Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Spirit of the Magis

"For I tell you, if your uprightness does not surpass that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never get into the kingdom of Heaven." (Matthew 5: 20)

In Ignatian spirituality, the spirit of the magis is the intense desire to do more and not less for Christ. If we live this spirit, in everything we do, we do more than is strictly required and never less. Magis means going to the extra mile for the love of Christ Jesus. This is the spirit that impelled St. Francis Xavier, one of the first Jesuits to desire to conquer all the Far East for Jesus Christ in the 16th Century.

Christ says in Matthew 5: 20 that the mediocre spirituality of the scribes and Pharisees will not be enough in the new dispensation. O Holy Spirit, teach me the principle of the magis.

Friday, December 14, 2007


"I trust in the Lord; my soul trusts in his word. My soul waits for the Lord more than sentinels wait for the dawn." (Psalm 130: 5-6)

Isaiah says that faith that is firm is also patient.

To find out what it means to be patient, I checked the dictionary and found the following:

1 : bearing pains or trials calmly or without complaint
2 : manifesting forbearance under provocation or strain
3 : not hasty or impetuous
4 : steadfast despite opposition, difficulty, or adversity

Faith that is firm can endure trials and pain while waiting for an answer. It is not hasty or impetuous in seeking a resolution. It is steadfast in the goal that is expected despite opposition, difficulty or adversity. Won't it be nice to have such a faith?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Abandoning Uprightness

"But if the upright abandons uprightness and does wrong by copying all the loathsome practices of the wicked, is he to live? All his upright actions will be forgotten from then on; for the infidelity of which he is guilty and the sin which he has committed, he will most certainly die." (Ezekiel 18: 24)

Persevere in doing good to the very last.

Your endurance to the last will save your life.


When I broke with God in the years of my rebellion and wilderness, all my upright actions were forgotten. I died to the life of grace. We are truly alive because of the supernatural life of God in us. This life is supplied by the indwelling Holy Spirit. When we live in sin and refuse reconciliation with God, this life dies.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Observance of Lent

"Lord, may our observance of Lent help to renew us and prepare us to celebrate the death and resurrection of Christ ….. " (Opening Prayer in a Lenten Mass)

I wrote the following comment in my journal on the above in 1999:

How we observe Lent:

  • Fasting and abstinence
  • Prayer and almsgiving

We are renewed through the observance of the above exercises and others. This observance becomes a mysterious vehicle of grace.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Promise and Fulfillment

"Ask, and it will be given to you; search and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you ….. " (Matthew 7: 7 – 12)

This is big promise from Jesus. Do I believe this? Yes, I do. Do I believe that this applies to me all the time? I do not know. We read in the Book of Joshua these beautiful words about God's faithfulness to his promises:

"And so the Lord gave Israel all the land he had sworn to their fathers he would give them. Once they have conquered and occupied it, the Lord gave them peace on every side, just as he had promised their fathers. Not one of their enemies could withstand them; the Lord brought all their enemies under their power. Not a single promise that the Lord made to the house of Israel was broken; every one was fulfilled." (Joshua 21: 43 – 45)

We see in Scripture again and again that God is a Promise Keeper. My relationship with the Holy Spirit has grown from my experience that I can ask for help and receive it in a timely fashion.

Monday, December 10, 2007

I cried, you answered

"O Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me. I will give thanks to you, O Lord, with all my heart, for you have heard the words of my mouth." (Psalm 138: 3, 1,4)

I learned from the experience of Israel that no matter how deeply they had offended God and no matter how long they stayed in rebellion, once they cry out to Yahweh, he answers them and saves them. This reminds me of the Divine Mercy. The mercy and compassion of God is unfathomable.

The ABC of Mercy states:

  • Ask for mercy
  • Be merciful
  • Completely trust Jesus for mercy.


Sunday, December 09, 2007

Remember God’s works

"Then calling to mind all the wonderful works of the Lord, he (Mordecai) offered this prayer …" (Esther 4: 17a)

I have found again and again from personal experience that calling to mind the wonderful works of God in my life produces immediate impact on faith, hope and love. In time of dire need and crisis, this therapy never fails. I also know that it works for others. I have used it successfully to alleviate mild depression in others.

Why is remembering God's wonderful works in our life so powerful in lifting us up from despondency? We know that what happened before can happen again. The fire of hope is lighted. And we feel gratitude and love for the one who relieved us in the past at the moment of dire need. We are emboldened to ask for help in the present crisis. God's standing promise can be claimed: "Call upon me at the time of need and I will answer you."

Satan being the father of lies and deception will give anything to cause us to forget God marvelous deeds in our life. I try to build up purposely a list of these wonderful works in my life. I printed the list and put it in a wall in my workstation and bedroom. As long as I am in my home, the devil has little chance of winning in this game. Whenever I am attacked by doubts, I don't have to think hard to remember. I glance at the wall and see the list. And then I give thanks and the discouragement vanishes. Thank you Jesus.