Col 3:15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. -------------------- "Peace I give you. My peace I leave you." These are the words we hear every day in the Mass. They were spoken by Jesus, not in an Alpine meadow filled with tweeting birds and the music of a running stream in the background, but in the Upper Room after the Last Supper, when Jesus was fully aware that he was only a few hours away from betrayal, denial, a kangaroo court, scourging and death by crucifixion. Shortly after he spoke these words, he would sweat blood and beg to be spared. So what is this "peace" that Jesus spoke of? The great poet Dante said that in God's will is our peace. Jesus said to the Father, "Nevertheless, not my will but yours be done." The peace of Christ is a peace that is deeper than pain, that transforms pain. It is not "detached". It does not pretend that pain and death "don't matter." Rather, it is a peace that outlasts these things and finds in the love of God the power to find life through them and to redeem them. That is why it is a peace that the world cannot give. Jesus, who lived the will of the Father, came forth from the tomb in a peace so profound that it changed the whole of Creation. Today, enter into the deep peace of God by saying yes to his will.
(courtesy Catholic Exchange)
Thou art a hiding place for me, thou preservest me from trouble; thou dost encompass me with deliverance. -------------------- Today's verse sounds to modern ears like a "prayer of escapism." Isn't there something cowardly, asks the modern mind, about asking God to "hide" us? In reply, it is worth noting, as philosopher Peter Kreeft has observed, that the people most concerned about cutting off all escapes are jailers. In other words, there is a legitimate place in the Christian tradition for simply asking God to get us the heck out of here, out of this horrible situation, out of this world. That, after all, is why we pray "Thy kingdom come", confess our hope in the Second Coming of Christ, and implore "deliver us from evil." It is Stoic folly, not Christian virtue, to imagine we can go toe to toe with Satan and whip him all by ourselves. True, we are called to confront evil when God commands it. But we are not to arrogantly imagine we are spiritual Tough Guys. When evil or temptation comes that is too strong for us, it is perfectly acceptable to seek God as our hiding place, to flee temptation, and to ask for deliverance. Today, if you need to be delivered, don't be shy. Ask your Father to deliver you from evil and then seek the strength of his Spirit to endure whatever comes.
(courtesy of Catholic Exchange)
Psalm 27:1 The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? -------------------- John Wesley once said that he wanted just a few men who feared nothing but sin and loved nothing but God. Yesterday's verse was for a day of fearing sin and "getting right with God" as our Fundamentalist friends might say. Today's verse is to show us the other side of the coin: namely, if God is for us, who can be against us? If we really and truly believe that God is watching over us and is guarding us, then nothing, not even death, is ultimately going to be a problem for us. That does not mean that Christians can expect a pain-free life. We are assured that both pain and death are part of the Christian life, as they were a part of Christ's life. But these things cannot conquer us, just as they could not conquer Jesus. Pain only makes us sharers in his suffering and co-laborers for his people. Death only ushers us into heaven where death has no more power. So dwell in God's stronghold today and, as the Holy Father says, "Be not afraid."
Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to thee, when my heart is faint. Lead thou me to the rock that is higher than I. -------------------- These days, when somebody is troubled spiritually, the knee-jerk counsel offered by "spiritual" types in movies, books and TV is that "if you need something to believe in, believe in yourself." G. K. Chesterton writes of this "Doctrine of the Inner Light": "Of all conceivable forms of enlightenment the worst is what these people call the Inner Light. Of all horrible religions the most horrible is the worship of the god within... That Jones shall worship the god within him turns out ultimately to mean that Jones shall worship Jones. Let Jones worship the sun or moon, anything rather than the Inner Light; let Jones worship cats or crocodiles, if he can find any in his street, but not the god within. Christianity came into the world firstly in order to assert with violence that a man had not only to look inwards, but to look outwards, to behold with astonishment and enthusiasm a divine company and a divine captain. The only fun of being a Christian was that a man was not left alone with the Inner Light, but definitely recognized an outer light, fair as the sun, clear as the moon, terrible as an army with banners." Today's verse recognizes just that reality as the psalmist very sensibly asks to be led, not to himself, but to the rock that is higher than he. Drowning people know that is the safest place to be. Today, seek the Rock that is higher than you.
Psalm 51:1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to thy steadfast love;according to thy abundant mercyblot out my transgressions.--------------------One of the many ironies of modernity is that, in pretending there's no such thing as sin, we succeeded in getting rid, not of shame, but of the possibility of repentance and freedom. In the Christian worldview, sin can always be repented of and forgiveness received. But in the current culture, we are stuck with sin that cannot be washed away and can only be excused or shuffled off on somebody else. And so talk shows are awash with babble from rich kids who shoot their parents and then whine that they were "victims". A rock star in Seattle kills herself on heroin and a local paper asks "Did Seattle Kill Her?" (thereby laying shame on a million strangers who have no specific sin they can repent of and no way they can be forgiven it). A book appears explaining that rape is just one of nature's little strategies for propagating the strongest members of the race. In short, Nothing is Our Fault in modernity. It's all the fault of parents, society or chromosomes. But that doesn't mean we don't go on bearing the shame of our sins (as our energetic search for excuses bears witness). It just means that in denying our willed choice to do evil, we have denied the possibility of repentance, forgiveness and liberation from sin. Today, embrace Christ's call to repentance by admitting sin and repenting of it. God calls us to freedom and means to give it to us!
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When the rights of God are defied and interfered with, we have an obligation to defend them even if this entails fighting. There can be no peace where the things of God are trampled underfoot.
-- Blessed Rupert Mayer
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