Friday, June 24, 2016

Will you follow me? Mercy Meditation for June 26, 2016

"No one who sets a hand to the plow
and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God."

At first glance, today’s readings seem a bit harsh. Elisha is called to succeed Elijah the prophet quite suddenly. His request to say goodbye to his family is ignored. But ultimately, Elisha’s response to this radical call to discipleship is to accept the challenge and follow Elijah. In the same way, the Gospel reading contains Jesus’s warning to those who participate in the proclamation of the Gospel: they will have nowhere to rest, and must forsake even family duties. Only those who are ready to abandon all for the kingdom are fit to serve God.

 Yet even this harsh warning shows God’s great mercy, because the Lord is preparing His followers for the difficult path ahead. The call to participate in the ministry of Christ is given only to a few, and discernment is necessary before deciding follow Christ in this way. The Lord desires to make them fully aware of all they must give up in accepting a religious vocation. This is why seminarians and religious have such long periods of formation and discernment. They must be prepared for a life unlike any other, a life of hardship and self-sacrifice, but also filled with the greatest love of all: the love of God and service to his people. All those called to serve in this way must respond without reservation. What is truly amazing is that, despite the warnings and the hardships, so many do say “yes.”

 When you hear God’s call, whether to religious life, marriage, or another vocation, are you prepared to give up all else and follow Him? He will give you the grace you need to answer His call, but will not force you to say “yes” – He will always defer to your free will. Whatever path you choose, He will not abandon you but will continue to call you to perfection, if you just listen for His voice in all things.


Sunday, June 19, 2016

"Who do you say that I am?"

In the beautiful book "Come Be My Light," many of the personal letters and writings of Mother Teresa are shared, including her reflections on Jesus's question to the disciples, which we heard in today's Gospel: "Who do you say that I am?"

Writing from her hospital bed in 1983, (pp. 301-304) Blessed Mother Teresa responds to that eternal question with these words:
You are God.
You are God from God.
You are Begotten, not made.
You are one in substance with the Father.
You are the Son of the Living God.
You are the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity.

You are one with the Father.
You are in the Father from the beginning.
All things were made by You and the Father.
You are the Beloved Son in Whom the Father is well pleased.
You are the Son of Mary,
conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of Mary.
You were born in Bethlehem.
You were wrapped in swaddling clothes by Mary
and put in the manger full of straw.
You were kept warm by the breath of the donkey
that carried Your mother with You in her womb.
You are the Son of Joseph,
the carpenter, as known by the people of Nazareth.
You are an ordinary man without much learning,
as judged by the learned people of Israel.

Who is Jesus to me?

Jesus is the Word made Flesh.
Jesus is the Bread of Life.
Jesus is the victim offered for our sins on the Cross.
Jesus is the Sacrifice offered at the Holy Mass
for the sins of the world and mine.
Jesus is the Word - to be spoken.
Jesus is the Truth - to be told.
Jesus is the Way - to be walked.
Jesus is the Light - to be lit.
Jesus is the Life - to be lived.
Jesus is the Love - to be loved.
Jesus is the Joy - to be shared.
Jesus is the Sacrifice - to be offered.
Jesus is the Peace - to be given.
Jesus is the Bread of Life - to be eaten.
Jesus is the Hungry - to be fed.
Jesus is the Thirsty - to be satiated.
Jesus is the Naked - to be clothed.
Jesus is the Homeless - to be taken in.
Jesus is the Sick - to be healed.
Jesus is the Lonely - to be loved.
Jesus is the Unwanted - to be wanted.
Jesus is the Leper - to wash his wounds.
Jesus is the Beggar - to give him a smile.
Jesus is the Drunkard - to listen to him.
Jesus is the Retarded - to protect him.
Jesus is the Little One - to embrace him.
Jesus is the Blind - to lead him.
Jesus is the Dumb - to speak for him.
Jesus is the crippled - to walk with him.
Jesus is the Drug Addict - to befriend him.
Jesus is the Prostitute - to remove from danger and befriend.
Jesus is the Prisoner - to be visited.
Jesus is the Old - to be served.

To me:

Jesus is my God.
Jesus is my Spouse.
Jesus is my Life.
Jesus is my only Love.
Jesus is my All in All.
Jesus is my Everything.
Jesus, I love with my whole heart, my whole being.
I have given Him all, even my sins, and He has espoused me to
Himself in tenderness and love.
Now and for life I am the spouse of my Crucified Spouse. Amen.


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