One-Minute Reflection: Leviticus 19:18 (30 Days of Prayer for Unity #23)

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“Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against your own people. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.” (Lv 19:18)

Reflection: We all suffer wrongdoing – actual or imagined – and we choose how we act upon it every day. Left to our own device, we respond to transgressions in kind. Jesus Christ, however, showed us a different way: forgiveness.

Today’s Intention: Lord, we are weak. Without your strength, we are vulnerable to the temptations caused by hurt. Please, give us the fortitude when experiencing unjust loss, wisdom to reflect on them before we act, and perseverance to seek unity before division.

Peace and Goodness

The Gift of Fortitude

“Let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us…” (Hebrews 12:1)

As we enter the fourth day of the Novena of the Holy Spirit, we ask for the gift of Fortitude: “the moral virtue that ensures firmness in difficulties and constancy in the pursuit of the good” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1808)

We all experience difficult situations in our lives. The good news, however, is that those who are blessed with the gift of Fortitude are able to cope with life’s sufferings, temptations, and fears in divine ways. Filled with the gift of Fortitude, they place their trust in God: “Because always, even in the darkest moments, in moments of sin, in moments of weakness, in moments of failure, I have seen Jesus, and I trusted Him … He has not left me alone” (Pope Francis, Sept 22, 2013)

Through the gift of Fortitude, our suffering unites us with the pain experienced by Jesus, Mary, all the Saints, and countless brothers and sisters. It is through the gift of Fortitude that on a certain day we will be joyful to say: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7)

Have a blessed day!!!

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.

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