Saturday, July 01, 2006

The Sacred and the Permanent

The Sacred and the Permanent

“You see these great buildings?  Not a single stone here will be left in its place; everyone of them will be thrown down.”  (Mark 13: 2)

I see here a message on how to view the material world.  I need to see the difference between the eternal, the temporal and transient.  Just as the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed at God’s pre-ordained time, so also will the material world vanish at the appointed time.

When I am in downtown Houston on  Smith Street, like the apostles, I admire the “wonderful stones and buildings.”  When I do it today, I will ask God to lift my mind to what is permanent and enduring.  

What do I know today that is permanent and enduring?  I can think of Jesus Christ, who was, who is and who shall ever be.  He is the Alpha and Omega.

I thank you Jesus for this light.  Grant me the grace to grow in the awareness of the sacred, the divine and the permanent.  May I become more aware of your presence in my life today.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Spiritual Warfare and the Notion of Strategy

Spiritual Warfare and the Notion of Strategy

“Finally, draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power.  Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil.” (Ephesians 6: 10 -11)

A regular army has in its arsenal all types of weapons.  This comprises light and heavy armor suited for every type of warfare.  Spiritual warfare is one of the dominant themes of Sacred Scripture especially the New Testament.  

In Chapter 6 of the letters to the Ephesians, St. Paul urges us to put on the full armor.  This means that we must acquire every weapon in the spiritual arsenal and be prepared to use each or all as the situation demands.  

The notion of strategy as applied to spiritual warfare asks the questions:
  • What type of warfare are we facing?

  • What is the most appropriate and proven weapon to use?

Do I have from my experience weapons that have stood the test of bloody struggles again and again?  Do I have in my arsenal weapons that are guaranteed to bring rapid and immediate success no matter the ferocity of the struggle?  Are there spiritual weapons that work better in some situations than others?  Or are all the weapons uniformly effective in all situations?

When there is peace, prepare for war!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Our Mother of Perpetual Help

Our Mother of Perpetual Help

“Before, by yourself, you couldn’t.  Now, you have turned to Our Lady, and with her, how easy it is.”  Way 513

I wrote the following reflection in 1996.
“My experience with the Enterprise has proven the above saying of St. Josemaria d’Escriva very accurate.  I can say definitely that with Our Lady, the Enterprise has become so far an easy experience.  I have no doubt that it will continue to be so.  Almost at the very inception of the Enterprise, I entrusted it to Mary, Queen of the Apostles.  And not much later, I identified the spiritual weapons I needed in order to win the struggle with ease.  These are:  faith, patience, wisdom and humility.  I flew to the Blessed Virgin Mary and asked her to obtain these graces for me.  

Let me now witness to the fact that the faith and patience I exercise in this project amaze me.  I realize that on the natural level, I am just not capable of it.  Everyday I become more and more convinced that I am lead and guided by the Holy Spirit.    And more and more I depend on God for even the minutest detail in each step of the Enterprise.  

Our Blessed Mother is certainly helping me in the Enterprise.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Giving All

Giving All

“I tell you that this poor widow put more in the offering box than all the others.  For the others put in what they had to spare of their riches; but she, poor as she is, put in all she has – she gave all she had to live on.” (Mark 12: 43 – 44)

Jesus praised the poor widow.  The poor widow gave everything she had.  If she had more, she would have given that too.  Jesus gave this lesson to his disciples and not to everybody.  Those who are close to Christ should learn to give everything like the poor widow.  Jesus wants a total and massive commitment.  

God does not look at the size of the gift, he looks at the heart.  The poor widow gave all because she loves much.  I am reminded of the parable of the talents.  Everybody receives a talent.  Generous contribution is expected from everybody.  The talents are God’s gifts to us.  By giving back this gift with generosity, we exercise faith and love.  Today, one of my great talents is abundant time.  How am I using it?  Lord, I know that I cannot rival you in generosity.  Teach me to give all.  Amen.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Inspired Word

Inspired Word

“How can the teachers of the law say that the Messiah will be the descendant of David?  The Holy Spirit inspired David to say:  ‘The Lord said to my Lord:  Sit here on my right until I put your enemies under your feed. ‘  David himself called him Lord; so how can the Messiah be David’s descendant?” (Mark 12: 35 – 37)

I am reminded that all scripture is inspired by the Holy Spirit.  All scripture is good for teaching, instructing and reprimanding.  Scripture is the word of God.

Thank you Jesus for impressing this lesson once more upon me.  I thank you for my growing love for your word.  Open my eyes to the beauty of sacred scripture.  I am also struck by these words:  “Sit here on my right, until I put your enemies under your feet.”  Isn’t this scripture similar to my rhema: “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46: 10).  It is an invitation to deep faith and patience.  Deep faith, patience, wisdom and humility are my greatest needs today.

Monday, June 26, 2006

That I may see you in the scriptures

That I may see you in the scriptures

“Jesus answered then, ‘How wrong you are!  And do you know why?  It is because you don’t know the scriptures or God’s power.  For when the dead rise to life, they will be like the angels in heaven, and will not marry……  ‘He is God of the living, not of the dead.  You are completely wrong!”
(Mark 12: 24 – 27)

The scriptures reveal God’s plans and ways.  The scriptures also reveal God’s power.  Ignorance of scripture is ignorance of God’s ways and plans, therefore ignorance of God himself.  Jerome said:  “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.”

Today, I yearn  to know the heart of Jesus intimately.  I have the light today that the number one means is the Eucharist, the Sacrament of his love.  Number 2 is Sacred Scripture.

Thank you Jesus for your message today.  I will remember it.  Lord Jesus, grant that I may see!  See you clearly in the scriptures.  Dearest Jesus, I pray you open my eyes to the beauty and wonder of scriptures.  Yesterday, you asked what I want from you.  Lord, that I may see you clearly in the scriptures.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

God and Caesar

God and Caesar

“So Jesus said, “Well, then, pay the Emperor  what belongs to the Emperor, and pay God what belongs to God.”  (Mark 12: 17)

Christ lays down a principle of conduct for Christians in the world.  He says in effect:  give to Caesar what belongs to it and give to God what belongs to God.  Today, Caesar is the government.
What belongs to the government are our intercession, obedience to just laws and taxes.  Jesus lays down here the foundation of the teaching on government which St. Paul expanded in his writings.  The worldly authority represented here by Caesar exists in accordance with God’s will.  

We owe to our God:
  • Obedience

  • Worship

  • Prayer

  • Love

The obligations to Caesar and to God are not mutually exclusive.
Lord, teach me to honor all my obligations to the state and to you.