Sunday, March 26, 2017

Lent - God-centered life

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Today's responsorial psalm for the Fourth Sunday of Lent gives us a vision of a radically God-centered life. And, in this case, radical does not meet revolutionary or abrasive or extreme. No, the word radical comes from the Latin word radix, which means "root." To center our lives on the God who is our shepherd is to go back to the very root of life, to the one who gives us everything we need.

And we can be grateful that God repeats this pattern throughout all of creation. Green pastures are naturally going to be balanced by dark valleys, but, in both joy and sorrow, the Lord provides for us and walks beside us.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Lent - Spiritual Training

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Hear, O Israel!
The Lord our God is Lord alone!
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul,
with all your mind,
and with all your strength.
The second is this:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no other commandment greater than these."
The scribe said to him, "Well said, teacher.
You are right in saying,
He is One and there is no other than he.
And to love him with all your heart,
with all your understanding,
with all your strength,
and to love your neighbor as yourself
is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices."

Today our Gospel from Saint Mark explains how we train ourselves in godliness?

He tells us what we need to do first.

Jesus recites the training mantra of the Shema. As an observant Jew, Jesus recited this combination of confession and prayer to God twice a day. Both during his morning and evening prayers. While sticking to this twice-daily ritual was itself a training regime, it is the message of the Shema that Jesus embodied so perfectly and which offers all of us a way toward complete and genuine godliness.

The Shema builds up the heart, soul, mind and strength. No element of human existence is excluded from this training in faith. The exercises of the Shema allow no parts of our being to remain flabby or unattended.

-- Does love of God overwhelm and overcome your heart, making every heartbeat keep pace with God's love for you?

-- Does love of God inform your mind, making love the mainspring of all your thoughts?

-- Does love of God penetrate your soul, making your every prayer a plea not for yourself and your own desires, but an offering formed and normed by love?

-- Does love of God flow through the strength of your body, making your every step a step toward love in action?

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Lenten - Forgiveness

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The only path to peace is forgiveness. Forgiveness given and received enables a new kind of relationship among people, breaking the spiral of hatred and revenge and shattering the chains of evil which bind the hearts of those in conflict with one another. For nations in search of reconciliation and for those who hope for peaceful co-existence between individuals and peoples, there is no other way than this: forgiveness given and received.

How full of salutary lessons are the words of the Lord: "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the just and the unjust" (Mt 5:44-45)! To love those who have offended us is to disarm them and to turn even a battle-field into an arena of mutual support and cooperation.

From Pope John Paul II Lenten Message of 2001.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Marianist Monday

“Look at the smallest blade of grass. Is there a human being skillful enough to make its like? Is there anyone else endowed with the power and authority to cause a grain of seed to multiply, as God does? Everything in nature sings the grandeur of God.”