Lenten Reflection Day 27: Amos 5:14

Listen to the audio here: https://anchor.fm/simplediakonia/episodes/Lenten-Reflection-Day-27-Amos-514-eskfnl

“Seek good and not evil,

that you may live;

Then indeed the Lord, the God of hosts,

will be with you as you claim.” (Amos 5:14)

Reflection

We cannot claim the Lord as our God when our faith does not match our actions. Lent is a training season to live-out our claim that God is with us. We do that with words, deeds, and sacrifices pleasing to God and edifying others.

Today’s Intention

Help us this Lent, O Lord, to seek good in ourselves, others, and the world.

Peace and Goodness

One-Minute Reflection: Ephesians 5:11 (30 Days of Prayer for Unity #12)

Listen to the most recent episode of my podcast: One-Day Minute Reflection: Ephesians 5:11 (Days of Prayer for Unity #12) https://anchor.fm/simplediakonia/episodes/One-Minute-Reflection-Ephesians-511-Days-of-Prayer-for-Unity-12-epp8q7

“Take no part in the fruitless works of darkness; rather expose them.”

Reflection:

Evil grows more potent in darkness. The fruits of darkness include hatred, rivalry, and disagreement (see Galatians 5). These poisonous fruits aim to destroy unity. The children of darkness live by evil.

The Holy Spirit, on the other hand, is the advocate of unity. The Spirit calls out evil and spotlights God’s goodness working through us. The children of the Spirit live by the Works of Mercy. They correct the sinner, instruct the ignorant, counsel the doubtful, comfort the sorrowful, bear wrong patiently, forgive all injuries, and pray for the living and the dead.

Today’s Intention: Lord, give us the fortitude to expose the works of darkness and the courage to seek unity through Works of Mercy.

Peace and Goodness

Do not Worry! Riiiiiiiight…

Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil.” (Matthew 6:34)

Do not worry about tomorrow!? Wow! That’s a juicy one for me; easier said than done. Worry has been a constant companion of mine. Sometimes, her presence is more present than others, but she is never too far away. Sometime I overcome my worries and sometimes they overcome me. So many things to worry about: What do people think about me?  How do I look? Do I have enough money, power, prestige? Am I making the right decisions? How is my English or my writing? Would I be able to support my family emotionally and financially? Am I Christian enough? Am I a good co-worker, father, or husband? How do I get what I need or want? Why are my wife and children this and that? The list goes on…

What leads to worry? Fear! When we are afraid we worry. Father Anthony De Mello, in his best-selling book Awareness, beautifully wrote the following about fear “It’s not that we fear the unknown. You cannot fear something that you don’t know. Nobody is afraid of the unknown. What you really fear is the loss of the known. That’s what you fear. Fear to lose something.” What are we afraid of losing – our pride, vanity, honor, power, wealth, reassure, affection, safety, loved ones, friendships, employment, etc.?

Worries in themselves are not terrible; they are part of our self-defense and survival kit; they can be a source of strength when facing uncertainty or difficult situations. However, when we let them control us or when they are misdirected, they could lead us to suffering; they become heavy emotional loads that hold us in bondage and harm others.

Fortunately for us, we have God by our side. God does not promise a worry-free existence. Life is full of misfortunes, successes, opportunities, and challenges; worries are part of being in this world. However, if we ask, God can give us strength, perseverance, consolation, and joy to live a life filled with light instead of fear.

When we surrender to God’s will, he shines his light on our darkness; If we do not surrender, “the path of the just is like shining light, that grows in brilliance till perfect day. The way of the wicked is like darkness; they do not know on what they stumble.” (Proverbs 4:18:19). Moreover, when we walk in the light, we become God’s light to the world: “You are the light of the world…your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father…you are a guide for the blind and a light for those in darkness” (Matthew 5:14, 16; Romans 2:19).  When we offer up our worries to him and go about our life without grumbling or questioning, we are like “blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom  you shine as lights in the world.” (Philippians 2:15)

Worries have always been a “thorn on my side.” Like Paul, I have asked the Lord to remove it. Conversely, I have been just as unsuccessful. However, I hope like Paul did that the Lord’s “grace is sufficient” for me “for power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12: 8-9).

The next time I am worried, I will make an effort to become aware of her power and the opportunity for spirituality. I will face my fear with courage even if I fail trying. I will pray “teach me, Lord, your way that I may walk in your truth.” (Psalm 86:11). I will remember Christ’s words “Do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’ All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom [of God] and his righteousness and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil. ” (Matthew 6:31-34)

Acceptance of Divine Will Prayer

May the most just, most lovable, and the most high will of God be done, be fulfilled, be praised and exalted in all things forever.

© hectorortiz 2013. All rights reserved.

The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

Painted in the year 2000 by the Monastic Fraternity at St. Peter Church, Tilden, Wisconsin, USA
Painted in the year 2000 by the Monastic Fraternity at St. Peter Church, Tilden, Wisconsin, USA

‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ (Luke 15:6)

Today we celebrate the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. There is not much I can say to express the meaning of today’s solemnity other than Jesus’ love is infinite and merciful. His love is such that he sacrificed his life so we could be saved from evil, redeemed from sin, and be resurrected.

Jesus’ heart is our model to selfless compassion. Jesus is the shepherd I can trust. I know that when lost, Jesus will leave all his sheep in the desert to look for me and he will rejoice when he rescues me. That should be a consolation of mercy for all of us.

May the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus radiate his light on us this day.

Father, we honor the heart of your son, broken by our cruelty, yet symbol of love’s triumph, pledge of all that we are called to be. Teach us the see Christ in the lives we touch and to offer him living worship by love-filled service to our brothers and sisters. We ask through Christ our Lord.

Alternative Opening Prayer, Solemnity of the Sacred Heart (Sacramentary, 1973)

© hectorortiz 2013. All rights reserved.