Remember that your compassion, O LORD,
and your love are from of old.
The sins of my youth and my frailties remember not;
in your kindness remember me,
because of your goodness, O LORD.
(from Ps 25)
kindness, Lord, remember me” …Remember
me, the soul you created for and from love. Remember this child
you formed in your image. Remember my true self, not this façade
that the trials and temptations of life and my sins and frailties
have layered upon me. In your goodness and compassion, Lord, lead me
today to seek your mercy, to peel away all that keeps me from
feeling the warmth of your love deep in my heart. In your kindness,
Lord, remember me.
“To say that I am made in the image of God
is to say that love is the reason for my
existence, for God is love.
Love is my true identity. Selflessness is my true
self. Love is my true character. Love is my name.
If, therefore, I do anything or think anything or
say anything or know anything that is not purely for the love of
it cannot give me peace, or rest, or fulfillment,
To find love I must enter into the sanctuary where
it is hidden, which is the mystery of God.”
(Thomas Merton, from New
Seeds of Contemplation)
Living the Word…
In Paul’s Letter to
the Philippians, he entreats us: “Have in you the same attitude
that is also in Christ Jesus.”
Reflect today on
what it means for you to have “the attitude of Christ.” What does it
mean that love is your true identity? Does it involve always looking
back at sins and mistakes? (Read the last line in this Wednesday’s
gospel!) Or does it live and look forward in hope? So many of us
waste time rehashing the past or being so preoccupied about the
future that we miss basking in the love God has for us today.
Let go of the “what
ifs” of the past and future and instead focus on the “what is:”
God’s goodness and compassion given to us in the person of Jesus.
Allow your true self to reflect the loving attitude of Christ.
“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.”
(Mt 18:1-5, 10-14)
the Old Testament, angels are always referred to as God’s angels. In
this passage, Jesus uses the possessive “their” angels when he talks
about the children. The Greek translation bears this out. He tells
us the children’s angels always look upon God’s face, emphasizing
God’s closeness to the “little ones”—children and those viewed by
society as lesser, unimportant. Let’s remember that the next time we
dismiss a little one or someone in need. And maybe we’re all grown
up and have grown past the idea of a special presence watching over
us. Let’s reacquaint ourselves our very own angel, given to us by
Oct 3: "Lord,
do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?" Jesus
rebuked them. (Lk 9:51-56)
With all the news of nuclear
proliferation and potential attacks, we may want to reflect on this
passage from Luke. The “sons of thunder,” James and John, are more
than ready to nuke the Samaritan village that stands in their way.
And of course, they imagine their way to be Jesus’ way as well.
Jesus scolds them and heads off in another direction. Jesus’ way is
never the way of violence, so much so that he chooses to take
violence upon his own body instead. There is a lot of thundering and
fire and fury emanating from a few world leaders today. In what
direction would Jesus have us go?
(Jesus) said, "Follow me." But he replied, "Lord, let me go
first and bury my father." And another said, "I will follow you,
Lord, but first let me say farewell to my family at home."
I call this passage “the gospel of
excuses,” because I know how often I come up with stall tactics to
postpone following Christ. The excuses offered here are nowhere near
as frivolous as some I’ve given! Caring for parents is mandated by
the commandments. Saying farewell is just common courtesy. Jesus’
words, “Let the dead bury the dead” sounds harsh, but his point is
this: we can and will always be able to find an excuse—even good and
noble ones—to put off or avoid all together his call to
discipleship. That’s why prayer and discernment are so important so
that we can talk with Jesus about his call to us. It’s likely our
call isn’t a great dramatic change, but a call to continue right
where we are with a new perspective, a new attitude, a new awareness
to the needs right in front of us. Jesus asks us to follow him. How
are you called?
“The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing
the soul; the LORD’s command is clear, enlightening the eye.”
Today’s psalm is a good follow-up to
yesterday’s reflection. While I believe the commands of the Lord are
clear, why is it that many of us have such divergent interpretations
of these commands? How can it be that I practice the same faith and
yet have such a different view from one sitting next to me in the
pew? How do I discern God’s will for me and for the world? I go back
to the first line of this psalm: does what I believe, think, and
feel about a particular issue refresh my soul? Am I at peace in my
heart? St. Ignatius, in his rules for discernment, tells us we
always choose between two goods. That would tell me that choosing
between the lesser of two evils shouldn’t even enter the picture.
The next time you are faced with an ethical decision, ask yourself,
“Which option refreshes my soul?” If the answer is neither, ask God
to help you identify a different approach, a different path that
leads to a heartfelt peace.
“We have neither heeded the voice of the Lord, our
God, nor followed the precepts which the Lord set before us… we have
been disobedient to the Lord, our God, and only too ready to
disregard his voice.
(Bar 1: 15-22)
Israelites are again lamenting their sinfulness, but at least
they’re willing to place the blame where it belongs. Admitting we
are wrong is more than half the battle. When followed by sincere
prayer for mercy, the Lord happily forgives us and strengthens us to
avoid sin in the future. Let’s take a good look at our lives and our
souls today. Are we heeding God’s voice?
Oct 7: “Don’t
rejoice because spirits are subject to you, but because your names
are written in heaven.” (Lk
Can you imagine how James and John
must be going on about all the sick they’ve cured, all the demons
they’ve banished! Jesus reminds them it’s not about them. It’s all
about God working through them. A good thing to remind ourselves as
we go about ministering in God’s Kingdom.