“Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant;
whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave.
Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve
and to give his life as a ransom for many.””
I doubt very much that anyone not already on a serious journey with the Lord would be reading my blog, so I’m going to cut straight to the chase. We are on this path because we desire to be ‘great’…we want to be saints and want heaven to be our home. Quite a lofty ambition if it were not for what Jesus did on the Cross for us.
In the above passage Jesus tells us how to make progress on this road. Instead of looking to others to ‘feed’ us and to fulfill our needs. Try getting to know them and meet their needs instead. Help THEM to attain heaven…you might just find that in return your needs will be met also.
Check out the following!
“If you are willing, and obey,
you shall eat the good things of the land;
But if you refuse and resist,
the sword shall consume you:
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken!”
This reminds me of a cute little story from this morning. When I got home from Mass around 7:15 AM(and after having my cup of coffee…lol)…I started cleaning up the living room before the kids came down. It had gotten completly out of hand lately, with toys and school supplies everywhere. I got Sarah to help when she came down and we were both very excited when we saw the results of our efforts. Then I got a call from my sister in Toronto that she’d be coming for a visit in a couple of weeks. Sarah then tells me that she thinks that my guardian angel knew that auntie was planning on coming and had whispered in my ear to start getting things cleaned up…lol. I told her that that was a possibility, but I’m thinking that I had finally listened to the still, small voice of God and got to doing what I had to do…and God in turn rewarded me! Either way…we ended up praising God and being so grateful for His mercy!
‘Finding Black and White in a World of Grays: Making Choices’ by Peter Kreeft
“I wonder sometimes whether God might not deliberately let the times get so bad just so that a good man can live in them. Good people, good ethics, and good moral chracters are produced by bad times, as diamonds are produced by centuries and tons of pressure, and steel is produced by high heat. I think God in His wisdom deliberately allows bad times, troubles, trials, and temptations precisely to hammer out saints on the anvil of suffering in the furnace of wickedness. He both provides good men for bad times and bad times for good men. The bad times are ‘a vale of soul making’ and the good souls that are made in that dark valley heal the world and bring light into the valley. The world is a giant saint making machine, and saints are the ones who in turn change the world.”
I received this similar message this morning prior to Mass…that by allowing temptations, God was merely pointing out my “weak spots”…that it was up to me to decide what to do with it. I obviously could give in and go right into sin (not an option for a Christ follower), but I also could decide to turn my back to it and run, OR I could ‘listen’ to what it had to tell me and grow from it by revealing its lies (as Jesus did to Satan in the desert). The third option requires ALOT of grace…leading a Sacramental life is non optional.
At Sunday’s sermon, Fr. Ron suggested we consider the acronym HALT…that we aren’t to allow ourselves to get too Hungry, too Angry, too Lonely, or too Tired! I’m thinking though that during Lent…with God’s grace…we head into the Desert with Jesus and embrace our hunger, loneliness and tiredness…and allow it to talk to us and reveal our temptations!
R. (40:5a) Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
Blessed the man who follows not
the counsel of the wicked
Nor walks in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the company of the insolent,
But delights in the law of the LORD
and meditates on his law day and night.
via USCCB | NAB – March 10, 2011.
Soon enough will come a day that He will send me off with marching orders…but for now, I’m to set myself apart and DELIGHT in the Lord…meditating on His ways night and day.
My hope is in the Lord ! The world pleads with me and buzzes in my ear that it loves me and wants me back…that it promises to satisfy me in all ways that matter. It lies!
I instead embrace emptiness so that I can be filled by the One who trully loves me!
I am blessed!
Blessed the man who fears the LORD,
who greatly delights in his commands.
His posterity shall be mighty upon the earth;
the upright generation shall be blessed.
An evil report he shall not fear;
his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.
His heart is steadfast; he shall not fear
till he looks down upon his foes.
Lavishly he gives to the poor;
his generosity shall endure forever;
his horn shall be exalted in glory.
via USCCB | NAB – March 8, 2011.
I was reminded of the oracle
pronounced by the prophet Amos against Bethel:
“All your festivals shall be turned into mourning,
and all your songs into lamentation.”
via USCCB | NAB – March 7, 2011.
Whether we are feasting or fasting it should all be for the glory of God. We need to be careful of getting so engrossed in the festitivies of life that the time of upheavel approaches and we aren’t prepared for it.
Then when it arrives, we need to be careful to not allow it to steal our joy in the Lord.
By having our hearts steady on the Lord, we won’t be thrown around here and there.
Seeing from a distance a fig tree in leaf,
he went over to see if he could find anything on it.
When he reached it he found nothing but leaves;
it was not the time for figs.
And he said to it in reply, “May no one ever eat of your fruit again!”
And his disciples heard it.
via USCCB | NAB – March 4, 2011.
What “fruit” am I producing in my life? Certain parts of my life may look good with lots of ‘greenery’ but if that particular area is not producing actual Godly fruit then it’s worth nothing and it might as well dry up. In the case above it wasn’t even “time for figs”. So we may even be producing ‘fruit’ in a worldy manner(doing the right things (according to man) for the wrong reason)…but the Lord expects more from us. To be at His service when He needs us, not when we are good and ready…to do what He asks of us, not what the world expects. Obviously not something that can ever be accomplished on our own strength. We need Him! We need His grace and we need His guidance.
But he kept calling out all the more, “Son of David, have pity on me.”
Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”
So they called the blind man, saying to him,
“Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you.”
He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus.
Jesus said to him in reply, “What do you want me to do for you?”
via USCCB | NAB – March 3, 2011.
This shows us the two things to do when confronted with those in dire need. 1) We are to encourage them and point them to Jesus. (“Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you.”) and 2) Do as Jesus did and ask how we can help. (Jesus said to him in reply, “What do you want me to do for you?”).
And what is needed if we are the ones afflicted…keep calling out, then throw off all that binds us, and take a leap towards Jesus. (He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus)
Jesus summoned them and said to them,
“You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles
lord it over them,
and their great ones make their authority over them felt.
But it shall not be so among you.
Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant;
whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all.
For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve
and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
via USCCB | NAB – March 2, 2011.
Whenever the Lord appoints us to a position of authority…whether in our own homes (as parents) or in society in general, He does so for one reason and one reason only…for us to bring God’s love and grace to His children. We do this most concretely through physical service…Mother Teresa comes to mind here. I can say I love my kids and that I pray for them all I want…but if I don’t meet their physical needs then I’m a rotten parent. Same for my brothers and sisters in need.
“In a generous spirit pay homage to the LORD,
be not sparing of freewill gifts.
With each contribution show a cheerful countenance,
and pay your tithes in a spirit of joy.
Give to the Most High as he has given to you,
generously, according to your means.”
via USCCB | NAB – March 1, 2011.
I’m reading “Happy Are You Poor : The Simple Life and Spiritual Freedoom” by Thomas Dubay.
This is really powerful stuff that every Christian should read.
“Because it is a negation in itself, poverty is not sought for its own sake but for what it makes possible and much easier to attain: a radical readiness, a sensitivity to what Jesus is about, a sharing with the needy, and apostolic credibility, a pilgrim witness in a world of dwindling resources. These are values, precious values, to our laity as well as to clergy and religious.”
The Lord is working something big in my heart with all of this…please pray that I can discern what He is leading me to do and what He’s wanting from me personally.