The next day as they were leaving Bethany he was hungry. Seeing from a distance a fig tree in leaf, he went over to see if he could find anything on it. When he reached it he found nothing but leaves; it was not the time for figs. And he said to it in reply, “May no one ever eat of your fruit again!” And his disciples heard it. Mark 11:12–14 This is a very unique and interesting story. The first thing this tells us is that Jesus was fully human. As a man, He was hungry. But this story tells us much more than the simple fact that Jesus was hungry. He would have known that it was not the season for figs to grow, but He decided to look for a fig anyway. And when He found none, He cursed the fig tree and, as we read later in this chapter, the tree withered and died. This was a symbolic action for the sake of His disciples, in that His disciples heard Him curse the tree and later saw that the tree had withered. Saint Bede, an early Church Father, tells us that this action of Jesus had an allegorical purpose. The tree is symbolic of the many people Jesus encountered, and continues to encounter today, who failed to bear good fruit in their lives. They were the Pharisees and others who practiced their faith only in an external way. The leaves, Saint Bede tells us, were symbolic of the externals of the faith, and the lack of fruit was a symbol of the missing interior fruit of holiness and good works. This lesson tells us that Jesus is very demanding. He is determined to discover good fruit in our lives. He wants us to become authentically holy. And when He finds only the externals, He will rebuke us in love, taking even the externals away. What good fruit does our Lord want to find in your life? How does He want you to manifestly grow in holiness? Do you go through the motions, attend Mass, say some prayers, but fail to produce an abundance of virtue, compassion, mercy and goodness? Do you say you believe in our Lord but then fail to preach the holy Gospel with both your words and your actions? If our Lord were to come to you, as He came to this fig tree, what would He find? Being a Christian is not something that is exclusively between you and God. Being a Christian requires that you be so given over to the service of God and others that God is able to do incredible things through you. The Christian faith must produce good fruit in your life and through you in the lives of others. And it must do so in an abundant way. Reflect, today, upon the holy image of Jesus walking over to this fig tree, inspecting it for a fig. See this tree as an image of your soul and see the hunger in the heart of our Lord. As He looks at you and your life, will He be satiated? Will He find holiness and manifest good works? Or will He find little to nothing other than external claims that you are a Christian? Commit yourself to an abundance of authentic and manifest holiness and our Lord’s hunger will be satiated.
As Jesus was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a sizable crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus, sat by the roadside begging. On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.” Mark 10:46–47 How do you pray? Do you ever “cry out” to Jesus with deep conviction and intensity? This blind man, Bartimaeus, sets for us a wonderful example of how we should pray to our Lord. First of all, the blind man was in a state of need. His blindness symbolizes every weakness and need you have in life. So what is it that you struggle with the most in life? What is your greatest habitual sin? Or what causes you the most grief? Seeing our weakness is the first step. Once we are aware of our greatest needs, we must also “cry out” to our Lord just as Bartimaeus did. Upon hearing that it was Jesus, Bartimaeus somehow sensed within his soul that Jesus wanted to cure him. How did he sense this? He listened to the voice of God within. Yes, he heard the commotion of many speaking about Jesus as He walked by. But this alone could not have compelled him to cry out and to know that Jesus was the source of the mercy he needed. That which compelled him was the clear voice of God, a prompting from the Holy Spirit, within his soul, revealing to him that he needed Jesus and that Jesus wanted to cure him. At first, those around him rebuked Bartimaeus and told him to be quiet. And if Bartimaeus would have been weak in faith, he may have listened to the crowd and, in despair, remained silent. But it is quite clear that he not only ignored the rebukes of others, he “kept calling out all the more.” Bartimaeus gives us here a double witness of how we must turn to our Lord. First, we must sense His gentle but clear presence within our soul. We must recognize His voice and His promptings of grace. He wants to heal us, and His presence in our lives must be sensed within. Secondly, we must become intensely fixed upon that voice within. The crowds who rebuked Bartimaeus are symbolic of the many “voices” and temptations we experience in life that try to keep us from faithfully and fervently crying out to the God who speaks to us. Nothing should deter us from our wholehearted determination to call to Jesus with our need. Reflect, today, upon Bartimaeus being an image of yourself. See yourself in desperate need of our Lord and listen for His clear voice. Do you hear Him? Do you sense Him walking by? As you do, cry out to Him with fervor, intensity, and conviction. And if you find that there are temptations that try to silence your prayer and faith, increase your intensity and cry out “all the more” to our Lord. He will hear you, call you to Himself and give you that grace which He desires to bestow. SOURCE OF CONTENT: CATHOLIC-DAILY-REFLECTIONS.COM http://catholic-daily-reflections.com/ COPYRIGHT © 2023 MY CATHOLIC LIFE! INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. USED WITH PERMISSION VIA RSS FEED.
Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” Luke 1:39–42 The beautiful feast we celebrate today depicts two miraculous pregnancies. One came about by the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit. The other was the miraculous conception in the womb of a woman who was advanced in years. The Scripture passage quoted above presents us with the initial encounter of Mary and Elizabeth as they greeted each other upon Mary’s arrival. Mary had traveled a long distance to be with her cousin for the last few months of Elizabeth’s pregnancy. And upon greeting Elizabeth, another miraculous event occurred. The baby in the womb of Elizabeth, Saint John the Baptist, “leaped for joy.” Thus, even prior to his birth, John began to fulfill his unique mission of preparing the way for the Lord. He did so at that moment by inspiring his own mother, Elizabeth, with a knowledge of the divine presence of the Savior within the womb of Mary. Consider, especially, the conversations that these two holy women would have shared during their months together. Though we are given only a small insight into their initial conversation from the Scriptures, we can be certain that this was but a small sampling of what they would have discussed in much prayerful detail. In particular, their conversations would have contained a mutual sharing of the spiritual gift of joy. Joy is much more than an emotion. It is spiritual in nature. It is not only an experience of something fun, it’s the experience of realizing the action of God in your life. Seeing God at work in wonderful ways leads to gratitude and rejoicing. This joy produces a strength and energy that is contagious and uplifting. We must all strive to see the hand of God at work in our own lives so that our focus upon His divine actions will produce joy also. We need joy. We need to be strengthened by this gift so that we will be encouraged and strengthened as we daily strive to fulfill His will. Reflect, today, upon the witness of joy that these two holy women give us. Know that you are called to share in the same joy as you humbly turn your attention to the ways in which God has blessed you. If you find that you lack joy in life, then consider where you allow your mind to wander throughout the day. Do you dwell on the past, on hurts, on problems and the like? If so, these thoughts will undoubtedly lead to depression and possibly even despair. Try to turn your mind to the action of God in your life. See the many blessings you have been given and savor those divine actions. Doing so will lead you to rejoice with Saint Elizabeth and our Blessed Mother. SOURCE OF CONTENT: CATHOLIC-DAILY-REFLECTIONS.COM http://catholic-daily-reflections.com/ COPYRIGHT © 2023 MY CATHOLIC LIFE! INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. USED WITH PERMISSION VIA RSS FEED.
Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the Gospel who will not receive a hundred times more…” Mark 10:29–30 Jesus’ statement above is in response to Peter who said to Him, “We have given up everything and followed you.” It was as if Peter were patting himself on the back, attempting to highlight just how much he and the other disciples had sacrificed to follow Jesus. And it was true, they did give up everything of their former life. They left home, their occupation, their relationships and everything that had been part of their daily established life in response to the call of Jesus. They were truly all in. In hearing this statement from Peter, Jesus does not give the expected response. He doesn’t say to Peter, “Yes, you have, that’s very impressive Peter. Good job and thank you!” Instead, Jesus immediately explains to Peter that the sacrifice he and the others have made is worth it. Their unwavering commitment to follow Jesus would be repaid with gifts beyond their imagination. Thus, Jesus was saying that the gifts that He would bestow upon them would be exponentially greater than every sacrifice they made. This was not a belittling of Peter’s self-sacrifice; rather, it was a form of encouragement by Jesus. He was encouraging Peter, and the other disciples, to have full confidence in their decision to follow Him. Their sacrifice would yield a hundredfold return. That is truly a good investment. It can be tempting for us all, at times, to feel as though God asks too much of us. It’s true that God asks much of us. He asks everything from us. He asks for the complete and total gift of our lives to Him. He calls us to abandon all selfishness and to dedicate ourselves to His holy will without exception. But if we understand the reward of our self-giving, then the sacrifices we make will pale in comparison to the reward. Reflect, today, upon whether or not you can say those words with the Apostle, Saint Peter: “Lord, I have given up everything to follow You.” Have you truly given your life completely to Christ Jesus? Are there things that you still hold back, not wanting to “sacrifice” for our Lord? Ponder those words of Peter and allow yourself to see the areas of your life you still need to surrender over to Jesus. And as you do so, allow the reward promised by our Lord to motivate you to the point that you truly hold nothing back and truly have given up everything to follow His holy will.
Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son." Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother." And from that hour the disciple took her into his home. John 19:25–27 The memorial we celebrate today, which was added to the Roman Liturgical Calendar in 2018 by Pope Francis, highlights the truth that the Blessed Virgin Mary is not only the Mother of the Person of Christ, and, therefore, the Mother of God, she is also the Mother of the Church, that is, the Mother of all the faithful. The Blessed Virgin Mary is your mother. And as your mother, she is truly tender, compassionate, caring and merciful, bestowing upon you everything that a perfect mother desires to bestow. She is the fiercest of mothers who will stop at nothing to protect her children. She is a mother wholly devoted to you, her dear child. The Gospel passage chosen for this memorial depicts our Blessed Mother standing at the foot of the Cross. She would have been no other place than directly beneath her Son as He endured His last agony. She did not flee in fear. She was not overwhelmed by grief. She did not sulk in self-pity. No, she stood by her Son with the perfect love and strength of a devoted, caring, compassionate and faithful mother. As she stood by her Son in His hour of suffering and death, Jesus turned to her and entrusted the Apostle John to her maternal care. From the early Church Fathers until the most recent teachings of the Church today, this act of entrusting John to Mary and Mary to John by Jesus has been understood as an entrustment of all the faithful to the maternal care of Mother Mary. Mother Mary is, therefore, not only the Mother of the Redeemer, Christ Himself, she also becomes the Mother of all the redeemed, the mother of us all, the Mother of the Church. Consider the spiritual mother you have in Heaven. A mother is one who gives life. Your mother in Heaven is entrusted with the task of bestowing upon you the new life of grace won by the Cross. And as your mother, she will not withhold anything from you that is to your benefit. A mother is also one who is tender with her children. The Immaculate Heart of our mother in Heaven is one that is filled with the greatest tenderness toward you. Though her caresses are not physical, they are much deeper. She caresses with the tenderness of grace which she imparts to you as you pray and turn to her in your need. She gives you the grace of her Son, poured out upon the Cross as the blood and water sprung forth as a font of mercy. Mother Mary pours that mercy upon you as a tender and devoted mother would. She holds nothing back. If you are unaware of the love in the heart of our Blessed Mother for you, use this memorial as an opportunity to deepen your understanding of her role in your life. Many children take their mothers for granted, not fully understanding the depth of their love. So it is with our Mother in Heaven. We will never fully comprehend her love and her constant motherly workings in our life until we join her in Heaven face to face. Reflect, today, upon Mother Mary standing by you in every moment of your life. See her there in your joys and in your sorrows, during your moments of temptation and struggles, in your moments of confusion and clarity. See her there by your side, bestowing every good spiritual gift upon you when you need it the most. She is a true mother, and she is worthy of your love and gratitude.
And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim. Acts 2:2–4 And with that, the Church was born. Today we celebrate the Solemnity of Pentecost which, in many ways, was the culmination of the mission of Christ. The pinnacle of His mission will come at the end of time when He returns in all His glory to judge the living and the dead and to establish His permanent Kingdom. But for now, we live under the rule of the Holy Spirit Who has descended upon us in full form, transforming us and making it possible to prepare for Jesus’ final and glorious coming. The Trinity is truly a Mystery of Faith. In our limited way, we understand that God is Three in One. He is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Each a distinct Person. Each fully sharing in the one divine nature. Though They act in perfect unison, They each fulfill Their unique mission. The Father is the one Who sent the Son into the world and willed that He give His life for the salvation of all. The Son was sent and perfectly fulfilled the will of the Father, uniting humanity with divinity. The Holy Spirit is the Promise of Father and Son Who proceeds from Them and descends upon us, animating us and making it possible for us to share in the life of the Most Holy Trinity. If that is hard to comprehend, it should be. Our limited intellects can only grasp a shadow of the reality of God. That fact, however, should not discourage us. On the contrary, it should inspire us to anticipate that day when we will see God face to face and enter more deeply into the mystery of His divine life. Today we especially focus upon the Third Person of the Most Holy Trinity: The Holy Spirit. It is an incredible gift we have been given to live in this age of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps you have thought to yourself that it would have been nice to live during the time that Jesus walked the earth. But Jesus Himself said that it was good that He go. Why? Because then He would send His Advocate, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, Who will lead you into all Truth. Thus, the age in which we now live, the age of the Holy Spirit, is the most blessed age the world has ever seen. This is because we are now able to receive the indwelling of the Most Holy Trinity by the power of the Holy Spirit. God is no longer spoken only through the prophets. He is no longer revealed only through the Person of the Son in Jesus Christ. He is now also able to live within us, making our very souls His dwelling place. Heaven and earth unite within our souls. There could be nothing greater than this. As the Holy Spirit descends upon you, He brings the presence of the Father and the Son. They are inseparable. Therefore, as we prayerfully look within ourselves, we discover the Voice of the Father, leading us into His holy will. We discover the Person of the Son to Whom we are called to be conformed in every way, living as members of His very body on earth. This is made possible because the Holy Spirit descends upon us in a way similar to the way the Holy Spirit overshadowed our Blessed Mother, conceiving within her the Son of God. As the Holy Spirit overshadows us, God is conceived within our souls, and we begin to share in the very life of God here and now. Reflect, today, upon these holy mysteries of our faith. See the actions of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as a true mystery. The only way we will be able to begin to probe these mysteries is through prayerful pondering. We must look for the workings of God within, see Him at work within our souls, savor His presence, rejoice in it and keep our eyes firmly fixed on Him. We must see the fruit of God’s presence in our lives, such as the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Below is a full list of these Gifts. Ponder them today. As you do, and as you see these Gifts within you, you will be seeing God Himself, the Holy Spirit, alive and living within the depths of your soul. SOURCE OF CONTENT: CATHOLIC-DAILY-REFLECTIONS.COM http://catholic-daily-reflections.com/ COPYRIGHT © 2023 MY CATHOLIC LIFE! INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. USED WITH PERMISSION VIA RSS FEED.
It is this disciple who testifies to these things and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true. There are also many other things that Jesus did, but if these were to be described individually, I do not think the whole world would contain the books that would be written. John 21:24–25 As we conclude our Easter season, we are given the conclusion of the Gospel of Saint John to ponder. Recall that John’s Gospel has been a central focus throughout the Easter Season. Therefore, if you have been prayerfully reading the Gospel for Mass each day for the past several weeks, then you have truly immersed yourself in this holy Gospel. The Gospel of Saint John is much different from the other three Synoptic Gospels. John’s language is mystical and symbolic. John presents the seven miracles as the seven “signs” that reveal Jesus’ divinity. Jesus is identified as I AM, the Son of the Father, the Vine, the Bread of Life, the Light of the World, the Eternal Word, and more. John points to the Crucifixion as Jesus’ hour of glory in which He takes up His throne of the Cross for the salvation of the world. And John’s teaching on the Eucharist is truly profound. John states that the reason he wrote his Gospel was so “that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name” (John 20:31). John clearly loved our Lord and understood Him, not only by personal experiences while Jesus was alive on earth but also through a profound level of prayer in his later years. And this depth of understanding and mystical knowledge is communicated in such a way that the reader is easily drawn into John’s prayerful understanding. As John concludes His testimony about Jesus, he states something worth pondering. He states that Jesus did so many things that were not recorded by him or others, that if they were all written down, the whole world would not contain the books that would be written. First of all, everything that was written down could be the source of prayerful study for a lifetime. John’s Gospel alone could never be exhausted of its meaning. But then consider this final line of John’s Gospel and try to take it as a literal statement for a moment. If that statement were literally true, that the whole world could not contain the books that would record all that Jesus did, then this fact should leave us with a holy awe. In fact, the reason this must be true is because what Jesus did within each and every mind and heart He touched is truly indescribable. Volumes upon volumes could not thoroughly describe it. His divine action of saving souls, rescuing people from sin and death, and pointing them to eternal life is more than our feeble minds can fully comprehend. Reflect, today, upon the holy Gospel of Saint John. As we do conclude this Easter Season and our reading of John’s Gospel, allow yourself to sit in awe of the infinite activity of our divine Lord in the lives of those who have turned to Him. Consider every movement of grace in their lives that has been accomplished with such care and love by our Lord. Reflect upon the fact that for eternity you will be contemplating the Eternal Word made Flesh, the Messiah, the Great I AM, the Son of the Father and every other name given to Him Who is our God and King. Saint John loved our Lord and understood Him deeply because he spent his life prayerfully pondering all that Jesus did. Continue to commit yourself to this holy pondering so that you will be drawn more deeply into this contemplation with holy awe.
“Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when he had said this, he said to him, “Follow me.” John 21:18–19 On this, the third time that Jesus appeared to His disciples, Jesus enters into a threefold discourse with Peter. Each time that Jesus asks Peter if he loves Him, Peter responds that he does. And Jesus responds back each time, “Feed my lambs,” “Tend my sheep,” and “Feed my sheep.” The passage quoted above concludes Jesus’ discourse with Peter using very powerful language. Jesus tells Peter that when he grows old, “someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” This was Jesus' way of saying to Peter that he would ultimately express his love of Jesus by dying for Him. As we know, tradition states that Peter was ultimately crucified. And at Peter’s request, he was crucified upside down because he felt unworthy of dying in the exact same way Jesus died. As we consider this conversation between Jesus and Peter, it is clear that Jesus' understanding of love is very different from the way many others understand it today. Jesus was not only telling Peter that he would die for Jesus, but Jesus was clearly offering His approval of this act of love Peter would one day offer. Most often when we love someone, we would do all we can to keep them from any such fate. In fact, when a loved one suffers, we often will do all we can to look for a way to relieve them of that suffering. So which approach is most loving? Clearly, Jesus sees suffering differently than most of us. For Jesus, suffering is not opposed to love when the suffering is freely embraced for a higher purpose. Suffering in and of itself is of no value. But when suffering is embraced sacrificially out of love for another, it is able to take on tremendous power. And when Jesus offered His clear support to Peter who would one day die out of love for Jesus, Jesus was focusing upon the eternal merit that would be won by Peter’s cross. The fact that Jesus did not shy away from Peter’s future sacrificial suffering is one of the clearest signs of Jesus’ more perfect love for Peter. Reflect, today, upon your attitude toward the sufferings that your loved ones endure. Do you find that your primary goal is to rid them of their sufferings? Or do you understand that even their sufferings have the potential to become a source of their own holiness and the source of grace for others? Strive to see suffering as Jesus sees it. Look at the sacrificial love that is made possible when your loved ones unite their sufferings to the Cross of Christ and try to commit yourself to the mission of helping them embrace that sacred gift of love.
Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed saying: “I pray not only for these, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.” John 17:20–21 Over the past couple of weeks, we have been continually reading from Chapter 14–17 of John’s Gospel. These chapters contain Jesus’ Last Supper Discourses and provide us with Jesus’ last sermon, so to speak. Chapter 17, which we have been reading this past week, presents us with Jesus’ final prayer for His disciples and for all of us “who will believe” in Him through the preaching of the disciples. Each time we read from Chapter 17, the Lectionary begins the reading with the phrase “Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed saying…” That line is an adaptation of Chapter 17:1 but is used to introduce the various parts of the prayer of Jesus each time it is read at Mass. It’s interesting that Jesus would look up to Heaven when He prayed. Of course, Heaven is not physically in the sky, because Heaven is a spiritual reality. The Father is not located in some place in the sky but is omnipresent, meaning, present all places and all times. And yet, Jesus raises His eyes upward when He prays to the Father. There is a great lesson in this. Our physical disposition is important, at times. For example, when someone we owe respect to enters a room, we usually rise and greet them. It would be disrespectful to remain lounging on a bed or sofa in that case. And at Mass, we do not sit back with legs crossed during the Consecration; rather, we kneel in adoration. And when we greet someone for the first time, we do not look at the floor; rather, we look them in the eyes. Jesus’ act of “Lifting his eyes to heaven” was not done because He thought He might see the Father in the sky; rather, it was done out of respect and love and as a way of acknowledging the dignity of the Father. This should teach us about our own bodily disposition and the message we communicate to others, especially to God in prayer. When you pray, what do you do? Though you can pray at any time and while in any disposition, it is an excellent practice to speak to God not only by your words but also by the disposition you take. Kneeling, raising hands in prayer, falling prostrate before your Lord, sitting upright with attentiveness, etc., are all ways in which you communicate to God your love. Reflect, today, upon this image of Jesus praying. Gaze at how attentive He would have been as He lifted His sacred eyes upward as a physical gesture honoring the glorious, all-powerful Father in Heaven. Try to imagine Jesus' devotion, intensity, respect and burning love. Imitate this holy gesture of prayer and attentiveness to the Father and remind yourself of the importance of expressing your love in bodily form.
“I gave them your word, and the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the Evil One.” John 17:14–15 Unfortunately, the evil one is real. He is the highest of the fallen angels who retain their natural spiritual power given them at their creation. God created all angelic creatures with the purpose of serving His holy will. The Scripture reveals that there are nine levels or “choirs” to which these angelic creatures belong. Among the fallen angels, the highest of them directs the others, and he is traditionally given the name Lucifer or “the devil.” One of the natural spiritual powers that these fallen angelic creatures retain is the power of influence and suggestive thought. They were created to be messengers of God’s truth to us; but, in their fallen state, they seek to communicate confusion and lies instead. Therefore, it is very helpful to understand the way the evil one and the other fallen angels communicate to us so that we can reject their lies and listen only to the voice of God. In his rules for the discernment of spirits, Saint Ignatius of Loyola explains that when a person is going “from mortal sin to mortal sin,” the evil one and the other demons continually propose to their imagination the “apparent pleasures” and “sensual delights” that they obtain from their sin as a way of keeping them firmly controlled by that sin. However, when a person is “intensely cleansing their sins and rising from good to better,” the evil one and the other demons act in a contrary way. They will “bite, sadden and put obstacles, disquieting with false reasons, that one may not go on” in their pursuit of holiness. God and the good angels will act in the opposite way. For those immersed in sin, God and the good angels will use “the opposite method, pricking them and biting their consciences through the process of reason” so as to draw them away from sin. And when a person is, in fact, growing in holiness, God and the good angels will “give courage and strength, consolations, tears, inspirations and quiet, easing, and putting away all obstacles, that one may go on in well doing” (See mycatholic.life/ignatius https://mycatholic.life/books/ignatius/part-one-background-of-saint-ignatius-and-lessons-from-the-spiritual-exercises/chapter-five-discernment-of-spirits-part-one/). These spiritual lessons on the discernment of spirits are of great value and will assist you on your daily struggle with sin and your daily pursuit of holiness. Understanding the deceptions of the evil one and discerning the promptings of grace given by God bring clarity to our daily lives and direction to all of our actions. The good news that is revealed by the Scripture passage above is that our Lord is fully aware of the working of the evil one, has prayed for you and will assist you as you seek to combat these lies and deceptions in your life. Reflect, today, upon the importance of learning how to discern both the voice of God and the lies of the evil one. Work to discern the voice of God so that you may follow Him more faithfully. And seek to discern the lies of the evil one so that you will not be influenced by him and can directly reject him. Commit yourself to a more rigorous discernment of these spiritual experiences in your life and allow this prayer of Jesus to direct you into His holy will.
“I glorified you on earth by accomplishing the work that you gave me to do. Now glorify me, Father, with you, with the glory that I had with you before the world began.” John 17:4–5 Saint Ignatius of Loyola bases his spiritual masterpiece, on one basic premise: This is the essence of what Ignatius calls the “Principle and Foundation” of our lives. In other words, our goal in life is twofold: First, we must seek to give God the greatest glory possible by our lives. And second, the effect of this singular focus is the salvation of our souls. In the Gospel passage quoted above, Jesus speaks of the fact that He perfectly fulfilled His human life on earth by glorifying the Father in Heaven. He did this by accomplishing the work that the Father gave Him to fulfill. If you are looking for purpose in your life or if you are trying to discover the meaning of your life, then look no further. Jesus’ words above offer the ideal “principle and foundation” for your life. This message of our Lord could be broken down into three lessons. First, the Father truly does have a plan for your life. Are you seeking to discover that plan? Knowing that there is a divine plan for your life is the first step in fulfilling it. If you do not know God’s plan, it will be difficult to fulfill it. So do you seek to discern this plan each and every day? Secondly, when you do discern what God wants of you in your daily life, you must accomplish His will. Sometimes we fall into the trap of trying to fulfill only a portion of what God wants of us. The problem with that approach is that we may actually accomplish “a portion” of God’s will. But that’s not enough. We must aim for perfection. We must strive for the complete fulfillment of the will of God in our lives. Thirdly, if we can truly accomplish the daily will of God for our lives, then our lives will not only glorify God in every way possible, but we will also be blessed to share in God’s glory. To share in God’s glory is to share in God’s very life. It means that God will be alive in us and we will become partakers of the joys of Heaven. And it will begin here on earth. Why would we settle for earthly “joys” and earthly pleasures when we are called to share in delights that are beyond what we could ever imagine in this world? Reflect, today, upon Jesus’ act of perfectly fulfilling the will of the Father in His human nature. Even though our Lord was divine, He was also fully human. He, therefore, perfectly understands your human struggles and weaknesses. He knows what you go through, and His humanity is the model for you to follow in life. Reflect upon His human life and the way in which He lived in union with the will of His Father day in and day out. Commit yourself to this unwavering mission of fully accomplishing the will of the Father in your life and you, too, will share in the glory of our Lord.
“I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.” John 16:33 What did Jesus tell His disciples that produced the “peace” of which He spoke? He is especially referring to His entire Last Supper Discourse from which we have been reading. The words spoken throughout this discourse are meant to give the disciples, and us, “courage” and the ability to conquer the trouble imposed upon us by the world. Throughout Jesus’ discourse, He especially points to the unity He has with His Father and the fact that if we stay united with Jesus, we will also be united to the Father. He spoke of Himself being the vine and us the branches who must remain firmly attached to Jesus. He spoke of this being possible only by the coming power of the Holy Spirit Whom He will send. And He spoke of the hatred that the world has for all who remain firmly grounded in the Truth. Therefore, if you are one who seeks to remain deeply rooted in Christ, filled with the Holy Spirit and separated from the deceptions of the secular and un-Christian world, then Jesus is clearly speaking to you. In this passage above, Jesus identifies one gift that will help us on this journey. This particular gift is the gift of His peace. Peace is the ability to remain calm and focused in the midst of any and every “trouble” we encounter. The trouble that Christians will especially face are the various persecutions of the world when we live in accord with the Truth. And though there are many moral truths presented clearly by our faith that the world attacks, there are also other forms of troubles we will encounter within the world today. One of the most manifest troubles inflicted upon many by the world comes in the form of constant visual, auditory and mental stimulation. Our world is a noisy world. Modern electronics, the mass media, commercials, radio, Internet, social media and so many other parts of our daily life have the subtle effect of distracting us, stimulating us and stealing away the peace of Christ. Consider, for example, the idea of entering into the silence of a retreat for a day, or two, or longer. How would you handle turning off your smartphone, tablet, computer, television and radio for an extended period of time? Would you go through a form of withdrawal? Many today would indeed find this difficult. And the reason for this is that the “peace” of which Jesus speaks is slowly dwindling in the lives of many. Instead of God’s peace, we are filled with constant noise, commotion and activity. This is the “world” attacking us and stealing the peace God wants to bestow. Reflect, today, upon the exceptionally important truth—that Jesus wants you to know His peace in your heart. And He wants that peace to sustain you. Reflect upon the interior battle that may take place within you between the world and the peace of Christ. Who is winning that battle for your soul? Is there more of the world or more of the peace of Christ reigning within you? Seek out the peace that only Jesus gives, and, as you discover His peace, you will also discover the source of that peace: Jesus Himself.
Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come. Give glory to your son, so that your son may glorify you, just as you gave him authority over all people, so that your son may give eternal life to all you gave him.” John 17:1–2 This passage comes at the conclusion of the Last Supper and at the end of a lengthy discourse by our Lord. During the three previous chapters of John’s Gospel, Jesus taught His disciples that He will bestow His peace upon them by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, that they must remain united to Him as a branch is attached to a vine and that the world will hate them and persecute them. After those instructions, Jesus raised His eyes to Heaven and prayed a lengthy prayer to the Father. It is His High Priestly Prayer by which Jesus acknowledged that His hour had arrived and that it is an hour in which He will glorify the Father. In this prayer, Jesus asks his Father for the disciples to be kept safe from the evils of the world. He also prays for all who would believe in Him and become His followers. Thus, in this prayer Jesus prayed for you. Spiritually speaking, this High Priestly Prayer continues today through the celebration of the Holy Mass. Recall that Jesus had just celebrated the Last Supper with His disciples and was preparing to offer His life on the Cross for the salvation of the world. Within this holy context, Jesus prays this prayer. It is a prayer that is perpetuated by our Lord every time we celebrate the Holy Eucharist. In commenting upon this passage, Saint Augustine notes that this prayer is prayed immediately after Jesus told His disciples that they would encounter trouble within the world. “In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.” For that reason, Jesus set an example for us on how we are to deal with the troubles we encounter in life. We, too, must turn our eyes to Heaven and pray to the Father. The best way to do so is by our full interior participation in the Holy Mass. What form of “trouble” do you experience right now in your life? There are many things that fall into that category and are different for each person. As you call your struggle to mind, try to imagine our Lord kneeling next to you, praying this prayer to the Father for you. In reality, this is exactly what Jesus does every time we participate in the Holy Mass. The Mass is His “hour.” It is His perfect offering to the Father. It is the one and only source of all grace in our world and in our lives. It is Jesus glorifying the Father and inviting us to share in that glorification by uniting ourselves and our troubles to Him in His offering. It is through this perfect Sacrifice that Jesus bestows “eternal life” upon you and all who turn to Him in their need. Reflect, today, upon the way in which you celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. When you attend, do you find you become distracted or are inattentive to what takes place? The Mass is your hour each week in which you kneel next to Jesus as He kneels next to you, praying to the Father in Heaven. The power of the Mass is infinite. Within the Mass all the grace you need is given to you, and you are invited to share in the glory of the Son of God. Ponder your participation in the Mass and renew your commitment to pray it with our Lord with the same depth of prayer Jesus had at that first and perpetual offering. Source of content: catholic-daily-reflections.com http://catholic-daily-reflections.com/ Copyright © 2023 My Catholic Life! Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission via RSS feed.
“I have told you this in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures but I will tell you clearly about the Father.” John 16:25 When is it that Jesus will speak clearly about the Father? When is that “hour” of which He speaks? First, this “hour” can be understood to be the time after His death, Resurrection and Ascension to Heaven. It is then when the Holy Spirit will come upon them at Pentecost to open their minds to understand all that He has taught with much greater insight and clarity. But in John’s Gospel, the “hour” is also a reference to His death on the Cross. It is His hour of glory, the hour in which the Son of Man saves us through His holy passion. Therefore, this statement of Jesus should be read within the context of Him alluding to His coming passion. Recall that this sermon Jesus gives is part of His “Last Supper Discourse.” It is given immediately prior to Jesus going out to the Garden of Gethsemane to be arrested. When we consider this “hour” to be the passion and death of Jesus on the Cross, we should be aware of the fact that His act of dying is not only a saving act of redemption, it is also one of the clearest ways in which He speaks about His Father in Heaven. Jesus’ suffering and death does, in fact, reveal the Father to the disciples in ways that His “figures of speech” could not reveal. Jesus’ veiled language was spoken as truth but as truth that could not be fully communicated. However, Jesus’ freely embraced suffering and death does clearly communicate the Father in the most profound way possible. The Cross is pure love, and the Father is pure love. Jesus’ death on the Cross in obedience to the will of the Father reveals to all that the Father loves us so much that He was willing to sacrifice His only begotten Son so that if we but believe in Him, we will inherit eternal life. The message of the Cross is a true teaching about the love of the Father. It’s a teaching that took place through an act of the most pure and sacrificial love imaginable. The Cross was Jesus speaking “clearly about the Father” insofar as it reveals the depth of the Father’s love for all humanity. If you find this difficult to understand, then you are not alone. The disciples themselves struggled with this. That is why they ultimately needed the Holy Spirit to come upon them to open their minds. We too need the Holy Spirit if the veil is to be lifted and we are to comprehend this most powerful message of God’s infinite love. Reflect, today, upon Jesus’ burning desire to lift the veil of His teaching and to reveal to you, clearly, the depth of the Father’s love for you. Allow the Holy Spirit to open your mind to this revelation as it is given through the Crucifixion. Pray for that gift. Listen to Jesus tell you He desires to give you this understanding and then await the grace you need to see and understand the very heart of the Father and His divine love for you.
“When a woman is in labor, she is in anguish because her hour has arrived; but when she has given birth to a child, she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy that a child has been born into the world.” John 16:21 This truth can certainly be extended to any form of anguish we experience for a good reason. Note that the pain experienced in childbirth is pain for a good and holy reason. Therefore, the pain is forgotten, in a sense, when the mother sees and holds her newborn child. That suffering is forgotten in the sense that it is transformed into joy by the birth of a child. There is much in life that can cause anguish. In today’s Gospel, Jesus goes on to say to His disciples: “So you also are now in anguish.” He says this because He had just finished speaking to them about His coming departure to the Father and about the suffering that they would all experience in the form of persecution. But then He says to them that after He departs and they no longer see Him, they will then see Him again and will rejoice. And He says, “On that day you will not question me about anything.” This is an important line to understand. Anguish, or any form of suffering, can tempt us to question our lives and even to question God. It is clear that after Jesus was killed, the disciples questioned everything. They were confused and frightened. All appeared to be lost. Then, to a lesser degree, after Jesus ascended into Heaven and prior to Him sending the Holy Spirit, the disciples would have also experienced confusion. Why did Jesus leave them? Why didn't He stay longer? Who was going to lead them now? These and many other similar questions would have arisen in their minds. So also with us, when things do not go as planned, or when things take a painful turn in our lives, we can immediately question and even doubt the perfect plan of God. If things fall apart because of our sin, then repentance is the remedy. But if things fall apart, in the sense that life becomes difficult, then we should especially listen to the words of Jesus today. When anguish in life happens because we are fulfilling God’s will, we must see that anguish as a means to a much greater good. Just as the pains of childbirth lead to the gift of a child, so the pains of bringing forth God’s will in our lives will lead to the presence of God Himself. Patient endurance is a virtue that is especially important in this case. For example, the anguish of overcoming an addiction, or of praying when we don’t feel like praying, or of forgiving someone who hurt us are all examples of anguish turning into blessings. Very often, combatting our own selfish will is difficult. But the fruit of engaging in such a battle within us is joy. There is joy found in victory over sin. Joy is found in persevering in prayer. Joy is found in every difficulty we endure for the Kingdom of God. But the joy is not always our first experience. It is only experienced when we patiently endure the situation. Reflect, today, upon any form of anguish you are currently enduring for the glory of God, or anything you are currently avoiding because it seems difficult to do. Do not shy away from these difficulties. See them as a means to a glorious end. Endure the “labor pains” of the purification and mission God is calling you to by looking beyond the difficulties you initially experience so that you will see the end result that awaits you.
“All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18–20 These are the parting and final words our Lord spoke while on earth. As soon as He spoke them He ascended into Heaven to remain with His Father forever, preparing a place for us so that we could join Him one day. Never again on earth would the disciples hear Jesus speak to them or see Him in physical form. Though He would soon send the Holy Spirit upon them and speak clearly to them interiorly through prayer, they would not encounter His audible voice and physical presence once again until Heaven. Just prior to the passage quoted above, we read that the disciples did two things. One was ideal; the other was not. We read: “When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted.” Of course, the fact that they worshiped Him is ideal, but the fact that they doubted is somewhat shocking and disappointing. After all that they went through with our Lord, after all they witnessed and heard, they still doubted. They witnessed Jesus cure leprosy, restore sight to the blind, heal the crippled, preach with a new authority, convert sinners, raise the dead and even rise from the dead Himself. And after all of this, they still had doubts. Perhaps their doubts are recorded in this final encounter with our earthly Lord because it reveals to us our own ongoing doubts. Perhaps the real doubters are not only the disciples but also each one of us. When you look into your own conscience, what do you see? Do you see a person with perfect faith and trust in God? Or do you see a person who seeks to worship God but also struggles with doubts? A doubt is a lack of faith. It is different from a difficulty, an uncertainty, or a confusion. A doubt is an action by which we positively make the choice to start down the path of disbelief. It’s more than a weakness; it’s a choice and not a good one. The good news is that these doubting disciples eventually received something that eliminated every doubt from their minds. They received the Holy Spirit, and this gift of God began to dispel every temptation to doubt as they received the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. In particular, the gifts of Wisdom, Understanding and Knowledge would deepen their faith in God and enable them to both worship and believe. As we celebrate the Ascension of our Lord, reflect, today, upon the image of these disciples worshiping God and doubting at the same time. If this image strikes a chord within you, then pay attention to it. It is good to worship God, but it is also good to humbly admit where you lack perfect faith. Where you see this lack of faith, hold onto the hope that, just like these disciples, you will receive the full outpouring of the promised Holy Spirit in your life so that every doubt will be dispelled and you will receive true Wisdom, Understanding and Knowledge in their fullness.
So some of his disciples said to one another, “What does this mean that he is saying to us, ‘A little while and you will not see me, and again a little while and you will see me,’ and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?” So they said, “What is this ‘little while’ of which he speaks? We do not know what he means.” John 16:17–18 How about you? Do you know what Jesus means? Or do you find that you are confused by what He said just like these disciples were? Though pride may tempt you to claim that you fully understand all that Jesus taught, the humble and honest truth is that you are probably very much like these disciples in their confusion. And that is not necessarily a bad place to be. First, the confusion of these disciples shows they took Jesus seriously. They were not indifferent. They cared, were interested, wanted to understand, and must have had some level of faith in Jesus. Otherwise, they would have ignored Him. But they didn’t. They listened, tried to understand, discussed His teaching, thought about His words and humbly concluded that they didn’t understand. Jesus is not critical of their confusion. He sees that they are trying and that they have some level of faith. And even though these disciples are confused, Jesus continues to speak to them in figures of speech rather than directly and clearly. One of the reasons that Jesus speaks in figurative language is because the message that He is teaching is profound and deep. It’s not something that can be quickly and easily understood and mastered. The mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven are so deep, vast, profound and mystical that the only way to begin to understand them is to first have faith. Faith does not mean you fully understand everything. Faith is a supernatural gift by which you come to believe without fully seeing and understanding. The certainty comes for God, not from your own reasoning ability. But faith always leads to deeper understanding. Therefore, as these disciples professed their faith, they also came to understand. And even though Jesus speaks in this figurative way, these disciples ultimately made the choice to believe. Later in this chapter they conclude, “Now we realize that you know everything and that you do not need to have anyone question you. Because of this we believe that you came from God” (John 16:30). If you find yourself confused about various matters of faith, God, morality, and the like, or if you find yourself confused about the various mysteries of life itself, or your life in particular, do not be afraid to admit to this confusion. Admitting confusion is the humble admittance of the truth, and this humility will be a helpful step toward the gift of faith. Reflect, today, upon whether you struggle at all with indifference toward the mysteries of life. If so, commit yourself to be more like these disciples who intentionally grappled with all that Jesus spoke. Do not be afraid to admit your confusion and to place that confusion before our Lord. Strive to have the gift of faith and allow that spark of faith to become the pathway for your deeper understanding of the many mysteries of life.
Jesus said to his disciples: “I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth.” John 16:12–13 This passage still rings true for all of us today. God wants to reveal to us, within the depths of our consciences, the deepest, most profound and transforming truths that flow from the mind of the Father in Heaven. But we cannot bear it all now. Not fully. And eternity will be spent continually deepening our understanding of all that God reveals. And the process of this ongoing and deepening discovery will fill us with an ongoing and deepening joy. This will be our Heaven, but it must begin now. First of all, it’s important to understand that God does “have much more to tell you.” Interestingly, coming to know how much you do not already know is itself a form of knowledge. Knowing that there is so much more, that God’s wisdom is infinitely beyond you, that the mind of God compared to yours is incomparable is itself a beautiful truth that must be understood. This truth should both humble you and also fill you with a holy awe of God and the infinite depth of wisdom, truth, beauty and glory contained within Him. This is an essential first step. Furthermore, by saying that “you cannot bear it now” does not mean that you should not try to bear more and more of the truth that God wants to reveal. In fact, it’s a form of invitation, in that it indicates that there will come a time when you will be able to comprehend more. This should once again foster a hope and anticipation for all that remains hidden to be revealed. Humility in the face of the infinite God is necessary for growth in wisdom and knowledge of God. How does this growth in wisdom and the knowledge of God happen? It happens by the power and working of the Holy Spirit. It is the “Spirit of truth” who will “guide you to all truth.” But even this statement, once again, implies that this is a process. It is the Spirit Who will “guide” you. And this guidance will continue throughout this life and on into eternity. This teaching of our Lord begs the question: Have you begun the process? Have you begun to allow the Holy Spirit to guide you into the truth? Have there been concrete moments in your life when you came to know God in a new and profound way that could only have been possible by the power and working of God Himself? Reflect, today, upon these essential questions. If you have had God the Holy Spirit speak clearly to You, then humble yourself before that truth. Pray for more wisdom and more knowledge of all that you do not know. And if you cannot relate to the idea of there being so much more that is beyond you, then humbly turn to our Lord and beg Him to begin to open your mind to all that He wants to say to you. The infinite mind of our God awaits you to be discovered and embraced. Begin the process today and let Him guide you into all truth.
Jesus said to his disciples: “Now I am going to the one who sent me, and not one of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ But because I told you this, grief has filled your hearts. But I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go. For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.” John 16:5–7 Jesus continues to speak prophetically to His disciples about the necessity for Him to go to the Father so that He can send the Holy Spirit. What’s interesting in this passage is that Jesus points out to His disciples that “grief” has filled their hearts because of what He has said to them. Clearly, this grief in their hearts is because they do not understand what they will soon experience and do not want their relationship with Jesus to change. Throughout our lives, our Lord will call us to change. At times, He calls us away from that with which we are familiar and comfortable, and He calls us to something new. This can be frightening and can become the cause of “grief” for us also. To help, let’s consider this passage above in detail. Recall that there were many times, prior to Jesus' death, that Jesus slowly started to reveal to His disciples, especially to the Twelve, that He would be going to the Father and that He would no longer be with them in the way He had been. Jesus wanted the Twelve to begin to understand that their relationship with Him, with the Father and with the Holy Spirit would soon take on new meaning in their lives. But the fact that this was something new, a change to what they had grown accustomed, meant that they were more focused upon the grief that accompanies loss than they were focused upon the joy that awaited. This same experience can often be found in all of our lives. Though dramatic change is not necessarily a regular occurrence throughout life, most everyone will experience change at various moments in life. And when that change occurs in accord with the will of God, it must be embraced with hope and great expectation. For example, vocational changes, such as getting married, having children, or entering a religious vocation, always bring with it much change—but a change that God can use for much good. Also, the death of a loved one, a move to a new community, a new job or school, the establishment of new relationships and the like can be difficult but also fruitful. Since the Gospel passage above specifically refers to the change that comes from the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, it might be helpful to consider the fact that whenever some new change takes place in our lives, the Holy Spirit is there, waiting to enter into the new situation in ways we could have never imagined. So if you find yourself at times experiencing the grief of some loss, or difficulty with some new endeavor in life, know that the disciples experienced something similar. But in the end, Jesus’ words came true—“it is better for you that I go.” Though they did not want to see Jesus die and then ascend to Heaven out of their sight, this was part of the plan of God for their lives. So also when the changes we encounter in life are part of God’s divine plan, we can be certain that good things await. Reflect, today, upon anything that our Lord may be asking of you in regard to a change in your life. Are you open, ready and willing to do whatever He asks? Or are you fearful or grieved by the thought of some change. Be open to anything our Lord asks of you and know that the full embrace of His holy will is the only path to true happiness in life. SOURCE OF CONTENT: CATHOLIC-DAILY-REFLECTIONS.COM http://catholic-daily-reflections.com/ COPYRIGHT © 2023 MY CATHOLIC LIFE! INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. USED WITH PERMISSION VIA RSS FEED.
Jesus said to his disciples: “When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me. And you also testify, because you have been with me from the beginning.” John 15:26–27 Jesus informs His disciples that “the Spirit of truth” will come and that the Spirit, as well as the disciples, will “testify” to Him. When Jesus first spoke these words to His disciples, they would not have comprehended what He meant. Since these words are prophetic in nature, they are words spoken that were to come to fulfillment and, then, once fulfilled, the words would be understood. So what does Jesus mean? When we look at the Acts of the Apostles and read about the early Church, it is clear that something incredibly transforming took place after Jesus ascended into Heaven. Up until that time, the disciples and other followers of Jesus had faith, but they were also fearful. They communicated with those others who believed, but did so in secret and with fear. But as soon as Pentecost came and the Holy Spirit, the Advocate, the Spirit of Truth, descended upon them, the Apostles began to be used by God to powerfully proclaim the Gospel without fear and with great effect upon many. It was this experience of the disciples of our Lord, being filled with the Holy Spirit, to which Jesus was referring. After Jesus died, and perhaps even more so after Jesus ascended into Heaven, it is likely that some of His disciples immediately concluded that the new movement Jesus started was now over. They could have never conceived of the idea that what Jesus started was only beginning. They could have never conceived of the fact that soon they would share in the beginning of the Church, proclaim the Gospel with courage and power, see the conversion of countless lives, witness the ongoing forgiveness of sins, and ultimately give their lives in imitation of our Lord. These disciples had no idea just what awaited them with the coming of the Advocate, the Spirit of Truth. What was awaiting them was their sharing in the ability to “testify” to Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit. They soon realized that Jesus was actually more alive than ever and that He was now going forth to convert souls by the power of the Holy Spirit and through the instrumentality of all of His new disciples. The same is true in our lives today. It is far too common for Christians to simply believe in Jesus personally, but then fail to wholeheartedly give testimony to Him by the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. It is far too common for followers of Christ to act more like the disciples prior to the coming of the Holy Spirit. Too often, Christians keep the Gospel to themselves, fearful of giving testimony by the power of the Holy Spirit. Reflect, today, upon these prophetic words of Jesus. Though these words were initially spoken to the Twelve, Jesus also speaks these words to you today. He wants you, too, to be a witness to Him, giving testimony to others so that they will come to believe. Reflect upon how well you fulfill this prophetic calling. Where you are lacking, pray for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in your life so that God can reach many hearts through you. SOURCE OF CONTENT: CATHOLIC-DAILY-REFLECTIONS.COM http://catholic-daily-reflections.com/COPYRIGHT © 2023 MY CATHOLIC LIFE! INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. USED WITH PERMISSION VIA RSS FEED.
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows him. But you know him, because he remains with you, and will be in you.” John 14:15–17 Imagine a spouse or a friend saying to you, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” Such a statement might cause you to react with surprise. Ordinarily, we do not see obedience to another as a sign that we love them. However, what if a parent were to say to a child, “If you love me, you will be obedient.” That statement is easier to accept because of the unique role of a parent to their children. In regard to our love of God, obedience to His divine will is the greatest act of love we can offer. This is because God’s will is perfect. It’s exactly what we need in life. It’s what we were made for. And it is the one and only way to achieve the human fulfillment that we seek. Only God can say such a thing to us because only God is God. Jesus followed up His call to obedience by saying that obedience to Him will result in Jesus and His Father bestowing the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth upon you. The Holy Spirit will remain “with you, and will be in you.” This is such a profound statement from our Lord. In fact, so much of what He says within this sermon, given at the Last Supper, is profound beyond comprehension. One clear thing this tells us is that obedience to God leads to a discovery of the Truth. And as Jesus says elsewhere, “If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31–32). Obedience leads to Truth. Truth leads to freedom. This begs the question: Do you want to be free? Clearly you do. We cannot not want to be free. Meaning, we are obliged to want freedom, just as we are obliged to want happiness. Why? Because the desire for freedom and happiness is written upon our very nature. It is a desire that we cannot escape. It’s how we are wired. However, it is quite possible to become confused about the way we achieve these desires. For many, obedience is not always understood as the pathway to that desired freedom and happiness. Consider, again, a child. Imagine a parent telling that child not to eat a certain wild berry that grows behind their house because the parent knows the berry is poisonous and will cause the child to become sick. If the child disobeys and eats the berry anyway, he will learn the important lesson that he should have been obedient. Or if the child were to get in a fight with his brother and was angry and crying, the parent may tell him to say he’s sorry and reconcile with his brother. If the child refuses, he will remain angry and crying. But if he obeys, then he and his brother will once again be able to have fun together. On a grand scale, this is what God does for us. He is the perfect Father Who always knows what is best for us. For that reason, we must not only conform to His will, we must desire it, seek it out and desire to be obedient to the greatest degree. This is the path to Truth. It is the path to freedom. It is the path to the happiness we desire. Reflect, today, upon your own level of obedience to the will of God and your understanding of the importance of that obedience. Do you realize that God’s will is perfect? Perhaps you do intellectually, but how about practically? When you read through the Scriptures and hear Jesus’ commands of love, do you seek to follow them without hesitation? For example, do you forgive those who seem undeserving? Can you say, with our Lord from the Cross, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do?” Reflect upon anything this past year that was difficult for you to embrace from God. Ponder it, pray over it and seek to obey whatever He has revealed to you. Doing so will be the first step toward the fulfillment of your deepest desires in life. SOURCE OF CONTENT: CATHOLIC-DAILY-REFLECTIONS.COM http://catholic-daily-reflections.com/ COPYRIGHT © 2023 MY CATHOLIC LIFE! INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. USED WITH PERMISSION VIA RSS FEED.
Jesus said to his disciples: “If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you.” John 15:18–19 This is a sobering thought: “the world hates you.” That is, if you are among those who have been taken by our Lord out of the world. In that case, Jesus says that the world will hate you. No one wants to be hated. No one wants to experience the wrath, persecution, attacks, or ridicule of another. Hatred is ugly, painful and difficult to endure. But that is part of the nature of hate. It’s not only a form of persecution, it’s also a form of manipulation. Hate is an attack upon another by which the hater seeks to inflict injury and to manipulate them to change and conform to their will. The secular and unchristian “world” wants to win you over and away from God. Jesus offers this teaching, in part, to prepare us so that when we do experience hatred from the world, we will not be affected by it nor manipulated to turn from Him. Therefore, this teaching is a revelation of much mercy from our Lord. Remember that Jesus spoke of three enemies of our soul. The flesh, the devil and the world. In this Gospel passage, to “belong to the world” means that a person allows themself to be negatively influenced by the countless lies embedded within the world. The secular media, pop-culture, biased opinions, social pressures, false images of happiness and the like seek to constantly misguide us and draw us in. We are regularly tempted to believe that fulfillment is found in money, our physical appearance, the recognition of our accomplishments and much more. The world tells us that our opinions must conform to the secular values of the age—and if they don’t, then we are judgmental, close-minded extremists and should be shunned and “canceled” or silenced. These worldly temptations and pressures are real, and, for that reason, Jesus’ words are freeing. They free us from the manipulations and deceptions we will experience when we live our faith openly for all to see. When we do so, we will be hated by the world. But knowing that provides peace of heart when it happens. Reflect, today, upon these powerful and consoling words of Jesus. If you do not experience any form of hatred from the world, then this should be a concern and the cause for reflection. And if you do experience some form of hatred, know that our Lord prepared you for this and offers you His strength and courage to endure it with joy. In the end, all that matters is what our Lord thinks—and nothing else. In the end, if you experience hatred by the world in any form, know that this makes you more like Christ Himself. SOURCE OF CONTENT: CATHOLIC-DAILY-REFLECTIONS.COM http://catholic-daily-reflections.com/ COPYRIGHT © 2023 MY CATHOLIC LIFE! INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. USED WITH PERMISSION VIA RSS FEED.
“You are my friends if you do what I command you. I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.” John 15:14–15 To some, Jesus’ definition of friendship may, at first glance, seem odd. He says that we are His friends only when we do what He commands us to do. Imagine saying that to one of your best friends. Such a statement would most likely be met with a laugh and dismissal as foolishness. So is true friendship always based on obedience? Obviously, the expectation that your friends obey you so as to win your friendship is not the basis of any authentic friendship. Jesus is the only one Who can base your friendship upon obedience to His holy will. Why? Because of the nature of what He commands you to do. Jesus is pure Truth. What He wills is the perfection of love. Therefore, His statement that you are only His friend if you do what He commands you to do teaches that friendship is based on the truth. It’s based on love, goodness, kindness, selfless sacrifice and self-giving. And it is all of these truths that Jesus commands us to do. Therefore, Jesus is essentially telling us that His will alone provides the pathway to the friendship we desire to have with Him. In regard to your friendship with others, each true friendship can only be based on that which God wills for friends. And, in that sense, you can “command” the will of God for your friendships. This means you are only willing to establish a friendship upon the truth. It means you are only willing to share a relationship based upon selfless, sacrificial, self-giving mercy, compassion, honesty and love. Reflect, today, upon your understanding of friendship. Begin with your friendship with God, but then also ponder your friendship with others. Do you love our Lord in the way that He commands? And as you ponder your friendship with others, examine whether or not each friendship also conforms to obedience to the will of God. If you can love God and others in conformity with the dictates of true love, then your friendships will produce an eternity of deep fulfillment. SOURCE OF CONTENT: CATHOLIC-DAILY-REFLECTIONS.COM http://catholic-daily-reflections.com/ COPYRIGHT © 2023 MY CATHOLIC LIFE! INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. USED WITH PERMISSION VIA RSS FEED.
“If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.” John 15:10 When Jesus spoke the line above, He followed it by saying, “I have told you this so that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete.” These two lines, taken side by side, provide a helpful unity of Jesus’ teaching regarding holy obedience to Him. First, Jesus speaks of the necessity of keeping His commandments. To some, such a statement, when taken by itself, can seem burdensome, dictatorial, oppressive and confining. But is it? The answer is found clearly as we read on. The next thing Jesus teaches is that the effect of keeping His commandments is that we “remain in His love.” He further explains that He is not asking us to do anything that He Himself was not willing to do. He was obedient to the will of the Father, keeping the commandments of the Father to perfection. Therefore, we should hear His command as a dictate flowing from His own freely lived choice to be obedient. As the Incarnate Son of God, He perfectly obeyed the Father in His human nature. The result was that He remained perfectly filled with the love of the Father. But that’s not all. Joy is also experienced in a “complete” way when we imitate Jesus’ perfect obedience. In light of the teaching from our Lord, how do you view holy obedience to the will of God? Take, for example, each of the Ten Commandments. Do you struggle with unwavering obedience to them? Do you experience them as oppressive and imposed limitations rather than what they truly are? When understood correctly, the Ten Commandments, and every other dictate of the will of God, are exactly what we need and, even more so, exactly what we deeply desire in life. We want interior order rather than chaos. We want integrity rather than fragility. We want joy rather than sadness. And we want unity with the love of God rather than the loss of God. The path to the life we so deeply desire is obedience to the commands of the will of God in all things. Reflect, today, upon your immediate interior reaction to holy obedience. If you do find yourself resistant in any way to this teaching of Jesus, then that is a good sign that you need this teaching more than you may know. Try to look at obedience in the light of truth. Try to see that, deep down, your soul yearns for obedience and the interior order it brings. Examine, especially, any areas of obedience you struggle with and firmly recommit yourself to unwavering obedience to each and every command of our Lord. SOURCE OF CONTENT: CATHOLIC-DAILY-REFLECTIONS.COM http://catholic-daily-reflections.com/ COPYRIGHT © 2023 MY CATHOLIC LIFE! INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. USED WITH PERMISSION VIA RSS FEED.
“I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 The first amazing thing to recognize in this passage is the simple fact that God wants to produce good fruit in your life. He also wants to bring His grace and mercy into the world through you. The vine does not produce the fruit alone but does so through the instrumentality of the branches. So if we take this teaching at face value, God is saying that He has chosen to bring His grace and mercy into your life and into the world through you. To add greater clarity to this holy mission that we have all been given, Jesus makes a very profound statement. He says “without me you can do nothing.” When considering this line spoken by our Lord, it may be useful to reflect upon what the word “nothing” means. Saint Augustine points out that Jesus added “you can do nothing” to emphasize the fact that, by ourselves, by our own effort, we cannot even produce a “little” good fruit. For example, it would be like cutting off a twig from an apple tree and hoping that the twig will produce an apple. The fruit that God wants to produce also takes place within your soul, in the form of the Fruits of the Holy Spirit. These fruits consist of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (See Galatians 5:22–23). Each one of these gifts from God will have the effect of transforming you more fully into an image of God Himself in our world. Try to take a moment to consider each one of those Fruits of the Holy Spirit. Each one is very desirable. Growing in a desire for them will help you grow in a desire for the Holy Spirit in your life. When the Gospel passage quoted above is considered in its two parts, it is also clear that if we separate ourselves from God, then it is impossible to experience any one of the Fruits of the Holy Spirit. Without a firm connection to our God, we will have no love, no joy, no patience, kindness, etc. None of that is possible unless our lives are firmly connected to the Vine, Who is Christ Himself. So fostering a positive desire for these good fruits, as well as a holy fear of losing them, is useful. Reflect, today, upon the beautiful and meaningful image given to us by Jesus of the vine and the branches. Think of a vine and then think of yourself firmly attached to that vine. Sit with that image prayerfully and let God speak to you. He wants to do great things in you and through you. If you will only cling to Him with all your heart, an abundance of good fruit will be produced. SOURCE OF CONTENT: CATHOLIC-DAILY-REFLECTIONS.COM http://catholic-daily-reflections.com/ COPYRIGHT © 2023 MY CATHOLIC LIFE! INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. USED WITH PERMISSION VIA RSS FEED.
Jesus said to his disciples: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you.” John 14:27 So how does the peace that Jesus gives you differ from the apparent peace that the world gives? We all want peace in life. The desire for interior peace is written upon our very nature. And though many people make choices that lead to interior disorder and even chaos, those choices are often made out of a confused sense of what actually provides fulfillment. For example, those who choose to feed an addiction to drugs or alcohol often began that addiction out of a misguided desire for happiness. The temporary fix experienced gives the temporary sense of well-being. But objectively speaking, it is very clear that the temporary “peace” one receives from these actions leads ultimately to a loss of the very thing they desire. And when these choices become addictions, the person often finds themself trapped in a downward spiral. There are also countless other ways in which people find themselves seeking satisfaction and fulfillment in life. Money, promiscuity, cheating, selfishness, anger, deception, and the like are all actions that are done with the intent of some satisfaction. Our daily goal must be to unmask those deceptive actions so that we can see them for what they are and for the fruit that they produce. These are clearly among the many ways that the “world” offers us peace. When it comes to true happiness in life, the gift of true interior peace is one of the clearest signs that we are on the right track and are making the right decisions. When we choose the will of God each and every day, those choices may be difficult and require much initial sacrifice. Love can be hard. Faithfulness to the moral law of God can be challenging. And refusing to sin is difficult. But choosing the will of God throughout our day, every day, will begin to produce within us the consoling and sustaining gift of the peace of Christ. True peace produces strength. It leads to interior integrity and wholeness. It produces clarity of thought and certitude in convictions. God’s peace leads to more peace. It leads to choices based on well-thought-out actions of love. Peace leads us to the will of God, and the will of God leads to peace. The cyclical effect is exponential and is one of the clearest guides to happiness in life. Reflect, today, upon whether you truly have peace in your heart. Do you recognize the still, strong and sustaining presence of God within your soul? Do your daily choices produce greater integrity of heart and clarity of mind? Do you find that you have joy and calm, even in the midst of life’s greatest challenges? Seek out this peace, for if you do, you will be seeking out the good God Who produces this glorious gift within your heart.
“I have told you this while I am with you. The Advocate, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name—he will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.” John 14:25–26 Sometimes we forget all that God has spoken to us. For example, we may have some clear experience of God’s presence in our lives, such as a powerful spiritual insight gained through prayer, a deep conviction of His voice spoken through a sermon, the transforming freedom encountered through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, or some form of unmistakable clarity imparted through the reading of the holy Scriptures. When God speaks to us, imparting His Truth, strength, forgiveness and every other form of grace, we are spiritually consoled as we sense His closeness. But when trouble comes our way, those moments of clarity can be easily lost. The disciples would have had many clarifying experiences during the three years of Jesus’ public ministry. They marveled at the spiritual authority they encountered in His sermons, witnessed countless miracles, looked on as sinners were set free, saw Jesus transfigured in glory, and watched our Lord enter deeply into prayer with the Father. Each time they encountered the power of God at work, they would have grown in their conviction that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God, the Savior of the World. But Jesus also knew that these disciples would soon have their faith in Him shaken. He knew that as they looked on from a distance in fear as Jesus was arrested, beaten and killed, they would start to forget all that they previously experienced. Fear can cause confusion, and Jesus knew that His disciples would soon fall into that trap. For this reason, Jesus spoke the words above to His disciples. He promised them that the Holy Spirit would soon come upon them to teach them everything and to remind them all that He told them. How nice it would be if every lesson we ever learned from God remained front and center in our lives. How nice it would be if we never allowed fear to confuse us and cause us to forget all that God has spoken to us in varied ways. Just as Jesus knew the disciples would need the help of the Holy Spirit to remember, He also knows that we need the same help from the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the words spoken to the disciples above are also spoken to us. “The Advocate, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name—he will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.” What lessons of faith have you learned in the past that you need to be reminded of? It is the role of the Holy Spirit to bring those lessons to mind every time we need them. Therefore, as we move closer to the glorious celebration of the Solemnity of Pentecost, it is a good time to pray to the Holy Spirit and ask for the gift of remembering the many ways that God has revealed Himself to us. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit work in perfect harmony with each other, but each has a distinct role in our lives. The Holy Spirit’s role is especially to lead us day-by-day into the fulfillment of the Father’s will of becoming perfectly conformed to the Person of Christ Jesus. Reflect, today, upon this powerful promise that our Lord gave to His disciples and to us. Pray to the Holy Spirit. Open yourself to the Spirit’s ongoing direction in your life and never allow fear to lead to confusion. Instead, allow God to dispel all confusion and to remind you of all that He has spoken to you throughout your life.
Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?” John 14:1–2 These consoling and encouraging words, spoken by Jesus to the Apostles at the Last Supper, come immediately after Judas left to betray Jesus and after Jesus told Peter, in the presence of the others, that Peter would deny Jesus three times before the cock crowed. As a result, the Twelve (now Eleven) would have been discouraged, especially Peter. Jesus senses this and says, “Do not let your hearts be troubled…” Peter was told that he would soon commit a grave sin against Jesus. As we are later told, as soon as Peter committed these sins, he went out and wept bitterly. Perhaps, as he did, he would have recalled Jesus’ words: “Do not let your hearts be troubled…” Being tempted toward sin can be discouraging. But that can turn into a good thing. If we are not affected by our temptations, then we lack love for God. And if we give into those temptations and fail to experience sorrow, this is even worse. However, discouragement over our sins cannot remain; it must turn into its opposite, the virtue of hope. Hope will result from sin only when we hear and understand Jesus’ promise, seen above. Jesus not only tells the disciples not to be troubled, He also tells them why. Jesus promises them He will prepare a place for them in Heaven and will come to take them to that place in His Father’s House, despite their failings. By believing, Peter and the other apostles will be able to dispel the initial discouragement they feel over their failings and turn back to God with the anticipation of Heaven. Do you get discouraged by your sin? Begin by calling to mind any sin that you regularly struggle with. Habitual sin, especially, will lead to either sorrow, repentance and hope, or to a discouragement that ends in despair and the abandonment of virtue. Like Saint Peter, we must strive to weep bitterly over our sins. We must let our sins, and the temptation toward despair, become a motivation to regain hope, courage, and determination. This will only be possible if we always hear Jesus say to us, “Do not let your hearts be troubled…” We must sense His compassion and tenderness and allow that love to fill us with confidence that we will one day overcome all sin and be welcomed into the Father’s House. Reflect, today, upon any sin with which you regularly struggle. As you do, consider whether your discouragement leads to despair or hope. Hope does not come from your ability to overcome sin on your own. It comes from the compassion of our Lord and His promise to redeem you. If you do have a troubled heart, that is good. It is the starting point for hope. Allow Jesus to lift your troubled heart and to point your eyes to Heaven.
“Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father. And whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.” John 14:12–14 How is it that we are called to do greater works than the works that Jesus Himself did? Of course, it’s true. This is our calling. We know that, because this is what our Lord promised us. This truth should fill us with gratitude for being used so powerfully by God. Among the “greater” works of which Jesus speaks is, first and foremost, the sharing of the Gospel to the ends of the earth. As Jesus walked the earth, His mission was primarily to the people of Israel. But when He ascended to Heaven and sent the Holy Spirit upon the Church, He also empowered all who would receive the Holy Spirit to share the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Thus, the conversion of hearts is the greatest work that we can cooperate with. Do you want to do great things? Most children dream of doing so because this desire is written upon our human nature. We want to make a difference. We want to be great. But too often we become confused about true greatness. We attempt to fulfill that innate desire through acts of worldly and passing greatness. We seek recognition, wealth, and other passing rewards that stem from selfish ambitions. None of these ultimately fulfill us, even if we were to achieve them to the greatest extent. For example, imagine if you won the Nobel Peace Prize, or became the leader of a nation, or became the wealthiest person alive. Would the attainment of one of these goals fulfill you? Only if it were the will of God. If not, it would be an empty and meaningless act. Begin by looking within. Do you see the desire within you to do great things? Hopefully you do. From there, remind yourself that the greatest thing you can do, so as to fulfill the desire within you, is to do that which is the will of God for your life. Jesus says, “If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.” Asking in Jesus’ name means asking for the fulfillment of His will. It means asking that God use you to bring His saving grace to others any way He chooses. If you ask our Lord for this grace, He will grant it. This form of prayer requires humility and a complete detachment from our own will. It requires that we ask the Father only for that which the Son asks the Father for us. But the reward of such a humble prayer is that God will bestow His grace and mercy on others through us. This is His perfect will. Reflect, today, upon this high calling. Do so by looking at the desire within your own soul for greatness and then unite that desire with God’s will as the only thing that can fulfill you. Pray for this gift every day with humility and detachment and you will become an instrument of acts that give eternal glory to God. In Heaven, this will be your eternal joy. SOURCE OF CONTENT: CATHOLIC-DAILY-REFLECTIONS.COM http://catholic-daily-reflections.com/ COPYRIGHT © 2023 MY CATHOLIC LIFE! INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. USED WITH PERMISSION VIA RSS FEED.
Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me.” John 14:1 In John’s Gospel, Chapters 14–17 present us with what is referred to as Jesus’ “Last Supper Discourses,” or His “Final Discourses.” These are a series of sermons given by our Lord to the disciples the night He was arrested. These discourses are deep and filled with symbolic imagery. He speaks of the Holy Spirit, the Advocate, the vine and the branches, the world’s hatred, and these discourses conclude with Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer. These discourses begin with today’s Gospel in which Jesus addresses the coming fear, or troubled hearts, that He knows His disciples will experience. Let’s begin by considering this first line spoken by Jesus above: “Do not let your hearts be troubled.” This is a command. It’s a gentle command but a command nonetheless. Jesus knew that His disciples would soon see Him arrested, falsely accused, mocked, beaten and killed. He knew they would be overwhelmed by what they would soon experience, so He took this opportunity to gently and lovingly rebuke the fear that they would soon face. Fear can come from many different sources. Some fear is helpful to us, such as the fear present in a dangerous situation. In this case, that fear can heighten our awareness of the danger so that we proceed with caution. But the fear that Jesus was speaking of here was of a different kind. It was a fear that could lead to irrational decisions, confusion, and even despair. This was the kind of fear that our Lord wanted to gently rebuke. What is it that causes you to fear at times? Many people struggle with anxiety, worry, and fear for many different reasons. If this is something you struggle with, it’s important to allow Jesus’ words to resonate within your mind and heart. The best way to overcome fear is to rebuke it at its source. Hear Jesus say to you, “Do not let your heart be troubled.” Then listen to His second command: “You have faith in God; have faith also in me.” Faith in God is the cure for fear. When we have faith, we are under the control of the voice of God. It is God’s truth that directs us rather than the difficulty we are facing. Fear can lead to irrational thinking, and irrational thinking can lead us deeper and deeper into confusion. Faith pierces through the irrationality we are tempted with, and the truths that faith presents to us bring clarity and strength. Reflect, today, upon whatever it is that causes you the most anxiety, worry and fear in your life. Allow Jesus to speak to you, to call you to faith and to rebuke those troubles gently but firmly. When you have faith in God, you can endure all things. Jesus endured the Cross. The disciples eventually endured their crosses. God wants to strengthen you, too. Let Him speak to you so that you will overcome whatever is most troublesome to your heart. SOURCE OF CONTENT: CATHOLIC-DAILY-REFLECTIONS.COM http://catholic-daily-reflections.com/ COPYRIGHT © 2023 MY CATHOLIC LIFE! INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. USED WITH PERMISSION VIA RSS FEED.