Liturgy of the Hours

Liturgy of the Hours
Give your day to God in prayer

Battle for the Soul of America

Battle for the Soul of America
Prayer is the greatest weapon

The Manhood of the Master



In 1913 the renowned Harry Emerich Fosdick[1] wrote a 12 week study on the Manhood of Jesus Christ. Fosdick writes, “This work is not a portrait of the life of the Master or a study of his teaching. It is an endeavor to understand and appreciate the quality of his character. Neither, this this work an attempted to contribution to the theology; it is an endeavor, rather, to get back behind the thoughts of the centuries about him, and to see the Man Christ Jesus himself as he lives in the pages of the gospels.

During the Lenten period we will utilize the work to come closer to Christ’s manhood using this source as fruit for a study of Christ. Hopefully our study will help us rise with Christ and become true sons of Mary and the Church.


The Masters Joy

·         Day 1, First Week (Matt. 9: 10-15)

While he was at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat with Jesus and his disciples. The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” He heard this and said, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. Go and learn the meaning of the words, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.” Then the disciples of John approached him and said, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast [much], but your disciples do not fast?” Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.

Then note carefully to-day's picture of him as he sits at dinner. He is plainly happy. He is with his friends and is helping people who need help, and he so rejoices in his work that he compares his disciples and himself to a bridal party on a honeymoon. Even when we turn from such a scene as this to think of the days of Jesus' persecution, we find the note of joy unquenched. "Rejoice in that day," he says, "and leap for joy." "The fruits of the Spirit," according to Paul, "are love, joy, peace." Is your life, by its radiation of real good-cheer and goodwill, bearing testimony to your friendship with the Master?

Pontius Pilate couldn't take Christ’s joy[2]

Listen, again, to the stern moralist and preacher of holiness, “Cleanse your hands, ye sinners, and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” Here, again, we can but thankfully admire the perfect accuracy of the Holy Ghost, as regards the method of full salvation. To cleanse the hands is to obtain pardon and absolution for what we have done, and it is always the first work of the unsaved man to repent and seek the forgiveness of his sins. When this forgiveness has been obtained, then his hands are cleansed, but he may still be double-minded. He may still be unstable in all his ways. His spiritual course may still be zig-zag. His life may still be a series of sinning and repenting, and sinning again and repenting again, till he cries out in his misery, “O wretched man that I am, who (not what) shall deliver me from this body of death?” And then James’s prescription comes home to him, “Purify your hearts, ye double-minded.” Seek and obtain the blessing of entire sanctification, and, henceforth, with one mind and one purpose, run joyfully in the way of Christ’s commandments. Justification first and entire sanctification afterwards. First cleanse your hands, then purify your hearts. And with this agree the words of the Psalmist, “Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in His holy place?” “He that hath clean hands,” that is, whose sins have been pardoned, “and a pure heart,” that is, who has been sanctified wholly. The teachings of the Holy Ghost are marvelously harmonious in the Old Testament and the New.

1829 The fruits of charity are joy, peace, and mercy; charity demands beneficence and fraternal correction; it is benevolence; it fosters reciprocity and remains disinterested and generous; it is friendship and communion: Love is itself the fulfillment of all our works. There is the goal; that is why we run: we run toward it, and once we reach it, in it we shall find rest.

2500 The practice of goodness is accompanied by spontaneous spiritual joy and moral beauty. Likewise, truth carries with it the joy and splendor of spiritual beauty. Truth is beautiful in itself. Truth in words, the rational expression of the knowledge of created and uncreated reality, is necessary to man, who is endowed with intellect. But truth can also find other complementary forms of human expression, above all when it is a matter of evoking what is beyond words: the depths of the human heart, the exaltations of the soul, the mystery of God. Even before revealing himself to man in words of truth, God reveals himself to him through the universal language of creation, the work of his Word, of his wisdom: the order and harmony of the cosmos-which both the child and the scientist discover-"from the greatness and beauty of created things comes a corresponding perception of their Creator," "for the author of beauty created them."

[Wisdom] is a breath of the power of God, and a pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty; therefore nothing defiled gains entrance into her. For she is a reflection of eternal light, a spotless mirror of the working of God, and an image of his goodness. For [wisdom] is more beautiful than the sun, and excels every constellation of the stars. Compared with the light she is found to be superior, for it is succeeded by the night, but against wisdom evil does not prevail. I became enamored of her beauty.

2648 Every joy and suffering, every event and need can become the matter for thanksgiving which, sharing in that of Christ, should fill one's whole life: "Give thanks in all circumstances" (1 Thess 5:18).




[1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master
[2]Clark, Dougan. The Theology of Holiness



·         Day 2, First Week[1]

“And there people brought to him a paralytic lying on a stretcher. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Courage, child, your sins are forgiven.” (Mat.9:2)

I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world. (John 16:33)

“The following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Take courage. For just as you have borne witness to my cause in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness in Rome.” (Acts23:11)

The occurrence of the vision of Christ consoling Paul and assuring him that he will be his witness in Rome prepares the reader for the final section of Acts: the journey of Paul and the word he preaches to Rome under the protection of the Romans.[2]

Wherever the Master was, one of the most familiar words on his lips was, "Be of good cheer!" Consider the power to make men happy, to win influence, to make life worth living to others, that lies in such an attitude. Recall the proverb: "Heaviness in the heart maketh it stoop, but a good word maketh it glad." A Boston newspaper once printed this item: "The day was dark and gloomy, but Phillips Brooks walked down through Newspaper Row and all was bright." Are you commending your Christian Gospel— Gospel means good news—by such an attitude?

Be of Good Cheer[3]

Don’t seek to be excused if God calls you to some service. What would the twelve disciples have lost if they had declined the call of Jesus! I have always pitied those other disciples of whom we read that they went back, and walked no more with Jesus…Moses, you come back and tell us if you were afterwards sorry that God had called you? I think that when he stood in glorified body on the Mount of Transfiguration with Jesus and Elijah, he did not regret it. My dear friends, God is not confined to any one messenger. We are told that He can raise up children out of stones. Someone has said that there are three classes of people, the “wills,” the “won’ts,” and the “can’ts”; the first accomplishes everything, the second oppose everything, and the third fail in everything. If God calls you, consider it a great honor. Consider it a great privilege to have partnership with Him in anything. Do it cheerfully, gladly. Do it with all your heart, and He will bless you. Don’t let false modesty or insincerity, self-interest, or any personal consideration turn you aside from the path of duty and sacrifice. If we listen for God’s voice, we shall hear the call; and if He calls and sends us, there will be no such thing as failure, but success all along the line. Moses had glorious success because he went forward and did what God called him to do.


Reflect on the ways our media portrays "Nice" and the "Awful's" (basket of deplorable's) 
What would the Lord see if He looked into your soul?



[1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master
[3]Moody, Dwight Lyman. Men of the Bible


·         Day 3, First Week[1]

X  Why are you anxious about clothes? Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin. But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them. (Matt 6:28-29)

X  No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father. (John 15:13-15)

X  On the third day there was a wedding in Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding. (John 2:1-2)
The first sign. This story of replacement of Jewish ceremonial washings (Jn 2:6) presents the initial revelation about Jesus at the outset of his ministry. He manifests his glory; the disciples believe.

Ø  One of the central tests of any character is the nature of its pleasures. What do you call real joy? Jesus enjoyed nature and friendship and social life, and so should we. Jesus loved good health, and spent much of his time healing the bodies of men. Jesus loved the best reading at his disposal and was perfectly at home in the prophets. All his joys were fine and high. Without going deeper into the distinctly religious sources of Jesus' joy, examine your own heart and see if you can stand the test of this question: Where do I look for my happiness?

2207 The family is the original cell of social life. It is the natural society in which husband and wife are called to give themselves in love and in the gift of life. Authority, stability, and a life of relationships within the family constitute the foundations for freedom, security, and fraternity within society. The family is the community in which, from childhood, one can learn moral values, begin to honor God, and make good use of freedom. Family life is an initiation into life in society.

2288 Life and physical health are precious gifts entrusted to us by God. We must take reasonable care of them, taking into account the needs of others and the common good.

Concern for the health of its citizens requires that society help in the attainment of living-conditions that allow them to grow and reach maturity: food and clothing, housing, health care, basic education, employment, and social assistance.

2347 The virtue of chastity blossoms in friendship. It shows the disciple how to follow and imitate him who has chosen us as his friends, who has given himself totally to us and allows us to participate in his divine estate. Chastity is a promise of immortality.

Chastity is expressed notably in friendship with one's neighbor. Whether it develops between persons of the same or opposite sex, friendship represents a great good for all. It leads to spiritual communion.

MYTH: The Catholic Church[2] does not want married couples to have sex just for pleasure.

REALITY: The Catholic Church wants married couples to have the best sex possible!

Sexual pleasure in marriage is good. Pleasure is a part of intercourse, however, not its sole focus. There is, after all, a difference between simply "having sex," which includes actions aimed at one's own pleasure, and "making love," which involves giving oneself to another. Put another way, there is a difference between "self-taking" and "self-giving."

"Making love" as God planned it for marriage, means that husband and wife offer themselves to each other as a gift. This sexual gift is faithful and exclusive. It rejoices in the other person, is respectful of God's design, and welcomes a child who may come from their union. It thus has the potential to build the family. In expressing the mutual love and commitments of husband and wife, sexual intercourse becomes a lasting source of joy in their marital relationship.



·         Day 4, First Week[1]

X  So to them he addressed this parable. “What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost oned until he finds it? And when he does find it, he sets it on his shoulders with great joy and, upon his arrival home, he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you, in just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance. “Or what woman having ten coins and losing one would not light a lamp and sweep the house, searching carefully until she finds it? And when she does find it, she calls together her friends and neighbors and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found the coin that I lost.’ In just the same way, I tell you, there will be rejoicing among the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

Ø  Almost every young man or woman begins seeking joy through getting, and has to learn by experience that the deepest satisfaction in life lies in serving. Can you remember doing some real kindness for a person who had no special reason to expect it from you? Has anything in your life lingered in your memory as a much more deeply satisfactory experience? Jesus' joy was at heart this satisfaction which comes from finding lost and needy people and helping them out. This source of exhaustless delight is at every man's hand every day, and yet how many let its treasures go unclaimed!

1658 We must also remember the great number of single persons who, because of the particular circumstances in which they have to live - often not of their choosing - are especially close to Jesus' heart and therefore deserve the special affection and active solicitude of the Church, especially of pastors. Many remain without a human family often due to conditions of poverty. Some live their situation in the spirit of the Beatitudes, serving God and neighbor in exemplary fashion. The doors of homes, the "domestic churches," and of the great family which is the Church must be open to all of them. "No one is without a family in this world: the Church is a home and family for everyone, especially those who 'labor and are heavy laden.'"

2004 Among the special graces ought to be mentioned the graces of state that accompany the exercise of the responsibilities of the Christian life and of the ministries within the Church:

Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; he who teaches, in his teaching; he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who contributes, in liberality; he who gives aid, with zeal; he who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness

2242 The citizen is obliged in conscience not to follow the directives of civil authorities when they are contrary to the demands of the moral order, to the fundamental rights of persons or the teachings of the Gospel. Refusing obedience to civil authorities, when their demands are contrary to those of an upright conscience, finds its justification in the distinction between serving God and serving the political community. "Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." "We must obey God rather than men":

When citizens are under the oppression of a public authority which oversteps its competence, they should still not refuse to give or to do what is objectively demanded of them by the common good; but it is legitimate for them to defend their own rights and those of their fellow citizens against the abuse of this authority within the limits of the natural law and the Law of the Gospel.


I asked our Lord on a hike to speak to me as we walked along the way. The Lord spoke to my heart and said that in this world there are two kinds of people those that give and those that get. He said amazingly those that get never get enough and those who give always get enough. As we walked Christ pointed out to me the things that I should be giving to others.

As we started the hike I noticed the sign with the map of the hike was reversed and if I did not study it closely I would be lost. Christ urged me to:

Give good directions.

Walking along I met others walking or riding bikes coming from the opposite direction and they looked rather glum and miserable. Christ urged me to greet them. As I did I noticed their expression changed from glum to happy.

Give greetings.

    Walking along I heard music from a tavern near the trail. Christ urged me to:

    Give music and song to gladden others hearts.

      Walking along I met a small turtle that on seeing me tucked into his shell. Christ urged me to:

      Give others respect and privacy.

        Walking along I passed a stream and notice the path was shady. Christ urged me to:

        Give refreshment to others.




          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master

          Day 5, First Week[1]

          X  The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. (Matt. 13:44) (In the unsettled conditions of Palestine in Jesus’ time, it was not unusual to guard valuables by burying them in the ground.)
          X  His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.’[Then] the one who had received two talents also came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two talents. See, I have made two more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.’ (Matt. 25:21-23)

          Ø  When we give up an immediate pleasure for character's sake, we are impressed with how much we have sacrificed. Jesus was impressed with how much a man had gained. Consider what you have gained by any sacrifice you ever made for character: The approval of God through conscience, the satisfaction of overcoming your moral enemy, the greater power to conquer the next time, the approbation of those who care most for you, increased power of usefulness to others. How much more you gained than you sacrificed! Ought not all such sacrifice to be made with joy? Nobody ever found any real, solid and permanent satisfaction in doing wrong.

          616 It is love "to the end" that confers on Christ's sacrifice its value as redemption and reparation, as atonement and satisfaction. He knew and loved us all when he offered his life. Now "the love of Christ controls us, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died." No man, not even the holiest, was ever able to take on himself the sins of all men and offer himself as a sacrifice for all. The existence in Christ of the divine person of the Son, who at once surpasses and embraces all human persons, and constitutes himself as the Head of all mankind, makes possible his redemptive sacrifice for all.

          1450 "Penance requires . . . the sinner to endure all things willingly, be contrite of heart, confess with the lips, and practice complete humility and fruitful satisfaction."

          1494 The confessor proposes the performance of certain acts of "satisfaction" or "penance" to be performed by the penitent in order to repair the harm caused by sin and to re-establish habits befitting a disciple of Christ.

          Nothing can produce so great a serenity of life, as a mind free from guilt, and kept untainted, not only from actions, but purposes that are wicked. By this means the soul will be not only unpolluted, but not disturbed; the fountain will run clear and unsullied, and the streams that flow from it will be just and honest deeds, ecstasies of satisfaction, a brisk energy of spirit, which makes a man an enthusiast in his joy, and a tenacious memory, sweeter than hope. For as shrubs which are cut down with the morning dew upon them do for a long time after retain their fragrancy, so the good actions of a wise man perfume his mind, and leave a rich scent behind them. So that joy is, as it were, watered with these essences, and owes its flourishing to them. PLUTARCH[2]






          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master
          [2]Tileston, Mary W.. Daily Strength for Daily Needs 



          Day 6, First Week[1]



          X  Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you [falsely] because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matt. 5:3-12)



          The poor in spirit: in the Old Testament, the poor (’anāwîm) are those who are without material possessions and whose confidence is in God; the word is translated lowly and humble. Matthew added in spirit in order either to indicate that only the devout poor were meant or to extend the beatitude to all, of whatever social rank, who recognized their complete dependence on God. The same phrase poor in spirit is found in the Qumran literature (1QM 14:7). “(The Lord has sent me)…to comfort all who mourn.” They will be comforted: here the passive is a “theological passive” equivalent to the active “God will comfort them”.…the meek shall possess the land.” In the psalm “the land” means the land of Palestine; here it means the kingdom. Only one “whose heart is clean” can take part in the temple worship. To be with God in the temple is described in Ps 42:3 as “beholding his face,” but here the promise to the clean of heart is that they will see God not in the temple but in the coming kingdom. Righteousness here, as usually in Matthew, means conduct in conformity with God’s will. The prophets who were before you: the disciples of Jesus stand in the line of the persecuted prophets of Israel. Some would see the expression as indicating also that Matthew considered all Christian disciples as prophets.[2]



          Ø  Many of our sermons, hymns and books pity Jesus because of his suffering. He spoke of his own life, even with its persecutions, as a blessed, that is, a happy life. Consider the exhaustless sources of Jesus' joy: his trust in his Father, his boundless hope for the future, his consciousness that he had found and was doing God's will for him, his sense of God's approval on his life, and his knowledge that he was doing a great and abiding service for men. Think of each of these in its application to your own life. May not any one of us make our lives profoundly blessed in all these?



          1718 The Beatitudes respond to the natural desire for happiness. This desire is of divine origin: God has placed it in the human heart in order to draw man to the One who alone can fulfill it:



          We all want to live happily; in the whole human race there is no one who does not assent to this proposition, even before it is fully articulated.

          How is it, then, that I seek you, Lord? Since in seeking you, my God, I seek a happy life, let me seek you so that my soul may live, for my body draws life from my soul and my soul draws life from you.

          God alone satisfies.

          1810 Human virtues acquired by education, by deliberate acts and by a perseverance ever-renewed in repeated efforts are purified and elevated by divine grace. With God's help, they forge character and give facility in the practice of the good. The virtuous man is happy to practice them.

          Love the Lord Your God with Your Entire Mind[3]

          A man does not come to the almshouse or the jail by the tyranny of fate or circumstance, but by the pathway of groveling thoughts and base desires. Nor does a pure-minded man fall suddenly into crime by stress of any mere external force; the criminal thought had long been secretly fostered in the heart, and the hour of opportunity revealed its gathered power. Circumstance does not make the man; it reveals him to himself. No such conditions can exist as descending into vice and its attendant sufferings apart from vicious inclinations, or ascending into virtue and it’s pure happiness without the continued cultivation of virtuous aspirations; and man, therefore, as the lord and master of thought, is the maker of himself the shaper and author of environment. Even at birth the soul comes to its own and through every step of its earthly pilgrimage it attracts those combinations of conditions which reveal itself, which are the reflections of its own purity and, impurity, its strength and weakness.




          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master
          [3]Allen, James. As a Man Thinketh

          Day 7, First Week[1]
          X  I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete. (John 15:11)
          X  So you also are now in anguish. But I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you. (John 16:22)
          X  But now I am coming to you. I speak this in the world so that they may share my joy completely. (John 17:13)

          Ø  Sooner or later the circumstances of any life become adverse. Nobody wholly escapes misfortune. Are all your joys at the mercy of things that may happen to you? Have you any resources of joy that no man and no misfortune can take away from you? Jesus had. Consider the sources of his joy mentioned yesterday, and see that they are all utterly independent of man's hostility or the adversity of circumstance. Some day every one needs such reserves of joy as Jesus had in the upper room. Are you in possession of them?

          Finding Reserves In The Face Of Adversity[2]

          One day a team leader was looking at a magazine ad with the words "You can do it!" emblazoned in color across the page. He cut out the words and taped them to the mirror in his bathroom. Every morning, the first thing he saw was his face with the caption, "You can do it!" This optimistic image literally changed the way he began the day. Contrived, yes-but effective, because the team completed a well-received received report by the deadline. There are more complex ways of thinking about how to change these self-messages. Psychologist Martin Seligman has pioneered one systematic approach that he calls "learned optimism." Seligman has studied the effects of optimistic self-talk, or "explanatory style," in real-world conditions ranging from selling insurance to surviving plebe (freshman) year at West Point. His conclusions are that optimists do better than pessimists and that their success rate is greater than objective data (such as SAT scores) would predict. Seligman argues that his "ABCDE" model is more effective than simply sending positive messages. His process, which I have simplified, involves five concepts and related actions:

          1.      Adversity. Identify the adversity you have encountered (e.g., a computer crash in the middle of an important project).
          2.      Beliefs. Note your thoughts and beliefs about the event-that is, your interpretation (e.g., "I'll never get the report done").
          3.      Consequences. Recognize the consequences of your belief (e.g., you feel discouraged).
          4.      Dispute. Dispute the negative belief with a sound argument based on evidence (e.g., "I have overcome other technology disasters through persistence").
          5.      Energy. Generate the energy and feelings needed to overcome the adversity (e.g., "I feel more relaxed and confident that I deal with the problem and finish the report").

          Hidden Reserves[3]

          During the years of Jesus' hidden life in the house at Nazareth, Mary's life too is "hid with Christ in God" (cf. Col. 3:3) through faith. For faith is contact with the mystery of God. Every day Mary is in constant contact with the ineffable mystery of God made man, a mystery that surpasses everything revealed in the Old Covenant. From the moment of the Annunciation, the mind of the Virgin-Mother has been initiated into the radical "newness" of God's self-revelation and has been made aware of the mystery. She is the first of those "little ones" of whom Jesus will say one day: "Father, ...you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes" (Mt. 11:25). For "no one knows the Son except the Father" (Mt. 11:27). If this is the case, how can Mary "know the Son"? Of course she does not know him as the Father does; and yet she is the first of those to whom the Father "has chosen to reveal him" If though, from the moment of the Annunciation, the Son-whom only the Father knows completely, as the one who begets him in the eternal "today" was revealed to Mary, she, his Mother, is in contact with the truth about her Son only in faith and through faith! She is therefore blessed, because "she has believed," and continues to believe day after day amidst all the trials and the adversities of Jesus' infancy and then during the years of the hidden life at Nazareth, where he "was obedient to them" (Lk. 2:51). He was obedient both to Mary and also to Joseph, since Joseph took the place of his father in people's eyes; for this reason, the Son of Mary was regarded by the people as "the carpenter's son" (Mt. 13:55).

          Faith in Christ is a reserve for strength in…Man’s journey, through all the events of history that accompanies each and every individual. It is the transformation from "falling" to "rising," from death to life. It is also a constant challenge to people's consciences, a challenge to man's whole historical awareness: the challenge to follow the path of "not falling" in ways that are ever old and ever new, and of "rising again" if a fall has occurred.

          As she goes forward with the whole of humanity towards the frontier between the two Millennia, the Church, for her part, with the whole community of believers and in union with all men and women of good will, takes up the great challenge contained in these words of the Marian antiphon: "the people who have fallen yet strive to rise again," and she addresses both the Redeemer and his Mother with the plea: "Assist us." For, as this prayer attests, the Church sees the Blessed Mother of God in the saving mystery of Christ and in her own mystery. She sees Mary deeply rooted in humanity's history, in man's eternal vocation according to the providential plan which God has made for him from eternity She sees Mary maternally present and sharing in the many complicated problems which today beset the lives of individuals, families and nations; she sees her helping the Christian people in the constant struggle between good and evil, to ensure that it "does not fall," or, if it has fallen, that it "rises again."




          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master
          [2]Dennis N. T. Perkins;Margaret P. Holtman;Paul R. Kessler;Catherine McCarthy. Leading at The Edge: Leadership Lessons from the Extraordinary Saga of Shackleton's Antarctic Expedition

          The Masters Joy

          1st Weeks Reflection on Joy[1]

          The Difference between Happiness and Joy

          Most people have a hard time understanding the difference between “Happiness” and “Joy”. When it comes to nourishing our souls, “Happiness” is like a candy bar (not very nutritional), and “Joy” is like a plate of meat, potatoes, and vegetables (fills you up and is good for you too!). Happiness is when we are delighted and pleased with good fortune (often outside forces which we don’t control) such as good health, good relationships, a good job, a good house, and plenty of food and clothing. Joy on the other hand runs much deeper than happiness. Joy is a matter of our soul, it runs deep into the core of us and radiates throughout our being. Joy is the response to something bigger, something eternal and often comes from conquering oneself and willingly enduring suffering, insults, pain, humiliation, or hardships for a virtuous cause. “Joy” is based on the permanent unshakeable knowledge that in the big picture…..all will be well with your soul. If we look at the messages coming from our post-modern media, we could easily conclude that being happy is the most important thing in the world. TV and magazine ads scream that we have to buy this product or that service because it will make us happy – and after all, don’t we deserve to be happy? In movies and television shows, characters leave their partners, change their lives, and break the rules – all in a quest for happiness. The pursuit of happiness dominates our society, but the “worlds” happiness is often shallow and empty. True “Joy” nourishes our soul even when our lives are often difficult and filled with hardship. This kind of joy has little to do with buying the right car, clothes, or cologne. It has nothing to do with leaving your partner for a younger, better-looking person, or making millions of dollars in the stock market. The promises of “happiness” that the world tries to sell are futile, empty, and destructive. True “Joy” doesn’t depend on having all the material things you want. It isn’t connected to having an easy life. Instead, it’s a deep and powerful emotion that comes from inside, uplifting and sustaining us even when it appears as though the world is crashing down around us. The seeds of true joy are sprouting in us even when we experience hardship, suffering, and pain. We decide, by controlling our human nature whether to let these seeds grow into joy or not. True “Joy” is something we choose. Every time we make the choice to be contented, to be thankful, to celebrate the good in life rather than complaining about all that’s wrong, we are choosing to experience true “Joy”. Our temporal lives will always be filled with pain and hardship. You may be suffering from a chronic illness, or perhaps from depression; you may be trapped in an unhappy marriage, you could be jobless, facing crippling financial problems, or you may be experiencing the illness or death of a loved one. Happiness won’t do much to change these circumstances, other than maybe provide a quick “fix” (enter drugs, alcohol, sex, consumerism). But real, Spirit-filled joy is possible, no matter what the world throws at you. It’s something that nothing and no one can take away from you. How important is it to be happy? If by “happy” you mean the momentary contentment that results from having all our desires met, then the answer would be that that kind of happiness is not very important. But if you are referring to true “Joy”, the feeling that comes from suffering through the worlds pain and hardships and choosing to not complain about it, being thankful for what you do have, and celebrating your blessings…..then it’s very important.


          Finding Joy when Times are Tough



          Every person, no matter his circumstance, goes through rough times. You may experience the death of a loved one, financial stress, overwhelming children or problems in your marriage; finding joy through these trials helps you cope effectively and overcome them. Though it seems impossible to maintain a positive outlook, with patience and perseverance you will endure these difficult times and enjoy peace once again.



          1.      Look at the positive aspects of your life. Your health, home and family members are just a few things to be thankful for. Simply waking up to a sunny day can put a fresh perspective on an otherwise dismal situation.

          2.      Avoid whining, complaining and irritable attitudes, which only make the tough times worse.

          3.      Think about what your trial is teaching you. For instance, if you’ve lost your job, you may be learning to manage your money. Every difficulty you endure will increase your ability to overcome other challenges in the future, and your self-esteem will improve when you learn that you can endure difficult times.

          4.      Ask for assistance. Consult friends or family members for help or advice. Talking to people who love you may ease your burden and help you gain a new perspective.

          5.      Serve other people. Working hard will help you forget your own troubles for a while. Helping others increases your level of happiness, decreases stress, makes you feel needed and generous, and gives your life a sense of purpose. You may also realize how lucky you are.

          6.      Pray.

          7.      Realize that your trial won’t last forever. The unemployed eventually find jobs, the grief after a loved one has passed lessens over time and rebellious children eventually find their way.

          8.      Laugh often. Laughter relaxes your body, eases fear and anxiety, relieves stress and pain, and benefits your heart and immune system.


          1697 Catechesis has to reveal in all clarity the joy and the demands of the way of Christ. Catechesis[2] for the "newness of life" in him should be:

          ·         a catechesis of the Holy Spirit, the interior Master of life according to Christ, a gentle guest and friend who inspires, guides, corrects, and strengthens this life;
          ·         a catechesis of grace, for it is by grace that we are saved and again it is by grace that our works can bear fruit for eternal life;
          ·         a catechesis of the beatitudes, for the way of Christ is summed up in the beatitudes, the only path that leads to the eternal beatitude for which the human heart longs;
          ·         a catechesis of sin and forgiveness, for unless man acknowledges that he is a sinner he cannot know the truth about himself, which is a condition for acting justly; and without the offer of forgiveness he would not be able to bear this truth;
          ·         a catechesis of the human virtues which causes one to grasp the beauty and attraction of right dispositions towards goodness;
          ·         a catechesis of the Christian virtues of faith, hope, and charity, generously inspired by the example of the saints;
          ·         a catechesis of the twofold commandment of charity set forth in the Decalogue;
          ·         an ecclesial catechesis, for it is through the manifold exchanges of "spiritual goods" in the "communion of saints" that Christian life can grow, develop, and be communicated.





          [2]The word catechesis comes from the Greek meaning "to echo the teaching" meaning that catechesis or the teaching of the faith is an interactive process in which the Word of God re-sounds between and among the proclaimer, the one receiving the message, and the Holy Spirit! Catechesis is a life-long process.

          Second Week -The Master's Magnanimity


          Day 1, Second Week[1]



          X  But to you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. (Luke 6:27-28)

          X  For if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do the same. If you lend money to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit [is] that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, and get back the same amount. But rather, love your enemies and do good to them, and lend expecting nothing back; then your reward will be great and you will be children of the Most High, for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as [also] your Father is merciful. “Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.” (Luke 6: 32-38)

          Ø  Think of these words first, not as difficult commandments laid on us, but as revelations of the Master's own spirit. What a wealth of generosity! What a lavishness of goodwill! Read the passage over, using it as a window to look into Jesus' own heart. Remember that he both really felt and actually lived what these words express. Compare your own life now with the boundless magnanimity of the Master, and consider what it means that you cannot help being instinctively ashamed of yourself in the presence of such a spirit.

          1968 The Law of the Gospel fulfills the commandments of the Law. The Lord's Sermon on the Mount, far from abolishing or devaluing the moral prescriptions of the Old Law, releases their hidden potential and has new demands arise from them: it reveals their entire divine and human truth. It does not add new external precepts, but proceeds to reform the heart, the root of human acts, where man chooses between the pure and the impure, where faith, hope, and charity are formed and with them the other virtues. The Gospel thus brings the Law to its fullness through imitation of the perfection of the heavenly Father, through forgiveness of enemies and prayer for persecutors, in emulation of the divine generosity.

          2407 In economic matters, respect for human dignity requires the practice of the virtue of temperance, so as to moderate attachment to this world's goods; the practice of the virtue of justice, to preserve our neighbor's rights and render him what is his due; and the practice of solidarity, in accordance with the golden rule and in keeping with the generosity of the Lord, who "though he was rich, yet for your sake . . . became poor so that by his poverty, you might become rich."

          Called to Greatness: The Virtue of Magnanimity[2]

          When faced with choices in life, do you tend to pursue what is most noble — what will form you in excellence and benefit others most? Or do you tend to shy away from things that may push you out of your comfort zone — even if they are good for you — either because you fear failure or because you tend to avoid doing what is difficult and challenging?

          Striving for greatness is at the heart of a virtue called "magnanimity," which means "greatness of soul." This is the virtue by which man pursues what is great and honorable in his life, even if it is difficult. St. Thomas Aquinas describes it as a "stretching forth of the mind to great things." The magnanimous person seeks to do great acts, "things as are deserving of honor." This is not opposed to humility. The magnanimous person pursues greatness in proportion to his ability. He humbly takes stock of all the gifts that God has given him and seeks to use them as best he can. As Aquinas explains, "Magnanimity makes a man deem himself worthy of great things in consideration of the gifts he holds from God." While magnanimity is certainly exhibited among the famous saints who evangelized whole cultures, started new religious orders, or defended the Church against widespread heresies, it is also found in simple, small, ordinary people whose sincere desire to give the best of themselves is used by God to do extraordinary things. This does not mean every good Catholic must start a good organization or lead a parish activity. Magnanimity is often lived — in quiet, simple ways off the radar screen of most of the world. The person who daily endeavors to be a better spouse, parent, friend, or child of God is truly seeking "greatness of soul." Indeed, the magnanimous person continuously strives to perfect the virtues in all areas of his life. He is not content with simply being good. He reaches out toward excellence. For example, magnanimity may impel a good man to go beyond his daily obligations and make more sacrifices in his daily life for the sake of others. He may be driven to defer to others' preferences, to endure criticism with patience, to respond gently to his child's temper tantrum, or to avoid defending his opinion in non-essential matters. These are small ways of living "greatness of soul." As such, magnanimity is sometimes called the "adornment" of all the virtues, for the magnanimous man endeavors to make his virtues greater. Or as Aquinas explains, "If his soul is endowed with great virtue, magnanimity makes him tend to perfect works of virtue."



          Mediocrity

          Yet what is it that prevents a person from pursuing greatness and causes him to settle for mediocrity in his life? The man lacking in magnanimity suffers from a vice called "pusillanimity," which means "smallness of soul." Whereas the magnanimous man seeks what is best, even if it is difficult; the pusillanimous man shies away from noble, arduous tasks because they will demand a lot out of him. He instead pursues the path of least resistance, opting for whatever is easier.

          ·         According to Aquinas, one reason the pusillanimous man shrinks from great things is ignorance of one's own qualification. Many people do not think they are capable of great things. They do not know the high call God has for every one of His children: a call to perfection. Even more, they are not aware of the grace Jesus offers us to help us achieve this perfection that we could never arrive at on our own. So instead of striving for greatness, which they view as impossible to achieve, they merely seek to avoid doing bad things.

          ·         A second reason people shrink from doing great things is fear of failure. Someone, for example, might sense God is calling them to share their faith more, pray more, or serve the poor, but they are afraid to take a step forward because they are too worried that they will not be good at these works. They are afraid they will not be successful, and their fear of failure keeps them from striving after the great desires God has placed on their hearts.

          Something Mother Teresa once said might be helpful here: "We are called to be faithful, not successful." Many of the great heroes in the Church —did not know when they began to answer God's call in their lives how successful their efforts would be. But they did have the magnanimity to be faithful and put the rest in God's hands.



          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master


          Day 2, Second Week[1]



          X  Then Peter approaching asked him, “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times. That is why the kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who decided to settle accounts with his servants. When he began the accounting, a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount. Since he had no way of paying it back, his master ordered him to be sold, along with his wife, his children, and all his property, in payment of the debt. At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.’ Moved with compassion the master of that servant let him go and forgave him the loan. When that servant had left, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a much smaller amount. He seized him and started to choke him, demanding, ‘Pay back what you owe.’ Falling to his knees, his fellow servant begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’ But he refused. Instead, he had him put in prison until he paid back the debt. Now when his fellow servants saw what had happened, they were deeply disturbed, and went to their master and reported the whole affair. His master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to. Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?’ Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers until he should pay back the whole debt. (Matt. 18:21-24)

          Seventy-seven times; what is demanded of the disciples is limitless forgiveness.
          Pay you back in full: an empty promise, given the size of the debt.
          A much smaller amount: literally, “a hundred denarii.” A denarius was the normal daily wage of a laborer. The difference between the two debts is enormous and brings out the absurdity of the conduct of the Christian who has received the great forgiveness of God and yet refuses to forgive the relatively minor offenses done to him. Since the debt is so great as to be unpayable, the punishment will be endless.[2]

          Ø  Jesus says that an unforgiving, grudge-bearing spirit is not simply a fault, but that it is unutterably mean. Think over all that people have had to endure in you; remember the patience and forgiveness of your parents, the way your friends have overlooked your blunders and ill nature; consider how your hope of any chance to retrieve past mistakes in your moral life rests on God's mercy and willingness to pardon. Then think how mean it is to cherish grudges against those who wrong you. Face squarely all your nourished spite against any one and see how contemptible it is.

          1784 The education of the conscience is a lifelong task. From the earliest years, it awakens the child to the knowledge and practice of the interior law recognized by conscience. Prudent education teaches virtue; it prevents or cures fear, selfishness and pride, resentment arising from guilt, and feelings of complacency, born of human weakness and faults. The education of the conscience guarantees freedom and engenders peace of heart.

          You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD. (Lev. 19:17-18)

          “If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother, but you shall open your hand to him and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be. Take care lest there be an unworthy thought in your heart and you say, ‘The seventh year, the year of release is near,’ and your eye look grudgingly on your poor brother, and you give him nothing, and he cry to the LORD against you, and you be guilty of sin. You shall give to him freely, and your heart shall not be grudging when you give to him, because for this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake. For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’ (Deut: 15:7-11)





          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master
          [2]http://usccb.org/bible/matthew/18#48018022-1


          Day 3, Second Week[1]

          X  When you stand to pray, forgive anyone against whom you have a grievance, so that your heavenly Father may in turn forgive you your transgressions.” (Mark 11:25)
          X  and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; and do not subject us to the final test, but deliver us from the evil one. If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions. (Matt. 6:12-15)
          Forgive us our debts: the word debts is used metaphorically of sins, “debts” owed to God. The request is probably for forgiveness at the final judgment. Jewish apocalyptic writings speak of a period of severe trial before the end of the age, sometimes called the “messianic woes.” This petition asks that the disciples be spared that final test. These verses reflect a set pattern called “Principles of Holy Law.” Human action now will be met by a corresponding action of God at the final judgment.[2]

          Ø  Have you ever tried to pray and found that your cherished bitterness against some unfriendly person made real praying impossible? So when the murderers of Macbeth tried to pray, "The prayer stuck in their throat." Try today to pray for the one whom you most dislike. Really desire for him the deepest good. Pray for him so sincerely, that, in all honesty, if you had a chance to help him the next moment, you would have to do it. Then consider yourself bound to forgive fully when the opportunity comes, to make it come now if you can, and meanwhile to let no bitterness interrupt your fellowship with God.

          “And Forgive Us Our Debts As We Forgive Our Debtors”[3]

          Who but God can take away sins. Mark 2:7
          This petition probably refers to:
          1. Our continual repentance and conversion as we seek forgiveness for our sins on our journey toward salvation.
          2. Our plea for God’s forgiveness when  we face our individual judgments after death (Rom 14:102 Cor 5:10Heb 9:37)
          The Greek word opheilema which can be translated “trespass” or “debt” is found only here in Matthew chapter 6 and in Romans 4:4 in the New Testament. The transliteration of this Greek word is “what is due” or “an obligation, a debt.” But here it clearly has a moral connotation, meaning “the debt of sin.” This interpretation is supported by Luke’s version of the Lord’s Prayer where he uses the Greek word hamartias’ which means venial sins. Jesus was probably speaking in Aramaic and in Aramaic the word hobha means debt or sin. In the Old as well as in New Testament times, sin was conceived of in terms of a debt. Since for his Greek readers Luke translated the Aramaic word into the Greek word hamartias, meaning “sins” we should obviously understand it in that sense.
          According to the Bible what is the only way in which a “debt of sin” can be paid? In the Old Testament as well as in the New Testament a “debt of sin” can only be paid with blood:


          ·         Exodus 29:38 ~ (God said) This is what you must offer on the altar: two yearling male lambs each day in perpetuity. The first lamb you will offer at dawn, and the second at the end of the day…
          ·         Leviticus 17:11 ~ For the life of the creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you for performing the rite of expiation on the altar for your lives, for blood is what expiates for a life.
          ·         John 1:29 ~ The next day he (John the Baptist) saw Jesus coming toward him and said, Behold, the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
          ·         Hebrews 9:2226b ~ According to the law almost everything is purified by blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness…But now once for all he has appeared at the end of the ages to take away sin by his sacrifice.
          ·         Revelations 1:5 ~ …and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead and ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood…
          ·         Acts 3:19 ~ Now you must repent and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out.

          It is interesting that the last words of the Passover celebration were It is finished or fulfilled, these were the same words (teltelestai in Greek) that Jesus cried out on the cross before He gave up His spirit (Jn 19:30). In the time that Jesus lived, the word “teltelestai” was also an accounting term that was announced when a debt was paid. Jesus paid our debt of sin on the Cross.

          What is the penalty that we pay for sin in our lives? How can that penalty be removed? Since Adam and Eve’s fall from grace, through sin death has reigned over man’s life which, ever since, has been measured by time. But, Christ has claimed victory over sin and death and has shared that victory with those who believe in Him. All those who die in Christ’s grace become participants in the death of the Savior with the promise that they can also share in His Resurrection.

          What is it that we will suffer if we refuse to forgive others? In loving gratitude for the debt He paid for our sins, we in turn forgive others. If we refuse to forgive others our sins of unforgiveness will separate us from God’s forgiveness. The “Eighteen Benedictions” of the Jews also has a petition for forgiveness, but no condition is attached to that petition unlike the Lord’s Prayer. Once again, Jesus has “raised the bar” or intensified the righteousness required of the New Covenant believer. This is the only petition to which Jesus will return and reemphasize at the end of the prayer.


          1462 Forgiveness of sins brings reconciliation with God, but also with the Church. Since ancient times the bishop, visible head of a particular Church, has thus rightfully been considered to be the one who principally has the power and ministry of reconciliation: he is the moderator of the penitential discipline. Priests, his collaborators, exercise it to the extent that they have received the commission either from their bishop (or religious superior) or the Pope, according to the law of the Church.

          2844 Christian prayer extends to the forgiveness of enemies, transfiguring the disciple by configuring him to his Master. Forgiveness is a high-point of Christian prayer; only hearts attuned to God's compassion can receive the gift of prayer. Forgiveness also bears witness that, in our world, love is stronger than sin. The martyrs of yesterday and today bear this witness to Jesus. Forgiveness is the fundamental condition of the reconciliation of the children of God with their Father and of men with one another.




          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master
          [3]http://www.stgregoryarmenian.org/the-gospel-of-matthew-lesson-11-chapter-6/


          Day 4, Second Week[1]

          X  You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, ‘You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment, and whoever says to his brother, ‘Raqa,’ will be answerable to the Sanhedrin, and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ will be liable to fiery Gehenna. Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift. (Matt. 5:21-24)

          Christ gives us six examples of the conduct demanded of the Christian disciple in Matthew 5:21-48. Each deals with a commandment of the law, introduced by You have heard that it was said to your ancestors or an equivalent formula, followed by Jesus’ teaching in respect to that commandment, But I say to you; thus their designation as “antitheses.” Three of them accept the Mosaic law but extend or deepen it (Mt 5:212227284344); three reject it as a standard of conduct for the disciples (Mt 5:313233373839). Reconciliation with an offended brother is urged the severity of the judge in the parable is a warning of the fate of unrepentant sinners in the coming judgment by God. Anger is the motive behind murder, as the insulting epithets are steps that may lead to it. They, as well as the deed, are all forbidden. Raqa: an Aramaic word rēqā’ or rēqâ probably meaning “imbecile,” “blockhead,” a term of abuse. The ascending order of punishment, judgment (by a local council?), trial before the Sanhedrin, condemnation to Gehenna, points to a higher degree of seriousness in each of the offenses. Sanhedrin: the highest judicial body of Judaism. Gehenna: in Hebrew gê-hinnōm, “Valley of Hinnom,” or gê ben-hinnōm, “Valley of the son of Hinnom,” southwest of Jerusalem, the center of an idolatrous cult during the monarchy in which children were offered in sacrifice (see 2 Kgs 23:10Jer 7:31). In Jos 18:16 (Septuagint, Codex Vaticanus) the Hebrew is transliterated into Greek as gaienna, which appears in the New Testament as geenna. The concept of punishment of sinners by fire either after death or after the final judgment is found in Jewish apocalyptic literature (e.g., Enoch 90:26) but the name geenna is first given to the place of punishment in the New Testament.[2]

          Ø  What does religion mean to you? Has it ever degenerated in your life into a mere observance of forms or attendance on services? Then note what Jesus says: that true religion involves brotherliness, real, inward brotherliness, and that nothing externally religious which a man can perform means anything without that. Of all expressions of brotherliness the most common is active, practical service; far less common is the ability to bear injuries without being vengeful, to be reviled and to revile not again, to be wronged and instead of "getting even" to help the offender. This is brotherliness in a most noble and difficult form. Are you in this sense a religious man?

          Be Benevolent[3]

          Do you know what misleads us? The fact that the best men are often so hard. They grow tired of pardoning. They do not forget the wounds they may have received. The world is pitiless in its judgments. It would seem that the perverted should be less severe than others, if only from looking at themselves. Quite the contrary, because mercy is a fruit of grace. Listen to the Pharisees, behind their whitewashed facades, passing judgment on the poor pub1icans. We apply to the Heart of Jesus the measure of our own miserable little hearts, so mean, so narrow, so hard, and we do not succeed in comprehending how good, how indulgent, how compassionate, how gentle, and how patient is Jesus Himself. We are severe particularly through lack of humility. This lack of humility prevents us from going to Jesus with the childlike confidence which permits Him to make our hearts gentle and humble like His, to exchange our hearts for His. Yes, it is really this which misleads us. We have not experienced a truly merciful, universally merciful heart, always benevolent and understanding, which, attracted by misery, always knows how to bend over it in compassion. Yet that is what the Heart of Jesus is like. Scripture is full of texts which confirm this doctrine of confidence in misery—I would say of complete confidence in complete misery. “I will have mercy and not sacrifice” St. Paul writes, “Where sin abounded, grace did more abound.” What powerful words: Copiosa apud eum redemptio: “With Him there is plentiful redemption.” How clearly we see in all this the will of Jesus to save us at all costs. That will made Him shed all His Blood to the last drop, when a gesture, an absolution, would have sufficed. Jesus means “Savior.” It is His name. And this Savior is always with us, always ready to save us. He willed to pull Judas from the abyss by gentleness and goodness. At the very moment when Judas betrayed Him, He called him His friend: “Friend, do you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?” The great sin of Judas was not his greed, not even his betrayal: it was his failure to respond to this urgent call from the Heart of Jesus. If at that moment Judas had fallen to his knees saying, “My crime is immense, but Your mercy is even greater,” Jesus would have taken him in His arms. But Judas doubted that mercy, or he did not want it. That was his downfall. The great sinners, carried away by their passions, commit their greatest sin, which, it is written, “shall not be forgiven,” the day they shake off remorse and apostacize through despair and pride, refusing mercy. That is the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, against Love.




          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master
          [3]d'Elbée, Jean C.J.. I Believe in Love: A Personal Retreat Based on the Teaching of St. Therese of Lisieux


          Day 5, Second Week[1]

          X  For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his footsteps. “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” When he was insulted, he returned no insult; when he suffered, he did not threaten; instead, he handed himself over to the one who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body upon the cross, so that, free from sin, we might live for righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. (1 Peter 2:21-24)

          X  When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him and the criminals there, one on his right, the other on his left. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” They divided his garments by casting lots. (Luke 23:33,34)

          Ø  When we speak of unselfishness we generally mean a generous spirit of service that is willing to sacrifice. But not only do we act on other people; other people act on us; and selfishness in receiving other people's actions on us is more common than refusal to serve them. Touchiness, petulance, super sensitiveness, readiness to have one's pride hurt and to be insulted, keeping a chip on one's shoulder, all these are forms of selfishness. They reveal vanity, self-consciousness, a desire to be noticed and an irritable and peevish fear of being slighted. Consider the marvel of Jesus' character in this respect, as revealed in today's passages. Test your own life by it.

          Nobility restored by the Master[2]

          "So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them." (Genesis 1:27)

          One of the greatest tenets of the Christian faith is what the theologian Erich Sauer called “the nobility of man”. We are all created in the likeness of God. This is what sets humanity apart from the rest of Creation. For men compose symphonies, write novels, invent sophisticated tools, and research the secret complexities of the Universe. We display divine creativity in every part of our lives. Even the most advanced primates are light-years apart from the glory which God placed in mankind. All women and men are created in the image of God. This very truth forms the basis of Western civilization. It gives value and dignity to every human being and demands that they are treated with respect and equality, no matter our race, religion or gender. This sets the biblical faith and worldview apart from every other religion. What is even more striking is that the God Who created us did so with a very special purpose. Every evening in “the coolness of the day”, He would come to converse with the newly formed couple in the Garden of Eden. God talked to them about their daily lives and enjoyed their fellowship because they were like Him. In His word, God often calls us His children.

          No other faith offers such a personal relationship with a God Who likes to spend time with His creation.

          Sadly, this original purpose of mankind was lost in that same Garden. One of the character traits which God placed within humanity as part of our divine nature was that He gave man free will. We can choose to follow Him or not. We can choose to believe and obey Him or to rebel against Him. The fall in Eden thus became the tragedy of Creation, of history and of mankind. But God from the very beginning knew perfectly well that this possibility existed. So before anything was created, He already provided a way for men to come back to the Father. That is why the Book of Revelation describes Jesus as “the lamb slain before the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8). This means that even before creation, God already understood that He would need to provide humanity with a means of redemption. The manner in which this salvation was provided underscores in a marvelous way the nobility of man. David, the King of Israel, already grasped that the sacrifices of rams and bulls would not be sufficient to restore those whom the Lord created in His own image. In order to accomplish this, God Himself would have to come down in the form of His only begotten son. Thus the birth of Christ underlines man's glorious calling.

          "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John1:14)

          It was already announced through the Hebrew prophets that the one who would be born to redeem his people would be called "Immanuel", "the mighty God", and the "One from everlasting". Therefore, Christmas represents a divine affirmation to those who are created in the ‘likeness of God’. It is a kiss from God to restore our nobility. Through Christ’s birth, death and resurrection, we are restored back to the family of heaven. That is why Jesus is not ashamed to call us his brethren. What a wonderful truth! God came to dwell among us. The angels broke out in praise: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (Luke 2:14). When Christ appeared in the fullness of time, he restored peace between God and mankind and showed His goodwill towards those created in His image. So let us thank God for this incredible calling to be part of His family. And let us commit ourselves to walk worthy of this noble calling.

          "Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you." (1 Peter 1:18-20)





          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master

          Day 6, Second Week[1]

          X  While he was at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners sat with Jesus and his disciples; for there were many who followed him. Some scribes who were Pharisees saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors and said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus heard this and said to them [that], “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.” (Mark 2:15-17)

          Ø  Are you not tempted to narrow your good will and brotherliness to a special clique? Is not this one of the great dangers, for example, example, of college life? Note that Jesus' magnanimity overpassed even the boundaries of customary propriety. He was ready to befriend all sorts and conditions of men. Think of your college's fraternity or sorority problem with reference to this; or of the social life in your church and community. Do you draw lines, within which you are generous, but outside of which you feel no special obligation? Is this Christian? Can anyone be a genuine disciple of the Master who consciously indulges in such social exclusiveness?


          No Greater Than Thou--please[2]

          "What does it mean to be the People of God? How does one become a member of this people? What is its law, its mission, and its goal?" To be the People of God, he said, "first of all means that God doesn't belong to any particular people because He is the one who calls us ... and this invitation is addressed to all, without distinction, because God's mercy 'wills everyone to be saved.' “Such a statement makes one wonder if some of the word changes forced by Rome two years ago on English-speaking Catholics might once again return to more inclusive translations. Jesus, Pope Francis went on, doesn't tell the Apostles and us to form an exclusive group of elite members. Jesus says, " 'Go and make disciples of all nations.' ... I would also like to say to whoever feels far from God and from the church, to whoever is timorous or indifferent, to whoever thinks they are no longer able to change: the Lord also calls you to be part of his people and He does so with great respect and love." A person becomes part of this people "not through physical birth, but by a new birth ... Baptism ... through faith in Christ, God's gift that must be nourished and made to grow throughout our lives." What is the law or mission of the people of God? Francis answered: "It is the law of love, love for God and love for neighbor ... which isn't a sterile sentimentalism or something vague, but is the recognition of God as the one Lord of life and, at the same time, welcoming others as true brothers and sisters ... the two go hand in hand. "Being the church, being the people of God," Francis concluded, "... means being God's leaven in this our humanity. It means proclaiming and bearing God's salvation in this our world, which is often lost and needful of having encouraging answers, answers that give hope, that give new energy along the journey. May the church be the place of God's mercy and love where everyone can feel themselves welcomed, loved, forgiven and encouraged to live according to the good life of the Gospel. And in order to make others feel welcomed, loved, forgiven and encouraged, the church must have open doors so that all might enter. And we must go out of those doors and proclaim the Gospel."

          Schools and Exclusivity

          Plato’s Book “Republic,” argues that those who are stronger in any society, the rulers, control education and socialization through legislation and enforcement.” The reason for my intrigue was I just recently worked in an “all-girls” college prep and I had some difficulty in the inconsistencies there that were not congruent with my honor system. Yes, I agree the educational system does favor the wealthy. In addition I have recently been reading a book “How rich people think” it was very insightful in how middle class values and thought processes are perpetuated in schools. I was also fascinated by Plato’s psychology or theory of the soul.

          ·         Having recently interned in a urban high school with a high diverse student population I seen that it fundamentally catered to students desires which were of what he classified as appetitive; food, drink, sex and the money with which to acquire them.
          ·         I reflected on this school in relation with the all-girls college prep which was a good example for catering to Plato’s spirited psyche; honor, victory, and a good reputation.
          ·         Fortunately then I became acquainted with a smaller private catholic school which was a good example for Plato’s rational ones which pursues knowledge and truth; this school has had several students recently enter the religious orders.

          It was interesting to note that these three schools by their educational day to day approach had found their own educational niche. One taught the money lovers, one taught the honor –lovers and one taught the wisdom –lovers. From my experience many public schools are teaching to the money lover’s ideology and are not successful because students according to Plato have not been trained to socialize their appetites and they are not virtuous to any degree and act simply on their whims. I think that this was the situation that Principal Joe Clark found himself in the movie, “Lean on me” and he took the actions he needed to moderate the appetites of students then he educated them through physical education, a mix of reading and writing, dance and song as advocated by Plato. My philosophy would be to help students rise to their potential and cater to all three of Plato’s psyches. In addition I believe schools should help students break the cycle of poverty and help them get on track or be aware of the cycle of wealth and reach their true potential. I believe it would be interesting to explore the idea of creating a “Cycle of Educational Poverty” to see ways we are perpetuating poverty through education. 








          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master


          Day 7, Second Week[1]

          X  Therefore, putting away falsehood, speak the truth, each one to his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun set on your anger, and do not leave room for the devil. The thief must no longer steal, but rather labor, doing honest work with his [own] hands, so that he may have something to share with one in need. No foul language should come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for needed edification, that it may impart grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were sealed for the day of redemption. All bitterness, fury, anger, shouting, and reviling must be removed from you, along with all malice. [And] be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ. (Eph. 4:25-32)

          Rules for the New Life: If angry, seek reconciliation that day, not giving the devil opportunity to lead into sin.

          Ø  Whole-hearted good-will, such as is described in this passage, is the most characteristic quality of a true Christian. One who really has it is a marked person in any company. As George Eliot said, he impresses one like a fine quotation from the Bible in the midst of a newspaper paragraph. He is the best argument for Christianity on earth, far stronger than any philosophical discussion ever devised. Something like this was doubtless Daniel Webster's meaning when he said that the strongest argument for religion that he knew was an old aunt of his who lived up in the New Hampshire hills. Is anyone likely to think of our lives as a great reason for believing in Christ?

          Mark of a True Apostle[2]

          When our Lord Ascended into heaven we see he left his greatest disciple behind to guide his apostles: His Mother. The Apostles were truly devoted to his mother and honored her. If we wish to follow his Apostles in the work of Christ we too should have true devotion to Our Lady.

          Marks of authentic devotion to our Lady

          First, true devotion to our Lady is interior, that is, it comes from within the mind and the heart and follows from the esteem in which we hold her, the high regard we have for her greatness, and the love we bear her.

          Second, it is trustful, that is to say, it fills us with confidence in the Blessed Virgin, the confidence that a child has for its loving Mother. It prompts us to go to her in every need of body and soul with great simplicity, trust and affection.

          Third, true devotion to our Lady is holy, that is, it leads us to avoid sin and to imitate the virtues of Mary. Her ten principal virtues are: deep humility, lively faith, blind obedience, unceasing prayer, constant self-denial, surpassing purity, ardent love, heroic patience, angelic kindness, and heavenly wisdom.

          Fourth, true devotion to our Lady is constant. It strengthens us in our desire to do good and prevents us from giving up our devotional practices too easily. It gives us the courage to oppose the fashions and maxims of the world, the vexations and unruly inclinations of the flesh and the temptations of the devil. Thus a person truly devoted to our Blessed Lady is not changeable, fretful, scrupulous or timid. 

          Fifth, true devotion to Mary is disinterested. It inspires us to seek God alone in his Blessed Mother and not ourselves. The true subject of Mary does not serve his illustrious Queen for selfish gain. He does not serve her for temporal or eternal well-being but simply and solely because she has the right to be served and God alone in her.




          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master
          [2] de Montfort, Saint Louis. True Devotion to Mary: With Preparation for Total Consecration

          2nd Weeks Reflection on Magnanimity[1]

          o   Jesus’ magnanimity is most impressively shown in His forgiveness of Enemies

          1825 Christ died out of love for us, while we were still "enemies." The Lord asks us to love as he does, even our enemies, to make ourselves the neighbor of those farthest away, and to love children and the poor as Christ himself.

          The Apostle Paul has given an incomparable depiction of charity: "charity is patient and kind, charity is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Charity does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Charity bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."

           2608 From the Sermon on the Mount onwards, Jesus insists on conversion of heart: reconciliation with one's brother before presenting an offering on the altar, love of enemies, and prayer for persecutors, prayer to the Father in secret, not heaping up empty phrases, prayerful forgiveness from the depths of the heart, purity of heart, and seeking the Kingdom before all else. This filial conversion is entirely directed to the Father.

          2647 Prayer of intercession consists in asking on behalf of another. It knows no boundaries and extends to one's enemies.

          o   Christ showed overflowing good-will toward unfriendly people

          Dealing With the Unfriendly Person[2]

          Listen, smile, be kind, and excuse.
          • Listen to what the person is saying, not just the words but also his tone and the body language. Is he frustrated? Does he simply want validation of his own skills or value?  Sometimes just listening softens people.  It also helps you develop patience.
          • Smile. Smile because smiles generally disarm people’s meanness and anger. Smiles demonstrate confidence. They show empathy. Smiling also helps you develop a joyful spirit.
          • Be kind. Be kind because you are a Catholic Christian and the difficult person standing in front of you is also one of God’s Divine creations. Jesus also died for the salvation of this difficult person and out of respect for that, you must be kind. Being kind helps you develop feeling kind. Think about it.
          • Excuse. Excuse the behavior by thinking of the most empathetic reason she could have said or done what she said or did. She might have a headache. She might have just learned her husband lost his job. She might have gotten a traffic ticket for speeding. She might have had no sleep the previous night. Give difficult people the same kind of justification you would like for yourself when you have said or done something annoying or stupid.
          After listening, smiling, being kind and mentally excusing the behavior of a difficult person, sometimes you just have to turn away. God does not ask us to be human punching bags or ‘take’ mean or frustrating behavior. You value yourself and that’s good. You have dignity and we all have our boiling points. Sometimes you simply must pray for and walk away from difficult people, and if done while truly trying to do God’s will and exude God’s love, there is nothing wrong with that.

          “But to you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:27-28).

          o   Whenever a man did him a wrong, he looked upon the wrong as a sure sign of a deep need in the man's life
          How to Deal With Wrongs[3]

          Thousands of years ago the prophet Isaiah warned us that there would be no justice or salvation except in God (Is. 45). And he was absolutely right. Does this mean that we shouldn’t look for equity? No. However, it does suggest that we shouldn’t be surprised if we get treated badly and end up without satisfaction. The more difficult question is how do we, as followers of Christ, react when injustice comes into our lives? Are the only options retaliating or running away? Neither response seems Christian. For holy homework, here are three practical, Catholic choices we can try instead.

          1. 
          Retreat into activity. When someone wrongs us, we shouldn’t maneuver to get even nor move away in anger because then we are likely to lash out at the next innocent person who crosses our path. Rather, as quickly as we can, the same day if possible, volunteer at the nearest soup kitchen, shelter or nursing home. Prefer any activity that means helping people who are less fortunate. It’s amazing how quickly our own troubles can take on their proper perspective when we reach out to others who are starving, homeless, or very ill and lonely.

          2. Take a crucifix in hand. This doesn’t have to be large. Most rosary or necklace crosses are small enough to fit in our palm. Envelop the corpus of Christ tightly inside a fist and pray these words of Isaiah over and over again: there is no just or saving god but Me.

          3. Pray for our enemies. This is not easy. But with eyes closed, we can meditate on the many injustices that commissioned Christ to die for our sins. He did nothing wrong and ended up being crucified to a tree. Behold the Man and ask, if God were truly just with us for our sins, what portion of His son’s cross would we have to carry? Then pray that our enemies will share a similar enlightenment and leave any thoughts of vengeance to the Lord.



          o   He would not allow a cherished grudge to disturb the peace of his own spirit or interrupt his communion with God

          45 Man is made to live in communion with God in whom he finds happiness: When I am completely united to you, there will be no more sorrow or trials; entirely full of you, my life will be complete (St. Augustine, Conf. 10, 28, 39: PL 32, 795}.

          1027 This mystery of blessed communion with God and all who are in Christ is beyond all understanding and description. Scripture speaks of it in images: life, light, peace, wedding feast, wine of the kingdom, the Father's house, the heavenly Jerusalem, paradise: "no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him."

          2550 On this way of perfection, the Spirit and the Bride call whoever hears to perfect communion with God:

          There will true glory be, where no one will be praised by mistake or flattery; true honor will not be refused to the worthy, nor granted to the unworthy; likewise, no one unworthy will pretend to be worthy, where only those who are worthy will be admitted. There true peace will reign, where no one will experience opposition either from self or others. God himself will be virtue's reward; he gives virtue and has promised to give himself as the best and greatest reward that could exist. . . . "I shall be their God and they will be my people. . . . " This is also the meaning of the Apostle's words: "So that God may be all in all." God himself will be the goal of our desires; we shall contemplate him without end, love him without surfeit, praise him without weariness. This gift, this state, this act, like eternal life itself, will assuredly be common to all.



          [3]http://www.cny.org/stories/Catholic-Responses-to-Injustice,3385?content_source=&category_id=114&search_filter=&event_mode=&event_ts_from=&list_type=&order_by=&order_sort=&content_class=&sub_type=stories&town_id=


          The Masters Indignation


          Day 1, Third Week

          Ø  A Man with a Withered Hand: Again he entered the synagogue. There was a man there who had a withered hand. They watched him closely to see if he would cure him on the Sabbath so that they might accuse him. He said to the man with the withered hand, “Come up here before us.” Then he said to them, “Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?” But they remained silent. Looking around at them with anger and grieved at their hardness of heart, he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out and his hand was restored. The Pharisees went out and immediately took counsel with the Herodians against him to put him to death. (Mark 3:1-6)

          Ø  Pictures of Jesus, with a wan, sad face, and sermons emphasizing his meekness and humility, have left the widespread impression that quiet peacefulness was the dominant quality of the Master. Consider this passage, then, and see how intensely indignant he could be and how his wrath could dare the hostility of men who had power to kill him. Is not wrath a part of every great character's equipment? Consider the Psalmist's outburst: "Hot indignation hath taken hold upon me,

          Because of the wicked that forsake Thy law.
          I hate every false way.
          I hate them that are of a double mind;
          I hate and abhor falsehood." 

          Think over the times in your life when you were angry. Did your anger have the quality of Jesus' indignation?

          2302 By recalling the commandment, "You shall not kill," our Lord asked for peace of heart and denounced murderous anger and hatred as immoral.

          Anger is a desire for revenge. "To desire vengeance in order to do evil to someone who should be punished is illicit," but it is praiseworthy to impose restitution "to correct vices and maintain justice." If anger reaches the point of a deliberate desire to kill or seriously wound a neighbor, it is gravely against charity; it is a mortal sin. The Lord says, "Everyone who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment."

          Righteous Anger[1]


          The Father in His righteous anger — which flows from and is motivated by love — unmistakably communicates to the child exactly where the line is drawn — beyond which only evil lies; His anger conveys nothing of malice; to the contrary, it is an indication of His watchful care— and above all else, His constant and ever vigilant love. From the beginning — “anger” is first ascribed to God as early as Exodus 32.12 — man in his sinfulness and guilt invariably misunderstands, or better yet, misconstrues what he interprets as God's anger, likening it to his own which, more often than not, is unjust and proceeds from the sole desire to inflict punishment, not justly, to the end of correction that is motivated by love, the constructive love which seeks the good of the beloved — but gratuitously, as a pathological means to the satisfaction demanded by pride and exacted through fury, which is disordered anger, blind, and always destructive. There is a vital difference between the two. In fury, punishment is not motivated by love, and it is not expressed as a means to correction. It is not meted in a measure commensurable with the offense (and is therefore intrinsically unjust), and of itself seeks no coherent good — which is why it is understood as disordered. This is the unbridled anger of man, the anger that caused Cain to slay Able in the beginning. It is not the anger of God. Who among us has not encountered a situation where gentle appeals to correction fall on deaf and unwilling ears? How often has God first said, “Come, let us reason”, and that failing, resorted to the means alone through which correction would be motivated?


          Even after 40 years in the desert, Israel remained "a stiff-necked people”, just as we remain obdurate in our sins until some calamity befalls us that finally causes us to recognize that the way we have chosen — which was not God's way, and distinctly contrary to it — is precisely what brought calamity upon us ... and not God, Who relentlessly called us away from it. After how many appeals to a child not to touch a hot stove, does the child yet persist until, apart from our will, he has his way ... and to great sorrow? Who will call us to account? Only after he is afflicted does he see, understand, that our appeals were motivated not by malice, but by love, and that, after all, our wisdom exceeds his own? Sometimes, perhaps even often, affliction is the only way through which we begin to trust God — Who in all ways and in every place, seeks our good. In our fallen state, even this too often fails. So Jesus Christ came to reveal his Father not as one eager to inflict punishment — but as LOVE. In Exodus we read, “God is a God of mercy, slow to anger and abounding in truth and love” (Exodus 34.6). And still Israel wandered in the desert for a generation. In the Second Letter of St. Peter, we are told, “He is patient with you, because he does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants all to turn away from their sins”. When the human heart is cleansed from sin, when a heart is pure it does not fear punishment — it knows God as love (1 John 4.18). It comes to know God as “Abba”, as "Father” in the most meaningful and intimate way. It comes to understand that nothing proceeds from the hand of the Father but good, and precisely because it does not always comprehend, faith supplants understanding, and through that faith, trusts! The soul, that is to say, comes to a loving trust in God that it would never have acquired apart from that anvil of Righteous Anger... upon which it was forged by the love of God.




          Day 2, Third Week



          X  He said to his disciples, “Things that cause sin will inevitably occur, but woe to the person through whom they occur. It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck and he be thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. Be on your guard!  If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he wrongs you seven times in one day and returns to you seven times saying, ‘I am sorry,’ you should forgive him.” (Luke 17:1-4)

          X  Denunciation of the ScribesThen, within the hearing of all the people, he said to [his] disciples, “Be on guard against the scribes, who like to go around in long robes and love greetings in marketplaces, seats of honor in synagogues, and places of honor at banquets. They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext, recite lengthy prayers. They will receive a very severe condemnation.” (Luke 20:45-47)

          Ø  Why are we so often ashamed of our outbursts of anger? Would the Master ever have to regret his indignation over little children wronged or widows robbed by oily hypocrites? One of Frederick W. Robertson's friends said: "I have seen him grind his teeth and clench his fists when passing a man who he knew was bent on destroying an innocent girl." Will such anger ever call for remorse? Is not our anger generally personal resentment because of some private wrong? Is not that the reason why we are so often ashamed of our outbursts? Our wrath is altogether selfish. Consider then that the Master never spoke a word of anger when they brutally mistreated him; his indignation was aroused only over the abuse of others. What does Paul mean by, "Be ye angry and sin not"?

          Day 3, Third Week



          X  “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You pay tithes of mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier things of the law: judgment and mercy and fidelity. [But] these you should have done, without neglecting the others. Blind guides, who strain out the gnat and swallow the camel! “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You cleanse the outside of cup and dish, but inside they are full of plunder and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may be clean. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of filth. Even so, on the outside you appear righteous, but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and evildoing. (Matt. 23: 23-28)

          The Law[1]

          The Mosaic law ordered tithing of the produce of the land, and the scribal tradition is said here to have extended this law to even the smallest herbs. The practice is criticized not in itself but because it shows the Pharisees’ preoccupation with matters of less importance while they neglect the weightier things of the law.

          Mosaic law that forbids the eating of any “swarming creature.” The Pharisees’ scrupulosity about minor matters and neglect of greater ones is further brought out by this contrast between straining liquids that might contain a tiny “swarming creature” and yet swallowing the camel. The latter was one of the unclean animals forbidden by the law, but it is hardly possible that the scribes and Pharisees are being denounced as guilty of so gross a violation of the food laws. To swallow the camel is only a hyperbolic way of speaking of their neglect of what is important.

          The ritual washing of utensils for dining is turned into a metaphor illustrating a concern for appearances while inner purity is ignored. The scribes and Pharisees are compared to cups carefully washed on the outside but filthy within. Self-indulgence: the Greek word here translated means lack of self-control, whether in drinking or in sexual conduct.

          The sixth woe, like the preceding one, deals with concern for externals and neglect of what is inside. Since contact with dead bodies, even when one was unaware of it, caused ritual impurity, tombs were whitewashed so that no one would contract such impurity inadvertently.

          Ø  Plainly when the Master spoke these words he was thoroughly indignant. Supposing that he were to come to your university or community, is there anything in the social life at which his indignation would rise? Think frankly and fearlessly of the vices, meanness’s, dishonesties, hypocrisies in the life about you, in the presence of which Jesus would be indignant. Where do you stand with reference to them? Are you guilty? If not, are you complacent in the presence of them, or whenever a fitting and useful chance comes, do you let your scorn of them be felt? Are you yourself living a life that makes such scorn effective?






          Day 4, Third Week



          X  The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus “There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day. And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table. Dogs even used to come and lick his sores. When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, and from the netherworld, where he was in torment, he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. (Luke 16:19-23)

          Am I My Brother’s Keeper[1]

          The parable of the rich man and Lazarus again illustrates Luke’s concern with Jesus’ attitude toward the rich and the poor: the reversal of the fates of the rich man and Lazarus. This illustrates the teachings of Jesus in Luke’s “Sermon on the Plain”. The oldest Greek manuscript of Luke dating from ca. A.D. 175–225 records the name of the rich man as an abbreviated form of “Nineveh,” but there is very little textual support in other manuscripts for this reading. “Dives” of popular tradition is the Latin Vulgate’s translation for “rich man”
          .
          Ø  Jesus is plainly indignant at the selfishness of Dives. What excuse do you think Dives made for himself? Perhaps he said that because he had not caused Lazarus' poverty, he was not responsible for it. Is that a good excuse? If a man sees a fire, and does not give the alarm, is he not a partner with the man who started it? When the priest and Levite go by on the other side (in the story of the Good Samaritan) and do not help, Jesus considers them partners with the robbers who did the damage! Are you doing all that you can to make the moral life of your community its best? Can you evade responsibility because you do not actively cause the evil? Consider what you can do to help.






          Day 5, Third Week



          X  Cleansing of the Temple. Since the Passover of the Jews was near, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. He found in the temple area those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves, as well as the money-changers seated there. He made a whip out of cords and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and oxen, and spilled the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables, and to those who sold doves he said, “Take these out of here, and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.” His disciples recalled the words of scripture, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” (John 2:13-17)


          Sacrifice or Mining of the Poor[1]

          Oxen, sheep, and doves: intended for sacrifice. The doves were the offerings of the poor. Money-changers: for a temple tax paid by every male Jew more than nineteen years of age, with a half-shekel coin, in Syrian currency.

          Ø  Consider Jesus' wrath at a great public evil, a system of legalized graft housed in God's temple. What would be his attitude today towards the corruption of our city governments and the spoiling of our democracy by graft? Is not all sincere work for civic purity real devotion to the Father's business? Consider your plan for your life work and see whether the motive of your choice is indignation at the evils that are ruining men, and determination to bear a hand in abolishing them. Cannot a man serve this Cause in any profession?




          Day 6, Third Week



          X  Judging Others. “Stop judging, that you may not be judged. For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you. Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove that splinter from your eye,’ while the wooden beam is in your eye? You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye. (Matt. 7:1-5)

          Finding Faults in Others That We Own[1]

          Matthew returns to the basic traditional material: The governing thought is the correspondence between conduct toward one’s fellows and God’s conduct toward the one so acting. This is not a prohibition against recognizing the faults of others, but against passing judgment in a spirit of arrogance, forgetful of one’s own faults. Hypocrite: the designation previously given to the scribes and Pharisees is here given to the Christian disciple who is concerned with the faults of another and ignores his own more serious offenses.

          Ø  How do you reconcile Jesus' severe condemnations with these injunctions to judge leniently? Consider today how easy it is to condemn others. May not a man be tempted to let even righteous indignation run away with him? Why is Jesus' wrath so tremendously impressive? Is it not because he loved men, and tried to see all the good he could discover in them, before he condemned their evil? Are you harsh, bitter, acrid in your criticism? Consider that your scorn of evil will never do any good unless your fellows feel that you judge yourself as severely as you do them, and that you appreciate their good as well as hate their evil.



          [1]http://www.usccb.org/bible/matthew/7#48007001-1


          Day 7, Third Week



          X  Temptation. Then the devil took him up to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in their magnificence, and he said to him, “All these I shall give to you, if you will prostrate yourself and worship me.” At this, Jesus said to him, “Get away, Satan! It is written: ‘The Lord, your God, shall you worship and him alone shall you serve.’ (Matt. 4:8-11)

          X  The First Prediction of the Passion. He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and rise after three days. He spoke this openly. Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. At this he turned around and, looking at his disciples, rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”

          Christ suffers indignation as Son of Man[1]

          Son of Man: an enigmatic title. It is used in Dn 7:1314 as a symbol of “the saints of the Most High,” the faithful Israelites who receive the everlasting kingdom from the Ancient One (God). They are represented by a human figure that contrasts with the various beasts who represent the previous kingdoms of the earth. In the Jewish apocryphal books of 1 Enoch and Ezra the “Son of Man” is not, as in Daniel, a group, but a unique figure of extraordinary spiritual endowments, who will be revealed as the one through whom the everlasting kingdom decreed by God will be established. It is possible though doubtful that this individualization of the Son of Man figure had been made in Jesus’ time, and therefore his use of the title in that sense is questionable. Of itself, this expression means simply a human being, or, indefinitely, someone, and there are evidences of this use in pre-Christian times. Its use in the New Testament is probably due to Jesus’ speaking of himself in that way, “a human being,” and the later church’s taking this in the sense of the Jewish apocrypha and applying it to him with that meaning. Rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes: the supreme council called the Sanhedrin was made up of seventy-one members of these three groups and presided over by the high priest. It exercised authority over the Jews in religious matters. How do you reconcile Jesus' severe condemnations with these injunctions to judge leniently? Consider today how easy it is to condemn others. May not a man be tempted to let even righteous indignation run away with him? Why is Jesus' wrath so tremendously impressive? Is it not because he loved men, and tried to see all the good he could discover in them, before he condemned their evil? Are you harsh, bitter, acrid in your criticism? Consider that your scorn of evil will never do any good unless your fellows feel that you judge yourself as severely as you do them, and that you appreciate their good as well as hate their evil.

          Ø  Note that Jesus did not take a mild attitude toward evil suggestions that arose to tempt him. He hated them. He abhorred evil. No man is safe until he learns not to dally with temptation but to repel it immediately and instinctively with fierce indignation. Think over your besetting temptations. What suggestions of evil most endanger your character? Are you accustomed to repel them with determined abhorrence, such as rings in the Master's words, "Get thee behind me, Satan"?



          [1]http://www.usccb.org/bible/matthew/7#48007001-1

          3rd Weeks Reflection on Indignation[1]


          At first sight anger seems to be the opposite of a boundless good will. If it really is, then what we have said about Jesus' magnanimity is not all true. Jesus in a synagogue meeting where the elders were more anxious to have their law observed than to have a sick man healed, looked round on them with blazing anger (Mark 3:5); he faced the organized grafting system in the temple courts, and actually used a whip of cords as he indignantly drove out the money changers (John 2:13-17); and from the hypocrisy of the Pharisees he shrank with so turbulent an indignation that words are strained in carrying the weight of his resentment. How shall we reconcile what we have said about the Master's boundless good will with these outbursts of tremendous wrath?


          ·         All great virtues are the results of two moral forces pulling in opposite directions.
          ·         Without the abhorrence of evil, kindness becomes undiscriminating and flaccid; without kindness the abhorrence of evil becomes bitter and hateful; together, they make the magnanimous man, who, by as much as he loves his fellows, by so much hates the evils that destroy them.
          ·         A good Christian is a man of wrath, "Ye that love the Lord hate evil."
          ·         One distinguishing mark of this indignation of Jesus is that he never is angry at any wrong done to him as an individual. His indignation is always unselfish.
          ·         Whenever Jesus' wrath appears it always concerns a wrong done to others, a public evil that needs redress, but it never concerns a private injury.

          Only in the light of the appreciativeness of Jesus can we understand why he has been the great encourager of men. Without it the Master would be the most discouraging person in history. He is so spotlessly perfect, "in the white light that beats upon a throne;" he is so lofty in his requirements, demanding not outward deed alone but inward quality; and he is so vehement in his condemnation of all insincerity, selfishness and pride, that he might well discourage us. But his deep and beautiful appreciation of all that is even beginning to be right in a man's life; his taking of the will for the deed, when the will is earnest; his insight to perceive possibilities of a new life where others have no hope—these things make him the great encourager of men. He judges men not simply on the basis of what they possess, or of what they do, or even of what they are—but on the basis of what they may become, and he endeavors to bring out the best in men by appreciating it, by saying now what he knows God longs to say in the end, "Well done!"  This appreciativeness of Jesus is the quality which makes his indignation so effective.

          Here, then, are the marks of Jesus' indignation. He hated evil tremendously because he loved the people whom evil was ruining; his wrath always was unselfish, he never was angry at a private wrong; and his indignation always followed his attempt to find something praiseworthy in a man's life and was always ready to cease when the first sign of penitence appeared. Wrath like this explains the exclamation of a wise Englishman: "Anger is one of the sinews of the soul; he who lacks it hath a maimed mind."



          [1]https://virtuefirst.org/virtues/joy/


          The Masters Loyalty to His Cause



          Day 1, Fourth Week[1]

          X  The True Disciple. [2] “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not drive out demons in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?’ Then I will declare to them solemnly, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.’ (Matt. 21-23)
          The attack on the false prophets is continued, but is broadened to include those disciples who perform works of healing and exorcism in the name of Jesus (Lord) but live evil lives. Entrance into the kingdom is only for those who do the will of the Father. On the Day of Judgment (on that day) the morally corrupt prophets and miracle workers will be rejected by Jesus.

          X  The Two Foundations. [3] “Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock.  (Matt 7:24-25)
          Here the relation is not between saying and doing but between hearing and doing, and the words of Jesus are applied to every Christian (everyone who listens).

          Ø  Have you ever thought of the Master as being subtly pleased and flattered by all the people who call him, "Lord"? Think how unworthy this would be in any one and how impossible it is in him. Would any university professor be worthy of the name if he accepted personal compliments in the place of hard work on his courses? Consider your own Christian life in the light of today's searching passage. Someone has said that to call Jesus, "Lord" is orthodoxy; to call him, "Lord, Lord," is piety; but that neither one nor both of them can satisfy him, unless accompanied by real devotion to his Cause.

          727 The entire mission of the Son and the Holy Spirit, in the fullness of time, is contained in this: that the Son is the one anointed by the Father's Spirit since his Incarnation - Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah. Everything in the second chapter of the Creed is to be read in this light. Christ's whole work is in fact a joint mission of the Son and the Holy Spirit. Here, we shall mention only what has to do with Jesus' promise of the Holy Spirit and the gift of him by the glorified Lord.

          737 The mission of Christ and the Holy Spirit is brought to completion in the Church, which is the Body of Christ and the Temple of the Holy Spirit. This joint mission henceforth brings Christ's faithful to share in his communion with the Father in the Holy Spirit. The Spirit prepares men and goes out to them with his grace, in order to draw them to Christ. The Spirit manifests the risen Lord to them, recalls his word to them and opens their minds to the understanding of his Death and Resurrection. He makes present the mystery of Christ, supremely in the Eucharist, in order to reconcile them, to bring them into communion with God, that they may "bear much fruit."

          850 The origin and purpose of mission. The Lord's missionary mandate is ultimately grounded in the eternal love of the Most Holy Trinity: "The Church on earth is by her nature missionary since, according to the plan of the Father, she has as her origin the mission of the Son and the Holy Spirit." The ultimate purpose of mission is none other than to make men share in the communion between the Father and the Son in their Spirit of love.




          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master
          [3]http://usccb.org/bible/matthew/7#48007021-1


          Day 2, Fourth Week[1]

          X  The True Family of Jesus. While he was still speaking to the crowds, his mother and his brothers appeared outside, wishing to speak with him. [Someone told him, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, asking to speak with you.”] But he said in reply to the one who told him, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother.” (Matt. 12: 46-50)

          The point of the story is the same in both gospels: natural kinship with Jesus counts for nothing; only one who does the will of his heavenly Father belongs to his true family[2]

          Ø  Jesus says here that only those who do God's will; can belong to his family. You believe that God has a will in general; have you ever faced seriously the fact that he must have a plan especially for your life? There can be no real plan for the whole that does not include a plan for all the parts; there can be no will of God for the whole world that does not include a will for your life. Some men, like captains of ocean liners, know that there is a course marked out particularly for them and they are trying not to miss it; some, like pleasure sailors out for fun, go any way as chance caprice suggests. Which sort of life are you leading?

          815 What are these bonds of unity? Above all, charity "binds everything together in perfect harmony." But the unity of the pilgrim Church is also assured by visible bonds of communion:

          - Profession of one faith received from the Apostles;
          -common celebration of divine worship, especially of the sacraments;
          - Apostolic succession through the sacrament of Holy Orders, maintaining the fraternal concord of God's family.

          2233 Becoming a disciple of Jesus means accepting the invitation to belong to God's family, to live in conformity with His way of life: "For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother, and sister, and mother."

          Parents should welcome and respect with joy and thanksgiving the Lord's call to one of their children to follow him in virginity for the sake of the Kingdom in the consecrated life or in priestly ministry.





          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master

          Day 3, Fourth Week[1]

          X  Meanwhile, the disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat.” But he said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.” So the disciples said to one another, “Could someone have brought him something to eat?” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of the one who sent me and to finish his work. (John 4:31-34)

          X  Whoever chooses to do his will shall know whether my teaching is from God or whether I speak on my own. (John 7:17)

          Ø  Have you entered at all into the spirit of Jesus as he seeks continually to know and do what God wills for him? Consider how a man may discover just what God wants with his life. He must be willing to do whatever God wills for him; he must be loyal to as much of God's will as he knows; he must ask habitually, not once in a while, "What wilt thou have me to do?"; he must test all his choices by the principles of Jesus; he must tune his conscience and his intelligence by prayer until God can speak through them. Does this describe your life?

          1993 Justification establishes cooperation between God's grace and man's freedom. On man's part it is expressed by the assent of faith to the Word of God, which invites him to conversion, and in the cooperation of charity with the prompting of the Holy Spirit who precedes and preserves his assent:

          When God touches man's heart through the illumination of the Holy Spirit, man himself is not inactive while receiving that inspiration, since he could reject it; and yet, without God's grace, he cannot by his own free will move himself toward justice in God's sight.

          2149 Oaths which misuse God's name, though without the intention of blasphemy, show lack of respect for the Lord. The second commandment also forbids magical use of the divine name.

          [God's] name is great when spoken with respect for the greatness of his majesty. God's name is holy when said with veneration and fear of offending him.

          2002 God's free initiative demands man's free response, for God has created man in his image by conferring on him, along with freedom, the power to know him and love him. The soul only enters freely into the communion of love. God immediately touches and directly moves the heart of man. He has placed in man a longing for truth and goodness that only he can satisfy. The promises of "eternal life" respond, beyond all hope, to this desire:

          If at the end of your very good works . . ., you rested on the seventh day, it was to foretell by the voice of your book that at the end of our works, which are indeed "very good" since you have given them to us, we shall also rest in you on the sabbath of eternal life.





          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master


          Day 4, Fourth Week[1]

          X  From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matt. 5:17)

          At the beginning of his preaching Jesus takes up the words of John the Baptist although with a different meaning; in his ministry the kingdom of heaven has already begun to be present.[2]

          X  Ministering to a Great Multitude. He went around all of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and illness among the people. (Matt. 5:23)

          The activities of his ministry are teaching, proclaiming the gospel, and healing[3]

          X   “This is how you are to pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. (Matt. 6:9-10)

          Our Father in heaven: this invocation is found in many rabbinic prayers of the post-New Testament period. Hallowed be your name: though the “hallowing” of the divine name could be understood as reverence done to God by human praise and by obedience to his will, this is more probably a petition that God hallow his own name, i.e., that he manifest his glory by an act of power (cf. Ez 36:23), in this case, by the establishment of his kingdom in its fullness. Your kingdom come: this petition sets the tone of the prayer, and inclines the balance toward divine rather than human action in the petitions that immediately precede and follow it. Your will be done, on earth as in heaven: a petition that the divine purpose to establish the kingdom, a purpose present now in heaven, be executed on earth.[4]

          Ø  Consider the Master as a patriot for a great Cause. Is not this sort of loyalty an element in all noble characters? Think of Livingstone…Florence Nightingale, Lincoln. No character was ever counted great without loyalty to a cause, without standing for something more than himself. The Kingdom of God on earth, the rule of righteousness in the personal life and social relationships of all mankind was Jesus' Cause. Consider how he lived for it, prayed for it, suffered for it, died for it. Are you really a patriot for the Cause of the Master? Can he rely on you at all costs to be loyal?

          Are you Loyal?[5]

          Who is on the Lord’s side? Who will serve the King? Who will be His helpers, other lives to bring? Who will leave the world’s side? Who will face the foe?

          Who is on the Lord’s side? Who for Him will go? By Thy call of mercy, by Thy grace divine,

          We are on the Lord’s side— Savior, we are Thine! Not for weight of glory, nor for crown and palm, Enter we the army, raise the warrior psalm; But for love that claimeth lives for whom He died: He whom Jesus nameth must be on His side. By Thy love constraining, by Thy grace divine,

          We are on the Lord’s side— Savior, we are Thine! Jesus, Thou hast bought us, not with gold or gem, But with Thine own life blood, for Thy diadem; With Thy blessing filling each who comes to Thee, Thou hast made us willing, Thou hast made us free. By Thy grand redemption, by Thy grace divine,

          We are on the Lord’s side— Savior, we are Thine! Fierce may be the conflict, strong may be the foe, But the King’s own army none can overthrow; ’Round His standard ranging, victory is secure, For His truth unchanging makes the triumph sure. Joyfully enlisting, by Thy grace divine,

          We are on the Lord’s side— Savior, we are Thine! Chosen to be soldiers, in an alien land, Chosen, called, and faithful, for our Captain’s band, In the service royal, let us not grow cold; Let us be right loyal, noble, true, and bold. Master, Thou wilt keep us, by Thy grace divine,

          Always on the Lord’s side— Savior, always Thine!

          FRANCES R. HAVERGAL, 1877





          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master
          [3]Thigpen, Paul. Manual for Spiritual Warfare



          Day 5, Fourth Week[1]

          X  The Similes of Salt and Light. “You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father. (Matt. 5:13-16)

          By their deeds the disciples are to influence the world for good. They can no more escape notice than a city set on a mountain. If they fail in good works, they are as useless as flavorless salt or as a lamp whose light is concealed. The unusual supposition of salt losing its flavor has led some to suppose that the saying refers to the salt of the Dead Sea that, because chemically impure, could lose its taste.

          Ø  Jesus says here that his disciples are more than mere individuals. They represent his Cause, they stand for him in the world; his honor, reputation, success are in their hands. Consider how true it is that every man has a power to represent something more than himself, and that he always comes to stand for a type of character or a special human interest in the minds of his acquaintances. Can you think of Beethoven without thinking of music? Can you think of Wm. Lloyd Garrison without thinking of the abolition of slavery? Can you think of Jesus without thinking of the cause of God and righteousness in the world? What do your fellows think of when you come to their minds? What is the reference of your life? For what do you stand in your university or community?

          1553 "In the name of the whole Church" does not mean that priests are the delegates of the community. The prayer and offering of the Church are inseparable from the prayer and offering of Christ, her head; it is always the case that Christ worships in and through his Church. The whole Church, the Body of Christ, prays and offers herself "through him, with him, in him," in the unity of the Holy Spirit, to God the Father. The whole Body, caput et membra, prays and offers itself, and therefore those who in the Body are especially his ministers are called ministers not only of Christ, but also of the Church. It is because the ministerial priesthood represents Christ that it can represent the Church.





          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master


          Day 6, Fourth Week[1] Loyalty

          Dependence on God

          Jesus does not deny the reality of human needs, but forbids making them the object of anxious care and, in effect, becoming their slave.[2]

          X  God and Money “No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. (Matt. 6:24)

          Mammon: an Aramaic word meaning wealth or property.[3]

          X  But seek first the kingdom [of God] and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. (Matt 6:33)

          X  Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. (Matt. 12:30)

          This saying, warns that there can be no neutrality where Jesus is concerned. Jesus is the shepherd of God’s people, his mission is to the lost sheep of Israel; the Pharisees, who oppose him, are guilty of scattering the sheep.[4]

          Ø  Face in your own life today the serious fact that you always stand for God's cause or the opposite, and that in the long run no one ever succeeds in standing for both. When a man sins he becomes a representative, an ambassador, an ally of the forces of destruction in human life. Consider the terrible effects of sensual vice on the race. Then think what it means that anyone who indulges in vice is a representative of that cause. Is not the same true of gambling? dishonesty? lying? Sin is treachery to the cause of human welfare; it is going over to the race's enemies in the spirit of Benedict Arnold. Righteousness is loyalty to the Cause of the world's salvation. In the long run you cannot be on both sides. Which are you standing for?

          817 In fact, "in this one and only Church of God from its very beginnings there arose certain rifts, which the Apostle strongly censures as damnable. But in subsequent centuries much more serious dissensions appeared and large communities became separated from full communion with the Catholic Church - for which, often enough, men of both sides were to blame." The ruptures that wound the unity of Christ's Body - here we must distinguish heresy, apostasy, and schism - do not occur without human sin:

          Where there are sins, there are also divisions, schisms, heresies, and disputes. Where there is virtue, however, there also are harmony and unity, from which arise the one heart and one soul of all believers.


          [4]http://www.usccb.org/bible/matthew/12#48012022-1


          Day 7, Fourth Week[1] Loyalty


          X  The Agony in the Garden Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to feel sorrow and distress. Then he said to them, “My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch with me.” He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will.” When he returned to his disciples he found them asleep. He said to Peter, “So you could not keep watch with me for one hour? Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Withdrawing a second time, he prayed again, “My Father, if it is not possible that this cup pass without my drinking it, your will be done!” Then he returned once more and found them asleep, for they could not keep their eyes open. He left them and withdrew again and prayed a third time, saying the same thing again. Then he returned to his disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Behold, the hour is at hand when the Son of Man is to be handed over to sinners. Get up, let us go. Look, my betrayer is at hand.” (Matt. 26:36-46)

          Undergo the test:. It is possible that the passion of Jesus is seen here as an anticipation of the great tribulation that will precede the parousia, and that just as Jesus prays to be delivered from death, so he exhorts the disciples to pray that they will not have to undergo the great test that his passion would be for them. Some scholars, however, understand not undergo (literally, “not enter”) the test as meaning not that the disciples may be spared the test but that they may not yield to the temptation of falling away from Jesus because of his passion even though they will have to endure it. The account of Jesus in Gethsemane is divided between that of his agony and that of his betrayal and arrest. Jesus’ sorrow and distress in face of death is unrelieved by the presence of his three disciples who, though urged to watch with him, fall asleep. He prays that if…possible his death may be avoided but that his Father’s will be done. Knowing then that his death must take place, he announces to his companions that the hour for his being handed over has come.[2]

          Ø  Loyalty always costs. It costs far more in the end to be loyal to the cause of evil; but it sometimes costs heavily to be loyal to the will of God. In your life, are you willing to pay the price of loyalty to God? If you are not, in the light of today's passage is there any real meaning in calling Jesus Master and Lord? Face frankly today the places where you have dodged the sacrifice that being true to God's will for you required you to make.

          2100 Outward sacrifice, to be genuine, must be the expression of spiritual sacrifice: "The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit. . . . " The prophets of the Old Covenant often denounced sacrifices that were not from the heart or not coupled with love of neighbor. Jesus recalls the words of the prophet Hosea: "I desire mercy, and not sacrifice." The only perfect sacrifice is the one that Christ offered on the cross as a total offering to the Father's love and for our salvation. By uniting ourselves with his sacrifice we can make our lives a sacrifice to God.

          Lord, I know not what I ought to ask of Thee; Thou only knowest what I need; Thou lovest me better than I know how to love myself. O Father! Give to Thy child that which he himself knows not how to ask. I dare not ask either for crosses or consolations; I simply present myself before Thee; I open my heart to Thee. Behold my needs which I know not myself; see, and do according to Thy tender mercy. Smite, or heal; depress me, or raise me up; I adore all Thy purposes without knowing them; I am silent; I offer myself in sacrifice; I yield myself to Thee; I would have no other desire than to accomplish Thy will. Teach me to pray; pray Thyself in me. FRANÇOIS DE LA MOTHE FÉNELON.[3]




          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master
          [2]http://www.usccb.org/bible/matthew/26#48026036-1
          [3]Tileston, Mary W.. Daily Strength for Daily Needs


          4th Weeks Reflection on Loyalty[1]

          ·         "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord Lord," he cries, "but he that doeth the will of my Father'' (Matt. 7:21). He never welcomed ascriptions of praise unless they were accompanied by real loyalty to his Cause.
          ·         The Master never would accept acclamation that was merely the borrowed result of other people's thinking. He insisted that men themselves should be utterly devoted to his Cause.
          ·         He himself was absolutely loyal to His cause. At twelve he is already self-dedicated to his Father's business (Luke 2:49) ; and throughout his ministry the abiding determination of his heart is manifest: "We must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day" and it was at Gethsemane where He pledged the last full payment of his loyalty.

          Christ was at home at a wedding-feast (John 2: 11); where he was caricatured by his enemies as "a gluttonous man and a winebibber" (Matt. 11: 19) ; that he did much of his greatest teaching at the dinner tables of his friends; that he loved flowers, loved children, loved the home life of his followers. All we have said about his joy refutes the charge of asceticism. The real answer, however, is to see that when Jesus sets before his disciples a hard, self-denying life, demanding that even father, mother, children, houses or lands, should not stand between them and their allegiance to his Cause, he is not at all urging a monkish withdrawal from the world; he is rather a spiritual Garibaldi saying to his little band of patriots; "I promise you forced marches, short rations, bloody battles, wounds, imprisonment and death—let him who loves home and fatherland follow me." He is calling them to a dangerous campaign. He represents a Cause to which he is utterly loyal, and his note is that of a great leader, not an ascetic, when he says: Through exile from the synagogues, through trial before councils, through loss of property and family, through the baptism of blood that I shall be baptized with, follow me.

          We are therefore like soldiers doing battle under a great general. We do not know all his plans but we trust him. We do not even understand all the supernal diplomacy that has made this war here necessary; that is the general's affair, not ours. Our business is to fight under orders and help make every generation's battle another skirmish won in God's campaign. We shall not do the ultimate winning; he must do that, and he will. He will wind up the age-long campaign some day with a strategic move that will startle heaven and earth together, and like Von Moltke at Sedan, catch the world's Napoleon in an unescapable trap. "Watch," says Jesus, "and again I say unto you, watch! The kingdom of God is at hand!" Across a chasm… of years Jesus Christ makes a demand which is, above all others, difficult to satisfy. He asks for that which a philosopher may often seek in vain at the hands of his friends, or a father of his children, or a bride of her spouse, or a man of his brother. He asks for the human heart. He will have it entirely to Himself. He demands unconditionally, and forthwith His demand is granted. Wonderful! In defiance of time and space, the soul of man with all its powers becomes an annexation to the empire of Christ. All who sincerely believe in Him experience that remarkable super-natural love toward Him. This phenomenon is unaccountable; it is altogether beyond the scope of man's creative powers. Time, the great destroyer, is powerless to extinguish the sacred flame; time can neither exhaust its strength nor put a limit to its range.

          Soldier of Christ[2]

          If we claim that we have fellowship with Him, and yet we walk in darkness, then we are lying and not telling the truth. Origen, in his commentary on this passage, writes: “No one can grasp the meaning of the Gospel unless he has rested on the breast of Jesus and unless he has received from Him Mary, who becomes his mother also.” Here we are identifying the entryway (or opening) into the Divine Life of God and the way of sanctification: It must be deeply personal! Entrance into the Divine Life actually parallels the first day (birthday) of our Savior’s life in the world and the moment the newborn baby Jesus is laid in the arms of His mother, Mary. Imagine the scene … their eyes locked and through the windows of their adoring eyes they peered into each other’s soul. What occurred was a bond of love, a semper fi transformation that could not be undone. Throughout all of salvation history we see such cries as “Let His face shine upon you” and “Do not hide Your face from me”. This face-to-face, “look-me-in-the-eye” bonding is essential in understanding the necessity for making a semper fi connection with Christ. This kind of face-to-face encounter with God changes everything as it calls forth, quite literally, a transformation that cannot be undone. It marks a major shift away from a “face-in-the-crowd,” “Christian in name only,” “do-only-what’s-minimally-required” empty religiosity, into a totally dedicated (semper fi) loyalty in love that remains faithful to God, to each other, and to the mission, no matter what. Pope John Paul II said, “Real love is demanding. For it was Jesus — our Jesus Himself — Who said: ‘You are My friends if you do what I command you’. Love demands effort and a personal commitment to the will of God. It means discipline and sacrifice, but it also means joy and human fulfillment.” Mother Teresa said of love: “Love to be real, it must cost — it must hurt — it must empty us of self.” “We have a tendency to think only about self-protection, safety, and avoidance of trouble,” says Fr. Robert Barron. “This tends to be our primary frame of reference. But God thinks relentlessly in terms of love, even when that love entails suffering. So, we ask ourselves, what is our final frame of reference? Is it, ‘How do I avoid pain?’ or is it, ‘How do I love?’ So, if I wake up every morning and my basic question is ‘How am I going to avoid pain?’ then I am going to live my life in a certain way — ultimately, a selfish way. But if when I wake up in the morning I say, ‘How do I love today?’ then I will live the life of a saint.”


          [2]Heilman, Richard. Church Militant Field Manual.


          The Masters Endurance






          Day 1, Fifth Week[1] Endurance

          X  Christian Slaves…be subject to your masters with all reverence, not only to those who are good and equitable but also to those who are perverse. For whenever anyone bears the pain of unjust suffering because of consciousness of God, that is a grace. But what credit is there if you are patient when beaten for doing wrong? But if you are patient when you suffer for doing what is good, this is a grace before God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his footsteps. “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” When he was insulted, he returned no insult; when he suffered, he did not threaten; instead, he handed himself over to the one who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body upon the cross, so that, free from sin, we might live for righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. (1 Peter 2:18-24)

          Most of the labor in the commercial cities of first-century Asia Minor was performed by a working class of slaves. The sense of freedom contained in the gospel undoubtedly caused great tension among Christian slaves: witness the special advice given concerning them here and in 1 Cor 7:2124Eph 6:58Col 3:2225; Philemon. The point made here does not have so much to do with the institution of slavery, which the author does not challenge, but with the nonviolent reaction of slaves to unjust treatment. Their patient suffering is compared to that of Jesus, which won righteousness for all humanity.

          Ø  Peter's recollection selects the uncomplaining fortitude of the Master for special emphasis. Jesus knew how to endure, and as Peter looks back, this seems to him one of the eminent marvels of his Lord's character. As we begin the study of Jesus' power of endurance, consider the need of patient courage in our own lives. For example, we all are handicapped, some by too little money, some by broken health or feeble constitutions, some by bereavement, some by unhappy heredity or cramping environment,—all of us by some unfortunate limitations, and sooner or later, as we saw last week, the man who lives up to his ideals has to pay the price of hostility against the customs of his day. We are all called upon to live our lives in unideal situations that require patience, courage, persistent faith, and fortitude to deal with. How well are you handling this aspect of your life's problem?

          1435 Conversion is accomplished in daily life by gestures of reconciliation, concern for the poor, the exercise and defense of justice and right, by the admission of faults to one's brethren, fraternal correction, revision of life, examination of conscience, spiritual direction, acceptance of suffering, endurance of persecution for the sake of righteousness. Taking up one's cross each day and following Jesus is the surest way of penance.

          1657 It is here that the father of the family, the mother, children, and all members of the family exercise the priesthood of the baptized in a privileged way "by the reception of the sacraments, prayer and thanksgiving, the witness of a holy life, and self-denial and active charity." Thus the home is the first school of Christian life and "a school for human enrichment." Here one learns endurance and the joy of work, fraternal love, generous - even repeated - forgiveness, and above all divine worship in prayer and the offering of one's life.

          2826 By prayer we can discern "what is the will of God" and obtain the endurance to do it. Jesus teaches us that one enters the kingdom of heaven not by speaking words, but by doing "the will of my Father in heaven."



          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master



          Day 2, Fifth Week[1] Endurance

          X  The Demand for a Sign. Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to him, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” He said to them in reply, “An evil and unfaithful generation seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it except the sign of Jonah the prophet. Just as Jonah was in the belly of the whale three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights. At the judgment, the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and there is something greater than Jonah here. At the judgment the queen of the south will arise with this generation and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the Wisdom of Solomon; and there is something greater than Solomon here. (Matt. 12: 38-42)

          The scribes and Pharisees refuse to accept the exorcisms of Jesus as authentication of his claims and demand a sign that will end all possibility of doubt. Jesus’ response is that no such sign will be given. Because his opponents are evil and see him as an agent of Satan, nothing will convince them. This Unfaithful generation is literally, “adulterous.” The covenant between God and Israel was portrayed as a marriage bond, and unfaithfulness to the covenant as adultery. Likewise Jonah’s preaching to the Ninevites and sojourn in the belly of the whale for three days and three nights is a prefigurement of Jesus’ sojourn in the abode of the dead and, implicitly, of his resurrection. The Ninevites who repented and the queen of the south (Sheba) were pagans who responded to lesser opportunities than have been offered to Israel in the ministry of Jesus, something greater than Jonah or Solomon. At the final judgment they will condemn the faithless generation that has rejected him.[2]

          X  The Purpose of Parables. The disciples approached him and said, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” He said to them in reply, “Because knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven has been granted to you, but to them it has not been granted. To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away. This is why I speak to them in parables, because ‘they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand.’ Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in them, which says: ‘You shall indeed hear but not understand, you shall indeed look but never see. Gross is the heart of this people, they will hardly hear with their ears, they have closed their eyes, lest they see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and be converted, and I heal them.’ (Matt. 13:10-15)

          Since a parable is figurative speech that demands reflection for understanding, only those who are prepared to explore its meaning can come to know it. To understand is a gift of God, granted to the disciples but not to the crowds. In Semitic fashion, both the disciples’ understanding and the crowd’s obtuseness are attributed to God. The question of human responsibility for the obtuseness is not dealt with, although it is asserted. “The mystery” is a divine plan or decree affecting the course of history that can be known only when revealed. Knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven means recognition that the kingdom has become present in the ministry of Jesus. God gives further understanding to one who accepts the revealed mystery; from the one who does not, he will take it away because they have not accepted his previous clear teaching.[3]

          Ø  The Master faced a difficult situation in which to do his work. At times he might well have been discouraged. He had to deal with the universal human problem of making the best out of unideal conditions. Consider at once the temptation to resent bitterly the elements in our situation that we do not like, and to spend our time wishing that we were in some other estate. "They tell me," said a peculiarly lazy and weak man, "that I should be a good deal of a man if I lived in a different kind of a place." Can you imagine the Master considering such a futile attitude as even a possibility for his life? He made the best out of one of the most unideal situations that ever faced a great soul. He did not demand a different farm to labor on; he went to work on the farm that he had, and grew harvests on that, which have been feeding the world ever since. His life sounds a courageous call to all of us: Stop whining. Stop pitying yourself; see what you can do, by the help of God, with your unideal situation, for God never would have given it to you without some fine possibilities in it.

          1787 Man is sometimes confronted by situations that make moral judgments less assured and decision difficult. But he must always seriously seek what is right and good and discern the will of God expressed in divine law.

          Choosing the Good Grows Easier With Habit[4]

          Every choice that is made develops a tendency to choose in the same direction. The more often we choose anything, the easier it is to choose it again. The law of habit reigns in the moral order as truly as the law of gravitation in the physical. The most difficult things become easy in time. It would be as difficult for a saint after long habits of virtue suddenly to fall into mortal sin as it would for a man living for years in habits of vice suddenly to become a saint. The law of habit presses upon the will, driving it into the channel it has cut for itself and making it more and more difficult to divert its course. The sense of power we have when, in some hour of calmness, we feel we need not yield is the assertion of the inherent liberty of the will. The remorse and self-condemnation if we yield is the revolt of the will against its slavery. The rising tide of passion or inclination that hurries it on in the moment of temptation is the pressure of the law of habit. It would indeed be worse than misleading to tell a man who has long yielded to habits of sin that at any given moment he could, without constant prayer, vigilance, and strenuous effort, assert his liberty and never yield again. We can give him a better, more inspiring hope: we can tell him that he must fight for his liberty; that, as by his own act, he handed over this royal captive to the slavery of degrading and unworthy masters, he can fight and conquer its captors and set it free. We can tell him that habit can be conquered only by habit; that he must form good habits to conquer bad, habits of resistance to overcome cowardly habits of surrender. We can tell him that he is born free, not a slave; that this sense of his inherent liberty he never can lose: he can claim it and use it, or leave it to haunt him in his captivity, to his eternal shame and despair. We can tell him that it is not by violent and spasmodic efforts at self-assertion that he will overcome, but by steady and unremitting efforts at perseverance. The law of habit can be conquered only by the law of perseverance. The will is under one law; it can be freed only by being brought under another law acting as steadily and persistently. “The law of the Spirit of Life . . . hath delivered me from the law of sin and death.” The bonds that bind the soul cannot be undone by any amount of random efforts to tear them off, however violent, or by any expenditure of muscular energy. They must be loosened knot by knot; the mad attempts to burst them only draw them tighter and leave the poor captive exhausted and despairing. The work of years cannot be undone in hours. The prodigal who wakens to find himself a swineherd in a distant land cannot get back to his father’s home, however much he longs for it, save by treading step by step the road he journeyed in leaving it. If he would hear his father’s welcome and sit down once more at his father’s table, the distance that separates them must be traversed every sorefoot mile. The hatred of his present degradation, the sense of the madness of his folly in leaving, the fierce revolt against his misery and against the citizen of that far-off country to whom he sold himself are of no use unless they brace him up to the great resolve: “I will arise and go to my father.” It is the failure to realize this that leads so many to despair: the deep-rooted consciousness of freedom in theory and its apparent failure in practice; the idea that we can at any moment easily assert our liberty in the face of long-rooted habits; that the sense of freedom needs only to be asserted to realize it in fact. It is not indeed a delusion, that sense of freedom; it is the great reality. But he who has sold himself into slavery must purchase his freedom at the full price he received for his degradation. There are few, if any, of those who have fallen victims to some degrading habit of sin who have not made efforts at some time to free themselves. They knew, like Samson of old, their own inherent power, but they did not know the strength of habit and the power of sin. From time to time they would shake themselves free of their bonds and prove to themselves that, as they thought, they could at any moment assert their liberty; but they did not realize that their strength was gradually going from them and that the bonds with which they were being bound were stronger, until they awoke at last to the voice of the enchantress to find their strength exhausted and their freedom well-nigh forfeited. The sensualist has his moments of reaction: he longs for purity; he knows he can be pure. In times of surfeit, when the strength of the passion is for the moment exhausted or satisfied, his better self comes forth and asserts itself. He is filled with a hatred of his sin and makes violent efforts to free himself, and the old habits fall back and wait. They know they can afford to wait. The efforts are too violent to last, and when he is exhausted and the nervous reaction sets in, these old habits quietly come back and bind their chains more firmly, and the dark despair of slavery settles down on him once more. The law does not fear the violent outbreak of an angry mob. The law is stronger, however numerous the mob and violent its attack. What it does fear, and rightly fears, is organized revolt — law against law, organization against organization. Similarly, no momentary struggle, however determined, can overcome the firm grip of habit. It is only the steady, persevering discipline of the will in its captivity that can ever win for it its native liberty. No barrier, however strong, will stop the river flowing; you must divert its course into another channel. An idle man will not overcome his sloth by an occasional day of fussy activity, nor a miser his meanness by random acts of generosity, any more than a belated summer’s day in November will stop the approach of winter.




          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master
          [2]http://usccb.org/bible/matthew/12#48012038-1
          [4]Maturin, Basil W.. Christian Self-Mastery




          Day 3, Fifth Week[1] Endurance

          X  Ambition of James and John. Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” He replied, “What do you wish [me] to do for you?” They answered him, “Grant that in your glory we may sit one at your right and the other at your left.” Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I drink or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” They said to him, “We can.” Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink, you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; but to sit at my right or at my left is not mine to give but is for those for whom it has been prepared.” When the ten heard this, they became indignant at James and John. 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.” (Mark. 10: 35-45)

          Can you drink the cup…I am baptized? The metaphor of drinking the cup is used in the Old Testament to refer to acceptance of the destiny assigned by God. In Jesus’ case, this involves divine judgment on sin that Jesus the innocent one is to expiate on behalf of the guilty. His baptism is to be his crucifixion and death for the salvation of the human race. The request of James and John for a share in the glory must of necessity involve a share in Jesus’ sufferings, the endurance of tribulation and suffering for the gospel. The authority of assigning places of honor in the kingdom is reserved to God. Whatever authority is to be exercised by the disciples must, like that of Jesus, be rendered as service to others rather than for personal aggrandizement. The service of Jesus is his passion and death for the sins of the human race.[2]

          If you had been the Master, how much patient endurance would you have shown toward disciples who so misunderstood you and who played selfish politics to get first place? And yet Jesus used these very disciples to begin the Christianizing of the world! What a parable of his problem and ours is that poem by Edward Sill: "This I beheld, or dreamed it in a dream:—

          There spread a cloud of dust along a plain;

          And underneath the cloud, or in it, raged

          A furious battle, and men yelled, and swords

          Shocked upon swords and shields. A prince's banner

          Wavered, then staggered backward, hemmed by foes.

          A craven hung along the battle's edge,

          And thought, 'Had I a sword of keener steel—

          That blue blade that the king's son bears—but this

          Blunt thing!'—he snapt and flung it from his hand,

          And lowering crept away and left the field.

          Then came the king's son, wounded, sore bestead,

          And weaponless, and saw the broken sword,

          Hilt-buried in the dry and trodden sand,

          And ran and snatched it, and with battle-shout

          Lifted afresh he hewed his enemy down,

          And saved a great cause that heroic day."

          227 It means trusting God in every circumstance, even in adversity. A prayer of St. Teresa of Jesus wonderfully expresses this trust:

          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.

          533 Purity of heart requires the modesty which is patience, decency, and discretion. Modesty protects the intimate center of the person.

          736 By this power of the Spirit, God's children can bear much fruit. He who has grafted us onto the true vine will make us bear "the fruit of the Spirit: . . . love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control." "We live by the Spirit"; the more we renounce ourselves, the more we "walk by the Spirit."

          Through the Holy Spirit we are restored to paradise, led back to the Kingdom of heaven, and adopted as children, given confidence to call God "Father" and to share in Christ's grace, called children of light and given a share in eternal glory.




          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master
          [2]http://usccb.org/bible/mark/10#49010038-1


          Day 4, Fifth Week[1] Endurance

          X  The Agony in the Garden Then going out he went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him. When he arrived at the place he said to them, “Pray that you may not undergo the test.” After withdrawing about a stone’s throw from them and kneeling, he prayed, saying, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still, not my will but yours be done.” And to strengthen him an angel from heaven appeared to him. He was in such agony and he prayed so fervently that his sweat became like drops of blood falling on the ground.] When he rose from prayer and returned to his disciples, he found them sleeping from grief. He said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not undergo the test.”  (Luke 22:39-46)

          Ø  There were times when the Master needed comfort, times when he had done his best and must face the inevitable. Do not such times come to all of us, when in the face of hostile circumstances we feel acutely the meaning of the fisher folk's saying, "Our skiffs are little and the sea is big"? Now the need of comfort is not an effeminate experience. Comfort comes from the same stem which is used in force, fort, fortify, fortitude. It is a strong and military word. The need of comfort is the need of inward fortification against the crushing circumstances of life. The Master was fortified; even from Gethsemane he came victorious. Is it not true that sooner or later unavoidable trouble comes to everyone, and that it does one of two things,—either embitters him, leaving him resentful, discouraged, cynical; or else it ennobles him, leaving him humbler, kinder, with a deeper spiritual insight and a firmer trust in God? Is not the difference inside the man himself?

          1294 Anointing with oil has all these meanings in the sacramental life. The pre-baptismal anointing with the oil of catechumens signifies cleansing and strengthening; the anointing of the sick expresses healing and comfort. The post-baptismal anointing with sacred chrism in Confirmation and ordination is the sign of consecration. By Confirmation Christians, that is, those who are anointed, share more completely in the mission of Jesus Christ and the fullness of the Holy Spirit with which he is filled, so that their lives may give off "the aroma of Christ."

          1503 Christ's compassion toward the sick and his many healings of every kind of infirmity are a resplendent sign that "God has visited his people" and that the Kingdom of God is close at hand. Jesus has the power not only to heal, but also to forgive sins; he has come to heal the whole man, soul and body; he is the physician the sick have need of. His compassion toward all who suffer goes so far that he identifies himself with them: "I was sick and you visited me." His preferential love for the sick has not ceased through the centuries to draw the very special attention of Christians toward all those who suffer in body and soul. It is the source of tireless efforts to comfort them.

          2727 We must also face the fact that certain attitudes deriving from the mentality of "this present world" can penetrate our lives if we are not vigilant. For example, some would have it that only that is true which can be verified by reason and science; yet prayer is a mystery that overflows both our conscious and unconscious lives. Others overly prize production and profit; thus prayer, being unproductive, is useless. Still others exalt sensuality and comfort as the criteria of the true, the good, and the beautiful; whereas prayer, the "love of beauty" (philokalia), is caught up in the glory of the living and true God. Finally, some see prayer as a flight from the world in reaction against activism; but in fact, Christian prayer is neither an escape from reality nor a divorce from life.



          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master



          Day 5, Fifth Week[1] Endurance

          X  The Coming of Jesus’ Hour Now there were some Greeks among those who had come up to worship at the feast. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we would like to see Jesus.” Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be. The Father will honor whoever serves me. “I am troubled now. Yet what should I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But it was for this purpose that I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it and will glorify it again.” The crowd there heard it and said it was thunder; but others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” Jesus answered and said, “This voice did not come for my sake but for yours. Now is the time of judgment on this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.” He said this indicating the kind of death he would die. So the crowd answered him, “We have heard from the law that the Messiah remains forever. Then how can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?” Jesus said to them, “The light will be among you only a little while. Walk while you have the light, so that darkness may not overcome you. Whoever walks in the dark does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of the light.” (John 12:20-36)[2]

          o   This announcement of glorification by death is an illustration of “the whole world” going after him.
          o   Greeks: not used here in a nationalistic sense. These are probably Gentile proselytes to Judaism.
          o   Philip…Andrew: the approach is made through disciples who have distinctly Greek names, suggesting that access to Jesus was mediated to the Greek world through his disciples. Philip and Andrew were from Bethsaida; Galileans were mostly bilingual. See: here seems to mean “have an interview with.”
          o   Jesus’ response suggests that only after the crucifixion could the gospel encompass both Jew and Gentile.
          o   Through his death Jesus will be accessible to all. It remains just a grain of wheat: this saying is found in the synoptic triple and double traditions. John adds the phrases in this world and for eternal life.
          o   His life: the Greek word psychē refers to a person’s natural life. It does not mean “soul,” for Hebrew anthropology did not postulate body/soul dualism in the way that is familiar to us.
          o   John gives a historical explanation of the disbelief of the Jewish people, not a psychological one. The Old Testament had to be fulfilled; the disbelief that met Isaiah’s message was a foreshadowing of the disbelief that Jesus encountered.  We see that there is no negation of freedom.
          o   His glory: Isaiah saw the glory of Yahweh enthroned in the heavenly temple, but in John the antecedent of his is Jesus.

          Ø  Sooner or later the storm of adverse circumstances falls on every man good or bad. What a testing of character adversity is! One house may look as well as another on a fair day; but Jesus was a builder, and he knew that a storm reveals the kind of foundation underneath. When financial trouble comes, when plans fail, when death strikes the family, when accidents spoil cherished ambitions or health proves inadequate for the burdens assumed, how men's moral foundations are revealed! Have you underneath your life such an assurance that God cares most of all for spiritual success which is inward, and that he can help you to make even adversity contribute to character; have you such a conviction that, as Maltbie Babcock put it, "To be faithless is to fail, whatever the apparent success of earth; to be faithful is to succeed, whatever the apparent failure of earth;" are you, in a word, so deeply grounded in the faith of the Master, that you can stand unshaken in the day of storm?






          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master

          [2]http://usccb.org/bible/john/12#51012020-1


          Day 6, Fifth Week[1] Endurance

          X  The Crucifixion.[2] They brought him to the place of Golgotha (which is translated Place of the Skull). They gave him wine drugged with myrrh, but he did not take it. Then they crucified him and divided his garments by casting lots for them to see what each should take. t was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him. The inscription of the charge against him read, “The King of the Jews.” With him they crucified two revolutionaries, one on his right and one on his left. Those passing by reviled him, shaking their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself by coming down from the cross.” Likewise the chief priests, with the scribes, mocked him among themselves and said, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also kept abusing him. (Mark 15:22-32)
          o   It was nine o’clock in the morning: literally, “the third hour,” thus between 9 a.m. and 12 noon: Mark’s chronological sequence, which may reflect liturgical or catechetical considerations rather than the precise historical sequence of events; contrast the different chronologies in the other gospels.
          o   The inscription…the King of the Jews: the political reason for the death penalty falsely charged by the enemies of Jesus.
          o   The scripture was fulfilled that says, ‘And he was counted among the wicked,’” is omitted in the earliest and best manuscripts. It contains a citation from Is 53:12 and was probably introduced from Lk 22:37.

          X  The Death of Jesus.[3] At noon darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And at three o’clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which is translated, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Some of the bystanders who heard it said, “Look, he is calling Elijah.” One of them ran, soaked a sponge with wine, put it on a reed, and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see if Elijah comes to take him down.” Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last. The veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom. When the centurion who stood facing him saw how he breathed his last he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” There were also women looking on from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of the younger James and of Joses, and Salome. These women had followed him when he was in Galilee and ministered to him. There were also many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem.

          o   The closing portion of Mark’s gospel returns to the theme of its beginning in the Gentile centurion’s climactic declaration of belief that Jesus was the Son of God. It indicates the fulfillment of the good news announced in the prologue and may be regarded as the first fruit of the passion and death of Jesus.

          Ø  The cross of the Master, in which is symbolized all the sacrificial endurance of his life, has done more than all else put together to win the world to him. Nothing is so powerful as love that is willing to suffer to achieve its object. Recall Moses' words as he prays for his people: "Oh, this people have sinned a great sin! Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin—; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written." In this consuming devotion which identifies an individual with a cause, and makes him ready to give up everything selfish for the people whom he loves, lies the consummate perfection of character. Consider the Master's life in the light of this truth, and then compare your own life with his sacrificial love.





          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master
          [3]http://www.usccb.org/bible/mark/15


          Day 7, Fifth Week[1] Endurance

          X  Paul’s Life as Pattern I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, so that you may learn from us not to go beyond what is written, so that none of you will be inflated with pride in favor of one person over against another. Who confers distinction upon you? What do you possess that you have not received? But if you have received it, why are you boasting as if you did not receive it? You are already satisfied; you have already grown rich; you have become kings without us! Indeed, I wish that you had become kings, so that we also might become kings with you. For as I see it, God has exhibited us apostles as the last of all, like people sentenced to death, since we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels and human beings alike. We are fools on Christ’s account, but you are wise in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are held in honor, but we in disrepute. To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are poorly clad and roughly treated, we wander about homeless and we toil, working with our own hands. When ridiculed, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we respond gently. We have become like the world’s rubbish, the scum of all, to this very moment. I am writing you this not to shame you, but to admonish you as my beloved children. Even if you should have countless guides to Christ, yet you do not have many fathers, for I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. Therefore, I urge you, be imitators of me. For this reason I am sending you Timothy, who is my beloved and faithful son in the Lord; he will remind you of my ways in Christ [Jesus], just as I teach them everywhere in every church. Some have become inflated with pride, as if I were not coming to you. But I will come to you soon, if the Lord is willing, and I shall ascertain not the talk of these inflated people but their power. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power. Which do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love and a gentle spirit?

          o   This is an emotionally charged peroration to the discussion about divisions.
          o   That you may learn from us not to go beyond what is written: the words “to go” are not in the Greek, but have here been added as the minimum necessary to elicit sense from this difficult passage. It probably means that the Corinthians should avoid the false wisdom of vain speculation, contenting themselves with Paul’s proclamation of the cross, which is the fulfillment of God’s promises in the Old Testament (what is written). Inflated with pride: literally, “puffed up,” i.e., arrogant, filled with a sense of self-importance. The term is particularly Pauline, found in the New Testament. It sometimes occurs in conjunction with the theme of “boasting,” here.
          o   Satisfied…rich…kings: these three statements could also be punctuated as questions continuing the series these expressions reflect a tendency at Corinth toward an overrealized eschatology, a form of self-deception that draws Paul’s irony. The underlying attitude has implications for the Corinthians’ thinking about other issues, notably morality and the resurrection, that Paul will address later in the letter.
          o   A rhetorically effective catalogue of the circumstances of apostolic existence, in the course of which Paul ironically contrasts his own sufferings with the Corinthians’ illusion that they have passed beyond the folly of the passion and have already reached the condition of glory. His language echoes that of the beatitudes and woes, which assert a future reversal of present conditions. Their present sufferings (“to this very hour,” place the apostles in the class of those to whom the beatitudes promise future relief; whereas the Corinthians’ image of themselves as “already” filled, rich, ruling, as wise, strong, and honored places them paradoxically in the position of those whom the woes threaten with future undoing. They have lost sight of the fact that the reversal is predicted for the future.
          o   My beloved children: the close of the argument is dominated by the tender metaphor of the father who not only gives his children life but also educates them. Once he has begotten them through his preaching, Paul continues to present the gospel to them existentially, by his life as well as by his word, and they are to learn, as children do, by imitating their parents. The reference to the rod belongs to the same image-complex. So does the image of the ways that Paul teaches everywhere, “his ways in Christ Jesus,” mean a behavior pattern quite different from the human ways along which the Corinthians are walking.
          o   The contrast between a certain kind of talk (logos) and true power (dynamis). The kingdom, which many of them imagine to be fully present in their lives, will be rather unexpectedly disclosed in the strength of Paul’s encounter with them, if they make a powerful intervention on his part necessary.

          Ø  Has not Paul in this passage caught perfectly the spirit of his Master? Jesus' courageous patience with undesirable situations and with the necessity of suffering sprang from his absolute trust in the good purpose of God. His task was to do the will of God for him; the consequences were God's responsibility and God would not fail to bring a worthy issue to all faithful work. Therefore the Master suffered patiently, endured courageously, sacrificed freely, labored hopefully, for he was sure that God was for him, and that no one ultimately could prevail against him. He looked even upon his death as a part of the plan of God, and resolutely said, Thy will, not mine. Such trust as this is necessary to such character; you cannot have the result in hopeful fortitude without having the cause in faith; without reliance on God a man may be a cynic or a stoic, but he cannot be one who endures and sacrifices with glad confidence that "all things work together for good."





          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master



          5th Weeks Reflection on Endurance[1]

          Which is the more difficult task, the severer strain upon character, to win a victory, or to sustain a defeat and still keep undiscouraged and in good temper? There is no more searching test of the human spirit than the way it behaves when fortune is adverse and it has to pass through a prolonged period of disappointing failures. Then comes the real proof of the man. Achievement, if a man has the ability, is a joy; but to take hard knocks and come up smiling, to have your mainsail blown away and then to rig a sheet on the bowsprit and sail on, this is perhaps the deepest test of character. . . . Life does not ask simply, How much can you do? It asks, also, How much can you endure, and still be unspoiled?

          Pluck is an element in character that everyone needs sooner or later, and without which no other elements are very impressive. No character is ultimately tested until it has suffered. It is a great deal easier to use our talents well than to use our troubles well, to achieve when we are prosperous than to be patient when we are in adversity.  If we are to understand the Master's character we must study it in this regard. Let us consider, therefore, the way his own saying, "The Son of man must suffer many things" (Mark 8:31), came true in his life. Think, for example, of the amazing hardihood and faith which Jesus showed in launching his great plan under utterly discouraging circumstances.
           He was absolutely devoted to the truth, and even when death was the alternative, he held by his message; and yet they accused him of being a liar (John 7:12). His was not a spirit of ill-will toward any man, however hostile, and yet they called him a servant of the devil (Matt. 12:24), and even his own family mistrusted that he was losing his mind (Mark 3:21). Consider the patient power of endurance that it requires to be thought crazy by your friends, to be excommunicated as a heretic by your church, to be condemned as a traitor by your country, and still to go on with undismayed faith and hope in God.

          In addition to these many ways in which the Son of Man had to suffer, there was the necessary loneliness of his own life. "To be great is to be misunderstood," says Emerson. The altitude of a mountain is the measure of its solitude, for as its eminence increases it overpasses the companionship of lesser peaks. This is true even of worldly position, and Tennyson said, after one of his last interviews with Queen Victoria, "She is so lonely on that height; it is terrible!" Consider then the altitude and solitude of the Master's spirit. The situation in Gethsemane is typical of his whole life; the world, outside, alien and hostile; a few of his disciples at the garden gate, sympathetic but dull of understanding; Peter, James and John closer to the Master and comprehending more his purpose and his struggle; but far beyond them all, under the trees, Jesus himself, fighting out his battle alone with God! Think of the times when the Master, trying to get his disciples to understand him and failing, forced to say even at the end, "I have many things to tell you, but ye cannot bear them now," must have longed for the sympathetic companionship of some human friend who really could enter into his profoundest purposes and share his spiritual experiences. The Master's confidence never wavered. Even when Mary Magdalene anointed his feet with ointment, and he said that it was for his burial, he added, "Whosesoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, that also which this woman hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her" (Matt. 26: 12, 13). Can you easily imagine anyone facing what the Master faced without becoming cynical and discouraged?
          Consider the Master's perfect reliance on his Father, even in the agonies of crucifixion saying, "Into thy hands I commend my spirit." What think ye of Christ? Is it any wonder that the Church's thought has been irresistibly drawn to him as the fulfillment of Isaiah's fifty-third chapter?


          Fool or Son of God[2]

          Think back to Moses. “Why,” they would say, “look at the opportunity that man had! He might have been commander of the Egyptian army, he might have been on the throne, swaying the sceptre over the whole world, if he hadn’t identified himself with those poor, miserable Hebrews! Think what an opportunity he has lost, and what a privilege he has thrown away!” He had dropped out of the public mind for forty years, and they didn’t know what had become of him, but God had His eye upon him. He was the very man of all others that God wanted, and when he met God with that question, “Who am I?” it didn’t matter who he was but who his God was. When men learn the lesson that they are nothing and God is everything, then there is not a position in which God cannot use them. It was not Moses who accomplished that great work of redemption, for he was only the instrument in God’s hand. God could have spoken to Pharaoh without Moses. He could have spoken in a voice of thunder, and broken the heart of Pharaoh with one speech, if He had wanted to, but He condescended to take up a human agent, and to use him. He could have sent Gabriel down, but he knew that Moses was the man wanted above all others, so He called him. God uses men to speak to men: He works through mediators. He could have accomplished the exodus of the children of Israel in a flash, but instead He chose to send a lonely and despised shepherd to work out His purpose through pain and disappointment. That was God’s way in the Old Testament, and also in the New. He sent His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be the mediator between God and man. Moses went on making excuses and said, “When I go down there, who shall I say has sent me?” I suppose he remembered how he went before he was sent that other time, and he was afraid of a failure again. A man who has made a failure once is always afraid he will make another. He loses confidence in himself. It is a good thing to lose confidence in ourselves so as to gain confidence in God. The Lord said, “Say unto them, ‘I AM hath sent me.’ ”

          346 In creation God laid a foundation and established laws that remain firm, on which the believer can rely with confidence, for they are the sign and pledge of the unshakeable faithfulness of God's covenant. For his part man must remain faithful to this foundation, and respect the laws which the Creator has written into it.

          991 Belief in the resurrection of the dead has been an essential element of the Christian faith from its beginnings. "The confidence of Christians is the resurrection of the dead; believing this we live."

          How can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. . . . But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.

          2777 In the Roman liturgy, the Eucharistic assembly is invited to pray to our heavenly Father with filial boldness; the Eastern liturgies develop and use similar expressions: "dare in all confidence," "make us worthy of. . . . " From the burning bush Moses heard a voice saying to him, "Do not come near; put off your shoes from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground." Only Jesus could cross that threshold of the divine holiness, for "when he had made purification for sins," he brought us into the Father's presence: "Here am I, and the children God has given me."

          Our awareness of our status as slaves would make us sink into the ground and our earthly condition would dissolve into dust, if the authority of our Father himself and the Spirit of his Son had not impelled us to this cry . . . 'Abba, Father!' . . . When would a mortal dare call God 'Father,' if man's innermost being were not animated by power from on high?"



          [2]Moody, Dwight Lyman. Men of the Bible



          The Masters Sincerity





          Day 1, Sixth Week[1] Sincerity

          X  Blindness and Perversity Stupefy yourselves and stay stupid; blind yourselves and stay blind! You who are drunk, but not from wine, who stagger, but not from strong drink! For the LORD has poured out on you a spirit of deep sleep. He has shut your eyes (the prophets) and covered your heads (the seers). For you the vision of all this has become like the words of a sealed scroll. When it is handed to one who can read, with the request, “Read this,” the reply is, “I cannot, because it is sealed.” When the scroll is handed to one who cannot read, with the request, “Read this,” the reply is, “I cannot read.” The Lord said: Since this people draws near with words only and honors me with their lips alone, though their hearts are far from me, and fear of me has become mere precept of human teaching, therefore I will again deal with this people in surprising and wondrous fashion: The wisdom of the wise shall perish, the prudence of the prudent shall vanish. Ah! You who would hide a plan too deep for the LORD! Who work in the dark, saying, “Who sees us, who knows us?” Your perversity is as though the potter were taken to be the clay: As though what is made should say of its maker, “He did not make me!” Or the vessel should say of the potter, “He does not understand.” (Isaiah 29:9-16)[2]
          o   Despite their show of piety, Judah’s leaders refused to accept the prophet’s words of assurance. They rejected prophetic advice, did not consult the prophetic oracle in forming their political plans, and tried to hide their plans even from God’s prophet, who, they thought, simply did not understand military and political reality.

          X  The Tradition of the Elders Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They do not wash [their] hands when they eat a meal.” He said to them in reply, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and ‘Whoever curses father or mother shall die.’ But you say, ‘Whoever says to father or mother, “Any support you might have had from me is dedicated to God,” need not honor his father.’ You have nullified the word of God for the sake of your tradition. Hypocrites, well did Isaiah prophesy about you when he said: ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines human precepts.’” He summoned the crowd and said to them, “Hear and understand. It is not what enters one’s mouth that defiles that person; but what comes out of the mouth is what defiles one.” Then his disciples approached and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees took offense when they heard what you said?” He said in reply, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. Let them alone; they are blind guides [of the blind]. If a blind person leads a blind person, both will fall into a pit.” Then Peter said to him in reply, “Explain [this] parable to us.” He said to them, “Are even you still without understanding? Do you not realize that everything that enters the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled into the latrine? But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile. For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, unchastity, theft, false witness, blasphemy. These are what defile a person, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile.”  (Matt. 15:1-20)[3]
          o   This dispute begins with the question of the Pharisees and scribes why Jesus’ disciples are breaking the tradition of the elders about washing one’s hands before eating. Jesus’ counter question accuses his opponents of breaking the commandment of God for the sake of their tradition and illustrates this by their interpretation of the commandment of the Decalogue concerning parents. Denouncing them as hypocrites, he applies to them a derogatory prophecy of Isaiah. Then with a wider audience (the crowd,) he goes beyond the violation of tradition with which the dispute has started. The parable is an attack on the Mosaic law concerning clean and unclean foods, similar to those antitheses that abrogate the law. After a warning to his disciples not to follow the moral guidance of the Pharisees, he explains the parable to them, saying that defilement comes not from what enters the mouth but from the evil thoughts and deeds that rise from within, from the heart. The last verse returns to the starting point of the dispute (eating with unwashed hands). The tradition of the elders:  The purpose of the hand washing was to remove defilement caused by contact with what was ritually unclean.
          o   For the commandment: The honoring of one’s parents had to do with supporting them in their needs.
          o   Jesus leads his disciples away from the teaching authority of the Pharisees.
          o   Matthew specifies Peter as the questioner. This may be due to his wish to correct the Jewish Christians within his church who still held to the food laws and thus separated themselves from Gentile Christians who did not observe them.
          o   The Marcan list of thirteen things that defile is here reduced to seven that partially cover the content of the Decalogue.
          Ø  Note that one of the strongest passages in the prophets against hypocrisy is a favorite with the Master. We can picture him reading and pondering it, and, not content with its historical reference, seeking the meaning of the same spirit in his own day. Let us this week catch for ourselves the Master's feeling about sincerity and hypocrisy, and let us think of the new forms in which they clothe themselves in our generation. It is easy to condemn the Pharisees now; they are dead. But it will cost a searching struggle for some of us to give up our own contentment with the approval of man, who "looketh on the outward appearance" and seek inwardly to be such persons that we have the approval of God, who "looketh on the heart."





          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master
          [3]http://usccb.org/bible/matthew/15#48015001-1


          Day 2, Sixth Week[1] Sincerity

          X  Denunciation of the Scribes and Pharisees Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, saying, “The scribes and the Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses. Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example. For they preach but they do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens [hard to carry] and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they will not lift a finger to move them. All their works are performed to be seen. They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels. They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues, greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation ‘Rabbi.’ As for you, do not be called ‘Rabbi.’ You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers. Call no one on earth your father; you have but one Father in heaven. Do not be ‘Master’; you have but one master, the Messiah. The greatest among you must be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You lock the kingdom of heaven before human beings. You do not enter yourselves, nor do you allow entrance to those trying to enter. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You traverse sea and land to make one convert, and when that happens you make him a child of Gehenna twice as much as yourselves. “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘If one swears by the temple, it means nothing, but if one swears by the gold of the temple, one is obligated.’ Blind fools, which is greater, the gold, or the temple that made the gold sacred? And you say, ‘If one swears by the altar, it means nothing, but if one swears by the gift on the altar, one is obligated.’ You blind ones, which is greater, the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred? One who swears by the altar swears by it and all that is upon it; one who swears by the temple swears by it and by him who dwells in it; one who swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and by him who is seated on it. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You pay tithes of mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier things of the law: judgment and mercy and fidelity. [But] these you should have done, without neglecting the others. Blind guides, who strain out the gnat and swallow the camel! “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You cleanse the outside of cup and dish, but inside they are full of plunder and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may be clean. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of filth. Even so, on the outside you appear righteous, but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and evildoing. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the memorials of the righteous, and you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have joined them in shedding the prophets’ blood.’ Thus you bear witness against yourselves that you are the children of those who murdered the prophets; now fill up what your ancestors measured out! You serpents, you brood of vipers, how can you flee from the judgment of Gehenna? Therefore, behold, I send to you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and pursue from town to town, so that there may come upon you all the righteous blood shed upon earth, from the righteous blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. Amen, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation. (Matt. 23:1-36)
          Ø  In the light of this passage define the hypocrisy that Jesus so much abhorred. Does it not consist in caring little for the real goodness and usefulness of life, so long as an admirable, or at least respectable, appearance can be maintained? How modern this sin is. Someone has written: "He stands having his loins girt about with religiosity and having on the breastplate of respectability. His feet are shod with ostentatious philanthropy; his head is encased in the helmet of spread-eagle patriotism. Holding in his left hand the buckler of worldly success and in his right the sword of 'influence', he is able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand."





          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master


          Day 3, Sixth Week[1] Sincerity

          X  Teaching About Almsgiving 1“[But] take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father. 2When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win the praise of others. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. 3But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, 4so that your almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you. (Matt. 6:1-3)

          X  Teaching About Prayer 5“When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you. 7 In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words. 8Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him. (Matt. 6:4-8)

          Ø  The secret of hypocrisy is the desire to appear well without paying the price that being right costs. We love to be highly regarded by men; we make their approval our standard; and we learn that we can meet this standard, for a while at least, by outward appearance. It is of this that Jesus is thinking in Luke 16: 15, "Ye are they that justify yourselves in the sight of men; but God knoweth your hearts." Think frankly of ways you have deliberately tried to cover the real truth by outward appearance, for the sake of gaining approval in your family, in your college classroom, in your church. Consider the ignobility of this; and, in contrast, the nobility of being a person of whom those who know him best may say, as Spurgeon said of Gladstone: "We believe in no man's infallibility, but it is restful to feel sure of one man's integrity."





          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master



          Day 4, Sixth Week[1] Sincerity



          Ø  The Similes of Salt and Light 13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. 14 You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. 16 Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father. (Matt. 5:13-16)



          Ø  How do you explain this apparent self-contradiction of Jesus? He tells us so to live that men may see our good works; and then he warns us not to do our righteousness to be seen of men. Does not the explanation lie in the fact that there are two kinds of hypocrisy? With the latter sort, where a man tries to appear better than he is, we are familiar; but we must face the former kind, where a man is willing to appear worse than he is. If a man is a follower of Christ in secret, but will not confess him and publicly stand for him; if he lets himself be regarded by some as possibly not in earnest about his faith and character when in fact he is in earnest, is not he a hypocrite? It is hypocrisy to appear worse than you are. It is a man's duty to market his best goods, to reveal his best self, to let the finest things that God has wrought in him, shine forth.




          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master

          Day 5, Sixth Week[1] Sincerity

          X  Teaching About Oaths. “Again you have heard that it was said to your ancestors, ‘Do not take a false oath, but make good to the Lord all that you vow.’ But I say to you, do not swear at all; not by heaven, for it is God’s throne; nor by the earth, for it is his footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Do not swear by your head, for you cannot make a single hair white or black. Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ Anything more is from the evil one. (Matt. 5:33-37)

          Ø  Consider the reasons for the Master's praise of unaffected genuineness in speech. Think of our dependence upon words for our understanding of one another, and think of the shattering of confidence and the growth of cynical suspicion which follow the discovery that we have been deceived. Many a man becomes a hard rock covered with the soft moss of words, and we never learn how hard the rock is until we slip on the moss and fall down. Such men break up the mutual relationship of trust on which all worthy human life depends; they are the arch traitors against the race. Have you grown lax about insincere and deceptive speech? Or do you hate a lie as the Master did, so that your friends know that they can depend absolutely upon what you say?




          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master

          Day 6, Sixth Week[1] Sincerity

          X  Teaching About Fasting “When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. They neglect their appearance, so that they may appear to others to be fasting. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not appear to others to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden. And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you. (Matt. 6:16-18)

          Ø  Does not this passage reveal, as verse six of this same chapter does, the secret of the Master's inner life? He lived in fellowship with the "Father who seeth in secret." He brought all questions to that inner court for settlement; he was satisfied with no deed that did not merit the approval of the Father, who "looketh on the heart"; he was content only with being right in the sight of God. Consider the value of secret prayer as a means of detecting shams in our own lives, of making us discontented with ourselves until we are inwardly in harmony with the will of God for us, and so of making us genuinely sound and good. Moral cosmetics cannot avail us in the presence of God; "Be not deceived, God is not mocked." Therefore for the sake of our characters' genuineness, let us put ourselves continually to the test of quiet meditation and prayer.




          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master 

          Day 7, Sixth Week[1] Sincerity

          X  False Prophets “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves. By their fruits you will know them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Just so, every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. So by their fruits you will know them. (Matt. 6:15-20)

          X  The True Disciple “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not drive out demons in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?’ Then I will declare to them solemnly, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.’ (Matt. 7:21-23)

          Ø  After you have read this searching passage, how naturally the prayer comes, "Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me." A man can do an unselfish deed occasionally by force of will; but can a man really be unselfish, without being continually "transformed by the renewing of his mind"? Jesus says that good deeds or words which do not spring out of the nature and quality of the heart are not genuinely good. So Paul cries: "If I give all my goods to feed the poor, but have not love, it profiteth me nothing." When a man accepts this ideal of a life inwardly and genuinely right in its attitude and quality, he is at once thrown back on God. As well might a tree try to be sound without drawing on the physical energies that are around it, as a man might expect to be inwardly good without appropriating the help of the Spirit of God.




          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master


          6th Weeks Reflection on Sincerity[1]

          Hardship severely tests the genuineness of loyalty, especially when a cause has little human probability of winning; and the Master was steadfast when nothing but absolute devotion to duty could have been his motive.

          But sincerity in Jesus involved something more than consecration; it was the pervasive quality of his whole life. Some virtues are like separate flowers, they beautify the spiritual landscape; a few are like the climate, they are the atmosphere in which all the other virtues grow. Sincerity was the climate of the Master's spirit. Nothing else can ever be right in a man's life, if he is not sincere. A lie is the fundamental sin. No man ever can really see another; we are all invisible personalities, inhabiting our bodies; and we signal to one another by words, looks, actions. A man who lies deliberately hangs out a wrong signal. He creates distrust as to the dependableness of any other signals he may ever make, and he disarranges the whole system of mutual confidence upon which human life depends. When the lie has worked back into the quality of his life, until he is a deceptive man, he has made impossible in himself any fine virtue whatsoever. How Jesus felt about this matter is clear from his definition of the devil: "When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father thereof" (John 8:44). To understand the depth of the Master's passion for truth and hatred of insincerity, we must watch his actions under circumstances where ordinary men are sorely tempted to lie.

          ·         How clearly, then, is the attitude of the Master toward a lie revealed in his affirmation that he is the Christ, and in his further fearless assertion: "To this end have I been born, and to this end am I come into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth" (John 18:37). He would not lie even to save himself from the cross. The Master's steadfast habit was to tell the plain truth, no matter who was alienated.
          ·         He spoke to men who overemphasized religious form and minimized spiritual reality, and he insisted that their religion was sham (Luke 11:42); he attacked strongly the entrenched and anyone who follows the Master through his fearless ministry will be unable to escape the impression of absolute genuineness. Here was one who could neither be bought nor frightened, one who, even that good might come, would not tell a lie.
          ·         Whosoever doth not bear his own cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:26, 27). It is one thing never to speak insincerely; it is a deeper thing always to insist on being sincere. This deeper meaning is Jesus' thought when he says, "Ye shall not be as the hypocrites" (Matt. 6:5). Jesus insisted on unaffected genuineness as He stated in the Sermon on the Mount.
          ·         We all delight in being respected by others, but the Master's character suggests a more searching rule, to be such persons in our inward life that we can respect ourselves and living that a deep self-respect is possible means a thoroughly genuine life. A man's inner life must be cleansed before he is genuinely good (Matt. 12:34, 35).

          Think how a man may sit in his quiet room, where no law would think of touching him, where there is no sound of outward revelry, and there may conjure with his thoughts or with an evil book (or electronic device) until within his sober body his drunken soul reels on from vice to vice, and he knows in imagination what the roués of the world have felt in their most dissipated hours. Think how men in college games and in business come just as near to foul play as they dare. How often do we crowd up close to the fence of respectability's limit, and push our faces between the pickets, wishing that we had courage to climb to the other side! Many a man's goodness consists in being as bad as he dares, and all of us must confess that the test of self-respect and of "The Father who seeth in secret," spoils our self-complacency and fills us with shame.

          The sincerity of Jesus, therefore, has at least these elements in it:

          ·         he would under no circumstances deceive anyone whether to save himself,
          ·         to allay hostility against his Cause, or to win followers;
          ·         and he was content only with an inward life, so genuinely good, that he needed never to be ashamed of himself nor to shrink from the eye of his Father.

          2468 Truth as uprightness in human action and speech is called truthfulness, sincerity, or candor. Truth or truthfulness is the virtue which consists in showing oneself true in deeds and truthful in words, and in guarding against duplicity, dissimulation, and hypocrisy.

          Prayer of Transformation[2]

          The other sad, tragic, miserable truth is that most of us have never prayed a prayer of transformation— not even once in our lives. Most of us have never come before God and prayed:

          Loving Father, Here I am. I trust that you have an incredible plan for me. Transform me. Transform my life. Everything is on the table. Take what you want to take and give what you want to give. Transform me into the person you created me to be, so I can live the life you envision for me. I hold nothing back; I am 100 percent available. How can I help? Amen.

          If you want to see miracles, pray that prayer. If you want to see and experience miracles in your own life, pray a wholehearted prayer of transformation. That’s a prayer God will answer. God always answers a prayer of transformation.


          [2]Kelly, Matthew. Rediscover Jesus: An Invitation



          The Masters Self-Restraint




          Day 1, Seventh Week[1] Self-Restraint

          X  Surely he did not help angels but rather the descendants of Abraham; therefore, he had to become like his brothers in every way, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest before God to expiate the sins of the people. Because he himself was tested through what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested. Despite their show of piety, Judah’s leaders refused to accept the prophet’s words of assurance. They rejected prophetic advice, did not consult the prophetic oracle in forming their political plans, and tried to hide their plans even from God’s prophet, who, they thought, simply did not understand military and political reality. (Hebrews 2: 16-18)

          o   The humanity and the suffering of Jesus do not constitute a valid reason for relinquishing the Christian faith. This Christological interpretation, therefore, probably reflects a common early Christian tradition, which may have originated in the expression the son of man. Psalm 8 contrasts God’s greatness with man’s relative insignificance but also stresses the superiority of man to the rest of creation, of which he is lord. Hebrews applies this christologically: Jesus lived a truly human existence, lower than the angels, in the days of his earthly life, particularly in his suffering and death; now, crowned with glory and honor, he is raised above all creation. The author considers all things as already subject to him because of his exaltation, though we do not see this yet. The reference to Jesus as leader sounds the first note of an important theme in Hebrews: the journey of the people of God to the Sabbath rest, the heavenly sanctuary, following Jesus, their “forerunner”. It was fitting that God should make him perfect through suffering, consecrated by obedient suffering. Because he is perfected as high priest, Jesus is then able to consecrate his people; access to God is made possible by each of these two consecrations. If Jesus is able to help human beings, it is because he has become one of us; we are his “brothers.” The author then cites three Old Testament texts as proofs of this unity between ourselves and the Son. Ps 22:22 is interpreted so as to make Jesus the singer of this lament, which ends with joyful praise of the Lord in the assembly of “brothers.” The other two texts are from Is 8:17, 18. The first of these seems intended to display in Jesus an example of the trust in God that his followers should emulate. The second curiously calls these followers “children”; probably this is to be understood to mean children of Adam, but the point is our solidarity with Jesus. By sharing human nature, including the ban of death, Jesus broke the power of the devil over death; the author shares the view of Hellenistic Judaism that death was not intended by God and that it had been introduced into the world by the devil. The fear of death is a religious fear based on the false conception that death marks the end of a person’s relations with God. Jesus deliberately allied himself with the descendants of Abraham in order to be a merciful and faithful high priest. This is the first appearance of the central theme of Hebrews, Jesus the great high priest expiating the sins of the people (Heb 2:17), as one who experienced the same tests as they (Heb 2:18).[2]

          X  Jesus, Compassionate High Priest. Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin. So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help. (Hebrews 4:14-16)

          o   The author here alone calls Jesus a great high priest; perhaps he does so in order to emphasize Jesus’ superiority over the Jewish high priest. He has been tested in every way, yet without sin; this indicates an acquaintance with the tradition of Jesus’ temptations, not only at the beginning but throughout his public life. Although the reign of the exalted Jesus is a theme that occurs elsewhere in Hebrews, and Jesus’ throne is, the throne of grace: the throne of God. Our confident access to God is made possible by the priestly work of Jesus.

          Ø  Consider the truth in these passages, that if the Master's character is to have vital significance for us, if we are to be encouraged to take it for our Ideal and are to depend on the Spirit, whose work it was, to achieve a like quality in us, the character must be the result of moral struggle. We can neither understand nor imitate a character that is not tempted. An untempted Christ would be outside our moral world altogether. Let us try this week to appreciate the fact that Jesus was tremendously tempted "in all points like as we are." You cannot imagine joy as a virtue except in the presence of the temptation to be discouraged; nor magnanimity as a virtue except where a soul is tempted to be vengeful; nor loyalty except where one is tempted to desert his Cause. Remember then as you face your moral struggles that whatever the Master's character was, it was that only by dint of a great battle against the opposite. "No, when the fight begins within himself, A man's worth something. God stoops o'er his head, Satan looks up between his feet—both tug— He's left, himself, i' the middle: the soul wakes And grows."



          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master


          Day 2, Seventh Week[1] Self-Restraint

          X  The Temptation of Jesus Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days, to be tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when they were over he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone.’” Then he took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a single instant. The devil said to him, “I shall give to you all this power and their glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I may give it to whomever I wish. All this will be yours, if you worship me.” Jesus said to him in reply, “It is written: ‘You shall worship the Lord, your God, and him alone shall you serve.’” (Luke 4:1-8)

          Ø  The interpretation of these symbolical accounts of the Master's moral struggle will be given in the weekly essay. Note today how clearly the record presents the fact that Jesus was harassed by powerful temptations. Are not great souls most tempted? Imagine an Australian bushman understanding in even the faintest degree the struggle which Moses faced when he had to decide whether he would enjoy the pleasures of the Egyptian court for a season or bury himself in the desert with the people of God. You must be built on Moses" scale to know Moses' temptations. A typhoon cannot operate in a tea-cup. If, therefore, a man is self-complacent, aware of no great battles to fight in his life for God and righteousness, is that a sign of moral nobility or of moral littleness? Temptation is not a disgrace; it is an integral part of manhood's battle: and Jesus was the most tempted of all because he had the greatest powers to control.

          "And so I live, you see,
          Go through the world, try, prove, reject,
          Prefer, still struggling to effect
          My warfare; happy that I can
          Be crossed and thwarted as man,
          Not left in God's contempt apart,
          With ghastly smooth life, dead at heart. . . .
          Thank God, no paradise stands barred
          To entry, and I find it hard
          To be a Christian, as I said!"

          2342 Self-mastery is a long and exacting work. One can never consider it acquired once and for all. It presupposes renewed effort at all stages of life. The effort required can be more intense in certain periods, such as when the personality is being formed during childhood and adolescence.





          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master 

          Day 3, Seventh Week[1] Self-Restraint

          X  The Temptation of Jesus Then he led him to Jerusalem, made him stand on the parapet of the temple, and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written: ‘He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you,’ and: ‘With their hands they will support you, lest you dash your foot against a stone.’” Jesus said to him in reply, “It also says, ‘You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.’” When the devil had finished every temptation, he departed from him for a time. (Luke 4:9-13)

          X  The Beginning of the Galilean Ministry Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news of him spread throughout the whole region. He taught in their synagogues and was praised by all. (Luke 4: 14-15)

          Ø  Note especially the closing verse. The Master had gotten out of his temptation new power to fight a larger battle. He made temptation a glorious experience; he was "led up in the Spirit to be tempted," and when he had conquered, he went forth "in the power of the Spirit." Consider how impossible real nobility of character would be if our goodness were untried innocence instead of victorious virtue. Struggle, built into the fiber of manhood; temptation used as an opportunity for conquest and growth,—this is the Ideal which the Master presents. 

          "Why comes temptation—but for man to meet
          And master, and make crouch beneath his foot,
          And so be pedestalled in triumph? Pray
          'Lead us into no such temptations, Lord'?
          Yea, but, O Thou Whose servants are the bold,
          Lead such temptations by the head and hair,
          Reluctant dragons, up to who dares fight,
          That so he may do battle and have praise!"

          79 The Father's self-communication made through his Word in the Holy Spirit, remains present and active in the Church: "God, who spoke in the past, continues to converse with the Spouse of his beloved Son. And the Holy Spirit, through whom the living voice of the Gospel rings out in the Church - and through her in the world - leads believers to the full truth, and makes the Word of Christ dwell in them in all its richness."




          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master

          Day 4, Seventh Week[1] Self-Restraint

          X  The Lord’s Prayer “This is how you are to pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread; and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; and do not subject us to the final test, but deliver us from the evil one. If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions. (Matt. 6:9-13)

          X  Perseverance in Trial. Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. And let perseverance be perfect, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. But if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and he will be given it. But he should ask in faith, not doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed about by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord, 8since he is a man of two minds, unstable in all his ways. The brother in lowly circumstances should take pride in his high standing, and the rich one in his lowliness, for he will pass away “like the flower of the field.” For the sun comes up with its scorching heat and dries up the grass, its flower droops, and the beauty of its appearance vanishes. So will the rich person fade away in the midst of his pursuits. (James 1: 2-11)

          Ø  How do you reconcile these two emphases: "and do not subject us to the final test" and "Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials "? Some men deliberately seek situations where they know that they are going to be tempted. They wish to test themselves, they say. Is this justifiable? The man who invites a moral struggle which he could avoid, just for the sake of the moral struggle, is foolishly playing with fire, and he deceives himself, in doing it, into supposing that his motive is good, when in fact it is generally a low curiosity or a morbid desire for new sensations. We are to avoid temptation wherever we honorably can; but when in the course of positive duty-doing, we "fall into" temptation, then we are to go at the task of conquering joyfully, in the spirit which George Macdonald suggests in "Robert Falconer": "This is a sane, wholesome, practical, working faith: first, that it is a man's business to do the will of God; second, that God takes on himself the special care of that man; and third, that therefore that man ought never to be afraid of anything."

          1501 Illness can lead to anguish, self-absorption, sometimes even despair and revolt against God. It can also make a person more mature, helping him discern in his life what is not essential so that he can turn toward that which is. Very often illness provokes a search for God and a return to him.





          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master


          Day 5, Seventh Week[1] Self-Restraint

          X  Jesus and Beelzebul He was driving out a demon [that was] mute, and when the demon had gone out, the mute person spoke and the crowds were amazed. Some of them said, “By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons, he drives out demons.” Others, to test him, asked him for a sign from heaven. But he knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste and house will fall against house. And if Satan is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that it is by Beelzebul that I drive out demons. If I, then, drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your own people drive them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if it is by the finger of God that [I] drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. When a strong man fully armed guards his palace, his possessions are safe. But when one stronger than he attacks and overcomes him, he takes away the armor on which he relied and distributes the spoils. Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.

          X  The Return of the Unclean Spirit “When an unclean spirit goes out of someone, it roams through arid regions searching for rest but, finding none, it says, ‘I shall return to my home from which I came.’ But upon returning, it finds it swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and brings back seven other spirits more wicked than itself who move in and dwell there, and the last condition of that person is worse than the first.”

          Ø  The truth of this passage is clear; that only by a stronger passion can evil passions be expelled, and that a soul unoccupied by a positive devotion is sure to be occupied by spiritual demons. The safety of the Master in the presence of temptation lay in his complete and positive devotion to his mission: there was no unoccupied room in his soul where evil could find a home; he knew what Dr. Chalmers called, "The expulsive power of a new affection." When Ulysses passed the Isle of Sirens, he had himself tied to the mast of the ship, so that he might not yield to the allurement of the sirens' singing—a picture of many a man's pitiful attempts after negative goodness. But when Orpheus passed the Isle of Sirens, he sat on the deck, indifferent, for he too was a musician and could make melody so much more beautiful than the sirens, that their alluring songs were to him discords. Such is the Master's life of positive goodness, so full, so glad, so triumphant, that it conquered sin by surpassing it. Have you such a saving positiveness of loyal devotion in your life?

          166 Faith is a personal act - the free response of the human person to the initiative of God who reveals himself. But faith is not an isolated act. No one can believe alone, just as no one can live alone. You have not given yourself faith as you have not given yourself life. The believer has received faith from others and should hand it on to others. Our love for Jesus and for our neighbor impels us to speak to others about our faith. Each believer is thus a link in the great chain of believers. I cannot believe without being carried by the faith of others, and by my faith I help support others in the faith.

          2797 Simple and faithful trust, humble and joyous assurance are the proper dispositions for one who prays the Our Father.

          2839 With bold confidence, we began praying to our Father. In begging him that his name be hallowed, we were in fact asking him that we ourselves might be always made more holy. But though we are clothed with the baptismal garment, we do not cease to sin, to turn away from God. Now, in this new petition, we return to him like the prodigal son and, like the tax collector, recognize that we are sinners before him. Our petition begins with a "confession" of our wretchedness and his mercy. Our hope is firm because, in his Son, "we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." We find the efficacious and undoubted sign of his forgiveness in the sacraments of his Church.





          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master 

          Day 6, Seventh Week[1] Self-Restraint

          X  The Tradition of the Elders Now when the Pharisees with some scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around him, they observed that some of his disciples ate their meals with unclean, that is, unwashed, hands. (For the Pharisees and, in fact, all Jews, do not eat without carefully washing their hands, keeping the tradition of the elders. And on coming from the marketplace they do not eat without purifying themselves. And there are many other things that they have traditionally observed, the purification of cups and jugs and kettles [and beds].) So the Pharisees and scribes questioned him, “Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders* but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?” He responded, “Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; In vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines human precepts.’ You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.” He went on to say, “How well you have set aside the commandment of God in order to uphold your tradition! For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and ‘Whoever curses father or mother shall die.’ Yet you say, ‘If a person says to father or mother, “Any support you might have had from me is qorban”’ (meaning, dedicated to God), you allow him to do nothing more for his father or mother. You nullify the word of God in favor of your tradition that you have handed on. And you do many such things.” He summoned the crowd again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand. Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person; but the things that come out from within are what defile.” When he got home away from the crowd his disciples questioned him about the parable. He said to them, “Are even you likewise without understanding? Do you not realize that everything that goes into a person from outside cannot defile, since it enters not the heart but the stomach and passes out into the latrine?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) “But what comes out of a person, that is what defiles. From within people, from their hearts, come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly. All these evils come from within and they defile.” (Mark 7:1-23)

          X  A Tree and Its Fruits “Either declare the tree good and its fruit is good, or declare the tree rotten and its fruit is rotten, for a tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers, how can you say good things when you are evil? For from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks. A good person brings forth good out of a store of goodness, but an evil person brings forth evil out of a store of evil. I tell you, on the Day of Judgment people will render an account for every careless word they speak. By your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matt. 33-37)

          Ø  Consider the searching truth of these two passages in which the Master insists that the place where temptations must be met and conquered is the realm of secret thinking. These are his commentaries on, "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." The evil deeds which we can see, are but the lengthened shadows cast by the real sins which are in the thoughts of men. Consider some of the deeds of which you are most ashamed and trace them back to the wrong habits of thought from which they came. The real war is inward of which the outer action is but the echo and reverberation. The only way to nip sin in the beginning is to resent its attempted entrance into your thoughts. "I will not think it," is the end of any special sin, while no man ever yet succeeded in overcoming the impulse to express in action what had been granted habitual right secretly to occupy his mind.

          When bad thoughts are sinful[2]


          1. In two ways men err regarding bad thoughts. Some who have the fear of God, are scrupulous, and are afraid that every bad thought that presents itself to the mind is a sin. This is an error. It is not the bad thought, but the consent to it, that is sinful. All the malice of mortal sin consists in a bad will, in giving to a sin a perfect consent, with full advertence to the malice of the sin.

          2. Even the saints have been tormented by temptations. The devil labors harder to make the saints fall, than to make the wicked sin: he regards the saints as more valuable prey. The Prophet Habacuc says, that the saints are the dainty food of the enemy. ”Through them his portion is made fat, and his meat dainty.” (Hab. i. 16.) And therefore, the prophet adds, that the evil one stretches out his net for all, to deprive them of the life of grace: and that he spares no one. “For this cause, therefore, he spreadeth out his net, and will not spare continually to slay the nations. ”(Ibid., v. 17.)

          3. Others, who are not scrupulous, but are ignorant, and have lax consciences, think that evil thoughts, though wilfully indulged, are not mortal sins, unless the act is consummated. This is an error worse than the former. What we cannot lawfully do, we cannot lawfully desire. Hence it is, that a bad thought to which a person consents, has the same malice as the bad act. As sinful works separate us from God, so also do sinful thoughts. ”Perverse thoughts separate us from God.” 
          (Wis. i. 3.) And as all bad actions are known to God, so also he sees all evil thoughts, and will condemn and punish them. ”The Lord is a God of all knowledge, and to him are thoughts prepared.” (1 Kings ii. 3.)

          4. However, all bad thoughts are not equally sinful: nor have all those that are sinful equal malice. In a bad thought we may consider three things: the suggestion, the delectation, and the consent. The suggestion is the first bad thought that is presented to the mind: this is no sin, but, when rejected is an occasion of merit. ”As often,” says St. Antonine, ”as you resist, you are crowned.”

          5. A person may sin grievously by thought in two ways; by desire, and by complacency. A person sins by desire when he wishes to do the bad act which he desires, or would wish to do it if he had the opportunity: the desire is a mortal or a venial sin, according as the act which he desires to do is mortally or venially sinful. However, in practice, the commission of the external act always increases the malice of the will, either because it ordinarily increases the complacency which the will indulges, or causes it to continue for a longer time. Hence, if the act followed, it is necessary to mention it in confession. A person sins by complacency, when he does not desire to commit the sinful act, but delights in it as if he had committed it.

          6. It is necessary to guard with all possible caution against all bad thoughts, which are an abomination to God. ”Evil thoughts are an abomination to the Lord. ” (Prov. xv. 26.) They are called “an abomination to the Lord,” because, as the holy Council of Trent says, bad thoughts, particularly thoughts against the ninth and tenth commandments, sometimes inflict on the soul a deeper wound, and are more dangerous than external acts. ”Nonnunquam animam gravius sauciant, et periculosiora sunt iis quæ in manifesto admittuntur.” (Sess. 14, de Pæna, cap. v.)

          7. Secondly, at the hour of death sinful actions cannot be committed; but we may then be guilty of sins of thought; and he who has had a habit of consenting to bad thoughts during life, will be in danger of indulging them at death; for then the temptations of the devil are most violent, Knowing that he has but little time to gain the soul he makes great efforts to bring her into sin. ”The devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, knowing that he hath but a short time. ” (Apoc. xii. 12.)

          8. The Prophet Isaias says, that to be freed from bad thoughts, we must take away the evil of our thoughts. ”Take away the evil of our devices.” (Isa. i. 16.) What does he mean by taking away the evil of our devices? He means that we should take away the occasions of evil thoughts, avoid dangerous occasions, and keep at a distance from bad company.

          9. Some young men will ask: Father, is it sinful to make love? I say: I cannot assert that of itself it is a mortal sin; but persons who do so are often in the proximate occasion of mortal sin; and experience shows that few of them are found free from grievous faults. It is useless for them to say that they neither had a bad motive nor bad thoughts.

          10. Above all, in order to avoid bad thoughts, men must abstain from looking at women, and females must be careful not to look at men. I repeat the words of Job which I have frequently quoted: ”I made a covenant with my eyes, that I should not so much as think upon a virgin.” (Job xxxi. 1.) He says that he made a covenant with his eyes that he would not think. What have the eyes to do with thinking? The eyes do not think; the mind alone thinks.

          11. When thoughts against chastity, which often occur without any immediate occasion, present themselves, it is, as I have said, necessary to banish them at once, without beginning to argue with the temptation. The instant you perceive the thought reject it, without giving ear to it, or examining what it says or represents to you. It is related in the book of the sentences of the fathers, (4), that St. Pachomius one day saw a devil boasting that he often made a certain monk fall into sin; because, when tempted, the monk, instead of turning to God, listened to his suggestions, and began to reason with the temptations.

          12. Should the temptation continue it will be very useful to make it known to your confessor. St Philip Neri used to say, that “a temptation disclosed is half conquered.” In assaults of impurity, some saints have had recourse to very severe mortifications. St. Benedict rolled his naked body among thorns. St. Peter of Alcantara threw himself into a frozen pool. But I consider the best means of overcoming these temptations to be, to have recourse to God, who will certainly give us the victory. ”Praising, I will call on the Lord,” said David,”and I shall be saved from my enemies.” (Ps. xvii. 4.)





          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master

          Day 7, Seventh Week[1] Self-Restraint

          X  The Mission of the Twelve He went up the mountain and summoned those whom he wanted and they came to him. He appointed twelve [whom he also named apostles] that they might be with him and he might send them forth to preach and to have authority to drive out demons: [he appointed the twelve:] Simon, whom he named Peter; James, son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James, whom he named Boanerges, that is, sons of thunder; Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus; Thaddeus, Simon the Cananean, and Judas Iscariot who betrayed him. (Mark 3:13-19)

          X  Contrast with the Old Covenant Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, was so glorious that the Israelites could not look intently at the face of Moses because of its glory that was going to fade, how much more will the ministry of the Spirit be glorious? For if the ministry of condemnation was glorious, the ministry of righteousness will abound much more in glory. Indeed, what was endowed with glory has come to have no glory in this respect because of the glory that surpasses it. For if what was going to fade was glorious, how much more will what endures be glorious. Therefore, since we have such hope, we act very boldly and not like Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the Israelites could not look intently at the cessation of what was fading. Rather, their thoughts were rendered dull, for to this present day the same veil remains unlifted when they read the old covenant, because through Christ it is taken away. To this day, in fact, whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their hearts, but whenever a person turns to the Lord the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. All of us, gazing with unveiled face on the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, as from the Lord who is the Spirit. (II Cor. 3:7-18)

          o   The Lord is the Spirit: the “Lord” to whom the Christian turns is the Spirit of whom Paul has been speaking, the life-giving Spirit of the living God, the inaugurator of the new covenant and ministry, who is also the Spirit of Christ. The Spirit of the Lord: the Lord here is the living God, but there may also be an allusion to Christ as Lord. Freedom: i.e., from the ministry of death and the covenant that condemned.

          o   Another application of the veil image. All of us…with unveiled face: Christians (Israelites from whom the veil has been removed) are like Moses, standing in God’s presence, beholding and reflecting his glory. Gazing: the verb may also be translated “contemplating as in a mirror”; Paul speaks of transformation, conformity to Jesus, God’s image, as a reality of the end time, and even speaks of the glory as an object of hope. But the life-giving Spirit, the distinctive gift of the new covenant, is already present in the community, the “first installment”), and the process of transformation has already begun. Into the same image: into the image of God, which is Christ

          Ø  Think carefully of these two passages. Character is transformed by the influence of our fellowships. No man can become good merely by trying. A deepening character is generally the unconscious result of consciously chosen influences. Find a Friend, believe in him and love him; see a great Cause and give yourself to its work; feel the power of a Book and saturate yourself with its spirit; find a Brotherhood of spirits like yours in aspiration and join it; and loving your Friend, serving your Cause, absorbing your Book, and cooperating with your Brotherhood, do not think too much about your own character, for your character will take care of itself. You cannot choose to be Christlike and attain your choice by trying; but you can choose Christ for your Friend, his Kingdom for your Cause, the Bible for your Book, the Church for your Brotherhood, and these consciously chosen influences will unconsciously transform your life.

          84 The apostles entrusted the "Sacred deposit" of the faith (the depositum fidei), contained in Sacred Scripture and Tradition, to the whole of the Church. "By adhering to [this heritage] the entire holy people, united to its pastors, remains always faithful to the teaching of the apostles, to the brotherhood, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. So, in maintaining, practicing and professing the faith that has been handed on, there should be a remarkable harmony between the bishops and the faithful."

          1939 The principle of solidarity, also articulated in terms of "friendship" or "social charity," is a direct demand of human and Christian brotherhood.

          An error, "today abundantly widespread, is disregard for the law of human solidarity and charity, dictated and imposed both by our common origin and by the equality in rational nature of all men, whatever nation they belong to. This law is sealed by the sacrifice of redemption offered by Jesus Christ on the altar of the Cross to his heavenly Father, on behalf of sinful humanity."




          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master


          7th Weeks Reflection on Self-Restraint[1]

          The perfection of the Master's character, a perfection so inward and genuine that he did not need to feel ashamed of himself or to shrink from the eye of God, may be at first thought discouraging rather than helpful. This impression of perfection which the Master made is entirely unique in the spiritual history of man. No one ever made it before or since, and no one ever tried to claim it.

          "The ground tone of his whole self-consciousness is the undisturbed sense of communion with God." He held the most exacting idea of goodness ever launched among men. He said that hating was murder, and impure desire adultery; that to harbor a grudge in your heart against an enemy or to be insincere in philanthropy and prayer was real sin. Moreover he must have applied these searching standards mercilessly to his own life. Who was it that told his disciples never to contract the miserable habit of looking for motes in other people's eyes, while beams were in their own? It was Jesus. Who was it that said a man should always take the beam out of his own eye first? It was Jesus. Who was it that laid it down as a fundamental in morals that a man should forgive his fellow, but be so severe with himself as to cut off a hand and cast out an eye for righteousness' sake, if it were needful? It was Jesus. Hard on yourself, easy on others, that was his way. In a word, here was a Man not only possessing an incomparably spiritual standard of goodness, and a heart exquisitely sensitive to the touch of sin, but urging the unique command to be harder on one's self than on any one else, and yet he seems never to have felt what we mean by moral shame. Even when he says to the young lawyer, "Why callest thou me good? None is good save one, even God" (Mark 10:18), he is not revealing shame about himself. Rather he hears the young man superficially bandying compliments about his goodness and he who "learned obedience by the things which he suffered," who was made "perfect through sufferings," who "hath been in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin" (Heb. 5:8; 2:10; 4: 15) turned the youth's too glib ascriptions from himself to God, whose goodness alone is perfect.  If this ideal life of the Master is not to discourage rather than inspire us, we must ask whether or not this achievement in character cost a severe moral struggle. If it did not, if he was never searchingly tempted, if his character was untried innocence instead of victorious goodness, tested in the fiery trial of moral struggle, then there is no use in our endeavoring to be like him. Was Jesus, then, really tempted? Did he have in him the capacity for sin? Did he feel the enticement of evil and have inward battles to fight before he could know and do the will of God for him? The New Testament answers these questions by an unmistakable affirmative: He was "in all points tempted like as we are." But if this is to be real to us, we must study closely the spiritual struggles of the Master. The little man fighting his little battles wishes that he were the great man so that the more easily he might overcome them; but when he understands the great man he sees that storms circle around his higher altitudes that make the petty battles of the lower level seem insignificant. The acorn seedling may be impeded by a few dead leaves, but it never will shake in the grip of the tempest until it becomes an oak. The analogy of our experience at once suggests that our Lord was tempted not less but more than we are.

          Where does temptation lay its heaviest hand upon us, where we are weak or where we are strong? Temptations always swirl around our powers. The testimony of our experience is clear that temptations do not decrease but rather increase with increase of power. The Jesus of the gospels lives a real life. He is not mildly inking in a lead pencil sketch handed down from heaven, but is facing temptations, searching and alluring, from his first desert struggle, to Gethsemane, where surrender to his Father's will cost an inward agony that covered his brow with blood. His perfection of character does not come from inability to sin, but from ability to conquer and yet not use His supernatural power. His temptations were struggles not to misuse his capacity. The problem of the Master was a problem in self-restraint. How clear is the spiritual struggle which is pictured by the first temptation, "Command that these stones become bread"! (Matt. 4:1-4). The Master was tempted to use his power selfishly. Consider the powers which were in the Master's possession; think of that ability to inspire devotion, which awakened the envy of Napoleon; measure the actual effect of his personal impact on the world, "lifting empires off their hinges and turning the stream of centuries out of its channel"; and then weigh the meaning of the temptation to use such power ‘selfishly. To be entrusted with billions, and to spend none of it upon yourself, consider the significance of that! The marvel of Christ's character lies not alone in what he did, but in what he refrained from doing. His reserved and utterly unselfish use of his personal endowments; his refusal to turn the hard stones of his experience into the bread of self-satisfaction although he was hungry and was able to work the change, this is our Lord's unexampled masterpiece in the realm of character. He tells us that it cost a hard struggle. In Gethsemane he is tempted imperiously to require God to exempt him from the cross. Why must he, the well-beloved Son of God, endure that shame? The agony of that final dealing with his old temptation brings blood to his brow, before he conquers it at last, and says, "Not my will, but thine, be done" (Luke 22:39-46).

          To be gifted with all powers and never to use them selfishly; to be sent on a divine mission and never to expect God to stop the lions' mouths; to be offered a temporal kingdom and to be crucified for a spiritual one, that was the temptation and triumph of Jesus. He was tempted in all points like as we are, but we never have been tempted as he was. A man would have to be built on Christ's scale to face his moral trials. On the glistening summit where he lived, there were gales in which we never could have stood!






          The Masters Fearlessness



          Day 1, Eighth Week[1] Fearlessness

          X  The Man with a Withered Hand Moving on from there, he went into their synagogue. And behold, there was a man there who had a withered hand. They questioned him, “Is it lawful to cure on the Sabbath?” so that they might accuse him. He said to them, “Which one of you who has a sheep that falls into a pit on the Sabbath will not take hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable a person is than a sheep. So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and it was restored as sound as the other. But the Pharisees went out and took counsel against him to put him to death.

          Ø  Consider how a man who lives up to his best always has to run counter to many of the established customs of his day. Jesus, for example, was living an ideal life in an unideal world, and a clash was inevitable. In today's passage the clash is between his love of men and the customary Sabbath laws. Broaden the application of the truth behind this special disagreement, and consider how certain it is that any man who lives a really Christlike life will have to meet the hostility of many ordinary customs in business, in society, in college. Are you living a life that is on the average plane, doing what everybody else does, drifting with the current, or are you following your best ideals enough so that you definitely clash with some of the unworthy habits in the social life about you? Think over the points of conflict.




          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master


          Day 2, Eighth Week[1] Fearlessness

          X  The Tradition of the Elders Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They do not wash [their] hands when they eat a meal.” He said to them in reply, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and ‘Whoever curses father or mother shall die.’ But you say, ‘Whoever says to father or mother, “Any support you might have had from me is dedicated to God,” need not honor his father.’ You have nullified the word of God for the sake of your tradition. Hypocrites, well did Isaiah prophesy about you when he said: ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines human precepts.’” He summoned the crowd and said to them, “Hear and understand. It is not what enters one’s mouth that defiles that person; but what comes out of the mouth is what defiles one.” Then his disciples approached and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees took offense when they heard what you said?” He said in reply, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. Let them alone; they are blind guides [of the blind]. If a blind person leads a blind person, both will fall into a pit.” Then Peter said to him in reply, “Explain [this] parable to us.” He said to them, “Are even you still without understanding? Do you not realize that everything that enters the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled into the latrine? But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile. For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, unchastity, theft, false witness, blasphemy. These are what defile a person, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile.”  (Matt. 15:1-20)[2]
          o   This dispute begins with the question of the Pharisees and scribes why Jesus’ disciples are breaking the tradition of the elders about washing one’s hands before eating. Jesus’ counter question accuses his opponents of breaking the commandment of God for the sake of their tradition and illustrates this by their interpretation of the commandment of the Decalogue concerning parents. Denouncing them as hypocrites, he applies to them a derogatory prophecy of Isaiah. Then with a wider audience (the crowd,) he goes beyond the violation of tradition with which the dispute has started. The parable is an attack on the Mosaic law concerning clean and unclean foods, similar to those antitheses that abrogate the law. After a warning to his disciples not to follow the moral guidance of the Pharisees, he explains the parable to them, saying that defilement comes not from what enters the mouth but from the evil thoughts and deeds that rise from within, from the heart. The last verse returns to the starting point of the dispute (eating with unwashed hands). The tradition of the elders:  The purpose of the hand washing was to remove defilement caused by contact with what was ritually unclean.
          o   For the commandment: The honoring of one’s parents had to do with supporting them in their needs.
          o   Jesus leads his disciples away from the teaching authority of the Pharisees.
          o   Matthew specifies Peter as the questioner. This may be due to his wish to correct the Jewish Christians within his church who still held to the food laws and thus separated themselves from Gentile Christians who did not observe them.
          o   The Marcan list of thirteen things that defile is here reduced to seven that partially cover the content of the Decalogue.

          Ø  Consider again how constantly the Master is compelled to stand out against the customs of his people. The drag of ordinary standards is always down, whenever a man tries to live his best life. In a democracy, we are tempted to think that "The voice of the people is the voice of God." Is that true? Which would win by a popular vote: Wagner or ragtime? Shakespeare or vaudeville? George Eliot or sensational fiction? The finest ideals of character or the mediocre? The world is not yet saved, and it always pulls down on the best in us. Any man who is going to achieve worthy character must have the power and courage to stand out against debasing, vulgar standards. Think of the truth of this in regard to habits of conversation in your circle; in regard to social customs, especially where young men and women are concerned; in regard to the character of fiction often popular; in regard to flippancy and irreverence about religion.




          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master



          Day 3, Eighth Week[1] Fearlessness

          X  The Disciples and the Sabbath As he was passing through a field of grain on the Sabbath, his disciples began to make a path while picking the heads of grain. At this the Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?” He said to them, “Have you never read what David did when he was in need and he and his companions were hungry? How he went into the house of God when Abiathar was high priest and ate the bread of offering that only the priests could lawfully eat, and shared it with his companions?” Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.”   (Mark 2:23-28)[2]

          Ø  Note once more with what kindness but with what uncompromising firmness, the Master refused to subject himself to the dead level of the habits of his people. It takes the deepest courage to maintain this attitude in the face of the misunderstanding and criticism that inevitably come. With Jesus it meant, in the end, death; with us it means often ostracism, loss of friends, or a reputation for eccentricity or prudishness. Is it not true, however, that in the long run the one who with kindly insistence, lives up to his best is most respected by those whose respect counts? And is it not true that the only way society is improved is by those who dare to live in advance of the customs of their time? Will your college, your town, your church be better, because you have been willing without ostentation, without condescension, but with uncompromising good-will, to live above the average level?




          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master
          [2]http://usccb.org/bible/mark/2


          Day 4, Eighth Week[1] Fearlessness

          X  The Tradition of the Elders Now when the Pharisees with some scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around him, they observed that some of his disciples ate their meals with unclean, that is, unwashed, hands. (For the Pharisees and, in fact, all Jews, do not eat without carefully washing their hands, keeping the tradition of the elders. And on coming from the marketplace they do not eat without purifying themselves. And there are many other things that they have traditionally observed, the purification of cups and jugs and kettles [and beds].) So the Pharisees and scribes questioned him, “Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?” He responded, “Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; In vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines human precepts.’ You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.” He went on to say, “How well you have set aside the commandment of God in order to uphold your tradition! For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and ‘Whoever curses father or mother shall die.’ Yet you say, ‘If a person says to father or mother, “Any support you might have had from me is qorban”’ (meaning, dedicated to God), you allow him to do nothing more for his father or mother. You nullify the word of God in favor of your tradition that you have handed on. And you do many such things.” He summoned the crowd again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand. Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person; but the things that come out from within are what defile.” When he got home away from the crowd his disciples questioned him about the parable. He said to them, “Are even you likewise without understanding? Do you not realize that everything that goes into a person from outside cannot defile, since it enters not the heart but the stomach and passes out into the latrine?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) “But what comes out of a person, that is what defiles. From within people, from their hearts, come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly. All these evils come from within and they defile.” (Mark 7:1-23)

          Ø  In the midst of a religious system, blighted by ceremonialism, Jesus was earnestly laboring for a better type of spiritual life and for a nobler sort of religious thought. He never took for granted the existing situation; he believed in something better yet to come; and he threw himself into the Cause of the Future. What is the religious situation in your college or community? Are you taking it for granted? Are you saying that it always has been and always will be that way? Are you merely standing over against the situation and criticizing it? Then catch the Master's spirit. The religious conditions in any social group can be radically changed, often by one person, who is wise, friendly, persistent, fearless, and who has faith in the better day yet to come, for which he works. Such a person will often meet with opposition, but is not this desire to better the religious life of your college or town, and this willingness to try, in however small a way to help, part of your discipleship to Jesus?





          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master


          Day 5, Eighth Week[1] Fearlessness

          X  The Entry into Jerusalem When they drew near Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find an ass tethered, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them here to me. And if anyone should say anything to you, reply, ‘The master has need of them.’ Then he will send them at once.” This happened so that what had been spoken through the prophet might be fulfilled: “Say to daughter Zion, ‘Behold, your king comes to you, meek and riding on an ass, and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’” The disciples went and did as Jesus had ordered them. They brought the ass and the colt and laid their cloaks over them, and he sat upon them. The very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and strewed them on the road. The crowds preceding him and those following kept crying out and saying: “Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; hosanna in the highest.” And when he entered Jerusalem the whole city was shaken and asked, “Who is this?” And the crowds replied, “This is Jesus the prophet, from Nazareth in Galilee.” (Matt. 21:1-11)
          X  The Cleansing of the Temple Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all those engaged in selling and buying there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves. And he said to them, “It is written: ‘My house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you are making it a den of thieves.” The blind and the lame approached him in the temple area, and he cured them. When the chief priests and the scribes saw the wondrous things he was doing, and the children crying out in the temple area, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant and said to him, “Do you hear what they are saying?” Jesus said to them, “Yes; and have you never read the text, ‘Out of the mouths of infants and nurslings you have brought forth praise’?” And leaving them, he went out of the city to Bethany, and there he spent the night. (Matt. 21: 11-17)

          Ø  Many men take as a matter of course the social and industrial conditions of the generation into which they are born. If slavery is extant, or child-labor, or a seven-day week for workers in their mills they look upon these things as the rules of the game. They do not ask how long the conditions have existed, whether they are right, how long they ought to stay; they simply accept the rules as existing and play the game as hard as they can. Note that Jesus would not take for granted any condition that seemed to him wrong, no matter of how long standing or of how great authority. He believed in the Kingdom of God which is coming, and to accord with which all present conditions must be changed. Do you share this faith in the social future of the race, and are you going to be one of the forward-looking, fearless men of your generation, who has "tasted the powers of the age to come"?




          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master


          Day 6, Eighth Week[1] Fearlessness

          X  The Baptism of Jesus Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. John tried to prevent him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and yet you are coming to me?” Jesus said to him in reply, “Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed him. After Jesus was baptized, he came up from the water and behold, the heavens were opened [for him], and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove [and] coming upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” (Matt. 3: 13-17)

          Ø  This self-dedication of the Master was full of beauty at its beginning, as the consciousness of his great mission came upon him, but think of the self-denial that it was going to involve and the courage that it was going to require for its fulfillment. Are you fearless enough to put yourself absolutely in the hands of God to be used anywhere as he wills, regardless of the cost? This is the central act of moral courage upon which all else depends. "Laid on Thine altar, O my Lord divine, Accept this gift today, for Jesus' sake: I have no jewels to adorn Thy shrine, No far-famed sacrifice to make; But here within my trembling hand I bring This will of mine—a thing that seemeth small, But Thou alone, O Lord, canst understand How when I yield Thee this, I yield mine all."



          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master


          Day 7, Eighth Week[1] Fearlessness

          X  The Leaven of the Pharisees Meanwhile, so many people were crowding together that they were trampling one another underfoot. He began to speak, first to his disciples, “Beware of the leaven—that is, the hypocrisy—of the Pharisees. (Luke 12: 1)

          X  Courage Under Persecution “There is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have said in the darkness will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be proclaimed on the housetops. I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body but after that can do no more. I shall show you whom to fear. Be afraid of the one who after killing has the power to cast into Gehenna; yes, I tell you, be afraid of that one. Are not five sparrows sold for two small coins? Yet not one of them has escaped the notice of God. Even the hairs of your head have all been counted. Do not be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows. I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before others the Son of Man will acknowledge before the angels of God. But whoever denies me before others will be denied before the angels of God. (Luke 12: 2-9)

          Ø  Note that Jesus' fearlessness is here intimately associated with his confident faith that evil cannot win, but that rather the quiet beginnings of good shall in the end be public and universal. He knew that working with God and righteousness, he was on the winning side. Have you this same faith undergirding your life? Do you believe deeply that God's Cause is going to win, that evil is beaten in advance, that in all our labor for righteousness we are building roadways over which the forces of good shall someday celebrate a triumph? Think how the faith of far-seeing men that slavery could be abolished necessarily preceded its abolishment; and consider the need today for men who really are confident that war can be done away, that industrial injustice and political corruption can be stopped, that the brotherhood of man is a possibility, and that the world can be Christianized.




          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master


          8th Weeks Reflection on Fearlessness[1]

          We need to balance our thought of Jesus as a revolutionist in religion, by noting that he always thought of himself as one who was fulfilling, not destroying, the old revelation of God to Israel. His complaint against the traditions of the elders was that they spoiled and obscured the real meaning of the Law. The Old Testament for Jesus was summed up in love for God and man: on that "the whole law hangeth, and the prophets". Jesus said, I came not to destroy this spiritual meaning, but to fulfill it. As Beethoven was an innovator in music, who first had mastered, to a degree no other man of his generation equaled, the musical accomplishments of the past, so our Lord was reverent toward the Law and the prophets, understood them, loved them and felt the meaning of them, in a way that no Pharisee could surpass. His originality was rooted in the past, and drew from it the very sap that made the fresh growth possible. He saw his "new teaching" as the fulfillment of the old teaching, not a jot or tittle of which should pass away. He thought of himself as bringing in the noon of which the former truth was the dawn. But like all heralds of new light he met the hatred of the obscurants. As eyes which are accustomed to twilight, shut themselves against a stronger sun, so the Jews closed their souls against the Gospel. It seemed to them not fulfillment but destruction. As Jesus put it in a figure with a play of humor in it, "No man having drunk old wine desireth new; for he saith, The old is good". The deep reverence of the Master for the truth which the prophets proclaimed is manifested in many indirect ways. Twice he is represented as repeating a word of Hosea: "I desire mercy, and not sacrifice". When he faces the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, he instinctively expresses his feeling in the language of Isaiah: "This people honoreth me with their lips, But their heart is far from me"

          The Master's mind was saturated with the Old Testament. If he was a revolutionary force in the religious life of his people, it was not because he thought less than they thought of the ancient prophets. He cries that the Pharisees are like their fathers; they slay the prophets and then decorate their tombs in formal and meaningless respect. They have not caught the prophets' spirit, nor seen, as the prophets saw, that God is a living God who has never said his last word on any subject, but always, with more things to tell us than we now can bear, endeavors to fulfill old revelations with new.

          We need also to balance our thought of Jesus as a revolutionist in religion by noting that he did his best to adapt his   new truth to the understanding of his people and to make it easy for them to accept it. Plainly the Master was endeavoring to fulfill his mission as peaceably as possible. He scrupulously worked within the boundaries of their synagogues; he used ancient and honored terms, "Kingdom of God," "Son of Man," "Messiah"; when he did transgress laws, such as guarded the Sabbath day, he tried to mediate his new position by arguments that the Jews could understand. He said that David in an emergency broke technical Sabbath laws; why not he? He said that according to their laws a poor man could take an ox from a pit on the Sabbath day; why might he not heal a man? With surprising patience he tried to make the ascent from their level to his, gradual and easy. He wanted not to destroy, but to fulfill. When, however, his reverence for the old Law and his endeavor peaceably to mediate the new truth were unappreciated and the Pharisees forced the conflict, he was uncompromising and fearless.

          Many kinds of courage deserve the admiration of men: the physical courage that causes a cavalry captain to marshal his men for an obviously fatal charge and to ride down the hesitating ranks, crying, "Men, what is the matter with you? Do you want to live forever?" The courage of the Master includes this and more. He took a new truth, needed by the world, and proclaiming it kindly was met by bitter antagonism; he saw the multitudes dwindle as he proclaimed it, from hundreds to scores, from scores to a dozen, and saw even these uncertain in their allegiance; he found the organized religion of his day bent on his destruction and yet, with no motive for persisting save his sense of duty, he walked straight toward the cross, although compromise, equivocation, mental reservation, even simple silence would have saved him; and at last with a mob howling for his crucifixion he stood his ground without hedging, without hesitation and without fear. One phrase continually upon the Master's lips is a true revelation of his spirit: "Fear not". Such fearlessness under such conditions can have but a single end, and to that end the Master went with utter steadfastness, saying, even when he staggered under the weight of his cross, "Weep not for me, but weep for yourselves". When we consider the courage which the Master's life required, and the way in which he met the demand without wavering, we are not surprised to catch in Peter, years afterward, an echo of that same spirit. "But even if ye should suffer for righteousness' sake," says the apostle, "blessed are ye: and fear not their fear, neither be troubled". The characteristics of the disciples which in that first generation most reminded men of Jesus were not the passive but the active virtues, not gentleness but fearlessness. "Now when they beheld the boldness of Peter and John," we read, "they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus"



          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master


          The Masters Affection



          Day 1, Ninth Week[1] Affection

          X  The Vine and the Branches “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and every one that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit. You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you. Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you. By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples. As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete. This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father. It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. This I command you: love one another.

          Ø  No one of the earlier gospels contains so beautiful an expression of affectionate friendliness as this, but, as we shall see, they do present the Master as one who must have felt toward his disciples the most tender and constant love. Consider the difficult combination in Jesus' character between his heroic and revolutionary fearlessness, his capacity for indignation on the one side, and on the other this deep, friendly tenderness. We feel a like wonder when we turn from Paul's splendid statesmanship, his amazing power of intellectual grasp, and his dauntless courage to read a passage like this: "We were gentle in the midst of you, as when a nurse cherisheth her own children: even so, being affectionately desirous of you, we were well pleased to impart unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were become very dear to us" (I Thess. 2:7, 8). Some men are ashamed of such a deep and moving affection in friendship, but they are the small men. The great men are always the gentlemen.




          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master


          Day 2, Ninth Week[1] Affection

          X  The Greatest in the Kingdom At that time the disciples approached Jesus and said, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said, “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me. (Matt. 18:1-5)
          X  Temptations to Sin. “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world because of things that cause sin! Such things must come, but woe to the one through whom they come! If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter into life maimed or crippled than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into fiery Gehenna. (Matt. 18:6-9)
          X  The Parable of the Lost Sheep “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father. What is your opinion? If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills and go in search of the stray? And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it than over the ninety-nine that did not stray. In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost. (Matt. 18:10-14)

          Ø  We are going to note in this week's study that the Master's teaching is always family teaching. Consider today that in just one social group is each individual of boundless value, no matter how many individuals there are. That group is the true family. See in today's passage how the Master carries this family idea out to the whole race and applies it even to little children. He thinks of humanity as a family with one Father, and each member of it of infinite value. How great must be the capacity for love in one who can really take the race into his affection as though all men were members of his own household and not one of them negligible. Consider yourself as living in such a human family and regarded, with such love as the Master's, by the Father of all. Is your life a worthy response to such love? Are you living as though you were of infinite value in the sight of God? And are you living as though all other people, even forgotten "little ones," were of infinite value too? Think now of some neglected, ostracized, unbefriended person and begin today to treat him especially as though he were valuable to you.




          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master


          Day 3, Ninth Week[1] Affection


          X  The Parable of the Lost Son Then he said, “A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of your estate that should come to me.’ So the father divided the property between them. After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings and set off to a distant country where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation. When he had freely spent everything, a severe famine struck that country, and he found himself in dire need. So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens who sent him to his farm to tend the swine. And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed, but nobody gave him any. Coming to his senses he thought, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have more than enough food to eat, but here am I, dying from hunger. I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.”’ So he got up and went back to his father. While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him. His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son.’ But his father ordered his servants, ‘Quickly bring the finest robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Take the fattened calf and slaughter it. Then let us celebrate with a feast, because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again; he was lost, and has been found.’ Then the celebration began. Now the older son had been out in the field and, on his way back, as he neared the house, he heard the sound of music and dancing. He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean. The servant said to him, ‘Your brother has returned and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ He became angry, and when he refused to enter the house, his father came out and pleaded with him. He said to his father in reply, ‘Look, all these years I served you and not once did I disobey your orders; yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends. But when your son returns who swallowed up your property with prostitutes, for him you slaughter the fattened calf.’ He said to him, ‘My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours. But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’” (Luke 15:11-32)

          Ø  Do not be content with reading the closing portion of the parable of the Lost Son; read it all. See how clearly here the Master puts his Gospel into family terms. In only one social group, a true family, are relationships indissoluble, so that a bad son is still a son, an unfaithful brother is still a brother. The Master applied this family principle to all life. The Pharisees, he said, were denying the relationship of brotherhood with sinners, just as the elder brother did with the prodigal, whereas all men are our brothers, often wicked, ignorant, corrupt, but still our brothers. Think what it would mean to have the Master's principle accepted, and brotherhood and sisterhood recognized with all human beings. Think of changes that would have to be made in our business and industrial life. Think of the deepening motive for social service and missions. Think of the changes that would come in your personal attitude toward some particular people.


          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master


          Day 4, Ninth Week[1] Affection

          X  The Return of the Twelve The apostles gathered together with Jesus and reported all they had done and taught. He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” People were coming and going in great numbers, and they had no opportunity even to eat. So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place. People saw them leaving and many came to know about it. They hastened there on foot from all the towns and arrived at the place before them. (Mark 6:30-33)

          X  The Feeding of the Five Thousand When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. By now it was already late and his disciples approached him and said, “This is a deserted place and it is already very late. Dismiss them so that they can go to the surrounding farms and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” He said to them in reply, “Give them some food yourselves.” But they said to him, “Are we to buy two hundred days’ wages worth of food and give it to them to eat?” He asked them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” And when they had found out they said, “Five loaves and two fish.” So he gave orders to have them sit down in groups on the green grass. The people took their places in rows by hundreds and by fifties. Then, taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to [his] disciples to set before the people; he also divided the two fish among them all. They all ate and were satisfied. And they picked up twelve wicker baskets full of fragments and what was left of the fish. Those who ate [of the loaves] were five thousand men. (Mark 6:34-44)

          X  The Lament over Jerusalem Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how many times I yearned to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her young under her wings, but you were unwilling! Behold, your house will be abandoned, desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’” (Matt. 23:37-39)

          Ø  We have been thinking of the family idea behind Jesus' love for men: that God is our Father, that all we are brethren; that as in a home, each individual is of infinite value, and that the relationships of fatherhood, sonship and brotherhood are indissoluble, so that no man's sin can utterly free me from being brother to him as much as I can. Let today's Scripture make you feel how these basal ideas of the Master were in his life warmed and made effective by a deep, compassionate, overflowing love for men. You hold the Christian theory of fatherhood and brotherhood; has it become real in your daily attitude and feeling toward men?



          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master


          Day 5, Ninth Week[1] Affection

          X  The Washing of the Disciples’ Feet Before the feast of Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to pass from this world to the Father. He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end. The devil had already induced Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, to hand him over. So, during supper, fully aware that the Father had put everything into his power and that he had come from God and was returning to God, he rose from supper and took off his outer garments. He took a towel and tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and dry them with the towel around his waist. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Master, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing, you do not understand now, but you will understand later.” Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Master, then not only my feet, but my hands and head as well.” Jesus said to him, “Whoever has bathed  has no need except to have his feet washed, for he is clean all over; so you are clean, but not all.” For he knew who would betray him; for this reason, he said, “Not all of you are clean.” So when he had washed their feet [and] put his garments back on and reclined at table again, he said to them, “Do you realize what I have done for you? You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’ and rightly so, for indeed I am. If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do. Amen, amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you understand this, blessed are you if you do it. I am not speaking of all of you. I know those whom I have chosen. But so that the scripture might be fulfilled, ‘The one who ate my food has raised his heel against me.’ From now on I am telling you before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe that I AM. Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.” (John 13:1-20)

          Ø  Could there be, under the circumstances, a more moving expression of deep friendship than this? Friendship is of many qualities. Addison says: "The friendships of the world are oft Confederacies in vice or leagues of pleasure; ours has severest virtue for its basis and such friendship ends not but with life."  Friendship is like a plant that grows in all zones, nipped and wizened in the north, luxuriant and beautiful in the south. Consider the friendship of the Master and his disciples, how it was nurtured by a common faith, a common hope, a common devotion to the same Cause; how it grew in a climate of spiritual sympathy and mutual service. Jesus was friendly to everybody but he could be friends only with those who consented to meet him on his own high terms: "Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you." Do your friendships partake of this high quality, and are you thus a member of the circle of the Friends of the Master?




          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master


          Day 6, Ninth Week[1] Affection

          X  The Word of Life What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we looked upon and touched with our hands concerns the Word of life for the life was made visible; we have seen it and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was made visible to us—what we have seen and heard we proclaim now to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; for our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We are writing this so that our joy may be complete. (1 John 1:1-4)
          X  God is Light Now this is the message that we have heard from him and proclaim to you: God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all. If we say, “We have fellowship with him,” while we continue to walk in darkness, we lie and do not act in truth. But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, then we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of his Son Jesus cleanses us from all sin. If we say, “We are without sin,” we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we acknowledge our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrongdoing. If we say, “We have not sinned,” we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1 John 1:5-10)

          Ø  Consider the interpretation of the Christian life suggested here, that it is a life of friendly fellowship with the Father. Is there not someone in your heart who warns you against evil, who rebukes you when you sin, who allures you with ideals of what you ought to be, who insists when you are discouraged that you can win yet, and who never entirely gives you up, no matter what you do? You cannot explain this voice by calling it Conscience; it is someone who is trying to befriend you. Are you in fellowship with this Invisible Companion? Are you making it easy for him to speak to you; are you giving him quiet hours when he has a chance to be heard; and are you walking with him in service, so that you know the fellowship of which Paul wrote, "We are God's fellow-workers"?




          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master


          Day 7, Ninth Week[1] Affection

          X  If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. If there are prophecies, they will be brought to nothing; if tongues, they will cease; if knowledge, it will be brought to nothing. For we know partially and we prophesy partially, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things. At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known. So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

          Ø  Someone has said that Paul was describing the character of the Master here. Whether Paul consciously was thinking of his words as descriptive of Jesus or not, they certainly are a true portrayal of our Lord's spirit. Read over the description of love's expression in life, beginning, "Love suffereth long and is kind," and think carefully of the way the different phrases of the description fit the Master's character as you know it. Some of the virtues here enumerated are more often praised than practiced, and we may well search our own lives by comparing them with the length and breadth and depth and height of the love revealed in Jesus.




          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master

          9th Weeks Reflection on the Master’s Affection[1]

          We have done well to guard ourselves by considering such austere qualities in him first as his indignation, his loyalty, his self-restraint, his fearlessness; but this exclusive stress would spoil our picture of our Lord, if we did not consider his overflowing tenderness, his warmly affectionate nature. Know that "Gentleness, when it weds with manhood, makes the man." The study of this quality in the Master leads us at once away from the extensive, world-wide aspects of his mission to those intimate personal relationships in which he revealed the peculiar beauty of his friendliness. Theology has naturally emphasized his unbounded love, which took the whole race for its object, and in which God revealed his care for the world. When, however, we step into the gospels, we find him dealing in unusual tenderness with individual children; disregarding even excessive weariness and hunger to give gracious service to an unworthy woman (John 4:6ff); enjoying the hospitable friendship of a favorite family (John 11:5); and saying to his disciples in words whose depth of affection can hardly be exaggerated, "No longer do I call you servants; . . . but I have called you friends".
          The affectionate nature of the Master is revealed in his relationships with his home. Jesus did the work of a carpenter to maintain the family. The marks of his handicraft and of his early days of life among poor, plain people are evident in his metaphors and parables. He notes the kind of foundations on which a house is built (Matt. 7:24s); he understands the necessity of figuring carefully on cost before undertaking to build (Luke 14:28). He is acquainted with foxes and their lairs, birds and their nests (Matt. 8:20), hens and their solicitude over their brood (Matt. 23:37), and the agriculture of a peasant farmer is his familiar field of illustration. He knows well the cost of sparrows, sold as cheap food, in the market place (Matt. 10:29), and in the home he has seen his mother mend garments until they were past mending, and no new patches could be put on them (Matt. 9:16). He always seems to have felt a special sympathy with widows, facing the problem which Mary faced in bringing up her family. This sympathy, perhaps is reflected in his feeling toward the widow who cast her mites into the temple treasury, giving a gift worth more in his sight than all the offerings of the millionaires. When one considers the tenderness of Jesus toward little children he can hardly fail to feel that this quality began its expression back in the Nazareth home where the Master was practically the father of the family. The eighteenth chapter of Matthew leads us deeply into the unusual affection of Jesus for children. A child's humility, teachableness and artless sincerity are to him the best symbols of the quality which is necessary for entrance into the Kingdom (v. 2-5). To wrong a child seems to him a crime so heinous that no punishment can be too severe for the man who has deliberately done it, and no self-sacrifice can be too great, even cutting off a hand or plucking out an eye, if necessary to prevent harm to "these little ones" (v. 6-10). Every child is so valuable that "He took them in his arms, and blessed them, laying his hands upon them" (Mark 10:16). Such a feeling for children as this must have grown in the home life at Nazareth. There are passages in the gospels which at first sight seem to negative such a representation of the feeling of Jesus for his home. How can this tenderness toward his family have been characteristic of one who said: "If any man cometh unto me, and hateth not his own father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple"? (Luke 14:26). Again and again Jesus made willingness to leave one's family the test of discipleship. He is saying that not even the most beautiful relationships may stand between a man and his loyalty to the Kingdom when the two conflict. When at Bethany he welcomed the family of Lazarus and his sisters as a haven of retreat, he was indulging a love of home life from which he had been shut out for years. When he bitterly assailed the divorce customs of his people and pleaded for the ideal of an indissoluble bond between man and wife, he was speaking from his heart's love for a true home. What abiding tenderness he felt toward the old ties is revealed when upon the cross, amid his agony, he made provision for his mother in the home of John (John 19:26, 27). Indeed, the Master's most characteristic teaching is couched in family terms, his methods are the methods of the home, and his ideal for all humanity is a family model. His dominant thought of God is neither as a King nor as a Judge, but as a Father. In a true home every person is of infinite value, and the safety of all the other children cannot satisfy the parents' hearts if one is lost. This spirit the Master applied to all humanity (Luke 15:3-10). In a true home personal influence is the transforming power, and this Jesus adopted as his method, whether with his disciples when he "appointed twelve, that they might be with him" (Mark 3:14), or in his plan for their future work, when he said, "Ye are the light of the world," and "Ye are the salt of the earth." Only in a home are relationships indissoluble so that a bad son is still a son, and an evil brother still a brother.

           The affection of Jesus is revealed also in the strength and quality of his friendships. What he meant to his friends, the consequences of his influence on them make plain. He believed in them and their hidden possibilities when they did not even believe in themselves (Luke 5:8-10); he kept them in his fellowship that they might catch the spirit of his life (Mark 3:14), and he trained them for service, alike by setting them at work (Mark 6:7ff), and by calling them apart for quiet retreats of conference and prayer (Mark 6:31); he prayed for them when he was alone (Luke 22:32), and when he gathered with them for the last time he offered a prayer for them in their hearing, the spirit of which is inexpressibly tender and solicitous (John 17). All the qualities that make deep friendship beautiful are present in the Master's love for his disciples; fidelity that will not give up even Judas until a last word of affection fails to shame him from his treacherous deed (Matt. 26:50); unflattering honesty that rebukes the evil of a friend's life when it would have been easier to condone (Mark 8:33); deathless solicitude that desires to watch over and protect them, "even unto the end of the world" (Matt. 28:20); and sacrificial devotion which not only speaks but fulfills in deed that greatest love, "that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13).

          When the last night came, his heart overflowed with unspeakable longing, as he said to them, "With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer" (Luke 22:15). On that night when everything else was being taken from him he counted his wealth in his friendships; “Thine they were," he said in thanks to his Father, "and thou gavest them to me" (John 17:6). The whole impression of Jesus' intimate relationship with his disciples is one of deepest personal affection, the sort of warm, compelling friendliness that calls out in answer an undying loyalty. That the disciple whom Jesus loved best should have leaned upon his breast at supper (John 13:23-35), is but symbolical of this wonderful relationship.




          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master



          The Masters Scale of Values


          Day 1, Tenth Week[1] Values

          X  Treasure in Heaven “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal. But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be. (Matt. 6:19-21)
          X  The Light of the Body “The lamp of the body is the eye. If your eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light; but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be in darkness. And if the light in you is darkness, how great will the darkness be. (Matt. 6:22-23)
          X  God and Money “No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. (Matt. 6:24)

          Ø  How often we desire two mutually exclusive things: evil pleasures and a clear conscience, self-indulgence and good health, laziness and success, a selfish, worldly life and a consciousness of serving God! Men everywhere are trying to possess themselves of two things that exclude each other and they always fail. They have to take one or the other. The central lesson of life is that we must choose. If I want to be both an easy-going drifter and a successful physician, I must choose between them, and let my desire for one be utterly subordinated to my devotion for the other. Between a covetous, self-indulging, superficial worldliness and a devout, unselfish service of God and his Cause in the earth, there can be no satisfactory compromise. We cannot do both. Our heart's real treasure will be in one place or the other. We must choose.



          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master

          Day 2, Tenth Week[1] Values

          X  Dependence on God “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat [or drink], or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they? Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span? Why are you anxious about clothes? Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin. But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them. If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith? So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’ All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom [of God] and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil.

          Ø  The truth of yesterday may be restated today in terms of the last verse of our Scripture. Only one thing can be first in any man's scale of values. There must, to be sure, be many different ranges and grades of interest in any human life, physical welfare, recreation, pleasure—"your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things"—but only one thing can be first. The Cause of God on the earth should be first, says Jesus, and all other things subordinated in due proportion to it. Nothing good is by this necessarily excluded from life. Rather in ordinary experience, health, comfort, recreation, money, family love are all glorified by being made ministers to the Cause of God on earth and the Cause of God on earth aims among other things at health, comfort, and a fine family life for all. But even when it costs, the Kingdom alone must be put first in our lives, and, for the sake of it all evil things excluded and all good things subordinated. Consider what this means particularly to you. Try to express in simple language exactly what is involved in putting the Kingdom of God first in all of the varied experiences of daily life.




          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master


          Day 3, Tenth Week[1] Values

          X  The Parable of the Great Feast One of his fellow guests on hearing this said to him, “Blessed is the one who will dine in the kingdom of God.” He replied to him, “A man gave a great dinner to which he invited many. When the time for the dinner came, he dispatched his servant to say to those invited, ‘Come, everything is now ready.’ But one by one, they all began to excuse themselves. The first said to him, ‘I have purchased a field and must go to examine it; I ask you, consider me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have purchased five yoke of oxen and am on my way to evaluate them; I ask you, consider me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have just married a woman, and therefore I cannot come.’ The servant went and reported this to his master. Then the master of the house in a rage commanded his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in here the poor and the crippled, the blind and the lame.’ The servant reported, ‘Sir, your orders have been carried out and still there is room.’ The master then ordered the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedgerows and make people come in that my home may be filled. For, I tell you, none of those men who were invited will taste my dinner.’” (Luke 14:15-24)

          Ø  Were any of the men who refused the invitation doing wrong things? On the contrary their business and family zeal was commendable. Only they were so completely preoccupying their lives with lesser things that the more important things were crowded out. "To dress, to call, to dine, to break No canon of the social code, The little laws that lacqueys make, The futile calogue of Mode,—How many a soul for these things lives With pious passion, grave intent! ***** never ev'n in dreams has seen the things that are more excellent!" Consider that our life time and life energy are limited, that if we preoccupy them with little things, the great things will be lost, that as Ruskin says about reading, "Do you not know that if you read this book, you cannot read that?" Are you emphasizing the things that are more excellent?




          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master


          Day 4, Tenth Week[1] Values

          X  The Explanation of the Parable of the Sower “Hear then the parable of the sower. The seed sown on the path is the one who hears the word of the kingdom without understanding it, and the evil one comes and steals away what was sown in his heart. The seed sown on rocky ground is the one who hears the word and receives it at once with joy. But he has no root and lasts only for a time. When some tribulation or persecution comes because of the word, he immediately falls away. The seed sown among thorns is the one who hears the word, but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word and it bears no fruit. But the seed sown on rich soil is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.” (Matt. 13:18-23)

          Ø  Think especially of the seed that fell among thorns, and let it illustrate afresh the thought of yesterday. The seed found the ground preoccupied and so was crowded out. Are not many of our most tragic failures caused by excessive busyness, not necessarily with unworthy things, but with less worthy things, until our prayer life, our trust in God, our finest spiritual quality, our unselfishness are choked and die? Schiller says that you can tell an artist by what he leaves out. He does not crowd everything into his picture helter-skelter; he chooses a central and dominant feature and subordinates everything else to it. Are you living your life with a true sense of proportion? You have not time nor strength for everything. Are you putting first things first? Apply this particularly to love of money, love of social eminence, and love of pleasure as competitors against character for the throne of your life.




          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master


          Day 5, Tenth Week[1] Values

          X  Parable of the Rich Fool Then he told them a parable. “There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest. He asked himself, ‘What shall I do, for I do not have space to store my harvest?’ And he said, ‘This is what I shall do: I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones. There I shall store all my grain and other goods and I shall say to myself, “Now as for you, you have so many good things stored up for many years, rest, eat, drink, be merry!”’ But God said to him, ‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’ Thus will it be for the one who stores up treasure for himself but is not rich in what matters to God.” (Luke 12:16-21)

          Ø  As we turn to consider the things which the Master put first, we find that in the individual life a useful, pure and worthy character was to him clearly supreme. Wealth in lands and crops and pleasures did not compare with it. Indeed in this passage a man not inwardly rich toward God in character, who trusts in money as his treasure, is called foolish. Think of the ways in which you are tempted to make money your goal in life. Is there any way of conquering this temptation save by positively devoting yourself to the Christian Cause, and making money the servant of your spiritual devotion? Put money in servile livery and it will do great work; but let it usurp the crown and a man is spiritually doomed.





          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master


          Day 6, Tenth Week[1] Values

          X  The Good Shepherd “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber. But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice, as he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has driven out all his own, he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him, because they recognize his voice. But they will not follow a stranger; they will run away from him, because they do not recognize the voice of strangers.” Although Jesus used this figure of speech, they did not realize what he was trying to tell them. So Jesus said again, “Amen, amen, I say to you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came [before me] are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy; I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. A hired man, who is not a shepherd and whose sheep are not his own, sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away, and the wolf catches and scatters them. This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I will lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice, and there will be one flock, one shepherd. This is why the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own. I have power to lay it down, and power to take it up again. This command I have received from my Father.” Again there was a division among the Jews because of these words. Many of them said, “He is possessed and out of his mind; why listen to him?” Others said, “These are not the words of one possessed; surely a demon cannot open the eyes of the blind, can he?” As we turn to consider the things which the Master put first, we find that in the individual life a useful, pure and worthy character was to him clearly supreme. Wealth in lands and crops and pleasures did not compare with it. Indeed in this passage a man not inwardly rich toward God in character, who trusts in money as his treasure, is called foolish. Think of the ways in which you are tempted to make money your goal in life. Is there any way of conquering this temptation save by positively devoting yourself to the Christian Cause, and making money the servant of your spiritual devotion? Put money in servile livery and it will do great work; but let it usurp the crown and a man is spiritually doomed. (John 10: 1-21)

          Ø  See in this passage a revelation of the Master's scale of values. The lives of people were to him of ineffable worth; therefore no sacrifice was too great to save them. You can feel at once the transcendent importance of having a true idea of what is worth most, for we always sacrifice our secondary values to our primary ones. Jesus was willing to make any sacrifice to save people. Money, comfort, pleasure, his own earthly existence, anything he would surrender if the sacrifice would help to save people. He felt the spiritual life of men to be holy ground; he felt all sin there to be sacrilege; he felt all injustice done to men to be the violation of a sacred place, and he counted any price worthwhile that protected and redeemed the lives of men. Can you see any signs in your life that you share very vitally the Master's idea of this supremely valuable thing?





          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master


          Day 7, Tenth Week[1] Values


          X  The Parable of the Good Samaritan But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man fell victim to robbers as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead. A priest happened to be going down that road, but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. Likewise a Levite came to the place, and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him was moved with compassion at the sight. He approached the victim, poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them. Then he lifted him up on his own animal, took him to an inn and cared for him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction, ‘Take care of him. If you spend more than what I have given you, I shall repay you on my way back.’ Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?” He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:29-37)

          Ø  What did the priest and Levite do that stirred the Master's disapproval? They did nothing. That was the sole fault with them. They endeavored to be neutral when a concrete example was presented to them of the warfare of evil on men; they simply went by on the other side. Does not attempted neutrality always fail so? The priest and Levite have been rightly coupled ever since with the robbers, as supporters of wrong in the world. No man can really be neutral. As Jesus says in the next chapter: "He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth" (Luke 11:23). A great war is on between good and evil, between Christ and anti-Christ. The battlefield is in you and around you. Your thoughts and deeds inevitably are taking sides. Have you settled the matter once for all as to which side you will be on, with all your strength? Have you deliberately put God and his Cause first?





          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master


          10th Weeks Reflection on the Master’s Scale of Values[1]

          It is the commonplace of our teaching that belief in the Lord Jesus is the means of entrance into the Christian life. We should note, however, that in our day it is very possible for a man to profess belief in our Lord without sharing deeply the searching experience of the men who followed him in Palestine. Men may believe in him today in an appreciative way as the very best character that ever lived; they may stand before his life as they might before a beautiful picture or poem, saying, "It is very well done!" Or men may believe in him as represented in some creedal formula, such as "Very God of very God, begotten not made;" they may recite with intellectual assent the borrowed results of others' attempts to comprehend Christ's theological significance. But both these sets of men may utterly miss the central effect of Jesus on his first followers; that he demanded a revolution in their standards of value, that he took things commonly put first and subordinated them, while things long neglected he counted of preeminent worth. He found men anxiously consuming all their energies in accumulating the externals of life, food and clothing, and he tried to recentralize their lives around a more valuable object of devotion: "Seek ye first his kingdom" (Matt. 6:33). He found men regarding the keeping of a Sabbath law as more important than the helping of a man, and he insisted on turning right side up this perverted scale of values: "The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath". Everywhere we find him elevating certain values as worthy of absolute devotion, and subordinating others as secondary; everywhere we find his standards of what is important and what is unimportant so new and revolutionary that the acceptance of them meant a complete transformation in the lives of men. Long before Peter started the Christian creed by affirming that Jesus was the Christ, Peter had felt this primary demand of Jesus that men must change their ideas of what is really valuable in life. Moreover, we discover that this effect of the Master on his followers was deliberate. When he said, "Where thy treasure is, there will thy heart be also", he distinctly recognized that a man's scale of values is the determining factor in his life. Behind all professed beliefs lies this deeper matter: What is it that a man counts so worthwhile that he is subordinating other things to it? Now, when the Master thus set himself to change the location of men's "treasure," to reconstruct the standards of value by which men were living, he furnished us with one of the best means of understanding his own character. What better way is there of estimating the quality of any man, than by discovering the things that he counts most worthwhile? We may apply the Master's own principle to himself: when we know where his treasure is, we shall find where his heart is also. In one significant statement Jesus has told us clearly his estimation of the supremely valuable treasure: "What shall a man be profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and forfeit his life?” It is needless to say that the life to which the Master here refers is not alone the physical but the spiritual, not merely the existence of the body but the character and quality of the self. That to him was of supreme value. Nothing was to be compared with it. To cut off a hand or pluck out an eye was a sacrifice readily to be made if the spiritual quality of the man required it. This real self, this invisible, spiritual personality made in the image of God, intended for his character, and sure to live forever, was so infinitely valuable, in the thought of the Master, that he tried continually, by every manner of statement, to make his disciples feel with him that everything else in life must be subordinated to the interests of this supreme treasure. He told them that God ranked personality as preeminently valuable: worth more than flowers, "If God doth so clothe the grass of the field, which today is and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you?"; you are worth more than sparrows, "Ye are of more value than many sparrows"; worth more than sheep, "How much then is a man of more value than a sheep!"; worth more than the most sacred religious institution, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath" ; worth so much that the transformation of even one life sets all heaven to singing, "I say unto you, that even so there shall be joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth". That the supreme value for the Master was personal character is shown in his own life even more than in his teaching. The passion of his life was a ransom for man. The church has often stereotyped the title, Savior, and made it cold and official in theological theory; but at first it was not theology at all. Saviorhood was the vivid and immediate impression of the Master's daily living. The manifest joy of his life was in saving and serving men. "The Son of man also came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many"; "The Son of man came to seek and to save that which was lost"; these are no isolated and occasional notes, but rather the continually recurrent theme of his living. He ministered to personality through the body and spent a large portion of his waking hours in healing men's physical ailments; he ministered to men's spiritual life directly in all his preaching. Always the supreme value for which he lived and taught and sacrificed was personality, marred and estranged, yet even so the child of God, loved by the Father and possessing everlasting issues of weal and woe. And all this sacrifice was founded on his scale of values. He died for men because he believed that men were worth dying for.

          The insistent emphasis of his life was that the "true riches" were not money but character, and that no sacrifice could be too great, if it was necessary to maintain the supremacy of the spirit and to achieve the subordination of all secondary things. God. He who said that it was profitless to gain the whole world and lose one's self, said also, "Seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness." The first was the Master's supreme evaluation of character in persons, the second, of character in society.

          "The kingdom of heaven," said Jesus, "is like unto a treasure, hidden in the field; which a man found, and hid; and in his joy he goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field". Nothing in life is too precious to be surrendered for the Kingdom's sake. He died for the Kingdom because he thought that the Kingdom was worth dying for.

          The greed of men for money seemed to Jesus the great obstacle in the way of their accepting his scale of values. We must turn, however, to his own abounding sense of living the life most worthwhile, to see how richly he possessed, not as a matter of theory but of experience, the consciousness of being wealthy himself. Who can stand before the Master's scale of values and be unashamed? Even through commonest daily life the choices run, which, if we say we are his disciples, must be brought to the arbitrament of his standards of worth. "First things first!" is his demand, and no formal ritual or intellectual assent to creedal statement can blind his eyes to our unchristian scales of value. What is it that we count worth so much that other things are subordinated to it?




          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master



          The Masters Spirit


          Day 1, Eleventh Week[1] Spirit

          X  The Praise of the Father At that time Jesus said in reply, “I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him. (Matt. 11:25-27)

          X  The Gentle Mastery of Christ “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” (Matt. 11:28-30)

          Ø  Is not this a strange combination of ideas? In one breath the Master claims a unique communion with God and in the next he calls himself "meek and lowly in heart." If at first there seems to be a conflict between such a claim and such a profession, consider what humility is. Is it not at its deepest a quality of spirit that comes from recognizing God as the source of all that is worthy in us, so that we take no credit to ourselves and see no reason for pride, no matter what we may achieve?  "And every virtue we possess, and every victory won, and every thought of holiness are His alone."  This is the spirit of humility. Therefore the more intimate any soul's sense of communion with God, the more meekness and lowliness of heart will result. The real test of humility comes when a man is making a great success and is tempted to forget that all his power is simply an entrustment from God.




          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master


          Day 2, Eleventh Week[1] Spirit

          X  Conduct of Invited Guests and Hosts He told a parable to those who had been invited, noticing how they were choosing the places of honor at the table. “When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not recline at table in the place of honor. A more distinguished guest than you may have been invited by him, and the host who invited both of you may approach you and say, ‘Give your place to this man,’ and then you would proceed with embarrassment to take the lowest place. Rather, when you are invited, go and take the lowest place so that when the host comes to you he may say, ‘My friend, move up to a higher position.’ Then you will enjoy the esteem of your companions at the table. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”  Then he said to the host who invited him, “When you hold a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors, in case they may invite you back and you have repayment. Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

          Ø  How instinctively we approve the spirit of a humble man! We think all the more of Mr. Gladstone when he accepts a weighty responsibility, saying: "The longer I live the more I feel my utter powerlessness in the House of Commons. But my principle is this: never to shrink from any such responsibility when laid upon me by a competent person." We like Lord Tennyson the better when we learn that he wrote "The Brook," and then threw it in the waste basket because he thought it was not good enough to publish. We feel instinctively that the best work will be done by men who are humble, that is, who are teachable and aspiring, who compare themselves with the loftiest ideals and know they have not attained their highest, highest, and who feel that the power by which they do their best work is given to them, not created by them. It is to such that even the world says, "Come up higher."




          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master


          Day 3, Eleventh Week[1] Spirit

          X  Seed Grows of Itself He said, “This is how it is with the kingdom of God; it is as if a man were to scatter seedj on the land and would sleep and rise night and day and the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how. Of its own accord the land yields fruit, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once, for the harvest has come.” (Mark 4: 26-29)

          X  The Mustard Seed He said, “To what shall we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable can we use for it? It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth. But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.” With many such parables he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it. Without parables he did not speak to them, but to his own disciples he explained everything in private. (Mark 4:30-33)

          Ø  No man can make a harvest grow; the vital power is God's, not man's, and man by all his labor simply succeeds in giving God's power a chance. Consider the universal truth that all man's power is appropriated by him, not created by him. The difference between a dug-out canoe and an ocean liner is the difference in man's capacity for appropriating universal forces. The difference between a successful tree and a failure lies in vital ability to assimilate nature's power in soil and sunshine. All the best in us is God in us, and our endeavor must always be to appropriate his power. The great souls always have had this sense of dependence on God. Consider Jesus: "I can of myself do nothing." Consider Paul: "I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me." How inevitably this consciousness makes a noble and worthy humility. Humility is not simply saying, "Sinners, of whom I am chief;" humility speaks also in Paul's other word, "By the grace of God, I am what I am."




          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master


          Day 4, Eleventh Week[1] Spirit

          X  The Mission of the Twelve In those days he departed to the mountain to pray, and he spent the night in prayer to God. When day came, he called his disciples to himself, and from them he chose Twelve, whom he also named apostles: Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called a Zealot, and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor. (Luke 6:12-16)

          X  Other Healings When it was evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons. The whole town was gathered at the door. He cured many who were sick with various diseases, and he drove out many demons, not permitting them to speak because they knew him(Mark 1:32-34)

          X  The Walking on the Water Then he made his disciples get into the boat and precede him to the other side toward Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. And when he had taken leave of them, he went off to the mountain to pray. When it was evening, the boat was far out on the sea and he was alone on shore. Then he saw that they were tossed about while rowing, for the wind was against them. About the fourth watch of the night, he came toward them walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them. But when they saw him walking on the sea, they thought it was a ghost and cried out. They had all seen him and were terrified. But at once he spoke with them, “Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!” He got into the boat with them and the wind died down. They were [completely] astounded. They had not understood the incident of the loaves. On the contrary, their hearts were hardened. (Mark 6:45-52)

          Ø  These are typical passages revealing the habit of the Master. He said himself that his work was done by the power of God's Spirit, and we see him here seeking in prayer fresh appropriations of strength for service. Compare the self-sufficiency of your life, which always means shallowness and spiritual pride, with the dependence of the Master on the Father. Recall Archbishop Trench's great sonnet:

          "Lord, what a change within us one short hour Spent in Thy presence will avail to make! What heavy burdens from our bosoms take; what parched grounds refresh, as with a shower? We kneel, and all around us seems to lower; we rise, and all the distant and the near Stands forth in sunny outline, brave and clear!  We kneel, how weak! We rise, how full of power! Why, therefore, should we do ourselves this wrong? Or others, that we are not always strong; That we are ever overborne with care; That we should ever weak or heartless be, Anxious or troubled, when with us is prayer, And joy and strength and courage are with Thee?"




          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master


          Day 5, Eleventh Week[1] Spirit

          X  The Answer to Prayers Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which one of you would hand his son a stone when he asks for a loaf of bread, or a snake when he asks for a fish? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him.

          X  Some have wondered why we should pray, if God knows better what we need than we do, and is more than willing to bestow it. The answer is plain: God cannot crowd his real blessings on us unless we are open hearted toward them, any more than a father can crowd education on an unwilling boy. Reception of God's ideals for us, his will for our life, his power to endure and achieve, is vital work, and prayer is the best name for that kind of receptive labor. God can do in and through a man who prays what he cannot do in and through a man who does not pray, just as a teacher can do for a boy who studies what he cannot do for a boy who refuses. Prayer is one form of cooperation with God, by which we give him the opportunity of doing in us what he has wanted to do, perhaps, for years.




          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master


          Day 6, Eleventh Week[1] Spirit

          X  Peter’s Denial Foretold Then Jesus said to them, “All of you will have your faith shaken, for it is written: ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be dispersed.’ But after I have been raised up, I shall go before you to Galilee.” Peter said to him, “Even though all should have their faith shaken, mine will not be.” Then Jesus said to him, “Amen, I say to you, this very night before the cock crows twice you will deny me three times.” But he vehemently replied, “Even though I should have to die with you, I will not deny you.” And they all spoke similarly. (Mark 14:27-31)

          X  The Agony in the Garden Then they came to a place named Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” He took with him Peter, James, and John, and began to be troubled and distressed. Then he said to them, “My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch.” He advanced a little and fell to the ground and prayed that if it were possible the hour might pass by him; he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible to you. Take this cup away from me, but not what I will but what you will.” When he returned he found them asleep. He said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” Withdrawing again, he prayed, saying the same thing. Then he returned once more and found them asleep, for they could not keep their eyes open and did not know what to answer him. He returned a third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? It is enough. The hour has come. Behold, the Son of Man is to be handed over to sinners. Get up, let us go. See, my betrayer is at hand.” (Mark 14:32-42)

          Ø  Surely the Master never wanted to beg God to change his lot more than in this terrible hour. Yet note his prayer's conclusion: "Not what I will, but what thou wilt." Prayer is not primarily asking God to do special things for us; prayer is never expecting God to alter his plans to suit our whim; prayer at its deepest must always be the soul's endeavor to open the way for God to do his divine will. We do not try by prayer to "move the arm that moves the world," but rather so to enter into spiritual fellowship with God's purpose, that the arm that moves the world can move us. Has prayer come to mean this deepest experience to you —an inner fellowship with him who is not far from any one of us, a sensitive, listening spirit to hear his voice, a sincere desire never to hamper his purpose in our lives, so that however much we wish any special thing, our petition ends, like the Master's: "Not what I will but what thou wilt"?





          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master


           Day 7, Eleventh Week[1] Spirit

          X  Freedom for Service For you were called for freedom, brothers. But do not use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh; rather, serve one another through love. For the whole law is fulfilled in one statement, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself. “But if you go on biting and devouring one another, beware that you are not consumed by one another. I say, then: live by the Spirit and you will certainly not gratify the desire of the flesh. For the flesh has desires against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you may not do what you want. But if you are guided by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are obvious: immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, occasions of envy, drinking bouts, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ [Jesus] have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit. Let us not be conceited, provoking one another, envious of one another.  (Gal. 5:13-26)

          Ø  Consider Paul's list of the fruits of the spirit as a study of the character of Jesus. Note that these virtues here mentioned are of a kind more easily felt than defined. They are not particular details of duty, they are a spiritual radiance that illumines all special deeds and puts quality into them. It was not what the Master did alone, but far more what the Master was, shining through what he did, that is winning the world to him. The value of any deed lies in the quality of the man who does it. The great need of the world is for spiritual quality in men, for depth and altitude of soul, for wealth of inward life, out of which special deeds shall come like a brook from the mountains, with power. This was the secret of the Master's influence, and the sources lie far back in his life of prayer and fellowship with God. Are you neglecting this inward spring of spiritual wealth and strength?




          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master


          11th Weeks Reflection on the Master’s Spirit[1]

          The Master's spirit suffuses all the separate virtues he possesses, and all the deeds he does; they carry a glory not their own; they come like Moses with a shining face from out the communion of his heart with God. When he did so lowly a service as to gird himself with a towel and wash his disciples' feet, the deed, coming from him, carried a meaning, was luminous with a quality and a significance, which any one of us would try in vain to put into the same action. This is the innermost secret of the Master's character—his irradiating spirit, which gave the peculiar quality that we recognize in all his deeds. When one considers the Master, for example, he sees clearly that the fear of punishment cannot explain that kind of character. Some men, with scrupulous prudence, keep the social conventionalities, as they observe the traffic regulations on a city street, because of natural and legal penalties associated with their violation. Between character so motived and the goodness of the Master, the difference is obvious. So we might range through the lower orders of virtue—goodness based on the recognition of the fact that "Honesty is the best policy," goodness based on the desire for a respected reputation—and we would find that the quality of the Master's character is too fine, its depth is too profound, to have sprung altogether from such considerations. He did not deny that the Pharisees had a kind of righteousness, but he saw that it was a poor kind: "Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees," he said, "ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven". Above all other reasons for the unique quality which characterized Jesus' goodness was his consciousness of fellowship with God. This was the master motive of his life. What John reports him to have cried in prayer, "O righteous Father, the world knew thee not, but I knew thee", Matthew remembers him saying to his disciples, "No one knoweth the Son, save the Father; neither doth any know the Father save the Son". All his life is saturated with this consciousness of an incommunicable relationship with God, a unique union of life with the Divine. We are dealing here with the familiar idea of Jesus' oneness with God; only we are dealing with it not as a doctrine of the Church, but as an element in Jesus' own experience. This consciousness suffused his character and gave it quality; no virtue in his life escaped the hallowing influence of this filial fellowship with God. This community of spirit between the Master and his Father, this consciousness of God was the indwelling power of his life. The Master's life of communion with the Father is evidenced in his way of thinking and speaking about God. Only a limited part of our thought of God has sprung from our own immediate experience of him, our communion with him in prayer, our consciousness of his voice in conscience and ideals; only a little has come through the experience of forgiveness and the practice of his presence. But in Jesus you find no borrowed thoughts of God. We clamber up to God; he starts with God as an immediate intuition. God never is in his thought as an hypothesis to explain the world, never is discovered as a conclusion at the end of an argument; God, in a word, is not so much with the Master an object of thought as the subject of inward experience. He leaves us no new argument for God save this; that he showed us a life lived in perfect communion with the Father; he argued for God as a bay might prove the presence of the sea by letting in the tides. "I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me"; "He that sent me is with me; he hath not left me alone"; "I and the Father are one"; "That they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us"; these Johannine phrases only make explicit what the earlier biographies continually imply concerning the immediate and intimate consciousness of God which motived and glorified the Master's life. Especially in his prayer life was this community of spirit between Jesus and the Father manifested. The Master prayed as naturally as a child breathes. Sometimes he prayed in triumph as on the Mount of Transfiguration when as he prayed, "the fashion of his countenance was altered"; sometimes he prayed in grief, as in the Garden of Gethsemane, of which it is written that "Being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became as it were great drops of blood". He spent whole nights in prayer, arose long before day to pray, or at the sunset. Prayer was the spontaneous expression of his community of life with God. Out of such a life no deed could come, no virtue could emerge that was not distinguished by the quality of its source. All the elements in the Master's goodness which we have studied, his joy, his fearlessness, his fortitude, his magnanimity, are separate as incandescent arcs are, but they all burn with the same fire: Love of God. This could be illustrated in many ways, but we may note especially the quality of humility in the Master as manifestly the consequence of his life with God. Jesus had lost himself in manifesting the life and purpose of God, and in so doing he grew amazingly sure of his message and his preeminence, and amazingly humble in the consciousness of mediator ship. When Haydn wrote "The Creation," he cried, "Not from me but from above it all has come;" when Amiel was in one of his most elevated moods, he wrote, "I realize with intensity that man in all that he does that is great and noble is only the organ of something or someone higher than himself;" and this same consciousness of being able to do nothing of himself was alike the cause of the Master's confident self-assurance and of his humility which even waved aside the ascription of "good Master." This really humble spirit of our Lord, in which he lived at his best for the sake of men and looked upon all his words and works as the power of God using him in ministry, glorified the separate excellence of his character. The spirit of Jesus illumined with more than earthly radiance the virtues of his life. The imitation of his several qualities is quite in vain, save as we too enter into the secret sources of his spirit and have fulfilled in us the promise of the Gospel, "be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect".



          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master


          The Masters Fullness



          Day 1, Twelfth Week[1] Fullness

          X  The Healing of a Centurion’s Slave When he had finished all his words to the people, he entered Capernaum. A centurion there had a slave who was ill and about to die, and he was valuable to him. When he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and save the life of his slave. They approached Jesus and strongly urged him to come, saying, “He deserves to have you do this for him, for he loves our nation and he built the synagogue for us.” And Jesus went with them, but when he was only a short distance from the house, the centurion sent friends to tell him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof. Therefore, I did not consider myself worthy to come to you; but say the word and let my servant be healed. For I too am a person subject to authority, with soldiers subject to me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come here,’ and he comes; and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard this he was amazed at him and, turning, said to the crowd following him, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” When the messengers returned to the house, they found the slave in good health. (Luke 6:1-10)
          X  The Death of Jesus It was now about noon and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon because of an eclipse of the sun. Then the veil of the temple was torn down the middle. Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit”; and when he had said this he breathed his last. The centurion who witnessed what had happened glorified God and said, “This man was innocent beyond doubt.” When all the people who had gathered for this spectacle saw what had happened, they returned home beating their breasts; but all his acquaintances stood at a distance, including the women who had followed him from Galilee and saw these events. (Luke 23:44-49)

          Ø  We are going to note this week the impression which the Master made on very different kinds of people. The two centurions in these passages were attracted by his authoritative and powerful character, whether shown in his daily ministry or in the manner of his death. Recall also the soldiers, sent to arrest him, who returned, saying, "Never man spake like this man" It is interesting to add the testimony of Napoleon, a man of the centurion type: "Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and I have founded great empires, but upon what did these creations of our genius depend? Upon force! Jesus alone founded his empire upon love, and to this very day millions would die for him. I think I understand something of human nature, and I tell you that all these were men and I am a man. None else is like him. Jesus Christ was more than a man." Consider the ways in which the Master appeals to all that is strongest and most military in you.



          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master


          Day 2, Twelfth Week[1] Fullness

          X  Blessing of the Children And people were bringing children to him that he might touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.” Then he embraced them and blessed them, placing his hands on them. (Mark 10:13-16)

          Ø  How deep the contrast between the centurions and the children, and yet how clearly there is. With the military quality in Jesus to which the first responded, the childlike quality also which drew the children! Think of what the coming of the Master has meant to childhood, of his birthday significantly interpreted as the children's festival, of the deepening estimation of children wherever the Gospel comes; and note that all this development has its legitimate source in the Master's personal attitude. Consider the qualities in him that must have made children love him, and think over the many ways in which he appeals to you upon the side of your childlike qualities, sincerity, simplicity, humility, and gentleness.





          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master


          Day 3, Twelfth Week[1] Fullness

          X  The Call of Levi After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me.” And leaving everything behind, he got up and followed him. Then Levi gave a great banquet for him in his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were at table with them. The Pharisees and their scribes complained to his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus said to them in reply, “Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do. I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners.” (Luke 5:27-32)

          X  The Call of the First Disciples As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen. He said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him. He walked along from there and saw two other brothers, James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets. He called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him. (Matt. 4:18-22)

          Ø  These men were evidently prosperous business men, very different from children. Consider the qualities in the Master that made it possible for him to present his Cause to them in such a way that they counted it a privilege to devote their lives to him and his work. How often has the Master called to his service men of the type of the Sons of Zebedee, and persuaded them to harness their ability, and not seldom, their money into the work of the Kingdom! Quentin Hogg's biographer, speaking of Hogg's great service to the poor boys of London in the Polytechnic Institute which he founded, says, "The Polytechnic had indeed become his sole purpose in life, his very reason for existence; his business never suffered, but outside that, his philanthropic work claimed his faculties and absorbed his thoughts until there was no room for any private considerations apart from it, any personal desires or ambitions that were not concerned with the perfecting and supporting of it." Said Quentin Hogg himself: "A Christianity which does not impel a man to save his fellows has but little that is akin to the spirit of Christ." Have you let the Master take possession of your practical ability?




          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master


          Day 4, Twelfth Week[1] Fullness

          X  Galilean Women Follow Jesus Afterward he journeyed from one town and village to another, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. Accompanying him were the Twelve and some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, Susanna, and many others who provided for them out of their resources. (Luke 8:1-3)

          X  Martha and Mary As they continued their journey he entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him. She had a sister named Mary [who] sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.” The Lord said to her in reply, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.” (Luke 10:38-42)

          X  The Death of Jesus From noon onward, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And about three o’clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Some of the bystanders who heard it said, “This one is calling for Elijah.” Immediately one of them ran to get a sponge; he soaked it in wine, and putting it on a reed, gave it to him to drink. But the rest said, “Wait, let us see if Elijah comes to save him.” But Jesus cried out again in a loud voice, and gave up his spirit. And behold, the veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth quaked, rocks were split, tombs were opened, and the bodies of many saints who had fallen asleep were raised. And coming forth from their tombs after his resurrection, they entered the holy city and appeared to many. The centurion and the men with him who were keeping watch over Jesus feared greatly when they saw the earthquake and all that was happening, and they said, “Truly, this was the Son of God!” There were many women there, looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him. Among them were Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee. (Matt. 27:45-56)

          Ø  The differences in the characteristic virtues of manhood and womanhood are proverbial; but the Master, even when living his homeless life on earth, made direct appeal not only to centurions and practical men, but to good women. Womanhood has a power of spiritual insight often denied to man, is sensitive to finer influences than manhood feels; and Browning expresses womanhood's eminence as the conservator of our spiritual ideals, when he says to his wife,

          "You must be just before, in fine,
          See, and make me see, for your part,
          New depths of the divine."

          This spiritual insight of womanhood has from the beginning appreciated in the Master qualities which men alone might have missed. The finest in womanhood, as well as in manhood, has looked to him for its ideal and has responded to his appeal for loyal devotion. Think of those qualities which go to make the noblest womanhood and see how surely they are present in the manhood of the Master.




          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master


          Day 5, Twelfth Week[1] Fullness

          X  The Pardon of the Sinful Woman A Pharisee invited him to dine with him, and he entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at table. Now there was a sinful woman in the city who learned that he was at table in the house of the Pharisee. Bringing an alabaster flask of ointment, she stood behind him at his feet weeping and began to bathe his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them, and anointed them with the ointment. When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, that she is a sinner.” Jesus said to him in reply, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” “Tell me, teacher,” he said. “Two people were in debt to a certain creditor; one owed five hundred days’ wages and the other owed fifty. Since they were unable to repay the debt, he forgave it for both. Which of them will love him more?” Simon said in reply, “The one, I suppose, whose larger debt was forgiven.” He said to him, “You have judged rightly.” Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? When I entered your house, you did not give me water for my feet, but she has bathed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but she has not ceased kissing my feet since the time I entered. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she anointed my feet with ointment. So I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; hence, she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.” He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” The others at table said to themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” But he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” (Luke 7:36-50)

          Ø  Here is a type of woman outlawed by good men and often especially despised by good women. What was it in the Master that brought her ashamed, penitent, aspiring, grateful, to his feet? Note that his was not goodness in a negative sense, but outgoing, sacrificial, saving goodness that encouraged the outcast with a new hope and made prodigals believe anew in spiritual possibilities for their own lives. How numberless are the men and women who have been drawn by the Master into a new life, that before had seemed beyond their reach! Consider his appeal to you in any sin that has marred your life and perhaps has discouraged your will. Can you imagine for a moment his consenting to any dismal view of your case, if like this woman, you were truly penitent?




          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master


          Day 6, Twelfth Week[1] Fullness

          X  The Preaching of John the Baptist-In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the desert. He went throughout [the] whole region of the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah: “A voice of one crying out in the desert: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths. Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill shall be made low. The winding roads shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’” He said to the crowds who came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce good fruits as evidence of your repentance; and do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God can raise up children to Abraham from these stones. Even now the ax lies at the root of the trees. Therefore every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” And the crowds asked him, “What then should we do?” He said to them in reply, “Whoever has two tunics should share with the person who has none. And whoever has food should do likewise.” Even tax collectors came to be baptized and they said to him, “Teacher, what should we do?” He answered them, “Stop collecting more than what is prescribed.” Soldiers also asked him, “And what is it that we should do?” He told them, “Do not practice extortion, do not falsely accuse anyone, and be satisfied with your wages.” Now the people were filled with expectation, and all were asking in their hearts whether John might be the Messiah. John answered them all, saying, “I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming. I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals. He will baptize you with the holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” Exhorting them in many other ways, he preached good news to the people. Now Herod the tetrarch, who had been censured by him because of Herodias, his brother’s wife, and because of all the evil deeds Herod had committed, added still another to these by [also] putting John in prison. (Luke 3:1-20)

          Ø  How different the personality of John the Baptist from those whom we have just considered, centurions, children, men of business, women, and penitent sinners! John is a fearless prophet of righteousness, blazing with condemnation of the people's sins.

          X  Jesus’ Testimony to John As they were going off, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John, “What did you go out to the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind? Then what did you go out to see? Someone dressed in fine clothing? Those who wear fine clothing are in royal palaces. Then why did you go out? To see a prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written: ‘Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way before you.’ Amen, I say to you, among those born of women there has been none greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent are taking it by force. All the prophets and the law prophesied up to the time of John. And if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah, the one who is to come. Whoever has ears ought to hear. “To what shall I compare this generation? It is like children who sit in marketplaces and call to one another, ‘We played the flute for you, but you did not dance, we sang a dirge but you did not mourn.’ For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they said, ‘He is possessed by a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking and they said, ‘Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is vindicated by her works.” (Matt. 11:7-19)

          Ø  Understand the Master's appreciation of John, and note the rugged qualities which he admires in the Baptist—his austerity, his uncompromising firmness. Is it not difficult to imagine John affectionately blessing little children or appreciating the finer elements in womanhood? Yet Jesus who is as gentle as a child and has womanhood's sensitiveness, has also in his own life the qualities that draw the devout adoration of this austere, ascetic prophet. Moral vigor was John's specialty, and yet he says of the Master, "Mightier than I, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose." Consider the amazing combination of contrasted qualities that go to make up the character of our Lord. 




          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master


          Day 7, Twelfth Week[1] Fullness

          X  Jesus Before Pilate-When it was morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death. They bound him, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate, the governor. (Matt. 27:1-3)

          X  The Death of Judas-Then Judas, his betrayer, seeing that Jesus had been condemned, deeply regretted what he had done. He returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, “I have sinned in betraying innocent blood.” They said, “What is that to us? Look to it yourself.” Flinging the money into the temple, he departed and went off and hanged himself. The chief priests gathered up the money, but said, “It is not lawful to deposit this in the temple treasury, for it is the price of blood.” After consultation, they used it to buy the potter’s field as a burial place for foreigners. That is why that field even today is called the Field of Blood. Then was fulfilled what had been said through Jeremiah the prophet, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the value of a man with a price on his head, a price set by some of the Israelites, and they paid it out for the potter’s field just as the Lord had commanded me.”

          X  The Parable of the Lost Sheep-The tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to him, but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” So to them he addressed this parable. “What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it? And when he does find it, he sets it on his shoulders with great joy and, upon his arrival home, he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you, in just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance. (Luke 15:1-7)

          Ø  Let these passages suggest the impression which Jesus made on those who were unfaithful or hostile to him. Think of the charges made against him by his enemies, that he was too progressive, supplanting old Jewish traditions with his spiritual Gospel, that he was too liberal, welcoming outcasts to his fellowship, that he was too kind, forgiving even gross sinners, if they were penitent. Recall Pilate insisting that he found no fault in him, and Judas shamed to suicide by his betrayal of the innocent. The gospels are not made up of the adulations of Jesus' friends; they are largely concerned with the charges of Jesus' enemies. Can you think of a single charge that does not imply a virtue? Here is a character, then, whose authoritative power attracted soldiers, whose gentleness drew children to him, whose spiritual quality won good women to his discipleship, whose hope bringing mercy drew discouraged sinners to a new life, whose fearless advocacy of righteousness awakened the enthusiasm of a prophet; a character whose enemies, when they condemned him, condemned him for qualities that seem to us now his virtues. "Who that one moment has the least descried him, Dimly and faintly, hidden and afar, Doth not despise all excellence beside him, Pleasures and powers that are not and that are?"




          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master


          12th Weeks Reflection on the Master’s Fullness[1]

          In the course of our studies on the character of Jesus, we have been compelled continually to notice the remarkable poise in which the Master holds opposing virtues that with us are most difficult of combination. No sooner have we emphasized one quality in him, such as his amazing self-assurance, than we must balance our thought by laying stress upon the contrasting quality, his profound humility. We have noted his severity in moral standards and his sternness in judgment coupled with an unfailing appreciation of even faint beginnings of genuine goodness in any man; we have noted his intense susceptibility to sorrow, his heart quick as the apple of an eye to feel the hurt of others' misery and of his own, but yet joined with it his exhaustless cheer and joy; we have noted his combination of ambition, that included God's eternal purpose for the world, with devoted interest in apparently insignificant persons. This spherical balance in the Master's character has always attracted the attention of those who studied him. "Men undertake to be spiritual, and they become ascetic; or, endeavoring to hold a liberal view of the comforts and pleasures of society, they are soon buried in the world, and slaves to its fashions; or, holding a scrupulous watch to keep out every particular sin, they become legal, and fall out of liberty; or, charmed with the noble and heavenly liberty, they run to negligence and irresponsible living; so the earnest become violent, the fervent fanatical and censorious, the gentle waver, the firm turn bigots, the liberal grow lax, the benevolent ostentatious. Poor human infirmity can hold nothing steady. Where the pivot of righteousness is broken, the scales must need slide off their balance." Perhaps no two ideals are more difficult to hold in balance than self-culture and self-denial. Thomas a Kempis: "What is the reason why some of the saints were so perfect and contemplative? Because they labored to mortify themselves wholly to all earthly desires; and therefore they could with their whole heart fix themselves on God." On the one side are the virtues of culture, refinement, self-realization; on the other the virtues of self-abnegation, self-effacement and self-sacrifice. Now it is plain that the Master recognized the necessity of both of these ideals. When he said "Love thy neighbor as thyself", he commanded us to love ourselves well and then love others just as much. When he said, "All things therefore whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, even so do ye also unto them", he commanded us to desire the best for ourselves and then seek the same for others. But this just balance between desire for self and devotion to others has been the most difficult problem in character. How did the Master solve the dilemma? The secret of the inclusive balance of Jesus' life in regard to self-culture and self-denial is suggested in John's gospel, where in the Master's prayer at the last supper, he said, "For their sakes, I sanctify myself". He saw that his friends, and the world, needed him at his best and that therefore self-realization and service are two sides of the same thing. He saw that human hearts are built in suites, like rooms, open to each other, but that sometimes only one room in the series opens to the outer air of God; so that whatever of the divine life reaches the others must first of all come through that one room. Jesus, therefore, overcame temptation and steadied himself in prayer and refreshed his soul from every spiritual reservoir within his reach, not for his own sake only, but for his friends' sake, that through the enrichment of his life they might be enriched. He illustrated this in his parable where a man with a bare cupboard has a friend come to visit him, and feeling the shame of having so little to offer, the host goes to his rich neighbor, saying, "Lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine is come to me from a journey and I have nothing to set before him". That is Jesus' way. He sought a rich life for the sake of those who came to him for help; for their sake, he sanctified himself. When he sought the life in which his own self rose "as high as possible into the air," he found that life by losing himself in service for others. To him, therefore, self-realization and self-denial were not separable and alien; they were two aspects of the same attitude toward men; they were held by him in the unity of a perfect balance. Just as the devil sowed tares among the wheat it is not easy for a man to be patient at the delay and seeming failure of a cause in which his interest is small and lax, but to be willing to forsake family and property for a cause, and still without anxious solicitude to watch its laggard progress and sometimes to see its imminent defeat, requires an amazing balance of character.
          All centuries, all races, both sexes, all ages find in the Master their virtues consummated. The white light in him gathers up all the split and partial colors of our little spectrum's. As we consider the significance of this, his word possesses a fresh and persuasive meaning when he says, "Ye call me Teacher and Lord, and ye do well, for so I am."




          [1]Fosdick, Harry Emerson. The Manhood of the Master

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