Trials are not only good for us, but necessary for our spiritual growth, especially if endured with the right disposition. During hard times, God helps us see that control is really an illusion. We’re not in charge. Our lives don’t even belong to us. We would cease to exist if the Holy Spirit stopped actively sustaining our existence, even for one second . . . God is more responsible for our lives than we are. Our job is to listen, humble ourselves, work hard and not get in his way.
Prayer is a gift. It is a gift because Christian prayer is based on our knowing the Lord Jesus Christ and on our having the power of the Holy Spirit that will stir and anoint us, and move through us in prayer. Prayer is based on our being part of the Body of Christ and standing with Jesus in prayer . . . We should desire prayer. We should thirst for it, seek after it, make decisions for it and repent when we don’t live up to those decisions. The gift of prayer is given to us so we can be in union with God. Prayer can transform our mind and inspire us so that in no situation, do we give way to discouragement or depression. Prayer is meant to be the assurance that we cannot be overcome. In all circumstances we can say, “I belong to God. I’m royalty. I have the first pledge of my inheritance. Regardless of what happens to me, I am in the company of the saints and the apostles and I am destined to live forever.” Because of our prayer life, we are victorious.
– Father Michael Scanlan, T.O.R.
In John’s Gospel, the Lord says, I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. Life in abundance is not as some think: to consume everything, to have all, to be able to do all that one wants. In that case we would live for inanimate things, we would live for death. . .On their return, prisoners of war who had been in Russia for ten years or more, exposed to cold and hunger, said: “I was able to survive because I knew I was expected home. I knew that people were looking forward to my return home, that I was necessary and awaited.” This love that awaited them was the effective medicine of life against all ills. In reality, we are all awaited. The Lord waits for us; and not only does he wait for us, he is present and stretches out his hand to us. Let us take the Lord’s hand and pray to him to grant that we may truly live, live the abundance of life.
– Pope Benedict XVI
“Today’s Reflection” is in paperback:
Christianity is more about our undoing than our pulling it together. It’s the unraveling of our grandiose plans. The collapsing of our defenses. The slow release of the reins in our tightly clenched fists. The seed falling to the ground to die. The failure to build a mighty tower reaching to heaven. For every few steps we progress, God reveals how many miles we have yet to go. So let us persevere in offering a sacrifice of surrender, for the salvation of our own souls and for those around us.
The healing power of the Spirit is a quiet, gentle power. He makes die in us all the fears, the desire to possess or to destroy, the hurts and the frustrations, all the power which wants to dominate. There is a growth in the power of listening, the power of compassion, of patience, of learning to wait for the hour of God. We learn to surrender to the power of the Spirit and the power of God, to stop agitating, to let God take over our lives, to abandon ourselves to the Supreme Healer . . . There is a fundamental healing that must take place before we really can listen to the music of reality, before we can listen to people without fear, before we can listen to the Spirit. Jesus the Healer comes when we are conscious that we need a healer; when we become conscious of our own egoism, all the anarchy of desire, all the fears, all the cowardice and weakness, all the need for human security that incites us to possess. It is only when we become conscious of our weakness and our fears that we can begin to grow in union with the Spirit.
– Jean Vanier
Thank you Jesus, for bringing me this far. In your light, I see the light of my life. Your teaching is brief and to the point. You persuade us to trust in our Heavenly Father. You command us to love one another. What is easier than to believe in God? What is sweeter than to love him? Your yoke is pleasant, your burden is light. You promise everything to those who obey your teaching. You ask nothing that is too hard for a believer, nothing a lover can refuse. Your promises to your disciples are true; nothing but the truth. Thank you Jesus, now and always. Amen
– St. Nicholas of Cusa
What Satan put into the heads of our remote ancestors was the idea that they could “be like gods” – could set up on their own as if they had created themselves – be their own masters – invent some sort of happiness for themselves outside God, apart from God. And out of that hopeless attempt has come nearly all that we call human history – money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery – the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God to make him happy. The reason why it can never succeed is this: God made us, invented us as a man invents an engine. A car is made to run on gasoline, and it would not run properly on anything else. Now God designed the human machine to run on Himself. He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There is no other. That is why it is just no good asking God to make us happy in our own way without bothering about religion. God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.
The first degree of humility tells us that the world is not a mirror in which we see ourselves, nor is it a treasure chest filled with gifts for ourselves. Rather, the world is a temporary home where there unfolds hour by hour the truth that God loves us and that we are to live constantly with the awareness that he lives with us and sees us always.
– Father Simon O’Donnell, O.S.B.
If we knew how to listen to God, we would hear him speaking to us. For God does speak. He speaks in his Gospels. He also speaks through life – that new gospel to which we ourselves add a page each day. But we are rarely open to God’s message, because our faith is too weak and our life too earthbound . . . To have faith is not only to raise one’s eyes to God to contemplate him; it is also to look at this world, with Christ’s eyes. If we had allowed Christ to penetrate our whole being, if we had purified ourselves, the world would no longer be an obstacle. It would be a perpetual incentive to work for the Father in order that, in Christ, his kingdom might come on earth as it is in heaven. We must pray to have sufficient faith to know how to look at life . . . Grant that I may be big enough to reach the world, strong enough to carry it, pure enough to embrace it without wanting to keep it. Grant that I may be a meeting-place, but a temporary one, a road that does not end in itself, because everything to be gathered there, everything human, leads toward You.
– Father Michel Quoist
We must believe in God and not in ourselves; we must hope in God and not in ourselves; we must love God and not ourselves. As Saint Augustine told us, there is one man who reaches to the extremities of the universe and unto the end of time. We have to enter into this one man – this one Christ – by faith, hope, and charity. We have to find our all in Him. He is our full complement and our perfect supplement. No matter how weak we are, He is our strength; No matter how empty we are, He is our fullness; no matter how sinful we are, He is our holiness. All we have to do is to accept God’s plan – to say as Christ said coming into the world: “A body thou hast fitted to me; behold I come to do thy will, O God.”
– Father Eugene Boylan, O.C.S.O.