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Posts Tagged ‘Trust’

“In God’s name, do not despair”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2016/07/29 at 12:00 AM
The saints are those who struggle right to the end of their lives, who always get up each time they stumble, each time they fall, and courageously embark on their way once more with humility, love and hope. (The Forge, 186)

To make sure that cowardice does not make you betray the confidence God has placed in you, you must avoid the presumption of naively underestimating the difficulties that you will meet in your Christian life.

These difficulties shouldn’t surprise us. As a consequence of our fallen nature, we carry within us a principle of opposition, of resistance to grace. It comes from the wounds inflicted by original sin, and is aggravated by our own personal sins. Therefore we have to strive ever upwards, by means of our everyday tasks, which are both divine and human and always lead to the love of God. In this we must be humble and contrite of heart and we must trust in God’s help, while at the same time devoting our best efforts to those tasks as if everything depended on us.

As we fight this battle, which will last until the day we die, we cannot exclude the possibility that enemies both within and without may attack with violent force. And, as if this burden were not enough, you may at times be assailed by the memory of your own past errors, which may have been very many. I tell you now, in God’s name: don’t despair. Should this happen (it need not happen; nor will it usually happen) then turn it into another motive for uniting yourself more closely to Our Lord, for he has chosen you as his child and he will not abandon you. He has allowed that trial to befall you so that you may love him the more and may discover even more clearly his constant protection and Love.

Take heart, I insist, because Christ, who pardoned us on the Cross, is still offering us his pardon through the Sacrament of Penance. We always ‘have an advocate to plead our cause before the Father: the Just One, Jesus Christ. He, in his own person, is the atonement made for our sins, and not only for ours, but for the sins of the whole world’ [1], so that we may win the Victory. (Friends of God, 214)

[1] 1 John 2:1‑2

“The temptation of weariness”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2016/05/15 at 12:00 AM
I want to warn you against a difficulty that may arise: it is the temptation of weariness and discouragement. Isn’t it still fresh in your memory what life — your old life — used to be like, with no aim to it, no purpose, no sparkle, and then, with God’s light and your own dedication, a new direction was given to it and you were filled with joy? Don’t be so silly as to exchange your new life for that other one. (The Forge, 286)

If you feel for whatever reason that you cannot manage to go on, abandon yourself in God, telling him: Lord, I trust in you, I abandon myself in you, but do help me in my weakness! And filled with confidence, repeat: See Jesus what a filthy rag I am. My life seems to me so miserable. I am not worthy to be a son of yours. Tell him all this ‑‑ and tell him so over and over again. It will not be long before you hear him say, Ne timeas! ‑‑do not be afraid; and also: Surge et ambula! ‑‑ rise up and walk! (The Forge, 287)

You were still rather hesitant when you were telling me: “I am deeply aware of the occasions when the Lord is asking more of me.” All I could think of was to remind you how you used to assure me that the only thing you wanted was to identify yourself with him. What’s keeping you back? (The Forge, 288)

If only you could manage to fulfill that resolution you made: “to die a little to myself each day.” (The Forge, 289

“God is good and He loves you”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2016/05/01 at 12:00 AM
Woes? Setbacks deriving from one thing or another? Can’t you see that this is the will of your Father God, who is good and who loves you – loves you personally – more than all the mothers in the world can possibly love their children? (The Forge, 929)

But do not forget that being with Jesus means we shall most certainly come upon his Cross. When we abandon ourselves into God’s hands, he frequently permits us to taste sorrow, loneliness, opposition, slander, defamation, ridicule, coming both from within and from outside. This is because he wants to mould us into his own image and likeness. He even tolerates that we be called lunatics and be taken for fools.

This is the time to love passive mortification which comes, hidden perhaps or barefaced and insolent, when we least expect it. They can even go so far as to strike the sheep with the very stones that should have been thrown at the wolves: the follower of Christ experiences in his own flesh that those who have a duty to love him, treat him instead in ways that range from mistrust to hostility, from suspicion to hatred. They look upon him with misgiving, as if he were a liar, because they do not believe it is possible to have personal dealings with God, an interior life; and all the while, with atheists and those who are indifferent to God (people who are usually impertinent and rude), they behave in a most amicable and understanding manner.

Our Lord may even allow his followers to be attacked with a weapon that never does honour to its user, the weapon of personal insult; or to be subjected to a smear campaign, the tendentious and indictable result of a massive campaign of lies: for not everyone is endowed with a sense of fairness and good taste.

This is the way Jesus fashions the souls of those he loves, while at the same time never failing to give them inner calm and joy, because they are fully aware that, even with a hundred lies, the devils are incapable of making a single truth; and he impresses on them a living conviction that they will only find comfort when they make up their minds to do without it. (Friends of God, 301)

“Implore Divine Mercy”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2015/06/19 at 12:00 AM
For each one of us, as for Lazarus, it was really a veni foras – come out – which got us moving. How sad it is to see those who are still dead and do not know the power of God’s mercy! Renew your holy joy, for opposite the man who is decomposing without Christ, there is another who has risen with him. (The Forge, 476)

It is good for us to consider the wiles of these enemies of the soul: the disorder of sensuality and easy‑going superficiality, the folly of reason that rejects God, the cavalier presumption that snuffs out love for both God and creatures. All these obstacles are real enough, and they can indeed cause us a great deal of trouble. For these very reasons the liturgy invites us to implore divine mercy: “To you, o Lord, I lift up my soul. O my God, in you I trust, let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies exult over me” [1], as we prayed in the introit. And in the offertory we shall go back to the same idea: “Let none that wait for you be put to shame.”

Now that the time of our salvation is approaching, it is consoling to hear from the lips of St Paul that “when the goodness and kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not by the works of justice which we have done, but according to his mercy” [2].

If you leaf through the holy Scripture, you will discover constant references to the mercy of God. Mercy fills the earth [3]. It extends to all his children [4], and is “all around us” [5]. It “watches over me” [6]. It “extends to the heavens” [7] to help us, and has been continually “confirmed” [8]. God in taking care of us as a loving father looks on us in his mercy [9] — a mercy that is “tender” [10], welcome as ”rain‑clouds” [11].

The life of Jesus Christ is a summary and compendium of the story of divine mercy: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” [12]. And on another occasion our Lord said: “Be merciful, therefore, even as your Father is merciful” [13]. (Christ is passing by, 7)

[1] Ps 24:1‑2
[2] Tit 3:5
[3] Ps 32:5
[4] Sir 18:12
[5] Ps 31:10
[6] Ps 58:11
[7] Ps 33:8
[8] Ps 116:2
[9] Ps 24:7
[10] Ps 108:21
[11] Sir 35:26
[12] Matt 5:7
[13] Luke 6:36

In God We Trust?

In 16 Deacon Ruben Tamayo on 2015/04/10 at 12:00 AM

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God gives us every reason to trust Him. We read throughout both the Old and New Testaments that God is trustworthy not just a few times but many times. One such example is Psalm 145: “The LORD is trustworthy in every word, and faithful in every work.”
The Bible is also littered with plenty of examples of humanity deciding that God and His ways should not be trusted, doing things their way, and then suffering the painful consequences of their petulance and obstinacy. Here are just a few examples:
Adam and Eve disobey God, not because their lives aren’t all good and full of blessings, but because the serpent plants a seed of doubt in them about God’s love for them.
After growing impatient waiting to conceive Abraham’s child as God had promised, Sarah takes matters into her own hands and has Abraham lie with her maidservant Hagar so that Abraham may have the child God promised Him.
The Israelites create a golden calf and worship it despite the great miracles God performed for them simply because Moses took “too long” to return from his meeting with God at Mt. Sinai.
In Luke chapter 11, the Pharisees accuse Jesus of driving out demons with the help of Satan himself even after witnessing Jesus feed thousands with just five loaves of bread and two fish, bringing back to life the widow’s son, and healing many others.
So, why does this pattern, i.e. our continually turning our backs on God despite His proven faithfulness to us, keep repeating over and over throughout all of history and in our lives today? The short answer is because we provide Satan with an opening to drive a wedge, pride, between us and God. God is always trustworthy. How about us humans? Sadly not so much. St. Teresa of Avila says this well: “Consider seriously how quickly people change, and how little trust is to be had in them; and hold fast to God, who does not change.”
Satan, whom Jesus calls the “Father of Lies” (John 8:44) appeals to our pride and attachment to earthly vices to convince us that he is the one who is trustworthy, not God. After all, God doesn’t give us what we want when we snap our fingers so God must be lying when He tells us that He loves us. God even lets us suffer – what kind of love is that?! We are foolish to fall for these lies!!!

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This is reminiscent of the scene from the Disney animated film, the Jungle Book, where Kaa, the serpent, hypnotizes the young boy Mowgli while singing: “Trust in me, just in me, shut your eyes, trust in me.” Kaa obviously doesn’t care about the well-being of the boy – he just wants to gain control of him to eat him. “Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” from 1 Peter 5:8 comes to mind as well.
The good news is that God gives us free will and Satan has no power over us. But we must grow in humility and recognize that we always need God’s help – God who is always trustworthy. St. Vincent de Paul provides great advice on this point: “The most powerful weapon to conquer the devil is humility. For, as he does not know at all how to employ it, neither does he know how to defend himself from it.”
Reflection based on the Mass readings for the 3rd Thursday of Lent 2015: Jeremiah 7:23-28, Psalm 95, and Luke 11:14-23)

“We have to be strong and patient and, therefore, calm and composed”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2015/04/10 at 12:00 AM
If you fix your sight on God and thus know how to keep calm in the face of worries; if you can forget petty things, jealousies and envies, you will save a lot of energy, which you need if you are to work effectively in the service of men. (Furrow, 856)

The man who knows how to be strong will not be in a hurry to receive the reward of his virtue. He is patient. Indeed it is fortitude that teaches us to appreciate the human and divine virtue of patience. ‘“By your patience you will gain possession of your souls.” (Luke 21:19) The possession of the soul is attributed to patience, which in effect is the root and guardian of all the virtues. We secure possession of our souls through patience, for, by learning to have dominion over ourselves, we begin to possess that which we are.’ And it is this very patience that moves us to be understanding with others, for we are convinced that souls, like good wine, improve with time.

We have to be strong and patient and, therefore, calm and composed, but not with the composure of the man who buys his own tranquility at the expense of ignoring his brothers or neglecting the great task (which falls to us all) of tirelessly spreading good throughout the world. We can keep calm because there is always forgiveness and because there is a solution for everything, except death; and for the children of God, death is life. We must try to keep our peace, even if only so as to act intelligently, since the man who remains calm is able to think, to study the pros and cons, to examine judiciously the outcome of the actions he is about to undertake. He then plays his part calmly and decisively. (Friends of God, 78-79)

“Practice charity without setting any limits”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2014/11/28 at 12:00 AM
Love and practice charity without setting any limits or discriminating between people, for it is the virtue which marks us out as disciples of the Master. Nevertheless, this charity cannot lead you to dampen your faith — for it would then cease to be a virtue. Nor should it blur the clear outlines that define the faith, nor soften it to the point of changing it, as some people try to do, into something amorphous and lacking the strength and power of God. (The Forge, 456)

It was the Lord who took the initiative by coming out to meet us. He gave us this example so that we might join him in serving others, generously placing our hearts on the ground, as I am fond of saying, so that others may tread softly and find their struggle more pleasant. This is how we should behave because we have been made children of the same Father, that Father who did not hesitate to give us his dearly beloved Son.

Charity is not something we ourselves build up. It invades us along with God’s grace, ‘because he has loved us first’. We would do well to fill, to saturate ourselves with this most beautiful truth: ‘If we are able to love God, it is because we have been loved by God.’ You and I are able to lavish affection upon those around us, because we have been born to the Faith, through the Father’s love for us. Ask God boldly for this treasure, for the supernatural virtue of charity, so that you may practice it even in the smallest details.

Too often we Christians have not known how to correspond to this gift. At times we have debased it, as if it could be confined to a soulless and cold almsgiving; or we have reduced it to more or less stereotyped good works. This distortion of charity was well expressed once by a sick woman when she commented with sad resignation, ‘Yes, they treat me with “charity” here, but my mother used to look after me with affection.’ A love that springs from the Heart of Christ could never countenance such distinctions. (Friends of God, 228-229)

“Mary, Teacher of unlimited self-giving”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2014/10/24 at 12:00 AM
The Blessed Virgin Mary, Teacher of unlimited self-giving. Do you remember? It was in praise of her that Jesus Christ said: “Whoever fulfils the Will of my Father, he — she — is my mother! …” Ask of this good Mother that her answer, with the generosity it shows, may grow stronger in your soul — with the strength of love and liberation. Ecce ancilla Domini — behold the handmaid of the Lord. (Furrow, 33)

Ask yourself now (I too am examining my conscience) whether you are holding firmly and unshakeably to your choice of Life? When you hear the most lovable voice of God urging you on to holiness, do you freely answer ‘Yes’? Let us turn our gaze once more to Jesus, as he speaks to the people in the towns and countryside of Palestine. He doesn’t want to force himself upon us. ‘If you have a mind to be perfect…’, he says to the rich young man. The young man refused to take the hint, and the Gospel goes on to say: abiit tristis, he went away forlorn. That is why I have sometimes called him the ‘sad lad’. He lost his happiness because he refused to hand over his freedom to God.

Consider now the sublime moment when the Archangel Gabriel announces to the Virgin Mary the plans of the Most High. Our Mother listens, and asks a question to understand better what the Lord is asking of her. Then she gives her firm reply: Fiat! Be it done unto me according to thy word! This is the fruit of the best freedom of all, the freedom of deciding in favour of God. (Friends of God, 24-25)

“Being children you will have no cares”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2014/08/08 at 12:00 AM
 
Being children you will have no cares: children quickly forget what troubles them and return to their games. With abandonment, therefore, you will not have to worry, since you will rest in the Father. (The Way, 864)

Way back, in the early forties, I used to go quite often to Valencia. I had no human means at the time and, with those who were gathered around this penniless priest, as you are now, I would pray wherever we could, some afternoons on a deserted beach. (…)

Well, late one afternoon, during one of those marvellous Valencian sunsets, we saw a boat approaching the shore. Some men jumped out, swarthy looking and strong as granite, dripping wet, stripped to the waist, so weather-burned that they might have been made of bronze. They began to haul in the net that trailed behind the boat. It was laden with fishes, all shining like silver. Their feet sank into the sand as they pulled away with amazing strength. Then all of a sudden a little boy appeared, all sunburnt too. He came up to the rope, seized it with his tiny hands and began to tug away with evident clumsiness. The tough, unsophisticated fishermen must have felt their hearts soften, for they allowed the child to join in, without chasing him away, even though he was more of a hindrance than a help.

I thought of you and of myself. Of you, whom I did not know as yet, and of myself; of our daily tugging away at the rope, and of many things. If we come before God Our Lord like that child, convinced of our weakness yet ever prepared to second his plans, we shall more easily reach our goal. We shall haul the net onto the shore, bursting with an abundant catch, for the power of God reaches where our strength cannot. (Friends of God, 14)

Be Open to God’s Surprises

In Uncategorized on 2014/07/04 at 12:00 AM

In his homily, Francis noted that “we contemplate and re-live in the liturgy the outpouring of the Holy Spirit sent by the Risen Christ upon his Church; an event of grace which filled the Upper Room in Jerusalem and then spread throughout the world.”

“Newness,” he said, “always makes us a bit fearful, because we feel more secure if we have everything under control, if we are the ones who build, programme, and plan our lives … This is also the case when it comes to God. … It is hard to abandon ourselves to him with complete trust, allowing the Holy Spirit to be the soul and guide of our lives … We fear that God may force us to strike out on new paths and leave behind our all too narrow, closed and selfish horizons in order to become open to his own. Yet throughout the history of salvation, whenever God reveals himself, He brings newness—God always brings newness—and demands our complete trust: Noah, mocked by all, builds an ark and is saved; Abram leaves his land with only a promise in hand; Moses stands up to the might of Pharaoh and leads his people to freedom; the apostles, huddled fearfully in the Upper Room, go forth with courage to proclaim the Gospel. This is not a question of newness for novelty’s sake, the search for something new to relieve our boredom … The newness which God brings into our life is something that actually brings fulfilment, that gives true joy, true serenity, because God loves us and desires only our good. Let us ask ourselves today: Are we open to ‘God’s surprises’? Or are we closed and fearful before the newness of the Holy Spirit? Do we have the courage to strike out along the new paths which God’s newness sets before us, or do we resist, barricaded in transient structures which have lost their capacity for openness to what is new? We would do well to ask ourselves these questions all through the day.”

“The Holy Spirit,” the pontiff continued, “would appear to create disorder in the Church, since he brings the diversity of charisms and gifts; yet all this, by his working, is a great source of wealth, for the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of unity, which does not mean uniformity, but which leads everything back to harmony. In the Church, it is the Holy Spirit who creates harmony. … Only the Spirit can awaken diversity, plurality, and multiplicity, while at the same time building unity. Here too, when we are the ones who try to create diversity and close ourselves up in what makes us different and other, we bring division. When we are the ones who want to build unity in accordance with our human plans, we end up creating uniformity, standardization. But if instead we let ourselves be guided by the Spirit, richness, variety and diversity never become a source of conflict, because he impels us to experience variety within the communion of the Church. … Having a sense of the Church is something fundamental for every Christian, every community, and every movement. It is the Church which brings Christ to me, and me to Christ; parallel journeys are very dangerous! When we venture beyond the Church’s teaching and community … and do not remain in them, we are not one with the God of Jesus Christ.”

In his last point, the Pope observed that “early theologians used to say that the soul is a kind of sailboat, the Holy Spirit is the wind which fills its sails and drives it forward, and the gusts of wind are the gifts of the Spirit. Lacking his impulse and his grace, we do not go forward. The Holy Spirit draws us into the mystery of the living God and saves us from the threat of a Church which is gnostic and self-referential, closed in on herself; He impels us to open the doors and go forth to proclaim and bear witness to the goodness of the Gospel … The Holy Spirit is the soul of mission. The events that took place in Jerusalem almost two thousand years ago are not something far removed from us; they are events which affect us and become a lived experience in each of us. The Pentecost of the Upper Room in Jerusalem is the beginning, a beginning which endures. … It is the Paraclete, the ‘Comforter’, who grants us the courage to take to the streets of the world, bringing the Gospel! The Holy Spirit makes us look to the horizon and urges us toward the very outskirts of existence in order to proclaim life in Jesus Christ.”

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