Devotional Thought of the Day:
25 I will sprinkle clean water on you and make you clean from all your idols and everything else that has defiled you. 26 I will give you a new heart and a new mind. I will take away your stubborn heart of stone and give you an obedient heart. 27 I will put my spirit in you and will see to it that you follow my laws and keep all the commands I have given you. 28 Then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors. You will be my people, and I will be your God. 29 I will save you from everything that defiles you.. Ezekiel 36:25-29a (TEV)
12 My commandment is this: love one another, just as I love you. 13 The greatest love you can have for your friends is to give your life for them. 14 And you are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 I do not call you servants any longer, because servants do not know what their master is doing. Instead, I call you friends, because I have told you everything I heard from my Father. 16 You did not choose me; I chose you and appointed you to go and bear much fruit, the kind of fruit that endures. And so the Father will give you whatever you ask of him in my name. 17 This, then, is what I command you: love one another. John 15:12-17 (TEV)
2 God is my Father! If you meditate on it, you will never let go of this consoling consideration. Jesus is my intimate Friend (another rediscovery) who loves me with all the divine madness of his Heart. The Holy Spirit is my Consoler, who guides my every step along the road. Consider this often: you are God’s… and God is yours.
This morning as I was working out, I hit a wall. I thought I was done, at 12 minutes into my final treadmill session i knew I couldn’t go on any longer. I looked for an excuse to quit. I looked for a reason to end my suffering. I didn’t want to endure. A little more than 20 seconds later, the wall was there imposing, I needed to quit.
I heard in the back of my head my high school P.E. teacher’s rasping voice crying out LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT. Like back then, it made me want to quit even more.
Just like Mondays, and all the other days in life that seem like Mondays.
You know the feeling, like when you are in a meeting that is going on forever, as all the same issues keep frustrating things keep being rehashed. as you do your bills, and wonder about the day when there will be money left over. It’s when the long awaited rain shuts down roads you need to use to get to work. It’s when all that was good and precious that you experienced in worship yesterday become a faded memory, choked out by the world….
Or it might as well be.
There is only one hope on Monday, there is only one thing that will kill off the drama, the anxiety, the lows that we face.
It’s to realize that we, you and I, are the people God loves. the people that He claimed. That the Trinity in all of Their glory has called you to live life in their glory. They didn’t insist that you come to Them, they’ve come to us!
Look at the promise in the reading from Ezekiel – the promise of Baptism! Look at how God takes care of us, from eliminating the sin in our lives, to setting up shop in our lives, creating something quite incredible!
Look at the words of Jesus. I know there is much criticism of those that treat Jesus as their brother, as if that meant all we did was “play” with Him. But there is something far different in knowing Christ is our brother than that (check out yesterday’s sermon for one)
Look at the words of Josemaria, these blessed words which encourage us to really think through what it means for God to be our Father, Jesus our brother/friend, and the Holy Spirit to be our very needed comforter!
This is what the Christian religion is about. It is how we get through life, even as we despise its shame, we look for the joy of walking with God, and one day, seeing Him face to face. it’s how we get passed minute 12 in our journey, how the wall that we hit, exhausted and weary, is destroyed. we find His strength, and He comes to us and helps us get to realize that though there are “Mondays” that even those Monday’s become our Sabbath, our day of rest.
For we are God’s people…..
and that trumps any Monday.
(1) Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 237-242). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Devotional THought of the Day:
13 We are sure that we live in union with God and that he lives in union with us, because he has given us his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and tell others that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If we declare that Jesus is the Son of God, we live in union with God and God lives in union with us. 16 And we ourselves know and believe the love which God has for us. God is love, and those who live in love live in union with God and God lives in union with them. 17 Love is made perfect in us in order that we may have courage on the Judgment Day; and we will have it because our life in this world is the same as Christ’s. 18 There is no fear in love; perfect love drives out all fear. So then, love has not been made perfect in anyone who is afraid, because fear has to do with punishment. 19 We love because God first loved us. 20 If we say we love God, but hate others, we are liars. For we cannot love God, whom we have not seen, if we do not love others, whom we have seen. 21 The command that Christ has given us is this: whoever loves God must love others also. 1 John 4:13-21 (TEV)
7 It is a difficult thing for someone to die for a righteous person. It may even be that someone might dare to die for a good person. 8 But God has shown us how much he loves us—it was while we were still sinners that Christ died for us! 9 By his blood we are now put right with God; how much more, then, will we be saved by him from God’s anger! 10 We were God’s enemies, but he made us his friends through the death of his Son. Now that we are God’s friends, how much more will we be saved by Christ’s life! 11 But that is not all; we rejoice because of what God has done through our Lord Jesus Christ, who has now made us God’s friends. Romans 5:7-11 (TEV)
194 You have to be a live ember that sets fire to whatever it touches. And, when your surroundings are incapable of catching fire, you have to raise their spiritual temperature. If not, you are wasting time miserably, and wasting the time of those around you. (1)
I was at the gym this morning, working out when I thought of one of my PE coaches from high school. As we used to work out, he would “encourage” us with a constant mantra…. LOVE IT! LOVE IT! LOVE IT!.
It pumped us up – enabled us to run a bit farther, lift a little more, grind it out. But I don’t think many of us loved it. Matter of fact, a few of us didn’t like it or Coach Carter (during class) all that much. But the results across a semester in the weight room and on the track showed us the benefit of being trained and “encouraged.” And because Coach Carter had been there before himself – he knew how to discipline those willing. I am leaning on those lessons a lot as I return to working out. With a genetic disorder that affects my heart and spine. For my heart it has resulted in two heart valves being replaced and internal defibrillators, and a limited lifestyle – so starting to work out again is a challenge.
Yesterday, there was a discussion online about our enemies, about those who verbally attacked a Roman Catholic Cardinal who seems to be a pretty good guy. My response was, knowing of him, he was probably praying for those attacking him. One lady didn’t quite get that – and over a number of posts told me to mind my own business, and not talk to her about the concepts of self-defense and faith. I didn’t, but I’ve thought and prayed for a bit since then. Wondering what issues prompted a response that wasn’t where I was going at all. I thought as well about our attitude towards those people who are the thorns in our life, those who are incredibly difficult to love and forgive. Those who test our ability to live life trusting in God, like that extra 20 pounds tested my endurance on the calf press this morning – and that .2 of mph faster made the difference on the treadmill.
These people, hopefully, are a burden we will embrace – or as Coach C would say – LOVE THEM, LOVE THEM, LOVE THEM!
For in doing so, we have to that which is extremely difficult, we have to deny ourselves, take up our cross and walk with Jesus. We have to have no fear (for love casts out such fear – see above) and even if our lives are sacrificed as martyrs… (which few of us will face) we must love them anyway. (Many, many saints serve as great examples of this.)
Whether we realize it or not, these people can be those in our life that help our dependence on God, our faith and trust in Him grow the most. And in loving them, wholeheartedly, even as they are our enemies, we begin to see how great God’s love is for us. We find the strength in Him, in HIs cross, which we are united to, to love them, to be patient with them because we want them to be transformed by God and not perish, to be our brothers and sisters in Christ, feasting together at God’s table. As St. Josemaria noted – sometimes we have to turn up the heat — sometimes we need the heat turned up on us…
It’s not easy. It is significantly harder than getting up an hour earlier to get to the gym, or being embarrassed by realizing how weak we’ve become over the years.
Even so, as John said, we are loved…so Lord in your mercy, help us to
LOVE THEM, LOVE THEM, LOVE THEM!!!!
(1) Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). Furrow (Kindle Locations 1022-1025). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
- On Discipleship (catholicjules.net)
- Ministry is not a profession… it is the vocation of all…. (justifiedandsinner.com)
- “Make them one as we are one.” (leoron01.wordpress.com)