters and brothers, let us not be spoiled children who only want our own desires!  Let us grow into women and men who are strong and seek only what God wants and who are willing to suffer for the love of God and the love of others.

Pour Yourself Out:

Image may contain: one or more people and text

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

 

**************************************

Mass For Saturday:

Reflection by The Most Rev Msgr William Goh Archbishop of Singapore

.

23 JUNE, 2018, Saturday, 11th Week, Ordinary Time

SLAVE OF GOD OR OF MAMMON?

SCRIPTURE READINGS: [ 2 CH 24:17-25MT 6:24-34 ]

In the gospel yesterday, Jesus made it clear that “where your treasure is, there will your heart also.”  So today, we are confronted with a decision to choose God or Mammon. This is the crux of today’s Word of God, “No one can be the slave to two masters: he will either hate the first and love the second, or treat the first with respect and the second with scorn.  You cannot be the slave both of God and money.”   What we choose in life will determine our happiness because our focus is dependent on what motivates us in life.  If God is whom we choose, we put God as the center of our life in all that we do or say.  If Mammon is what we choose, then it becomes the controlling factor in all our thoughts, words and actions.  So what is driving us each day in life?

In the first place, we must clarify what it means to be a slave.  The first thing we take note is that a slave is the property of the master.  He lives entirely for the master.  His whole life, all his energy and talents are at the service of the master.  All that he owns belongs to the master, his time and his whole life.  He claims nothing for his own.  The corollary of this also means that he lives from the master.  His life is dependent on the master since he lives for his master.  Since he has nothing that he could claim as his own, the master is the one who looks after him and cares for him since he is serving him.  Otherwise, the slave would be too weak to serve the master and take care of his needs.  So there is this mutual relationship of loyalty and fidelity to each other.  If the master does not treat his servant well, he will suffer ultimately.

Analogously, in our relationship with God, He is our master and we are His servants.  If we consider God as the treasure of our lives, then we would live for Him and Him alone.  He is the sole determinant in whatever we do or say.  This is what Jesus meant when He said, “Set your hearts on his kingdom first, and on his righteousness.”   This entails living for God and His kingdom of justice, love, mercy and compassion.   When we put God and His kingdom values in our lives, then all our energy, talents and resources, all our will and devotion is to make these values of the kingdom prevalent in the world.  In this way, we live for God and for the service of humanity.

All that we have belong to God and therefore our possessions and wealth are only means, not the ends.  They are used for the glory of God and the extension of His reign of love and justice.  Like the birds in the sky or the flowers in the field, we are called to glorify God with our lives.  Our attitude towards things of the world is to use them for the service of love of God and of our fellowmen.  Money and possessions are not used solely for ourselves or just for our selfish enjoyment but we see ourselves as stewards of God’s gifts to be distributed and shared with others.  Our position in society, our health, our wealth, they are all to be used to further the reign of God’s love.

But it also means that we will also live from God alone.  Since everything belongs to Him, we are aligned with His will.  We will do what He wants and not what we want.  We take whatever the Lord has given to us for others.  We accept whatever He gives us without demanding more than we need to serve the plan of God.  If God does not bless us with certain gifts, wealth or position, it is simply because we are not required to serve in that area.  When we endeavor to do God’s will rather than ours, then we will not fall into the sin of pride, envy and greed.  We will live a full life, doing as much as we can in whichever situation we are in, because we are serving our master.  At the same time, we do not crave for things that we do not need for the service of love.  In this way, we live a contented life, free from fear and worry about tomorrow because we know that God will take care of us since we live for Him.

Conversely, when a person lives for Mammon and entrusts his life to the pursuits of this world, regardless whether it is wealth, money or status, then his entire focus is about the world.  The world controls his direction in life.  Like a slave, he lives for money, power and glory.   Whatever he does, it is to increase his wealth, power and glory.  These are the things that matter most.  People are subordinated to this goal.  He will make use of people and often put his family and loved ones second to his worldly pursuits.  Everything is measured in terms of worldly success and gains.  He would even use unscrupulous and unethical means to enrich himself.   All his time and energy is for his ambition and selfish wants.

Such a person lives for himself.  He is focused on himself, his needs, his desires and aspirations.  Because he lives only for himself and can only depend on himself, he lives a life of insecurity.  He is always worried about tomorrow because life is unpredictable.  He wants his will to prevail and his goals to be realized.  But the truth is that one can fall sick and even die, the economy can suddenly collapse; a tragedy could strike anytime and anyplace.  So he lives in fear and worries even as he accumulates more and more; and grows to be more powerful and influential.  Yet, he knows that these things will soon pass and that makes him insecure and fearful that it is a matter of time when he will lose everything that he has.

This was the mistake of King Joash.  He started well as a young king guided and mentored by Johoiada, the high priest who restored the Temple of Jerusalem by removing Queen Athaliah.   When the Temple was restored, the country was also restored to order.  When God is worshipped and loved, then we find our bearings in life because everything is seen in the perspective of the love of God and of our fellowmen.  However, the tragedy of life is that riches and wealth often blind us to the truth.  As the country became prosperous, Joash and his leaders again forgot about Yahweh.  They fell into decadence and allowed idolatry, the worship of false gods and superstitious practices to come into their lives.

When we are consumed by our desires and when God is no longer the center of all that we live for, then we can no longer even hear the truth proclaimed by the prophets.  This was the reaction of King Joash to the prophet, Zechariah, son of Jehoiada the priest.  He forgot completely what his father did for him in helping him to regain the throne from the wicked Queen.  Yet for all that he did for him in his glory, he dismissed the warning of Zechariah.  Instead of being grateful, he had him killed.   As a consequence, the country deteriorated.  Eventually, he was conquered by the Aramean army and was murdered by his own officials.  He got his just desserts for the sins he committed.   God sends prophets to save us from our sins and destruction.  And even when He allows us to suffer for our sins, it is never out of vindictiveness or revenge but to awaken us to the truth about our selfish pursuits and the more important things of life.   If we do not pay heed to His warnings, we too will suffer the same fate.

So, we are called to make a decision today, whether we want to serve God or Mammon.  If we choose God and make Him the center of our lives, we do not have to live in fear for His will is our peace.  By surrendering our lives to Him, we can live in peace and give ourselves entirely to what we do and choose to be happy and fulfilled in any circumstance we are in.  We can be confident that He will look after us as history has shown.  Somehow, we will manage and survive in life.  When we look at our past, the Lord has shown in many situations that He is the Lord of our lives.  “Now if that is how God clothes the grass in the field which is there today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, will he not much more look after you, you men of little faith?”  So we live in faith and trust in the Lord each day, without having to worry about tomorrow.  As Jesus said, “Surely life means more than food, and the body more than clothing!”  If we choose Mammon, that is, to put our trust in worldly things and in ourselves, then the consequence is that we live in perpetual fear and worry because there is no peace in our hearts.  We will always be seeking to fulfill our will.

But the real tragedy for us is not that we choose God or mammon but we want both.  The truth is that no one can serve two masters.  In trying to serve both masters, we end up confused and fickle minded.  One day, we serve God and another day, we serve Mammon.  As such, our lives are lived like a yo-yo, swinging up and down, left and right because we lack focus.  We fall into sin and then get out of sin. This explains why those of us who apparently choose God but not definitively or totally, continue to live in tension, in fear, in worry and lacking peace and joy in our lives.   So the choice is really ours.  The kingdom of God, the reign of His love and peace is ours if we choose to serve Him and make Him the center of our lives.  If we choose Mammon, the world and ourselves, then be ready for the consequences.

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

Prayer and Meditation for Sunday, June 17, 2018 — “For we walk by faith, not by sight”

June 16, 2018

We need to spend some time with the Lord, listening to His words, and wondering what the words mean.  When we do this, we begin to understand Jesus and the Kingdom.

Image may contain: 1 person, text

I, the LORD, bring low the high tree, lift high the lowly tree … Ezekiel

Sounds like: “The last shall be first and the first shall be last.”

Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 92

Reading 1 EZ 17:22-24

Thus says the Lord GOD:
I, too, will take from the crest of the cedar,
from its topmost branches tear off a tender shoot,
and plant it on a high and lofty mountain;
on the mountain heights of Israel I will plant it.
It shall put forth branches and bear fruit,
and become a majestic cedar.
Birds of every kind shall dwell beneath it,
every winged thing in the shade of its boughs.
And all the trees of the field shall know
that I, the LORD,
bring low the high tree,
lift high the lowly tree,
wither up the green tree,
and make the withered tree bloom.
As I, the LORD, have spoken, so will I do.

Responsorial Psalm  PS 92:2-3, 13-14, 15-16

R. (cf. 2a) Lord, it is good to give thanks to you.
It is good to give thanks to the LORD,
to sing praise to your name, Most High,
To proclaim your kindness at dawn
and your faithfulness throughout the night.
R. Lord, it is good to give thanks to you.
The just one shall flourish like the palm tree,
like a cedar of Lebanon shall he grow.
They that are planted in the house of the LORD
shall flourish in the courts of our God.
R. Lord, it is good to give thanks to you.
They shall bear fruit even in old age;
vigorous and sturdy shall they be,
Declaring how just is the LORD,
my rock, in whom there is no wrong.
R. Lord, it is good to give thanks to you.

Reading 2 2 COR 5:6-10

Brothers and sisters:
We are always courageous,
although we know that while we are at home in the body
we are away from the Lord,
for we walk by faith, not by sight.
Yet we are courageous,
and we would rather leave the body and go home to the Lord.
Therefore, we aspire to please him,
whether we are at home or away.
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ,
so that each may receive recompense,
according to what he did in the body, whether good or evil.

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The seed is the word of God, Christ is the sower.
All who come to him will live forever.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MK 4:26-34

Jesus said to the crowds:
“This is how it is with the kingdom of God;
it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land
and would sleep and rise night and day
and through it all the seed would sprout and grow,
he knows not how.
Of its own accord the land yields fruit,
first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.
And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once,
for the harvest has come.”He said,
“To what shall we compare the kingdom of God,
or what parable can we use for it?
It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground,
is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth.
But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants
and puts forth large branches,
so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.”
With many such parables
he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it.
Without parables he did not speak to them,
but to his own disciples he explained everything in private.
.
***********************************************
.
First Thoughts From Peace and Freedom
.
People used to talk a lot about extrasensory perception or ESP, also called sixth sense or second sight. That’s the powerful feeling about where to go, what to do and how to proceed.
.
Christians would be more comfortable talking about the Holy Spirit — a God centered type of guidance system informed by scripture, prayer and even God Himself.
.
After all, ESP could be fueled by heroin or cocaine… or lust, selfishness, greed or maybe anger.
.
God wants us to choose the right path.
.
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ.”
.
There will be an accounting. And to reach a life that will “pass muster,” we start as small as a mustard seed and try to grow in the way of the Lord.
.
This takes work and prayer and dedication.
.
Our choice is to pick God’s Way or the Highway.
.
But remember, the Highway is full of disorder even if we manage to avoid the worst of it — the opiates, prostitutes and the rest.
.
God’s way, even with the required work, is still easier than the Highway — especially when it’s time to give our accounting!
.
.
**********************************************
.
Reflection By The Abbot, Monastery of Christ in the Desert
.

My sisters and brothers in the Lord,

Parables!  Jesus is often speaking to us in parables.  Often we don’t spend enough time thinking about the parables, about the images that He gives us.  We need to spend some time with the Lord, listening to His words, and wondering what the words mean.  When we do this, we begin to understand Jesus and the Kingdom.

The first reading today is from the Prophet Ezekiel.  We have many images in this reading.  However, the message is clear:  “All the trees of the field shall know that I, the Lord, bring low the high tree, lift high the lowly tree, wither up the green tree, and make the withered tree bloom.”  The message is simple:  God is God and we humans are not God and cannot control our world or anything in it.  We have the appearance of control, but the world spins out of control when we humans no longer respect God nor respect the ways of God for us.  This has happened over and over in human history and we humans seem incapable of learning the lesson:  follow the Lord and life is very good!  Abandon the Lord and life becomes unbearable.

The second reading is from the Second Letter to the Corinthians.  The small passage that we read today repeats the lesson from the Prophet Ezekiel:  “We walk by faith, not by sight.”  When we walk by faith, we listen to the Word of God and strive to form our lives by that Word.  If we walk by sight, we no longer believe in the Lord because the present world tells us that God is not necessary, is only a foolish thought of humans, and that life is much better without God.

Once again we are confronted with the truth:  With God there is mercy!  Without God, all becomes useless and without meaning.  The only meaning without God is the human being.  The human being is always fickle, always seeking its own good, always looking for please and wealth and power.  As our world continues to abandon God, we can expect worse things yet to happen.

Today’s Gospel is from Saint Mark and brings us back to parables and images.  What is the Kingdom of God like, Jesus asks?  Well, it is something that we cannot control.  It is like planting a field and not understanding why the plants grow.  The Kingdom of God is all around us and is within us—but we have a choice to recognize it or to ignore it.  Whether we recognize the Kingdom or ignore the Kingdom, the process of the Kingdom is still at work:  time is given to us to give ourselves to God.

The Kingdom of God is very small and that is why so many cannot see it.  Small.  Not small in size but small in its beginnings within us and within our communities.  Yet it can grow and become so powerful.  God never forces Himself upon us.  We can always invite God to grow within us and within our communities.

When we see the grass grow or when we see a tree grow, we can think of the Kingdom of God!  When we see birds fly in the air, we can think of the Kingdom of God.  God is always at work and always loving us.  May we open our eyes and our hearts to Him.

Your brother in the Lord,

Abbot Philip

************************************************

Related:

.

**********************************************