Published April 19, 2011
Catholic , Discerning Men , Discerning Women , Educators & Youth Leaders , Inspiration , Parents , Vocation Directors
Tags: Catholic, Consecrated Life, Discernment, Gospel of Luke 22-24, Gospel of Matthew 26-28, Holy Week, Jesus Christ, Mary Mother of Jesus, Priesthood, Religious Life, USCCB, Vocations
Along with drawing strength from his Heavenly Father (see post “Who is your company for Holy Week?”), Jesus had other company during his journey from Palm Sunday to Easter.
It’s subtle, but it’s significant.
As you read the Scriptural accounts of the passion and death of Jesus, she is not mentioned much, but I think Mary played a huge role. What mother would not be there for her son? Especially in the toughest moments of his life, while others abandon him. I think he drew a lot of strength from her.
There are times when doing what God wants is greeted with great fanfare, and there are times when it is very difficult. Jesus certainly experienced this. His miracles attracted great multitudes, and yet he sweat blood in his struggle to accept his Father’s will in Gethsemane. He accepts that cup, and as he struggles to carry the cross, Mary is with him every step of the way.
Spend some time with Mary. She always helps her children in their struggle to accept God’s will and carry it out. No matter if the crowds are thick or thin, you can count on her company.
Published March 28, 2011
Catholic , Discerning Men , Discerning Women , Educators & Youth Leaders , eVangelizer , General , Inspiration , Parents , Vocation Directors
Tags: Catholic, Discernment, Jesus Christ, Thirsty, Vocations
I would like to think that if Jesus was standing before me in the flesh, and asked me to give him something, I would do whatever it took to provide for him what he asked. Now, if he asked something difficult, as he did of Francis (“Build my Church”) it might take me a little while. Or if he asked something enduring, as he did of Therese (“Be my love”) I might wonder how to begin. But if he asked something simple and easily attainable, as he did of the Samaritan woman in the Gospel of the 3rd Sunday of Lent (“Give me a drink”) then I’d like to think I’d hop right up and get him that drink. But I have to ask myself this Lent, “What is Jesus really thirsting for?” And when he asks me to “give him a drink,” how might I personally respond to his thirst?
The Holy Father writes that in his request of the Samaritan woman, Jesus expresses “the passion of God for every man and woman.” For what does God thirst? For me…for my love…for my commitment to Him. It’s a simple request…He asks us to accept the gift that He is for us, to allow ourselves to be loved by Him, to receive all that He has to offer us, because, in all actuality, that’s what will ultimately satisfy our own thirst and longings. St. Augustine famously wrote, “Our hearts are restless, O God, until they rest in You.” Is it too much to hope for to think that God might fill us with all that would “quench” our thirst, with all that would fill the deepest parts of our longings? I think not. St. Paul says it best in this week’s Second Reading. We dare to hope in the love of God, and certainly that hope cannot disappoint, because the love of God has already been poured into our hearts! In other words, we already have that for which we thirst!!
Wow. The readings for this First Sunday of Lent are a bit sobering…temptation, cunning serpents, deception, condemnation, sin…frightening concepts and realities when we really stop to think about them. Evil exists and it is real in our world. Satan exists and is a very real danger to our lives with God. We are sinful creatures who are susceptible to the wiles and trickery of the devil. All this is true.
But what is equally true—if not more true—is also to be found in our readings this Sunday: the abundance of grace, the gift of justification, acquittal and life for all, righteousness, and the grace of God given as a gracious gift. Jesus Christ is real. The salvation wrought in his death and resurrection is real. And although the darkness might seem to prevail for a time, the Light has come into the world, and the darkness will not overcome it!
The Holy Father writes this week that we would do well to “become aware of our own fragility in order to accept the grace that frees us from sin and infuses new strength in Christ.” Yes, sin and evil are real—and they are likely all too real in our everyday experiences if we really stop to do an honest examination of conscience. But our awareness and acknowledgement of their reality should yield always—always—to the recognition and acceptance of the grace that has already come to us in Christ Jesus, for it is through Him, for Him, and in Him that our life and salvation come. It’s true—the Evil One is not to be underestimated. But it’s likewise true that the Savior isn’t either…and He’s already emerged victorious…all we need do is receive Him so as to share in the victory.