Spiritual Thought for Today Archive

Come Creator-Spirit Blest

Veni Creator Spiritus,
Mentes tuorum visita.
Imple superna gratia,
Quae tu creasti pectora.

O Come, Creator-Spirit Blest,
With grace from thy bright heavenly throne.
Come, enter and possess our souls,
Come, fill them, make them thine own.

The days following Easter are days leading up to Pentecost. The disciples who have fleeting encounters with Jesus which fill them with hope and joy are told to wait for the coming of the Spirit.

At times we feel the closeness of Jesus at other times we do not. Invoking the Holy Spirit should be the daily prayer of the Christian.

I imagine the above verses chanted in Latin slowly, drinking in the words and letting them rise like incense befoe God's throne, a welcomed sweet prayer of my deep need for God's help.

Come Creator Spirit, breathe life into this clay of yours. Allow my touch not to muddy the path I walk but to leave your healing behind. Send light into the darkness of my intellect, clean the house that you have created and take possession of it making it your temple, your abode.

Amen!

Ode to Dydymus

It is very easy to poke fun at Thomas. More than once during my life I have been tagged with the moniker of being a doubting Thomas, a title I might add that I have gleefully accepted. After all is there a reason that Thomas is called "the twin?" Have you ever asked yourself whose twin was he?

Scripture scholars have and they come up with all kinds of neat ideas. One of the more interesting ones is that he was called that because he resembled Jesus. But whatever the historical reality might have been I think the writer of John's gospel used the title to include all of us (and I mean all of us) in the passage.

Why did Thomas not believe the other Apostles testimony?

Why was he not with them locked in the room?

When the disciples were headed to Jerusalem with Jesus it was Thomas who proclaimed, "let us go to die with him!" Evidently Thomas did not say these words lightly, for unlike the others he was out and about not behind locked doors in fear.

But there is some mysterious element of experiencing God's power that demands weakness not courage. When Thomas returns nothing has changed, the apostles are still locked in a room but now they are claiming to have seen Jesus. Thomas or "the Twin" does not believe them.

Would you or I have?

I doubt it. I would have looked at them with disdain and pitied the poor group of cowards huddled together in fear. In many ways you must see that this is exactly the first scandal of the church. It does not do a very good job of convincing anyone of the power of God since it is often so weak looking itself.

But then aren't we all? Some of us might not be locked in a room, but who of us will not shrink to our knees when confronted by something that is beyond us?

I ask you to think of your experience of Church this past week, was it an experience of strength? Was everything perfect? Was there room for Christ to enter the worship space?

In the midst of my local locked room the Savior was a very welcomed guess.

Remember!

"Only take heed, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things which your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life; make them known to your children and your children's children."

Remembering is an important part of spirituality.

First there is the remembering of our sins. It is good to keep them before us they are our treasures. They reveal to us our mission in life for they show us our inner desires planted there by God and how we have strayed from the path that God wants us to take. It is all a question of how we use our gifts and talents for good or bad.

Second there is the remembering of our end. It is very easy to think that we will live forever or that there is no end. The end puts our entire lives into context.

Third as Moses says in todays reading is the importance of remembering what God has done in our lives. Perhaps you have never taken the time to reflect on this. What has God done for you in your life since the moment that he breathed life into the material provided for your existence by your parents?

God loves you and as St. Ignatius of Loyola says in his Spiritual Exercises like any lover he is constantly showing signs of his affection for you. What are they?

Letting Go--Purgatory

`You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you besought me; and should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?' And in anger his lord delivered him to the jailers, till he should pay all his debt. So also My Heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart."

It is so easy to hold on to something that someone else has done to us. It is so tempting to bring it up every time an opportunity arises, but the result is that we keep ourselves locked up in a prison of our own making.

Call it purgatory.

You might realize that if you apply Jesus' parable literally that the wicked servant who has been forgiven everything but refused to forgive is nonetheless a servant. He is not condemned to death but he will remain responsible for his actions that do not flow out of the grace that he has been shown.

So will we, Jesus tells us, if we do the same.

I know it is hard to let go but if we don't we really are incapable of worshiping God because something else stands in the way. Say a prayer today, open up the Bible and read a few passages and ask God to deliver you from the effects of past sins that you have committed and those that have been committed against you.

Peace in the midst of Hatred

"When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. And they rose up and put Him out of the city, and led Him to the brow on the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw Him down headlong. But passing through the midst of them He went away."

It is interesting at time to follow the patern of response that Jesus received when he taught. The above is not an unusual.

The message of Jesus stirs up all that is wrong in the world and within us, it agitates.

The response of the crowd is to turn on Jesus and to attempt to destroy him, but in the midst of this, Jesus walks among them and leaves them.

He stands as a symbol of peace in the midst of agitation. Today reflect on what it is about the message of Jesus that agitates me and allow Jesus to pass through the midst of that agitation.

Stay with us Lord

"So when the Samaritans came to Him, they asked Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days."

There are several places in the Gospels where the people who encounter Jesus ask him to stay with them. The story of the Samaritan woman is one of them. The walk with the disciples on the road to Emmaus is another.

On the road to the Emmaus the disciples noticing that evening has approached ask Jesus to stay with them, he does for the length of time that it takes to take bread, say the blessing, break it and as he gives the bread to them he physically disappears. A major miracle no doubt that points to his continued presence in the Eucharist.

In the story of the Samaritan woman he stays for two days. What we are not told is whom he stayed with. Is it too much to presume that Jesus stayed with the Samaritan woman and her live-in lover?

I will admit that I have a reaction to that as you probably do but is it because we can't imagine the Jesus of the gospels doing this? The Jesus of the gospels regularly scandalized the religious leaders of his day because he associated with sinners and was seen as a friend of tax collectors and prostitutes.

My guess is after thinking about it he probably stayed with the couple in the irregular marriage as a tribunal might label it today. Perhaps he performed a marriage of the couple and reflection on this event later led Paul to develop a theory of what we call today the Pauline privilege. Whatever the case might have been the interesting part of the passage is that Jesus only stayed for two days.

Two days is not a long time. Certainly the people wanted him to stay longer. But Jesus never stays a long time in any place, which certainly is a part of his Divine nature. He visits, does his work and leaves.

Hopefully Jesus has visited you today and hopefully that visit has changed your life.

The Savior

"Now his elder son was in the field; and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. And he called one of the servants and asked what this meant. And he said to him, `Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has received him safe and sound.'

The story of the Prodigal Son is a favorite of penance services especially during Lent. The story is often told and then interpreted in a way that always puts us in the place of the Prodigal (a word that means wastefully extravagant) Son. But lets face it we are not the Prodigal son but rather we are the people that the prodigal son wastes all of his inheritance on.

This insight is not mine but perhaps one of the greatest Scripture Scholars of this century.

Think about the story the son leaves home and spends all of his inheritance on people of ill repute. Jesus becomes incarnate and is criticized for the company he keeps by the "elders" of the faith. The constant criticism of Jesus is the company he keeps.

Then of course there is the language, "for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found," a clear reference to the death and resurrection of Jesus a confirmation of his ministry from God the father. The elder son who represents the "elders" of the people cannot accept this.

The point of the story is that we owe it all to Jesus who has left his lofty place and deemed to keep our company. His mission of wastefully and generously spending God's grace on us has been blessed by God even if the pharisaical among us find that insulting. God does not for he sees all of us in Christ the true Prodigal Son. #2

Integrity

"If you bring your gift to the altar and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift at the altar, go first to be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift."

Most of us fear being labeled a hypocrite in our worship. Yet it is amazing how many of us can carry a grudge or hatred in our hearts into a Church.

I knew a man who at one point in his life was studying to be a priest and had not spoken to his brother or sister in twenty years. "It's a family thing," he said one day to some friends who challenged him on this inconsistency.

"How can you counsel others to forgive if you haven't yourself?"

He could not answer the question and eventually left.

We can not worship God if we have made something else god in our life.

Jesus gives clear advice.

Create in me a clean heart O Lord so that I may worship you and you alone! #3

The Condition of God's Forgiveness

"If you forgive the faults of others, your heavenly Father will forgive yours. If you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive you."

While it is true that God's forgiveness is a free gift to us, it is also true that there is a condition to our ability to receive it and that condition is a difficult one. We must forgive the wrongs that others have been done to us.

The sad irony is that this too is a merciful act of God. The longer we hold on to what others have done to us the longer we allow those past wrongs to inflict their harm on us.

Forgiving means letting go.

Today may God give you the grace to forgive others and replace the pain of past hurts with his love and peace! #4

The House Call

"The healthy do not need a doctor; sick people do. I have not come to invite the self-righteous to a change of heart, but sinners."

We are all suffering from a terminal illness in that eventually we are all going to die. Some of us in fact are only living to die while some of us are dying to live.

Jesus came to help all of us since all of us our sinners.

Daily prayer is opening ourselves up to God's grace and leads us to a change of heart. This change of heart will lead to us seeing things differently.

Whereever you find yourself today may you hear Jesus say to you, "Follow me." #5

God's Felt Absence

"The days will come, when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast."

Jesus was asked why his disciples did not fast and he replied that it would not be right for the guests to fast while the bridegroom was with them but the day would come.

There are days when we do not feel like God is present to us and it is on those days that we need to fast because the temptation is to look for God in something else.

We can think that what we are missing is the latest fad that certainly will make us happy.

We can think that what we are missing is having a nice juicy steak on a Friday when we are supposed to abstain from eating meat.

We can think that it a person who could fill the void that only God can fill.

Ultimately we will be let down if we give into any of the temptations.

A question you might ask yourself today is "What do I do when I feel that God is far off?" #6

Life or Death?

"I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live, by loving the Lord, your God, heeding his voice, and holding fast to him."

Lent starts by with a ceremony that reminds us of our mortality. We know from observation that eventually all human beings die.

Is there anything that can save us from death?

Sometimes we hear that this or that will keep us young longer, or that imortality is on the horizon but most of us know that this is unlikely.

Yet most of us believe that we will survive death and most of us believe this because of the Christianity but Christianity is not a blank check.

Do I believe in Jesus?

Do I act as though every action that I will take today is a matter of life and death?

It is!

Today reflect on every word and action and see it as an invitation from God.

Do I spend the day blessing or cursing?

Do I spend the day choosing life or death?

Choose life!

#7

Lord Bless these Ashes

"Lord,

bless these ashes by which we show that we are dust.

Pardon our sins

and keep us faithful to the discipline of Lent,

for you do not want sinners to die

but to live with the risen Christ,

who reigns with for ever and ever.

Amen.

(from the Blessing of the Ashes used on Ash Wednesday)

Without Christ death is the end and we are nothing but ashes!

We have grown so used to thinking of the afterlife as a fact that we fail to reflect on what we witness in life. We do not see people after they have died. We do not have any scientific knowledge of there being an afterlife.

Faith in Christ and participating in his life is our hope for this. Today on this first day of Lent reflect on what it means to be a Christian. How is your life different because of Jesus?


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