Devotional thoughts for our days
4 Delight yourselves in God, yes, find your joy in him at all times. Have a reputation for gentleness, and never forget the nearness of your Lord.
6 Don’t worry over anything whatever; tell God every detail of your needs in earnest and thankful prayer, and the peace of God which transcends human understanding, will keep constant guard over your hearts and minds as they rest in Christ Jesus.
8 Here is a last piece of advice. If you believe in goodness and if you value the approval of God, fix your minds on the things which are holy and right and pure and beautiful and good. Model your conduct on what you have learned from me, on what I have told you and shown you, and you will find the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:4-8 (Phillips NT)
39 I see myself like a poor little bird, accustomed only to making short flights from tree to tree, or, at most, up to a third floor balcony… One day in its life it succeeded in reaching the roof of a modest building, that you could hardly call a skyscraper. But suddenly our little bird is snatched up by an eagle, who mistakes the bird for one of its own brood. In its powerful talons the bird is borne higher and higher, above the mountains of the earth and the snow capped peaks, above the white, blue and rose pink clouds, and higher and higher until it can look right into the sun. And then the eagle lets go of the little bird and says: Off you go. Fly! Lord, may I never flutter again close to the ground. May I always be enlightened by the rays of the divine sun—Christ—in the Eucharist. May my flight never be interrupted until I find repose in your Heart.
Far too often do I resemble St Josemaria’s little bird, content and yet bored with the simple life we struggle through. Not only do I lack the power and skill to soar above the heights, I fear to do so, for flying that high means I could crash. And if crashing close to the ground is hard, how much more devastating would it be to crash when I am spending time in the heavens?
The idea of soaring with eagles sounds nice, it sounds incredible, but I’ve been on too many retreats and had to come back to “reality” from the mountaintop experience. Even worse, I’ve seen what it can do where people only see that mountaintop experience as the only blessed thing in their lives. Where they live, remembering the high of the last retreat, and looking forward to the next one.
If only we didn’t have to come down!
If only I wasn’t so afraid of those heights.
Paul urges us to delight in God, to give to him every detail of every problem, depending upon Him to receive them as He promised when He asked us to cast all our burdens upon Him. He begs us to keep our eyes on the things that are good, that are Godly,
Does that require us to stay soaring in the heavens, only to be worthless here on earth? Do we like the monks of old or the Amish, separate ourselves from the world? How can we be in the world but not of it, as Jesus asks?
Is this command of Paul, to delight in God, to rejoice in all things possible? Or is it just an unfulfilled dream? And if it is unfulfilled, does this mean the negative impact I think it does, a life lived in disobedience and therefore condemnation?
I can’t worry about that question, nor its answer. it is beyond my role, beyond my experience. For if I worry about that, the more I will not spend my time delighting in Him, and the less likely it will be for me to run to Him for the forgiveness I so need, for the comfort and consoling that will restore to me the joy of my salvation, and the awe of being found in His presence, and loved.
For that is where the delight comes from, in realizing how incredible God’s love is, a love that desires to make itself manifest in every moment of our lives. love that would shape our lives with thoughts about what is righteous and just, what is lovely and pure, what is of God.
May our desire to dwell in His presence be satisfied, and may be not be satisfied with anything else. AMEN!
Escriva, Josemaria. The Forge (Kindle Locations 366-374). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Devotional/Discussion thought of the day…
It may sound strange, but part of my morning discipline is looking at FB prior to praying – well actually- while I am praying as well.
Some may think it sounds strange – but I find it a great tool to figure out who needs me to pray for them. Either because of trauma, or perhaps temptation, or perhaps that they realize they need forgiveness, and seek it out. (no I am not thinking of you particularly as I write this… I swear!)
This morning, many are struggling, especially the parents and grandparents who are dropping off their children from school. There is a sense of anxiety – even a sense of fear. As I dropped my own son off this morning, it seemed like everyone was looking at everyone else differently – as if we were trying to determine who could be a threat. We are a little more defenive a little more on edge- a little more suspicious. Teachers may be as well.
Will we return to normal one person asked…will things ever be the same again? Will we ever really, truly trust our schools to be a place of safety. Will we go back to business and life the same way?
My answer may sound strange, but.. I hope not.
Not that I like the things the way they are…at all…but I think some things need to change. I like the way how a priest once put it,
Ure igne Sancti Spiritus!—burn me with the fire of your Spirit, you cried. You then added: “My poor soul needs to fly again as soon as possible…, and not stop flying until it rests in God!” I think your desires are admirable. I will pray for you often to the Paraclete. I will invoke him continually, so that he may nestle in the centre of your being, presiding and giving a supernatural tone to all your actions and words, thoughts and desires. (1)
Most of our souls are not flying today, but I question whether they were flying before Friday, when we heard the tragic news. Have we been journeying to find our rest in God? Have we sought Him, His presence His peace, Hil love, His guidance for how we are too live in life? Do we see all of our varied vocations, parent, employee, boss, child of God, as journeys toward God – as opportunities to walk with Him – as an encounter with the supernatural presence of the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit who is their, not to condemn, but to lift up? Whose correction is not simply to point out our wrongs – but to free us from that which constrains and binds us?
After tragedies – people often seek solace, peace in the church – they feel lifted and strengthened and loved – and then slowly, over a few months, we sink back into our normal patterns – trying to live without God, trying to make it all work according to our plan our logic.
I hate trauma – I hate having to deal with it… and the only thing I can find positive about it is this – it brings me back to the priorities and what should be normal. To live life adoring the God who love me, and to love the people He has given me – all of the – especially the ones that cause me to pray..to love the people He has brought into my life.
If that was our norm… let’s return to it… if it wasn’t – maybe this time, will cause us to return to the normal God desires…
Cry out daily – Lord have Mercy…. and rejoice that His mercy and peace is yours – and that you can share it others.
Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 1957-1962). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
“The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and make you remember all that I have told you. 27 “Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid. John 14:26-27 (TEV)
“Don’t look for consolations apart from God. See what that priest wrote: There should be no unburdening of your heart to any other friend when there is no need to do so.”(1)
There is a cartoon of a priest, sitting in the confessional. In the booth next to him, a youth is saying, “Father forgive me, for I have sinned.” The priest, with a laptop open to Facebook nods his head and says, “Yes, I see you have!” While meant to be funny, there is a great deal of truth there – most of us would never say in person what we type into our computers, tablets, and phones. We would never purge our soul for all to see. (I note – I have a dozen or so friends with multiple accounts, so that they can tweet or post things that those they are posting about can’t see their gripes and complaints.
The problem is of course, that such posting rarely leads to reconciliation, indeed it often prohibits it. it may feel like such purging is beneficial, but what does it say of your faith? What testimony does it give. If everyone agrees with you and has your “cyber-six” does it increase your peace, or lead to more anxiety? Will blasting your lack of trust in your boss, your parents, your president really help the situation?
Jesus has blessed us, by giving us the Helper, the Advocate, the Paraclete (the one called alongside to support and guide) rhw Holy Spirit. It is my thought that when Luther indicated that the commandment about no misusing God’s name also inferred that we must us His Name correctly, Luther had such in mind. Do we turn to God with our burdens,with that which causes us anxiety or pain? Do we let Him deal with us first, do we see Him reconciling the situation and causing it to work our for good, as He promised?
There are times where God will call someone alongside, someone through whom the Spirit will bring comfort, encouragement, I am not talking about that as much as our mass distribution of our gripes, complains, anxieties. Will we bring them to God before bringing them to the world? WIll we take it to the Lord of All, who can change the situation, or change us within it? (nor am I talking about asking people for prayer btw)
Or will we turn away… and let the entire world see how little we trust in God?
My friends- cry to God for mercy first – and watch how different things take on a different view…..
He always has answered, He always will…He will now….
So go ahead, He is listening..
(1)Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 1645-1646). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.