Monday, October 22, 2007
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i blooged this issue last week-
Prayer and Devotions
Defending and Promoting the Faith
by Father Gregory Woodward, LC
Read at least fifteen selected numbers of the Catechism of the Catholic Church as an initial tool to know and defend your faith more.
October 20, 2007
Saturday in the Twenty-Eighth Week in Ordinary Time
Jesus said to his disciples: “I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before others the Son of Man will acknowledge before the angels of God. But whoever denies me before others will be denied before the angels of God. “Everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. When they take you before synagogues and before rulers and authorities, do not worry about how or what your defense will be or about what you are to say. For the Holy Spirit will teach you at that moment what you should say.”
Introductory Prayer: Lord God, I believe in you; help me to renew my belief by giving myself unconditionally to your designs. Lord, I hope in you; help me to trust that you are there to make all I do bear fruit that will last. Lord, I love you; may I live to give myself totally and unconditionally during yet another day. Lord, I thank from the heart for all your graces and benefits once again, for sustaining me with your loving hand in both good times and bad. Enable me, a poor and weak sinner in need of your grace and mercy, to carry out your work even when weakness and imperfection remain in me.
Petition: O Spirit of Truth, teach me both what I should say and leave unsaid.
1. Acknowledging Christ Before Others Christ our Lord is the first to realize how tough it might be at times to give bold witness to his name and to his way, not least of all in a world as materialistic and religiously indifferent as today’s is in many places. That is why he is prompt in giving us real motivations to stand firm and not waver: “Everyone who acknowledges me before others the Son of Man will acknowledge before the angels of God.” Even if, perchance, a Christian were to blaspheme or go to the extreme of apostasy, Christ would forgive and forget the offense as long as the person were sincerely repentant: “Everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven.” However, what can God do to help a person who stubbornly refuses to repent up until death? All God can do is respect that person’s freedom.
2. Not Worrying About Your Defense This Gospel passage was addressed to the disciples who lived in the first decades of Christianity, in times of trial and persecution. Back then, the expectation was sometimes physical punishment, if not bloody martyrdom. Nevertheless, the exhortation to have no fear and not to worry about one’s defense also applies to our world today. In the twenty-first century, we know that there is such thing as a spiritual martyrdom, especially the challenge of opposition that could hurt us on the inside: criticism, attacks on one’s good name and honor, insults, etc. But even in this case, we should not be too concerned about our defense. The message of Christ is to prepare ourselves serenely to defend, as well as promote, our faith and look for assistance from the Holy Spirit when the moment comes to make a stand.
3. The Holy Spirit Will Teach You In truth, the Holy Spirit will never abandon us in our quest to follow Christ faithfully in the world, come what may. He is the first one interested to give us words of both prudence and boldness for challenging situations, for example, public defense of the faith or antagonistic situations with family members and colleagues opposed to our faith. Anyone who truly wants to be firm but prudent will find the right words by calling for the Holy Spirit’s assistance. The secret is to be steadfast in the truth as well as making the truth prevail by using the best means possible. That is why it is so wise to ask the Holy Spirit to guide us in what ought to be said and what ought to be left unsaid.
Dialogue with Christ: Lord Jesus, thank you for such an inspiring meditation. May I now realize that it is not just I who act, but you who live and act in me through the Holy Spirit you have sent to teach me.
Resolution: I will read at least fifteen selected numbers of the Catechism of the Catholic Church as an initial tool to know and defend my faith more.