Saturday, October 20, 2007

Renew me with a steadfast spirit

"A clean heart create for me, O God, and a steadfast sprit renew within me. Cast me not out from your presence, and your Holy Spirit take not from me." (Psalm 51: 12 – 13)

I confided this one liner to my diary in the Lent of 1999.

"My desire is that God will thoroughly renew me this Lent."

This is 2007. Have I been thoroughly renewed? Not as I had believed in February 1999. But I have become much wiser. The renewing and pruning process is ongoing. How does God do this for me? Through the 7-Way Plan which he gave me at the beginning of the Enterprise. The 7-Way Plan consists of the following elements:

  • Prayer
  • Word of God
  • Eucharist
  • Reconciliation
  • Examen
  • Spiritual Reading/Direction
  • Ministry

These are the pruning tools.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Rend your hearts

"Even now, says the Lord, return to me with your whole heart, with fasting, and weeping, and mourning; rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the Lord, your God." (Joel 2: 12)

I cannot remember my precise situation when I confided the following reflection to my journal early in 1999.

"Return to God with your whole heart. I have resolved to return to God with my whole heart this Lent by mounting a vigorous struggle against two temptations: food and selfishness.

Rend your hearts and not your garments: fasting, prayer and thanksgiving are external signs of the interior attitude of rending the heart."

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Gift of Lent

“Father in heaven, the light of your truth bestows sight to the darkness of sinful eyes. May this season of repentance bring us the blessing of your forgiveness and the gift of your light …. “ Opening Prayer, Ash Wednesday, 1999

I confided to my journal the reflection below:
“Light of truth” = Word of God
Our sins darken our spiritual vision. Submission to the word of God restores this vision step by step.

Lent is the season for repentance and penance. We are all sinners.
Repent for the kingdom of heaven is near. Our genuine repentance brings us God’s forgiveness and the gift of his light.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Discipline of Lent

“Lord, protect us in our struggle against evil. As we begin the Discipline of Lent, make this season holy by our self-denial …..”

I recorded the above prayer for the Mass of Ash Wednesday 1999 at the beginning of Lent. I confided to my journal the reflection below:

“Lent is the season to intensify the struggle against evil in our lives with the hope of victory. It is a very acceptable time for spiritual warfare. I recall Lent 88. It was the time I won freedom from tobacco. Lent 99 will be marked by freedom from selfishness.

Self-denial helps us to win victory over ourselves.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Increase my faith

“Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not understand, still not realize? Are your minds closed? Have you eyes and do not see, ears and do not hear? Or do you not remember?” (Mark 8: 17-18)

Why do you always worry about what to eat and drink, what to wear, where to live? Why do you worry about money or health?

Have you forgotten all that I have done for you? Look at your list at the inception of the Enterprise. How many items do you have on the list? Does the list contain everything I have done for you? Why not trust me more completely?

Lord, I trust you. Increase my faith.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Noah's Ark

“Yahweh said to Noah, ‘Go aboard the ark, you and all your household, for you alone of all your contemporaries do I see before me as an upright man.” (Genesis 7:1)

Noah – type of the redeemed
The Ark – type of the Church

God reveals his future plans for mankind through typologies in the Old Testament. The story of Noah and the Ark is a good example. God saves mankind through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ. The fruit of this redemptive act comes to us through the waters of Baptism. We become upright through the waters of Baptism. Baptism makes us the adopted children of God and members of his family, the Church. To be outside the ark is to be a stranger in the household of God.

The ark of the Church is big enough for the whole human family. All are welcome.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Sabbath Rest

“So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work he had done in creation.” (Genesis 2: 3)

In a recent small group Bible Study, my group discussed Genesis 1-3. We learned among other things that God blessed the 7th day and made it holy. On the seventh day, he rested from his labors in creating the world. On the sixth day of creation, he created man and woman in his image and likeness and gave them dominion over the earth. Man was commanded to keep the seventh day holy. Two days after the discussion, I got a great insight on the Sabbath rest and shared my insight with our study group in an email. Part of it is reproduced below:

“I thank you for your contribution to our group discussion last Thursday on the theme of the Sabbath Rest. You said something very profound. This is a paraphrase: The Sabbath Rest (Sunday) is a rehearsal for the Eternal Rest. During the 9 am Mass this morning at St. Thomas More, the Prayer of the Faithful went something like this:
“Let us pray for the dead that they have eternal rest after their labors.”
Immediately I heard that, your contribution jumped to my mind like a hot flying baseball. And I became greatly consoled by this truth.”