Posts Tagged ‘will of God’

Morning Prayer for Friday, November 16, 2018 — Gratitude, Thanksgiving and Keeping Our House in Order

November 16, 2018

We are now nearing “Thanksgiving” and need to remind ourselves of the importance of gratitude. We need to strive to rid ourselves of our inner conflicts and count our blessings. No resentments. No “at war with myself.” No wreckage of the past and no wreckage of the future. Stay in the present moment and seek inner peace, peace of soul.

My life should make sense. Service to others helps us do that.  It was full of broken resolves and frustrated hopes and plans. I was getting nowhere fast. No wonder my nerves were all shot. I was bumping up against a blank wall and I was dizzy from it. A.A. taught me how to get organized and to stop fighting against myself. Have I got rid of inner conflicts?

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Meditation for the Day

“When two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them.” The spirit of God comes upon His followers when they are all together at one time, in one place, and with one accord. When two or three consecrated souls are together at a meeting place, the spirit of God is there to help and guide them. Where any sincere group of people are together, reverently seeking the help of God, His power and His spirit are there to inspire them.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may feel the strength of a consecrated group.

Related:

(Christians are defined by their gratitude)

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Morning Prayer for Thursday, November 15, 2018 — Finding God’s Miracle-Working Power

November 15, 2018

We should work to become less sensitive and less easily hurt. Feelings cannot effectively run our lives. Feelings are not facts and they change. If life in this world is always about “me” and I take myself too seriously — psychological problems will be the result.  What happens to me now is not so important when I am in service to others and seeking to follow the will of God.  Once we have established inner peace or peace of soul, we can take it on the chin if necessary and smile.  We should learn to laugh at self-pity because it’s so childish.

John Francis Carey
Peace and Freedom 

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Meditation for the Day

God’s miracle-working power is as manifest today as it was in the past. It still works miracles of change in lives and miracles of healing in twisted minds. When a person trusts wholly in God and leaves to Him the choosing of the day and hour, there is God’s miracle-working power becoming manifest in that person’s life. So we can trust in God and have boundless faith in His power to make us whole again, whenever he chooses.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may feel sure that there is nothing that God cannot accomplish in changing my life. I pray that I may have faith in His miracle-working power.

Meditation and Prayer from “Twenty Four Hours a Day”

Morning Prayer for Wednesday, November 14, 2018 — I pray that I may try to follow God’s design today

November 14, 2018

Isn’t It God’s Job to Judge Others?

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A better way than judging people is to look for all the good in them. If you look hard enough and long enough, you ought to be able to find some good in every person.  My job is to try to bring out the good, not criticize the bad. Everyone is used to being judged and criticized. That has never helped anyone.  We tell people they can change. We try to bring out the best in them. We encourage their good points and ignore their bad points. People are not converted by criticism. Do I look for the good in people?

Meditation for the Day

There must be a design for the world in the mind of God. We believe His design for the world is a universal fellowship of men and women under the fatherhood of God. The plan for your life must also be in the mind of God. In times of quiet meditation you can seek for God’s guidance, for the revealing of God’s plan for your day. Then you can live this day according to that guidance. Many people are not making of their lives what God meant them to be, and so they are unhappy. They have missed the design for their lives.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may try to follow God’s design for today. I pray that I may have the sense of Divine Intent in what I do today.

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Isn’t It God’s Job to Judge Others?

Judging Others – You Be the Judge

Opportunities for judging others are readily available. A summons for jury duty expects us to impartially judge the culpability of an individual. During an election we judge, by comparison, each candidate’s integrity. Televised court cases entertain, while allowing the viewer to “judge” the defendants or the wisdom of the judge’s verdict. Pronouncing judgment upon others seems human nature!

Our fondness of judging others extends far beyond legal or civic matters. People are especially good at speaking out against all kinds of things they find offensive. Sadly, their focus may center on the person, instead of the action.

Jesus knew humans would struggle with judging and He contained a stern warning in His Word: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:1-5).

This verse does not mean that we should never make judgments. Obviously, we make judgments every day. We judge between right and wrong, dangerous choices from safe ones, etc. Jesus is cautioning us to not judge others in a hypocritical way. He is telling us to take the log out of our own eye so that we can help the other person. We shouldn’t be habitually critical of someone when our own sin needs corrected as well.

What else does the Bible say about judging others?

  • Don’t judge anyone by your human limitations. Only God’s judgments are flawless (John 8:15-16).
  • Don’t be quick to condemn someone else’s actions. God is patient, but He doesn’t overlook anyone’s disobedience, especially yours (Romans 2:1-5).
  • Don’t attack each other. Try to be a good example so others won’t copy your bad behavior (Romans 14:13).
  • Don’t speak destructive things about others. Are you qualified to perfectly judge someone else? (James 4:11-12).

Judging Others – You Lose

By judging others in an unbiblical and hypocritical way, we pay an enormous price. In every case, our choice to criticize another person causes severe damage in our lives. Ridiculing others exposes us to the righteous judgment of God, and we bring more suffering on ourselves by our complaints against one another than we are aware of (James 5:9). Judging people and accusing them is what Satan does (Revelation 12:10).1 In addition to ruining other people’s lives, judging others in an unbiblical way:

  • Robs us of hope – Our critical spirit steals our joy and peace, making it impossible to trust in God’s power (Romans 15:13).
  • Attempts to question God’s authority – When we judge another, our sins become magnified in God’s eyes (John 8:3-7).
  • Pollutes our heart – When we judge, we often intend malice, while slandering another person (Mark 7:20-23).
  • Makes us vulnerable to hatred – We plant seeds of unforgiveness and condemnation that take root in our hearts and minds (Proverbs 6:16-19).
  • Places us in opposition to God – Our refusal to humble ourselves cultivates pride (1 Peter 5:5-6).

Judging Others – On the Other Hand

Just as believers are not to condemn others, we are not to ignore sin.2 In a sense, this requires the act of judging others in a biblical way. It is important to know the difference between the judging mentioned in Matthew 7:2-5 and the righteous kind of judgment that comes with discernment. John 7:24 says, “Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.”

If a believer sees another believer sinning, he is instructed to confront the person in a respectful and loving way. Matthew 18:15-17 says, “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.”

The ultimate goal of confronting the person is to bring repentance. In this sense, we are called to judge sin—always with the goal of repentance and reconciliation.

“Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction” (2 Timothy 4:2). God commands believers to point out the truth in hope—and with Christ-like compassion—bringing repentance and restoration to the sinner (James 5:20).

As Christians, with all our imperfections and failures, God chose to see us as holy and blameless (Ephesians 1:4). God also gives us a choice.

https://www.allaboutgod.com/judging-others.htm

Morning Prayer for Saturday, November 10, 2018 — Selfishly seeking pleasure does not bring true happiness

November 10, 2018

The secret to true happiness…

I am less self-centered. The world used to revolve around me at the center. I cared more about my own needs, desires and my own pleasure, my own way,, myself than I did about the whole rest of the world. What happened to me was more important than anything else I could think of. I was selfishly trying to be happy and therefore I was unhappy most of the time. I have found that selfishly seeking pleasure does not bring true happiness. Thinking of myself all the time cut me off from the best in life. My spiritual journey has taught me to care less about myself and more about the other person. Am I less self-centered?

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Meditation for the Day

When something happens to upset you and you are discouraged, try to feel that life’s difficulties and troubles are not intended to arrest your progress in the spiritual life, but to test your strength and to increase your determination to keep going. Whatever it is that must be met, you are to either overcome it or use it. Nothing should daunt you for long, nor should any difficulty entirely overcome or conquer you. God’s strength will always be there, waiting for you to use it. Nothing can be too great to be overcome, or if not overcome, then used.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may know that there can be no failure with God. I pray that with His help I may live a more victorious life.

From Twenty Four Hours a Day

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I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. (John 10:10)

“The precious gift of abundant life. People often turn away from it, reject it, and will have none of it. Do not let this be true of you.” (Twenty Four Hours a Day, August 14)

See also:

Morning Prayer for Friday, November 9, 2018 — God Grant Me Cheerfulness

November 9, 2018

“Cheerfulness is a sign of a generous and mortified person who forgetting all things, even herself, tries to please her God in all she does for souls. Cheerfulness is often a cloak which hides a life of sacrifice and a continual union with God.”

— Mother Teresa (St Teresa of Calcutta)

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Is a negative person good for anybody? Is being moody and unhappy a sign of spiritual growth?

We all go though terrible turmoil in life. In many ways, life is a journey of ups and downs. The ups can give us ecstatic joy. Our downs can make us miserable, depressed and useless. For many these depressions turn into drug abuse, addiction, even murder and suicide.

We always have a choice. We we stop mourning our losses, we need to return to God and the world He has given us. We can stay on the side of the living and the side of God — or we can defect to the other side, the dark side.

Spiritual experts say God is talking to us. But we can only hear Him when we are still. Peaceful.

When we are angry, we hear nothing but ourselves, our inner demons and negative vibes.

For me it’s best for everyone when I stay on God’s side, meditate, listen for his direction, and maintain a cheerful demeanor. Service to others allows us to find a healthy and humble self respect while doing God’s work, God’s will.

Prayer:

God grant me cheerfulness. And keep me on the right path with gratitude, humility and service to others.

John Francis Carey
Peace and Freedom

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Molly Esterline is hugged by David Crawford on the scene of a shooting at a bar in Thousand Oaks, California, on Thursday, November 8.

Photo: Aftermath at Thousand Oaks

From Twenty Four Hours A Day for November 9:

I have learned to be less negative and more positive. I used to take a negative view of almost everything. Most people, in my estimation, were bluffing. There seemed to be very little good in the world, but lots of hypocrisy and sham. People could not be trusted. They would “take you” if they could. All churchgoers were partly hypocrites. It seemed I should take everything “with a grain of salt.” That was my general attitude toward life. Now I am more positive. I believe in people and in their capabilities. There is much love and truth and honesty in the world. I try not to run people down. Life now seems worthwhile and it is good to live. Am I less negative and more positive?

Meditation for the Day

Think of God as a Great Friend and try to realize the wonder of that friendship. When you give God; not only worship, obedience, and allegiance, but also close companionship, then He becomes your friend, even as you are His. You can feel that He and you are working together. He can do things for you and you can do things for Him. Your prayers become more real to you when you feel that God counts on your friendship and you count on His.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may think of God as my Friend. I pray that I may feel that I am working for Him and with Him.

Related:

Positive Psychology, Wellness, and You

https://caps.tcnj.edu/self-help-resources/positive-psychology-wellness-and-you/

and

For more than a decade of my life, I had struggled with debilitating anxiety, panic attacks and depression. Like millions of people around the world, I longed to discover a magic pill to cure my ills and promise me nirvana. But, despite taking many medications, ongoing psychotherapyelectroconvulsive therapy (ECTs), hospitalizations and failed suicide attempts, wellness had remained a distant dream. The anti-anxiety medications and antidepressants worsened my symptoms, and made me more agitated, depressed and suicidal. And I was utterly confused why the medications that were supposed to alleviate my symptoms exacerbated them instead.

Staring out of the fifth-floor hospital window one day after yet another failed suicide attempt, I promised to take charge of my life and create a life of wellness. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I just wanted to be well.

By Gayathri Ramprasad

The Eight Dimensions of Wellness

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/shadows-in-the-sun/201411/the-eight-dimensions-wellness

Morning Prayer for Monday, November 5, 2018 — Make me an instrument of your peace

November 5, 2018

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When fear is replaced by faith, the world gets better.

The world would sooner be brought close to God. His will would sooner be done on earth, if all who acknowledge Him gave themselves unreservedly to being used by Him. God can use every human being as a channel for divine love and power. What delays the bringing of the world closer to God is the backwardness of His followers. If each one lived each day for God and allowed God to work through him, then the world would soon be drawn much closer to God, its Founder and Preserver.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may be used as a channel to express the Divine Love. I pray that I may so live as to bring God’s spirit closer to the world.

From the Book “Twenty Four Hours A Day”

Related:

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Prayer of Saint Francis 

Lord make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy
O divine master grant that I may
not so much seek to be consoled as to console
to be understood as to understand
To be loved as to love
For it is in giving that we receive
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it’s in dying that we are born to eternal life
Amen
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 (We can’t hear God when we are angry and upset)
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“Be still and know that I am God.” The moments of deepest prayer are usually moments of quiet awe before the throne of God.
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God is a God of peace. He does not speak and does not operate except in Peace — Jacques Philippe, author of “Searching for and Maintaining Peace”
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For God is not a God of disorder but of peace–as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people. — 1  Corinthians 14:33
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The most often repeated instruction to man in the Holy Scripture is: “Do not be afraid.”

This little “anti-anxiety” prayer was a part of every Catholic Mass for centuries:
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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.
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Nada Te Turbe (Let nothing disturb you)
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Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.— St. Teresa of Avila
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Prayer and Meditation for Sunday, November 4, 2018 — The Promised Land — May you grow and prosper the more

November 4, 2018

We are challenged to believe — and to have a better life as a result.

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Seeking the life of true freedom

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Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 152

Reading 1 DT 6:2-6

Moses spoke to the people, saying:
“Fear the LORD, your God,
and keep, throughout the days of your lives,
all his statutes and commandments which I enjoin on you,
and thus have long life.
Hear then, Israel, and be careful to observe them,
that you may grow and prosper the more,
in keeping with the promise of the LORD, the God of your fathers,
to give you a land flowing with milk and honey.”Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone!
Therefore, you shall love the LORD, your God,
with all your heart,
and with all your soul,
and with all your strength.
Take to heart these words which I enjoin on you today.”

Responsorial Psalm  PS 18:2-3, 3-4, 47, 51

R. (2) I love you, Lord, my strength.
I love you, O LORD, my strength,
O LORD, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer.
R. I love you, Lord, my strength.
My God, my rock of refuge,
my shield, the horn of my salvation, my stronghold!
Praised be the LORD, I exclaim,
and I am safe from my enemies.
R. I love you, Lord, my strength.
The LORD lives! And blessed be my rock!
Extolled be God my savior.
You who gave great victories to your king
and showed kindness to your anointed.
R. I love you, Lord, my strength.

Reading 2 HEB 7:23-28

Brothers and sisters:
The levitical priests were many
because they were prevented by death from remaining in office,
but Jesus, because he remains forever,
has a priesthood that does not pass away.
Therefore, he is always able to save those who approach God through him,
since he lives forever to make intercession for them.It was fitting that we should have such a high priest:
holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners,
higher than the heavens.
He has no need, as did the high priests,
to offer sacrifice day after day,
first for his own sins and then for those of the people;
he did that once for all when he offered himself.
For the law appoints men subject to weakness to be high priests,
but the word of the oath, which was taken after the law,
appoints a son,
who has been made perfect forever.

Alleluia JN 14:23

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Whoever loves me will keep my word, says the Lord;
and my father will love him and we will come to him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MK 12:28B-34

One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him,
“Which is the first of all the commandments?”
Jesus replied, “The first is this:
Hear, O Israel!
The Lord our God is Lord alone!
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul,
with all your mind,
and with all your strength.

The second is this:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no other commandment greater than these.”
The scribe said to him, “Well said, teacher.
You are right in saying,
‘He is One and there is no other than he.’
And ‘to love him with all your heart,
with all your understanding,
with all your strength,
and to love your neighbor as yourself’
is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding,
he said to him,
“You are not far from the kingdom of God.”
And no one dared to ask him any more questions.
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Reflection from The Abbot
Monastery of Christ in the Desert
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My sisters and brothers in Christ,

Today the readings invite us to place our love of God before all else in our lives.  Already in the Old Testament, the prophets and many of the writers recognized that God must come first.  When God is first, our lives become ordered and work well.

The first reading is from the Book of Deuteronomy and speaks clearly:  “Therefore, you shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength.”  We are perhaps so used to these words that they have become meaningless to us.  We need to listen to them again and let them touch the depths of our hearts.  These words need to be written in our hearts and lived in our lives.  This God who has come in time and history to save us is asking us for our whole lives.

Today many people no longer believe that God exists or that God has spoken.  We are invited to make a choice in our lives:  either God exists and we must serve Him or God does not exist and we should reject the craziness of the teachings about God.  Instead, many of us won’t make a clear choice.  We will stay in doubt but not choose.  We want to believe but are frightened of believing and find it easier not to believe.  The readings today call us to a choice.

The second reading today comes from the Letter to the Hebrews.  This letter is always speaking about Jesus as the High Priest.  Many of us are not so familiar with this image of a High Priest, which comes from the Jewish faith.  The High Priest is an important figure because it is the High Priest who makes sacrifices.  The author of this letter wants us to understand that the High Priests of the Jewish people always changed because they died.  Instead of that kind of High Priest, we have Jesus, who never dies:  “Jesus, because he remains forever, has a priesthood that does not pass away.  Therefore, he is always able to save those who approach God through him, since he lives forever to make intercession for them.  It was fitting that we should have such a high priest.”

It is Jesus who opens the door to heaven for us.  It is Jesus who shows us how to pray always.  It is Jesus who shows us how to sacrifice ourselves for others.  Because Jesus is God, Jesus opens the door to God for us.

Still we are challenged to believe.  All of this religious language must become our lived experience of God and of His presence in our daily lives.

The Gospel from Saint Mark brings us back once again to this challenge of love for God and love for others.  Only when we live this way, with love for God and others, can we claim to be followers of Jesus.  Even if we talk about Jesus, unless we follow His way of living, we are only talking about Him and not believing in Him with our lives.  Jesus wants us to love Him and to live as He lived, in sacrificial gift for others.  Jesus loves us.  Will we love Him and follow Him?

Your brother in the Lord,

Abbot Philip

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Reflection by  The Most Rev Msgr William Goh Archbishop of Singapore
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04 NOVEMBER, 2018, Sunday, 31st Week, Ordinary Time

ENTERING INTO THE PROMISED LAND

SCRIPTURE READINGS: [ DT 6:2-6HEB 7:23-28MK 12:28-34 ]

We all seek happiness in life.  No one enjoys suffering in any form, whether from hunger or from failed relationships.  We all seek meaning and purpose in life.  This is what the Lord desires for us as well.  God wants to lead us to a land “where milk and honey flow”, where there is plenty and where people live in love and in harmony.

In the first reading from the book of Deuteronomy, Moses, who had led the people out of Egypt, the land of slavery, into the desert was preparing them to enter the Promised Land.  Moses did not want them to make the same mistakes as their ancestors did.  When the people rebelled against God, the Lord said to them, “none of the people who have seen my glory and the signs that I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and yet have tested me these ten times and have not obeyed my voice, shall see the land that I swore to give to their ancestors; none of those who despised me shall see it.”  (Num 14:22f)

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So Moses gave them the commandments as the key to happiness in the Promised Land.  “If you fear the Lord your God all the days of your life and if you keep all his laws and commandments which I lay on you, you will have a long life, you and your son and your grandson. Listen then, Israel, keep and observe what will make you prosper and give you great increase, as the Lord the God of your fathers has promised you, giving you a land where milk and honey flow.”  These commandments were the call to love God with their entire being and to love their fellowmen, practicing justice and compassion, not just among themselves but for the poor and the strangers.

However, over the years, the commandments were elaborated and supplementary commandments were added to specify the Mosaic Laws.  So much so that by the time of Jesus, there were 613 laws to be observed.  Some would demand that all must be obeyed equally, but some scholars make a distinction between the major and minor laws.  The truth is that it was impossible to truly observe all the laws, not just in the letter but more so in the spirit.  Those who broke the laws were condemned as sinners and were ostracized from the community. Those who tried to keep the laws, found them onerous and burdensome.  The smarter ones like the scribes and the Pharisees would try ways to circumvent the law using legal interpretations. Regardless, the laws in themselves could not give life and make Judaism legalistic.  Those who kept them became self-righteous; and those who could not, gave up completely to a life of sin.

Indeed, this is the case for Catholics as well.  Many Catholics think that the Catholic Faith consists of a set of divine and moral laws to be observed.  Many obey them reluctantly for fear of being punished in hell.  So Catholics do good works in order to merit salvation, not because they love God or their fellowmen.  It is to earn merits lest they go to hell.  It is not about loving others or God but protecting our interests and saving our souls.

What is the purpose of a true religion?  It is to give life to us.  Jesus said, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”  (Jn 10:10)  Religion should not rob us of our joy and happiness in life.  The laws are not meant to make us live in fear and restrict our freedom.  Rather, the laws enable us to live a life of true freedom in the Spirit.  St Paul wrote, “For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”  (Gal 5:1) “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things.”  (Gal 5:22f)  Happiness in life therefore is to live in the freedom of the Spirit, which is the freedom of love.

Indeed, there is only one law; it is the law of mutual love.  “Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments … are summed up in this word, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ Love does no wrong to a neighbour; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.”  (cf Rom 12:8-10)  Loving our neighbours help us to encounter God’s love through them.  In loving them, they too will encounter God’s love in us.  So loving our neighbours can lead us to God provided our love is pure, holy, sincere and unconditional.   Indeed, as John said, “God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.”  (1 Jn 4:16)

It is within this context that we can understand the teaching of our Lord when He reduced all the commandments to simply two, namely, love of God, self and neighour. “This is the first: Listen, Israel, the Lord our God is the one Lord, and you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: You must love your neighbour as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”

However, the love of God and neighbour presupposes that we are loved by God first.  Why is this so?  This is because the capacity to love ourselves and others presupposes that we are loved unconditionally first.  We cannot give what we do not have; otherwise, we will only make use of others to fill up the vacuum in our lives by loving them.  This so-called love of neighbour would not be unconditional but more a love for self rather than the other.  This explains why St John wrote, “Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.”  (1 Jn 4:7f)  When Moses said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength”, it was in the context of how much God loved them by delivering them from slavery, protecting and providing for them for the journey.

The capacity to love must come from God Himself.  Pope Emeritus Benedict made it clear in his first encyclical, “God is Love.”  He said, “We have come to believe in God’s love: in these words the Christian can express the fundamental decision of his life. Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.”  (Deus est Carita 1)  St John reiterated this when he wrote, “God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him.  In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.”  (1 Jn 4:10-12)

Nevertheless, the point for us Christians is that we have seen God in Christ.  “And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world. God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. So we have known and believe the love that God has for us.”  (1 Jn 4:14-16)  This is what the Lord told His disciples, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.”  (cf Jn 14:9-11)  In Christ, therefore we have seen God, His unconditional love and mercy for us all.

This is what the second letter of Hebrews wants us to found our faith on, namely, in the sacrificial love of Christ for us.   Christ is our High Priest because He gave up His life as a sacrifice in atonement for our sins.  Because He lives forever in His resurrection, He becomes for us our eternal High Priest.”  By His example of total giving to God and His fellowmen, Jesus leads the way for us to find fullness of life through the love of God and others in total self-giving.  Most of all, even when we fail to love as He loved us because of human weakness, we are assured that we are always forgiven.  In this way, we will never hate ourselves, but feel the love and mercy of God even more, and this makes it possible for us to love others with the same love and mercy we have received from Him.

In loving God who loves us, we love all those whom He loves as well.  As St John wrote, “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the parent loves the child. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments.”  (1 Jn 5:1f)  When we love someone, we seek to please him or her in all things, especially by loving all those whom he or she loves.  Thus, the circle is complete.  We begin by being loved by God unconditionally, then we love ourselves and with this love in us, we want to return that love to God and we do this concretely by loving Him in our neigbours.  With the scribe, we too must to the Lord, “Well spoken, Master; what you have said is true: that he is one and there is no other. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and strength, and to love your neighbour as yourself, this is far more important than any holocaust or sacrifice.”

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

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

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Prayer and Meditation for Wednesday, October 31, 2018 — Live Life More Abundantly

October 31, 2018

God has called us through the Gospel to possess the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ

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Wednesday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 481

Reading 1 EPH 6:1-9

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
Honor your father and mother.
This is the first commandment with a promise,
that it may go well with you
and that you may have a long life on earth.

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger,
but bring them up with the training and instruction of the Lord.

Slaves, be obedient to your human masters with fear and trembling,
in sincerity of heart, as to Christ,
not only when being watched, as currying favor,
but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart,
willingly serving the Lord and not men,
knowing that each will be requited from the Lord
for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free.
Masters, act in the same way towards them, and stop bullying,
knowing that both they and you have a Master in heaven
and that with him there is no partiality.

Responsorial Psalm  PS 145:10-11, 12-13AB, 13CD-14

R. (13c) The Lord is faithful in all his words.
Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your Kingdom
and speak of your might.
R. The Lord is faithful in all his words.
Making known to men your might
and the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.
Your Kingdom is a Kingdom for all ages,
and your dominion endures through all generations.
R. The Lord is faithful in all his words.
The LORD is faithful in all his words
and holy in all his works.
The LORD lifts up all who are falling
and raises up all who are bowed down.
R. The Lord is faithful in all his words.

Alleluia SEE 2 THES 2:14

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
God has called us through the Gospel
to possess the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel  LK 13:22-30

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Jesus passed through towns and villages,
teaching as he went and making his way to Jerusalem.
Someone asked him,
“Lord, will only a few people be saved?”
He answered them,
“Strive to enter through the narrow gate,
for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter
but will not be strong enough.
After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door,
then will you stand outside knocking and saying,
‘Lord, open the door for us.’
He will say to you in reply,
‘I do not know where you are from.’
And you will say,
‘We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.’
Then he will say to you,
‘I do not know where you are from.
Depart from me, all you evildoers!’
And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth
when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
and all the prophets in the Kingdom of God
and you yourselves cast out.
And people will come from the east and the west
and from the north and the south
and will recline at table in the Kingdom of God.
For behold, some are last who will be first,
and some are first who will be last.”
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Reflection by  The Most Rev Msgr William Goh Archbishop of Singapore
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31 OCTOBER, 2018, Wednesday, 30th Week, Ordinary Time

BUILDING OUR RELATIONSHIPS IN CHRIST

SCRIPTURE READINGS: [ EPHESIANS 6:1-9LUKE 13:22-30 ]

One of the biggest challenges in life is handling relationships at all levels.  In fact, most of our sufferings in life are caused by strained and broken relationships.   Indeed, if there is so much disunity and lack of peace in society and in the world, it begins first with unhappy relationships at home.  Parents are often at odds with each other over values, finance, raising of children, dealing with relatives, religion and education.  They are always shouting at each other or they go to the extreme of having a cold war.  Siblings are often jealous and envious of each other.  They always feel that they are more favoured at home by their parents.  They compete and see each other as enemies rather than brothers and sisters.  Between parents and children there are tensions.  Although parents are supposed to be the support for their children, they are often seen as joy-killers, wet blankets, financial controllers, slave masters.  Instead of looking towards their parents for encouragement and understanding, the children look towards their friends.

The other great source of tension we face in relationships is at work and in our community or the organizations we are in.  At work, bosses lament about their employees or subordinates. Vice versa, employees gossip about their bosses and express their unhappiness and resentment against them.  Superiors act in a discriminating manner, are self-centered, hot-tempered, temperamental and dictatorial.  They gripe about workers who are lazy, unmotivated, slow and lacking creativity and initiative.  So too, in Church there are politics.   There are struggles for power because of ambition, fame, popularity and egotism.  We have differences in working style, in vision and in execution.

What is the key to building loving, supportive, empowering and enriching relationships?  It is to bring Christ into the picture.  If we pay attention to the first reading, St Paul repeatedly ends every advice on the different levels of relationship by bringing Christ into the equation.  Human love alone cannot sustain a relationship unless Christ is the center of it.  Emotional love cannot last long. It is not enough to strengthen a relationship.

This is what the Lord meant in today’s gospel when He said, “Try your best to enter by the narrow door, because, I tell you, many will try to enter and will not succeed.”  What is this narrow door if not through Him?  In the gospel, He said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  He also declared, “I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture.  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”  (Jn 10:9f)

But what does it mean to enter through the narrow gate?  It is more than just having a superficial knowledge and relationship with our Lord.  He said to them, “Once the master of the house has got up and locked the door, you may find yourself knocking on the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us” but he will answer, “I do not know where you come from.’ Then you will find yourself saying, ‘We once ate and drank in your company; you taught in our streets’ but he will reply, ‘”I do not know where you come from.  Away from me, all you wicked men!’”  This is the biggest mistake of many of our Catholics.  They think that just because they are baptized, they are saved.  Just because they got married in Church, their marriage is protected.  It is not enough to receive the sacraments, but we must live out the sacraments in our lives.  This means welcoming Jesus into our personal relationships with everyone.

What does it mean to make Jesus the center and foundation of our relationships?  It means that our love for each other must be a sacrificial love, putting the interests of others before self, whether it is our spouse, children, staff or friends.  Earlier on, St Paul said, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”  (Eph 5:1f)  In this context, he wrote that husbands must love their wives, “just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, in order to make her holy.”  (Eph 5:25f)

In the same way too, that is how we must love our children and our elderly in Christ.  St Paul said, “Parents must never drive your children to resentment but in bringing them up correct them and guide them as the Lord does.”  Parents must put their children’s interests before their own.  They must learn to understand them and feel with them in their struggles and not impose their fears, anxieties and ambitions on them.  Sometimes, parents are more concerned about their children doing well in their studies and work than that they are truly happy.

Similarly, children must build their relationships with their parents in Christ.  St Paul urges, “Children, be obedient to your parents in the Lord – that is your duty.  The first commandment that has a promise attached to it is: Honour your father and mother; and the promise is: and you will prosper and have a long life in the land.”  Rendering respect to our parents requires humility to recognize that they care for us even if they have shortcomings.  We must forgive them for over-reacting and often over-protective of us because they are afraid to lose us or to see us suffer in the future.  But we should not ignore their wisdom and experience in life lest we fall into the same pit as they did.  And even if our parents are old and elderly, infirmed and demented, we must be patient with them because they were once patient with us when we were young.   We must seek to understand their struggles of loneliness, pain and sickness in their old age.

So too, in relationships between bosses and subordinates.  We are not against each other.  The boss is to ensure that his or her workers have a job that gives them passion, growth and meaning so that they can contribute to society; and also to earn money to take care of their loved ones.  The workers’ task is to ensure that the company and organization is viable and successful, otherwise, how could they be paid and how could they continue to be employed.  So there is a partnership between bosses and workers.  There should not be a tension if we realize that we are together in this equation.

At the end of the day, we are serving the Lord through each other and together we serve the community.  This is what St Paul advised the Christians. Hence, he said, “Slaves, be obedient to the men who are called your masters in this world, with deep respect and sincere loyalty, as you are obedient to Christ: not only when you are under their eye, as if you had only to please men, but because you are slaves of Christ and wholeheartedly so the will of God.  Work hard and willingly, but do it for the sake of the Lord and not for the sake of men.  You can be sure that everyone, whether a slave of a free man, will be properly rewarded by the Lord for whatever work he has done well.”

Indeed, we must remember that we have the same Father and Master in heaven.  “And those of you who are employers, treat your slaves in the same spirit; do without threats, remembering that they and you have the same Master in heaven and he is not impressed by one person more than by another.”  Every child, every parent, every worker and every boss is given to us by God to help each other to grow in love and holiness.  We all belong to God and therefore to serve our brothers and sisters and to care for them is to give glory to God.  In this way, “All your creatures shall thank you, O Lord, and your friends shall repeat their blessing.  They shall speak of the glory of your reign and declare your might, O God, to make known to men your mighty deeds and the glorious splendor of your reign.”

Unless we walk through the narrow gate of self-sacrifice, we will be worse off than those who are non-Catholic and even unbelievers.  So long as they live the life of Christ, they too will come to enjoy the peace, love and joy of the kingdom of God.  They might not know Christ but they are living the gospel life.  The sad reality is that many Catholic families, Catholic organizations and Catholic bosses and workers do not reflect the life of Christ and put Him at the center of our relationships.  There is so much politics, power-struggle, in-fighting with little respect, charity and sensitivity to each other, they can hardly be called ‘Catholic’.  Hence, the Lord warns us, “Then there will be weeping and grinding of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves turned outside.  And men from east and west, from north and south, will come to take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God.  Yes, there are those now last who will be first, and those now first who will be last.”

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Written by The Most Rev William Goh, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Singapore
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Morning Prayer for Wednesday, October 31, 2018 — Seeking the inner voice that speaks to our hearts

October 31, 2018

In all of us there is an inner consciousness that tells of God, an inner voice that speaks to our hearts. It is a voice that speaks to us intimately, personally, in a time of quiet meditation. It is like a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. We can reach out into the darkness and figuratively touch the hand of God. As the Big Book put it: “Deep down in every man, woman, and child is the fundamental idea of God. We can find the Great Reality deep down within us. And when we find it, it changes our whole attitude toward life.”

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may follow the leading of the inner voice. I pray that I may not turn a deaf ear to the urging of my conscience.

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Many of us have experienced a “kind of creepy feeling,” especially on halloween.

But what can help our lives, perhaps more than  anything else, is an inner compass that sends us a creepy feeling whenever we are thinking of doing something bad or wrong.

Psychologists say many people also have an inner compass that helps them choose the right and the good path.

Catholic scholars say a well developed inner compass becomes a kind of “Indwelling of the Holy Spirit.” Fr. Edward leen is one who explains this concept in his book, “Holy Spirit.”

But we don’t have to be deeply involved in religion to develop a better inner compass.

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Your Internal Compass

The great thing about a compass is it can tell you if you’re heading in the right direction. It can also be extremely useful when you’re lost and unsure of where you’re traveling on your journey.

This is true in life.

If you feel that you keep encountering the same struggles time and time again and acquiring an array of tactics and strategies to get to a specific result or goal but find that you always fall short. Chances are, your inner-compass is way off the mark.

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I also get it. It’s frustrating when the results aren’t happening for you as quick as you would like them to. But what’s more damaging isn’t the results or lack of. It’s the bad relationship that is being formed between you and yourself in the pursuit of them.

The negative self-chatter that has you kicking your own ass because you’re not where you currently want to be. You also have to contend with your constant comparisonitis that goes on within your Facebook feed and Instagram account. Looking at the successful can be just another painful reminder that things aren’t going your way.

This breeds frustration, resentment, anger and a misalignment with who you be. You could say, it’s a vicious circle and if you’re currently experiencing this then it will certainly feel like one.

I’ve worked with many people who have came to me facing these challenges. Looking for the magic bullet, the next “how to” tactic or “secret” strategy to achieve success inside their health, business, finances and relationships.

And here’s where the problem lies. No amount of “how to” tactics, “secret” strategies or “magic bullets” can help you if the relationship between you and yourself is out of alignment.

Results will always come up short with a lot of head scratching and confusion as to why. Let me prove it to you right now with a simple question.

How many mentors, programs, plans, self help books, “secret” strategies and “how to” tactics have you already tried with whatever it is that you’re trying to succeed with?

Probably a lot, right? And how much of that is currently working for you? Take a look at your results and be truthful with yourself. Are you happy?

This was something that I struggled with for a long time in business and my personal life. Never being able to figure out what the issue was and where I was going wrong. I invested a lot of money trying to figure this out too.

Then one day the answer hit me. The more knowledge I was consuming, the more things became unclear (by the way, I’m not saying knowledge isn’t great, on the contrary) but what I am saying is: You can lose your sense of self when you are trying what works for everyone else and your authenticity disappears in all the noise.

Recalibration of your inner-compass to align with you and your own path is vital. Drown out the noise for a while by getting out of your own environment. Take a walk in the park or on the beach. Go somewhere that you can think deeply and ask yourself if you are being authentic in all aspects of your life. This will be a big indicator to what’s true for you.

What’s the definition of authenticity?

When you are being the you that you feel you should be.

If you’re not, then the calibration of your inner-compass is simple. Get back to who you be. The true you. The authentic you. When you come from this place, you’ll see amazing things happen for you and to you.

Much Love,

Robert Westerburg

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-westerburg-/your-internal-compass_b_9563766.html

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Of course, “Help is all Around” as we like to say at Peace and Freedom.  Prayer and meditation help us to find ourselves and maybe even a Higher Power or the still strong voice of God. Religious people, people in recovery programs, psychologists and all kinds of helpers are here to assist us in our journey….

Related:

 (Henri Nouwen told this writer to meditate at the Trappist monastery.)

Morning Prayer for Monday, October 29, 2018 — Seeing the power of God in human lives — Hatred never sleeps but never wins

October 29, 2018

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“We’re not going anywhere. We’re not backing up, we’re not shutting up. We have been called to speak the truth. We will not be intimidated. We will not be silenced.”

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Police respond to the shooting Saturday at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.

Our true measure of success in life is the measure of spiritual progress that we have revealed in our lives. Others should be able to see a demonstration of God’s will in our lives. The measure of His will that those around us have seen worked out in our daily living is the measure of our true success. We can do our best to be a demonstration each day of the power of God in human lives, an example of the working out of the grace of God in the hearts of men and women.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may so live that others will see in me something of the working out of the will of God. I pray that my life may be a demonstration of what the grace of God can do.

From the book, “Twenty Four Hours A Day”

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“A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.” — Lao Tzu

“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” — Francis of Assisi

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Francis of Assisi in meditation by Francisco de Zurbarán

Inspirational Quotes for Overcoming Adversity

https://www.inc.com/larry-kim/19-short-inspirational-quotes-for-overcoming-adversity.html

and

Why You Can Hate the One You Love

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/relationship-boot-camp/201104/why-you-can-hate-the-one-you-love

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“We’re not going anywhere. We’re not backing up, we’re not shutting up. We have been called to speak the truth. We will not be intimidated. We will not be silenced.”

Overcoming Hate With Love

https://www.christianpost.com/news/overcoming-hate-with-love-80170/