Thursday, December 13, 2007
Prayer and Devotions
The Christian Fight
by Father Jason Smith, LC
Resolution: Strive for excellence in the faith! Fight to be more disciplined in your prayer life every day.
December 13, 2007
Saint Lucy, virgin, memorial
Matthew 11: 11-15
”Jesus said to the crowds: “Amen, I say to you, among those born of women there has been none greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now, the Kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent are taking it by force. All the prophets and the law prophesied up to the time of John. And if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah, the one who is to come. Whoever has ears ought to hear.”
Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, I place myself in your presence. I have set aside this moment for you so that you can speak to me and I can listen to your words. Speak to my heart! I believe that you are present, bringing all the graces I need right now in the current circumstances of my life. I hope in you, Lord, because I know I cannot place my hope in the things of the world. I love you, Lord, and I know how much you love me.
Petition: Lord Jesus, help me to overcome myself resolutely when I most need to.
1. Justified “Violence” - Christ preached violence? What about being a peacemaker or meek and humble of heart? Actually, Christ uses this metaphor to underline that earnest effort is needed to enter the Kingdom. Understood properly, “violence”, humility, meekness, and peace are all united. Meekness is putting one’s talents at God’s service. Humility is recognizing the truth of who we are (created by God) and what we should do (his will). Being a peacemaker is having the habitual disposition always to seek the good of others. Only the “militant”, that is, those who struggle to overcome all of the obstacles that might separate them from God, can hope to take the Kingdom.
2. War at Prayer - When was the last time you heard you should have a militant prayer life? Never, I bet. But prayer needs to be taken with force. Try, for example, to set aside specific moments of the day to pray and only to pray. Then — watch your schedule fill up. Watch as tiredness overcomes you precisely as that moment rolls around. Watch distractions and good excuses escalate. Groan as the petition dearest to your heart takes years to be answered. Prayer is a battle. It requires earnest and persevering effort. Whoever has ears ought to hear.
3. The War against Mediocrity - No baseball player, even if he’s in the majors, is satisfied with a .190 batting average. That’s as mediocre as it gets. Likewise, being least in the Kingdom of Heaven is nice, but it doesn’t mean we should be satisfied with that. Why settle for a “3” when we can be a “10”? Strive for excellence in the faith! No businessman is happy when his company’s stock falls. No artist stops fine-tuning his skill. To live an attitude of fight to reject a mediocre Christian life. Leave mediocrity to couch-potatoes. We’ve been called to excellence in the majors of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Conversation with Christ: “CHRIST: Prepare yourself to undergo greater suffering. All is not lost just because you find yourself often in trouble and grievously tempted. Remember, you are human and not God; you are flesh and blood and not an Angel. Do you think you can continue in the same state of virtue when this was not found in Eden? I lift up those who know their own weakness. DISCIPLE: Blessed be your word, O Lord; for it is sweeter to my mouth than honey. What would I do in my troubles if you did not encourage me?” (Thomas à Kempis, Imitation of Christ, Book 3, Chapter 57, 3 and 4).
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