Sunday, July 2, 2017

FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST (13th S. Ord. Time)

This Sunday focuses on trusting in God in the midst of troubles.

Ester, Chapter 8, Verse 17
In each and every province and in each and every city, wherever the king’s order arrived, there was merriment and joy, banqueting and feasting for the Jews. And many of the peoples of the land identified themselves as Jews, for fear of the Jews fell upon them.

So Ester saves the Jews and now it is cool to be a Jew. So cool that in Persia there were Jewish posers. Interesting. Here we see God’s promise to those who trust that after the trial, will come rejoicing; just as after the darkness of night the sun does rise.

Brief Lesson[1]

There is no better consolation under crosses and afflictions than the thought that all the troubles of this world are not to be compared with the glory to come, and that which is at present momentary and light of our tribulation worketh for us above measure exceedingly an eternal weight of glory (n. Cor. iv. 17). And, therefore, St. Bede says: If we had to bear for a while the pains of hell, it would not appear so hard, if thereby we might merit to see Christ in His glory, and to be added to His saints.

Trusting in God[2]

Life is filled with many difficulties and challenges that cause us to worry. Each day we are confronted with many events that may cause us to become apprehensive. What is worry?  The dictionary says that when we worry, we torment ourselves with disturbing thoughts.  According to the National Institutes of Health, one in three adults has occasional insomnia, and one in ten adults has chronic sleeplessness.  Experts are concerned about the ever increasing consumption of sleeping pills by many Americans. The remedy for worry is for all of us to trust in God. St. Augustine once said that God is closer to us than we are to ourselves. We experience God through our life of prayer.  Prayer is conversation with God. Prayer is a continual being in love because God is real.  God is personal.   No matter what might be going on in our lives, we must always pray and pray daily.  Prayer is the air that we breathe. One of the greatest challenges that we encounter is our inability to see and to listen to God.  We can be caught up in the distractions of daily life that prevent us from really encountering God. Our busy lives require refreshing times of prayer throughout the day. God is moving us away from clinging to things, people and institutions.  He is calling us to detachment, to the desert, to the journey into the night of naked faith.  He is calling us to cling to him and only him.  This journey is difficult, frightening at times and even risky.  But, those who embark upon the journey will be transformed into living witnesses of the God of love. However, without a serious spiritual life, anxiety and fear will overwhelm us. If we are a people who live truly spiritual lives, we will be filled with peace and joy no matter what may be going on around us. And this is so, because we will always be able to trust God.

 St. Teresa of Avila, the famous Spanish mystic, once wrote: "Let nothing trouble you.  Let nothing frighten you.  Everything passes.  God never changes.  Patience obtains all.  Whoever has God, wants for nothing.  God alone is enough."

St. Teresa provides us profound words of wisdom for our present times.  The staggering number of prescription drugs available for the many forms of uneasiness and tension illustrates that many of our contemporaries suffer deep inner turmoil. It is true that we are experiencing profound challenges: wars, continual threats of terrorism, problems within our Catholic Church, the rapidly accelerating unraveling of moral decency in our society, an uncertain economy and the terrible wounds caused by the dismantling of family life.  Nevertheless, challenges such as these should remind us that we must always trust in God who is always with us. Trust is rooted in faith which is a gift.  If your faith is weak, ask God to give you more faith.  To do this incorporate into your lives four practices that are so basic for anyone who wants to be a serious Catholic: contemplative prayer, daily Mass or a prolonged visit before the Blessed Sacrament, daily Rosary and the frequent use of the Sacrament of Confession.  These four things will allow you to trust God and they will provide you with the interior peace that all seek. 

What are the practical steps that we can take in order to incorporate into our busy lives a serious spiritual life?

·         First of all, we need balance in our lives. When was the last time that we enjoyed dinner with family and friends, or turned off our cell phone and refrained from checking our email at every moment? Excessive work and travel, excessive involvement in sports and entertainment are tearing us apart. 
·         Secondly, a serious spiritual life requires the capacity to be alone.  It is difficult to be alone in our contemporary society.  Even when we are alone, the noise of our own worries and fears drown out the silence of God's voice.  Many people are incapable of being alone and they immediately feel an obsession to talk with someone on a cell phone or check their email. We all need moments of solitude.  Spending a quiet time before the Eucharist, reading the Scriptures during a peaceful moment at home, taking tranquil walks through the woods or along the beach all are necessary for our soul.  In order to be with God, we must develop the ability to be alone with ourselves. 
·         Thirdly, we need order in our lives. Working out daily schedules for the entire family by setting   realistic priorities and minimizing extra-curricular activities for the children are steps that we can take.  Early to bed and early to rise is a wise principle which is still valid today.



Daily Devotions/Prayers

·         Drops of Christ’s Blood
·         Novena to the Holy Face


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