Speak Lord: Build us up

DSC08561lisieux.jpg

Didn’t you realise that you were God’s temple and that the Spirit of God was living among you? If anybody should destroy the temple of God, God will destroy him, because the temple of God is sacred; and you are that temple.

Make no mistake about it: if any one of you thinks of himself as wise, in the ordinary sense of the word, then he must learn to be a fool before he really can be wise. Why? Because the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. As scripture says: The Lord knows wise men’s thoughts: he knows how useless they are; or again: God is not convinced by the arguments of the wise. So there is nothing to boast about in anything human: Paul, Apollos, Cephas, the world, life and death, the present and the future, are all your servants; but you belong to Christ and Christ belongs to God.

1 Corinthians 3:16-23

The reading above is the second reading that we will hear on Sunday, the 7th Sunday in Ordinary Time.

The Basilica of St Therese of Lisieux, in Lisieux is designed and decorated to give expression to her faith and her spirituality.

However perfect we are – remember the Gospel of Sunday which we considered yesterday? – we are unlikely to be afforded such honour.

However we do reveal our faith, our spirituality in our daily living in our choices and our attitudes, in our being. We bring glory to the Temple – by God’s grace! And sometimes we besmirch and sully it.

  • In what way does your daily living show you to be temple of God?
  • How does the life of your parish community reveal Christ?
  • How does it obscure him?

Basilica of St Therese. Lisieux. (c) 2015, Allen Morris

 

Speak Lord: God our King

Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy FaceThe responsorial psalm at Mass tomorrow, the 5th Sunday of Easter has the Church bless God’s name for his goodness, compassion and mercy. It has us look forward to when all creation will acknowledge God’s goodness and return to his loving rule.

 

I will bless your name for ever, O God my King.
or
Alleluia!

The Lord is kind and full of compassion,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
How good is the Lord to all,
compassionate to all his creatures.

All your creatures shall thank you, O Lord,
and your friends shall repeat their blessing.
They shall speak of the glory of your reign
and declare your might, O God,
to make known to men your mighty deeds
and the glorious splendour of your reign.

Yours is an everlasting kingdom;
your rule lasts from age to age.

Psalm 144:8-13

In a week where we have, many of us prayed, that our earthly monarch will long reign after us, we now also pray for that reign and rule of God: a reign of infinite extent and infinite goodness.

Sometimes accepting the rule of another seems to be about the limiting of our freedom. In the case of God’s rule it is there that we find our freedom.

  • Freedom for what?
  • And from what?

Statue of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, Cathedral of St Pierre, Lisieux. (c) 2014, Allen Morris

Taste and See: beloved children of God

Therese 6

The second reading on Sunday,  the Solemnity of All Saints, came from the first letter of St John.

Think of the love that the Father has lavished on us,
by letting us be called God’s children;
and that is what we are.
Because the world refused to acknowledge him,
therefore it does not acknowledge us.
My dear people, we are already the children of God
but what we are to be in the future has not yet been revealed;
all we know is, that when it is revealed
we shall be like him
because we shall see him as he really is.
Surely everyone who entertains this hope
must purify himself, must try to be as pure as Christ.

1 John 3:1-3

It is not only the world that sometimes fails to recognise our dignity as children of God.

How often do we fail to recognise that dignity ourselves? We are sometimes so conscious of our faults and failings that we forget we are loved and cherished. We can be blind to the love of the Father and the Son for us, of the grace of God shared in countless ways so that we might be drawn on to holiness, our fulfilment in love.

We can be blind to the truth about God and blind to the truth about ourselves. How fortunate that the loving and patient God looks out for us, caring and protecting us, simply because God loves us. Worthy of God’s love we surely are not. But love, true love, does not weigh our merit. Love loves, and we are object of God’s love.

What encouragement that extraordinary truth can give us, as we try to make the most of each situation, trying to be open to the opportunity it gives for stepping forward in faith and hope.

  • What challenge do you face today?
  • What encouragement do you find in the reminder of God’s love for you?
 Photograph of statue of St Therese of Lisieux in Cathédrale Saint-Pierre, Lisieux. Therese was animated by love. She knew herself beloved by God and strove to live that love in countless ways. Photograph (c) 2014, Allen Morris

Speak Lord: Learn from me…

 

Therese 5

The words of Jesus that we hear in the Gospel today are spoken after the death of John the Baptist, after the rejection of the gospel in Chorazin, in Bethsaida, and even his ‘own town’ of Capernaum. These reject but others, perhaps surprising others, accept the Gospel. And for this Jesus blesses his Father.

As you read the passage, what word, phrase, or sentence stands out for you?

You might hold on to that word, phrase, or sentence, and let it remain present to you over the coming hours, pondering it in your heart. Then bring the fruits of your pondering to God in prayer.

Jesus exclaimed, ‘I bless you, Father, Lord of heaven and of earth, for hiding these things from the learned and the clever and revealing them to mere children. Yes, Father, for that is what it pleased you to do. Everything has been entrusted to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, just as no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

‘Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest. Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden light.’

Matthew 11:25-30

This gospel passage is so often heard at Funerals, offering comfort and hope to those who mourn, and who have often enough seem family of friends struggle for months or years under the burden of chronic sickness or terminal illness.

It is a passage, of course, originally spoken to those in the prime of life.

It challenges we who struggle on, trying to save the world by our own efforts, to wise-up, and learn other ways.

It invites us to learn the ways of faith, and by them to come close to Christ who helps shoulder our load and shares with us his burden of love and service – a burden borne in his ministry of gentleness and respect.

Image of St Therese of Lisieux taken from https://www.facebook.com/SaintThereseofLisieux/photos_stream