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Posts Tagged ‘Service’

“Make the lives of others more pleasant.”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2015/09/11 at 12:00 AM
For as long as you are convinced that others should always live as if they depended on you, and for as long as you delay the decision to serve (to hide yourself and disappear from view), your dealings with your brothers, colleagues and friends will be a constant source of disappointment, ill-humour and pride. (Furrow, 712)

When you find it difficult to do a favour or a service for someone, remember that he or she is a child of God, and that the Lord has asked us to love one another. Furthermore, go deeper into that evangelical precept every day; do not remain on the surface. Draw the right conclusions from it — it is quite easy to do so. Then adapt your conduct, on every occasion, to those requirements. (Furrow, 727)

May you know how to put yourself out cheerfully, discreetly and generously each day, serving others and making their lives more pleasant. To act in this way is to practice the true charity of Jesus Christ. (The Forge, 150)

If we let Christ reign in our soul, we will not become authoritarian. Rather we will serve everyone. How I like that word: service! To serve my king and, through him, all those who have been redeemed by his blood. I really wish we Christians knew how to serve, for only by serving can we know and love Christ and make him known and loved.

And how will we show him to souls? By our example. Through our voluntary service of Jesus Christ, we should be witnesses to him in all our activities, for he is the Lord of our entire lives, the only and ultimate reason for our existence. Then, once we have given this witness of service, we will be able to give instruction by our word. That was how Christ acted. “He began to do and to teach” [1]; he first taught by his action, and then by his divine preaching. (Christ is passing by, 182)

[1] Acts 1:1

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“Serve Our Lord and your fellow men”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2015/08/21 at 12:00 AM
Every activity – be it of great human importance or not – must become for you a means to serve Our Lord and your fellow men. That is the true measure of its importance. (The Forge, 684)

I am not at all stretching the truth when I tell you that Jesus is still looking for a resting‑place in our heart. We have to ask him to forgive our personal blindness and ingratitude. We must ask him to give us the grace never to close the door of our soul on him again.

Our Lord does not disguise the fact that his wholehearted obedience to God’s will calls for renunciation and self‑sacrifice. Love does not claim rights, it seeks to serve. Jesus has led the way. How did he obey? “Unto death, death on a cross.” You have to get out of yourself; you have to complicate your life, losing it for love of God and souls. “So you wanted to live a quiet life. But God wanted otherwise. Two wills exist: your will should be corrected to become identified with God’s will: you must not bend God’s will to suit yours.”

It has made me very happy to see so many souls spend their lives — like you, Lord, “even unto death” — fulfilling what God was asking of them. They have dedicated all their yearnings and their professional work to the service of the Church, for the good of all men.

Let us learn to obey, let us learn to serve. There is no better leadership than wanting to give yourself freely, to be useful to others. When we feel pride swell up within us, making us think we are supermen, the time has come to say “no”. Our only triumph will be the triumph of humility. In this way we will identify ourselves with Christ on the cross — not unwillingly or restlessly or sullenly, but joyfully. For the joy which comes from forgetting ourselves is the best proof of love. (Christ is passing by, 19)

Mary and Martha

In Uncategorized on 2014/04/11 at 12:00 AM

 The Holy Father’s Sunday meditation before praying the Angelus this morning was dedicated to Jesus’ visit to the house of Martha and Mary in Bethany in the Gospel of St. Luke, and the two key themes of Christian life: contemplation, listening to the Word of God and the concrete service of our neighbour. These are not to be experienced separately, but rather are two aspects to be lived “in profound unity and harmony”.

The Bishop of Rome explained to the thousands of the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square that the two sisters “both welcome the Lord, but in different ways. Mary sits at Jesus’ feet, listening, whereas Martha is absorbed in domestic tasks and is so busy that she turns to Jesus saying: ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me’. And Jesus responds rebuking her with sweetness. ‘Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is the need for only one thing’”.

“What does Jesus wish to say?” continued the Pope. “Above all it is important to understand that it is not a matter of two contrasting attitudes: listening to the Word of the Lord – contemplation – and concrete service to our neighbour. They are not two opposed attitudes but, on the contrary, they are both aspects that are essential for our Christian life; aspects that must never be separated but rather lived in profound unity and harmony”.

“So why does Jesus rebuke Martha? Because she considered only what she was doing to be essential; she was too absorbed and worried about things to ‘do’. For a Christian, the works of service and charity are never detached from the principle source of our action: that is, listening to the Word of the Lord, sitting – like Mary – at Jesus’ feet in the attitude of a disciple. And for this reason Mary is rebuked”.

Pope Francis affirmed that “in our Christian life too prayer and action are always profoundly united. Prayer that does not lead to concrete action toward a brother who is poor, sick, in need of help … is a sterile and incomplete prayer. But, in the same way, when in ecclesial service we are only concerned with what we are doing, we give greater weight to things, functions and structures, forgetting the centrality of Christ; we do not set aside time for dialogue with Him in prayer, we run the risk of serving ourselves and not God, present in our brother in need”.

“Let us ask the Virgin Mary, Mother of listening and service, who teaches us to meditate on the Word of her Son in our heart, to pray with fidelity, and to be ever more concretely attentive to the needs of our brothers”.

“We will serve everyone”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2014/02/13 at 12:00 AM
When a person really lives charity, there is no time left for self seeking. There is no room left for pride. We will not find occasion for anything but service! (The Forge, 683)

Try to remember what a donkey is like — now that so few of them are left. Not an old, stubborn, vicious one that would give you a kick when you least expected, but a young one with his ears up like antennae. He lives on a meagre diet, is hardworking and has a quick, cheerful trot. There are hundreds of animals more beautiful, more deft and strong. But it was a donkey Christ chose when he presented himself to the people as king in response to their acclamation. For Jesus has no time for calculations, for astuteness, for the cruelty of cold hearts, for attractive but empty beauty. What he likes is the cheerfulness of a young heart, a simple step, a natural voice, clean eyes, attention to his affectionate word of advice. That is how he reigns in the soul.

If we let Christ reign in our soul, we will not become authoritarian. Rather we will serve everyone. How I like that word: service! To serve my king and, through him, all those who have been redeemed by his blood. (Christ is passing by, 181-182)

Message to a Catholic Women’s Group by Vicki Borin

In 07 Observations on 2013/04/17 at 12:00 AM

Last February, Victoria Borin, the president of Charlotte Catholic Women’s Group sent this message in the monthly newsletter. It’s message is one a wider audience will appreciate. Perhaps it will inspire and motivate some of you living in other cities, states, countries to establish such a group.

The Mission of the Charlotte Catholic Women’s Group is to foster in women a greater desire to know, love and serve Jesus …. For more information on Charlotte Catholic Women’s Group, please Google: Charlotte Catholic Women’s Group or go to charlottecatholicwomensgroup.org

Dear Sisters In Christ,

My husband regularly remarks, “you must be tired,” and because of my medical history my doctors inquire if I am tired all of the time, and when I look in the mirror I can hear my mother’s voice  “Victoria, you look so tired”  (bless her heart…..).  The truth is I have been tired since my second child was born, but there is not a woman I know who by the end of the day is not exhausted, or for that matter many who feel even in their exhaustion that when they lay their head down they prayed or worked enough that day. But there is a distinction that can be made between “tiredness” and “weariness.” When one’s body and mind are tired it is the natural consequence of work (physical, physiological, intellectual, spiritual, etc.) and any properly ordered good work is an act of love.  This is a good thing. Weariness, however, is a privation of a spiritual energy and one that can and often does have physical manifestations.  Weariness, therefore, is something to which we must never consent.

The members of the Charlotte Catholic Women’s Group  are not all young, old, wives, widows or mothers, but we all share the same primary and principle vocation, that of “Christian woman,” adopted daughters of God, who are called to express Christ in our own lives.  This is work that will fatigue us, but regardless, we must not weary. There is divine energy that is transmitted through our willed contact with Christ and it is by this divine energy that weariness is held at bay and our holiness grows. As Fr. Edward Leen describes in his book,  The True Vine and Its Branches, Christ is not only for us a model but a force for our sanctification so that we may reach the ideal of perfection; perfect like the heavenly Father is perfect. (Mt 5:48)  In fact, becoming perfect, or divinized, demands a divine energy flowing from Christ to us.  Fr. Leen tells us that this divine energy is in a mysterious manner latent in the mysteries of the Savior’s life on earth.  These mysteries are quasi-sacramental in their character, each a manifestation of the divine plus something more, because “for those, who by faith, lay hold of Christ in a willingness to be united with Him in act, the mystery possesses a divinizing power.” This is why we contemplate the mysteries of Christ’s life; for today too, in as real a way as when He walked the earth, when contact with Christ is made in “Faith and Love”, effects of sanctification flow out upon our souls.1

The CCWG exists to bring to women concrete opportunities to make contact with Christ in “Faith and Love” and also to provide through our Reflections, retreats, classes and book clubs insights to ponder and contemplate.   The opportunities abound. In February alone we will meet to hear a morning Reflection talk on forgiveness by Fr. Voitus, an evening Reflection with talks on God’s Will for us by Fr. Larry Richards and Dr. Guerendi, a Year of Faith Class entitled Faith and Suffering by Mary McDeavitt (in English and Spanish), and both a morning and evening discussion of our current book club selection, Motherless, by Brian Gail with Marla Walsh.   Moreover, our annual Lenten Retreat has been scheduled for Saturday, February 23rd.  Fr. Matthew Kauth will lead the retreat and we will focus on the Last Four Things: death, judgment, heaven, and hell. Details for all of these events can be found within this newsletter and on our website.

As Catholic Christians this Year of Faith, and as instruments of the New Evangelization, let us not weary in our work but rather take example from the woman in the Gospel suffering from hemorrhage (can’t you imagine how tired she must have been, not to mention anemic).  (Mk 5:24-34, also Mt 9:20-22 and Lk 8:43-48)  Fr. Leen points out that this incident shows how a “slight contact inspired by a firm faith in the divine healing power of Jesus was sufficient to release the divine energy.” He comments:“She said to herself: ‘If I shall touch only His garment I shall be healed.’ She did it without attracting attention, taking advantage of the movement of the crowds that surrounded the Master.  The result responded to her expectations.  Amongst all the number that pressed to the side of Jesus, He singles out ‘one as having touched him.’ And at that touch, as Jesus Himself said, virtue went out from Him.  The Son of man is ever at the service of His brethren for their good. The transformation of their souls is His chief concern, though He is not indifferent to their bodily welfare.  It is certain then, that if a soul lays hold of Him in faith and trusts to receive an inflow of divine life through that contact its expectation will be fulfilled.”2  Jesus Christ is always willing to allow the divinity in Him to energize our souls if not our bodies too.

Join us this winter when together we take advantage of the movement of the crowds that surround the Master, and like the woman with hemorrhage, without attracting attention, receive from our time together and contact with Christ an inflow of divine life, grace and energy.  And as for being tired, well retirement I suppose, is what heaven is for (by God’s grace).

1 Leen, The True Vine and Its Branches, New York: P.J. Kennedy & Sons, 1938.

2 Ibid.

Printed with permission

  

Laymen: “Resolve” to Discern God’s Will for You by Fr. McCloskey

In 04 Fr. John McCloskey on 2012/06/15 at 9:11 AM

In one of the scriptural passages most often quoted by Blessed Pope John Paul II during the course of his historic pontificate, a “rich young man” asks the Lord what I consider to be the only question really worth asking once one reaches the age of reason and understands the reality of death: “What must I do to gain eternal life?” As we know, the Lord gives two related answers. One is “to keep the commandments.” After the youth asserts that he has done so since he was a child, the Lord challenges him with a more demanding answer: “Sell what you have, give to the poor, and come, follow me.”

These answers were, without question, the will of God for that young man. After all, God himself was speaking to him. As we remember, he “went away sad for he had great possessions.” We will never know, short of heaven, what great plans the Lord might have had for him if he had said yes. Maybe he would have replaced St. Peter as the Prince of the Apostles. After all, he seemed to have a lot more going for him than the often-simple fisherman, so full of obvious defects alongside his virtues. But the rich young man did not say yes. He was free but clearly attached to the things of this world, and he lacked the generosity needed to follow the Lamb wherever He goes.

A simpler answer to the rich young man’s question would be: “Do the will of God, whatever it is, no matter the cost.” I have written this article to help you discover the will of God for you and then follow it with God’s grace. Ultimately, nothing else—nothing less—will make you relatively happy in this life and eternally and ecstatically joyful in the next.

I should point out at the beginning that there are some general ways for learning the will of God for us that apply to everybody. On the other hand, God also has a specific plan for each one of us, and that may require a little bit or a lot more time to discern. Read the rest of this entry »

“Make the lives of others more pleasant”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2012/05/02 at 9:11 AM
For as long as you are convinced that others should always live as if they depended on you, and for as long as you delay the decision to serve (to hide yourself and disappear from view), your dealings with your brothers, colleagues and friends will be a constant source of disappointment, ill-humour and pride. (Furrow, 712)

When you find it difficult to do a favour or a service for someone, remember that he or she is a child of God, and that the Lord has asked us to love one another. Furthermore, go deeper into that evangelical precept every day; do not remain on the surface. Draw the right conclusions from it — it is quite easy to do so. Then adapt your conduct, on every occasion, to those requirements. (Furrow, 727)

May you know how to put yourself out cheerfully, discreetly and generously each day, serving others and making their lives more pleasant. To act in this way is to practice the true charity of Jesus Christ. (The Forge, 150)

If we let Christ reign in our soul, we will not become authoritarian. Rather we will serve everyone. How I like that word: service! To serve my king and, through him, all those who have been redeemed by his blood. I really wish we Christians knew how to serve, for only by serving can we know and love Christ and make him known and loved.

And how will we show him to souls? By our example. Through our voluntary service of Jesus Christ, we should be witnesses to him in all our activities, for he is the Lord of our entire lives, the only and ultimate reason for our existence. Then, once we have given this witness of service, we will be able to give instruction by our word. That was how Christ acted. “He began to do and to teach” [1]; he first taught by his action, and then by his divine preaching. (Christ is passing by, 182)

[1] Acts 1:1

“God is calling you to serve Him in and from the ordinary, material and secular activities”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2012/02/28 at 9:11 AM

The world awaits us. Yes, we love the world passionately because God has taught us to: Sic Deus dilexit mundum …- God so loved the world. And we love it because it is there that we fight our battles in a most beautiful war of charity, so that everyone may find the peace that Christ has come to establish. (Furrow, 290)

I have taught this constantly using words from holy Scripture. The world is not evil, because it has come from God’s hands, because it is His creation, because ‘Yahweh looked upon it and saw that it was good’ (cf Gen 1:7 ff). We ourselves, mankind, make it evil and ugly with our sins and infidelities. Have no doubt: any kind of evasion of the honest realities of daily life is for you, men and women of the world, something opposed to the will of God.

On the contrary, you must understand now, more clearly, that God is calling you to serve Him in and from the ordinary, material and secular activities of human life. He waits for us every day, in the laboratory, in the operating theatre, in the army barracks, in the university chair, in the factory, in the workshop, in the fields, in the home and in all the immense panorama of work. Understand this well: there is something holy, something divine, hidden in the most ordinary situations, and it is up to each one of you to discover it…

There is no other way. Either we learn to find our Lord in ordinary, everyday life, or else we shall never find Him. That is why I can tell you that our age needs to give back to matter and to the most trivial occurrences and situations their noble and original meaning. It needs to restore them to the service of the Kingdom of God, to spiritualize them, turning them into a means and an occasion for a continuous meeting with Jesus Christ. (Conversations, 114)

“God is continuously leading us forward”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2011/11/16 at 7:47 AM

As long as there is struggle, ascetical struggle, there is interior life. That is what Our Lord is asking of us: the will to want to love him with deeds, in the little things of every day. If you have conquered in little things, you will conquer in big ones.  (The Way of the Cross)

I ought to put you on your guard against a trick that Satan does not hesitate to use in order to rob us of our peace. He never takes a holiday! A time may come when he sows doubts in our minds, tempting us to think that we are slipping sadly backwards and are making scarcely any progress. The conviction may grow upon us that, in spite of all our efforts to improve, we are getting worse. I can assure you that normally this pessimistic judgement is mere fantasy, a deception that needs to be rejected…It is good to remember that God in his providence is continuously leading us forward and he spares no effort, whether in the form of portentous signs or of tiny miracles, to make his children progress.

Man’s life on earth is warfare, and his days are spent under the burden of work. No one escapes this law, not even the easygoing who try to turn a deaf ear to it. They desert the ranks of Christ, and then take up other battles to satisfy their laziness, their vanity, or their petty ambitions. They become enslaved to their every whim…

Renew your decision each morning, with a very determined  I will serve you, Lord! Renew your resolution not to give in, not to give way to laziness or idleness; to face up to your duties with greater hope and more optimism, convinced that if we are defeated in some small skirmish we can overcome this setback by making a sincere act of love. (Friends of God, 217)

 

“Here I am, Lord, ready to do whatever you want”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2011/08/09 at 1:45 AM
“What do I have to do to maintain my love for God and make it increase?” you asked me, fired with enthusiasm. Leave the “old man” behind, my son, and cheerfully give up things which are good in themselves but hinder your detachment from yourself. You have to repeat constantly and with deeds, “Here I am, Lord, ready to do whatever you want.” (The Forge, 117)

Once again I raise my heart in thanksgiving to my God and Lord, because there was nothing to stop him from creating us impeccable, irresistibly drawn towards the good. Nevertheless, ‘he judged that his servants would be better if they served him freely’ [1]. How great is the love, the mercy of our Father! Whenever I think of his divine extravagance for us his children, I wish I had a thousand tongues, a thousand hearts and more, with which to be constantly praising God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Just think: the Almighty, who through his Providence rules the whole universe, does not want the forced service of slaves; he prefers to have children who are free…

But we can still say ‘no’ to God, rejecting this source of new and permanent happiness. Anyone who does so stops being a son and becomes a slave…

Allow me to insist on this point. It is quite evident, as we can see in ourselves and in others, that everybody is a slave in some form or other. Some stoop before riches; others worship power; some, the relative tranquility of skepticism, and there are those who discover in sensuality their golden calf. The same happens in noble things. We put effort into a job of work, into an undertaking, large or small, into scientific, artistic, literary or spiritual activities. Wherever there is commitment and real passion, the person involved lives enslaved, joyfully devoting himself to fulfilling his task. (Friends of God, 33-34)

[1] St Augustine, ibid (PL 34,134)