To lose is to find


July 16

The Gospel reading today from Matthew is rich in importance and explains so clearly how much we are called to love God.

“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me.”

Wow. This call, while so large, is so beautiful. And we have living examples of individuals who have embraced this very Gospel. Mary, Abraham, all the saints- each individual allowed God to love them to the point of becoming entirely His. And this example is something we, too, must follow.

Tonight, make a list of the important things in your life. Then, order them based on how you spend the most time. Finally, look at your list of priorities. What does it say?

Lord, reorder my life to revolve around You and not the other way around. Amen.

His Glory


July 15

Ephesians 1:3-14 holds a very special place in my heart. There is so much wisdom and beauty packed in these verses.

To summarize some of them:

•God has blessed us in Christ with EVERY spiritual blessing in the heavens
•He CHOSE us in Him before the foundation of the world
•He chose us to be holy and WITHOUT blemish before Him
•We are destined for adoption to Himself through Jesus
•We have been redeemed by His blood
•He has told us the mysteries of His will
•We were destined according to His will to EXIST for the PRAISE of His glory

In mass today, the priest shared with us that God has given each and every single one of us the authority to go out and share Him with the world.

If you need an extra boost of courage to take the authority He’s given you, reread the list above, and let Him remind you of all the great things YOU are destined for!

Nothing is Concealed


July 14

“Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known.”

One thing I’ve learned over the years about sin is that the more I hide it, or pretend it doesn’t exist, the larger it grows. But the closer I get to the source of Light, the more I have to acknowledge its existence.

A friend once said that our sin is like the dirt on a windshield; the more we drive in the direction of the sun, the clearer the spots become.

See, sin and darkness cannot remain unexposed forever. At some point, it becomes too much to handle. Whether it’s tomorrow, or in two decades, we will have to face our own wretchedness, because we have a Father who really loves us and wants the absolute best for us.

God, I know how pitiful I am when I try and pretend I’m okay where I am. Help me to face my weaknesses, knowing You are right there with me. You, Father, will never leave me to face it alone, and because of Your light, I can do all things through You who strengthens me.

He will Provide


July 13

“You will be given at that moment what you are to say.”

In the Gospel of Matthew today, Jesus tells the Apostles that when they are handed over, there is no need to worry about how to speak or what to say, because they will be given at that moment what to say as the Holy Spirit speaks through them.

This calls to mind the importance of inviting the Holy Spirit on this journey of life each day. Daily interactions with others, life decisions, and minor/major inconveniences are handled a WHOLE LOT differently if I know the Holy Spirit is there first, guiding my conversations, helping me discern, and reminding me to offer things up!

That’s the thing- He will provide, and, guess what?! He wants to!

Your health? Your family struggles? Your education and career paths? Your marriage? Your parenting? Your future spouse? He has the keys. You just have to trust Him.

What is it you’re struggling with? Say it out loud, and invite Him in. And continue to, even if you don’t always believe it. And then sit back, and watch Him surprise you.

Father, your ways are SO much higher than mine. Teach me to trust you, and grace me with your faith. Humble me so I know I am nothing without you. I cannot wait for the surprises you have in store!

Homecoming


July 12

“The more I called them, the farther they went from me.”

When you were a kid, were you the type of child who listened and did what you were told? Did you trust without question and adhere to the rules? Or, were you like me, and a little more rebellious? Did you have a desire to find things out on your own because of too large a need for curiosity? If you’re like me, the results weren’t usually as positive as the good kids who did what they were told!

I try and think of how God must have felt, how he currently feels, when His people just do not listen. He promises us all the desires of our heart, yet we think we know our hearts better. He guarantees us the Kingdom of Heaven if only we believe in Him and follow His commands; we prefer this earthly kingdom and make our own rules. He entrusts us with the gift of life-our very own body, mind, and soul, yet we take possession of it and think it belongs to us.

How often do we break His most perfect heart by our childish and self-centered ways! Yet, He continues to call us and desires our return. We are each the prodigal in our own way.
One of my favorite quotes is, “We have enough crosses to bear; we don’t need to create more for ourselves.” It’s time to go home. When are you going to stop running away from Him, and instead, throw yourself into His arms?

Summoned


July 11

“Jesus summoned…” When we read scripture, it can be so tempting to think that the Gospel stories have nothing to do with our own lives and time in history. It’s easy to pretend that what happened while the Twelve disciples were living amongst Jesus has no influence on our day to day lives. But in not recognizing the precise relationship between the disciples and Jesus and each of us and Jesus, we ignore the voice of God.

Indeed, as He called the Twelve, so He calls us. Yes, He “summons” us to go forth and proclaim the Good News. Every single one of us! In fact, He summons us daily in still, small voices. When you wake up and are exhausted, He calls you to work for the Kingdom. When you’re at your job and bored with your tasks, He asks you to offer it up. When He tells you to wait and trust in His promises, He guides you through the darkness.
Each moment of our lives is a summon, a call, to follow His voice.
One of the most beautiful lessons He has recently taught me is to offer up any moment of discomfort for another individual. He has summoned me to make sacrifices, to go beyond myself for the sake of someone I love, trusting His plan and giving Him my heart.

His voice, although so gentle, is profoundly bold and mighty. His “first language”, indeed, “is silence”, and through it, His summons can always be heard.

Occasions of Sin


July 10

“When Ephraim made many altars to expiate sin, his altars became occasions of sin. Though I write for him my many ordinances, they are considered as a stranger’s.” Close your eyes and think about the last time you tried to do something without God.  Finding friends, starting relationships, looking for a new job, going on a vacation…how easy it is for us to do things without inviting God to go there first to prepare the field for sowing. Now, what about the times you have tried to eradicate sin from your life on your own, especially those things that have such deep roots?  What does it look like when we do this…or anything…without Him?  We fail.  And the things we wanted so bad don’t last because they aren’t fruitful…and the things we wanted to disappear keep coming back because it is impossible to remove the weeds without the gardener.

What if you tried to do things differently from today on?  What if you invited God to join you on this journey each step of the way?  What if you sought Him and trusted He would give you the desires of your heart?  And what if you recognized that your sins have already been paid for?  But without His mercy and grace and forgiveness, you will keep drowning with the chains of sin tied around your ankles.

Lord, I invite you to come with me from now on as I journey this life.  Father, bring me the friendships and community that can bring me closer to You…those individuals that I can also be an instrument for.  Give me the grace to trust in Your providence and goodness…that You will provide the desires of my heart.  Fill me with the joy that transcends my own expectations.  Remove all temptation and desire for sin from my heart and break the chains that pull me under.

Amen!

Speaking to the Heart


July 9

“I will allure her…and speak to her heart.”

This passage from Hosea got me thinking about marriage and what it means to speak to another’s heart. God speaks to ours, so we are to speak to each other’s. What does this look like?

“I will espouse you to me forever: I will espouse you in right and in justice, in love and in mercy; I will espouse you in fidelity, and you shall know the Lord.”

When a man and woman enter into marriage, they are espoused to each other. And if they’re speaking to each other’s heart, they are gently sharing a language of righteousness and justice, love and mercy, fidelity and honor… a language that leads the other to our Lord.

Each grows closer to our Father through that tender love of the other’s heart. What a gift He has given us in our vocations to speak into and through the heart of another!

Today, who’s heart is God calling you to speak to? Is it through prayer? Forgiveness? Conversation? Sacrifice?

Ask Him to show you the heart He wants you to shower with love and listen to His call!

A Thorn in the Flesh


July 8

“That I, Paul, might not become too elated, because of the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, an angel of Satan, to beat me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me, but He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.”

These words from scripture are some of my very favorite lines. And here’s why:

I often talk with others about their crosses and the sins they struggle with, including their root sins. Paul reminds us that just because we have a propensity to do something doesn’t mean we should. I think we often feel as if we are the only ones who struggle with sin; and for each of us, those sins are specific and usually point to an underlying root. Sins of pride, vanity, and sensuality can often vary, yet sometimes, they overlap.

Here, though, we are reminded that God may not take that disordered desire for sin away; BUT He will give us the grace to endure. In fact, He will never let anything tempt us without the perfect amount of grace to overcome. Indeed, if He doesn’t take it away, it isn’t because you should submit to that desire; it’s because He is calling you closer to Him and allowing you to see your wretchedness without Him. What does He want you to learn? How is He drawing you closer to Him through it?

Tonight, spend some time with God. Ask Him to remove all sin from your life (and go to Confession if you need to this week). If a desire remains that doesn’t point to Him, ask Him for the grace to overcome. He will provide. “Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and the door shall be opened to you.”

On that Day


July 7

Today’s readings are FILLED with hope and promise.

In Amos, God promises abundance “on that day”. He declares that “the juice of grapes shall drip down the mountains, and all the hills shall run with it.” From Psalm 85, He exclaims that salvation is near and the land SHALL yield its increase… that He will give His benefits.

From the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus tells the disciples of John that fasting will occur once He is taken; and that the importance of fasting is to be made new.

God calls us to abandon ourselves and trust in His goodness and mercy. His hope is there for the taking, but we must die to our old ways of doing things. God is PROMISING each of us an abundance- we must have hope, though, in His words.

If God is currently calling you to wait, how is He asking you to have hope in the fruit of due season? What promises has He made to you, and what grace do you need to hold onto those?

Lord, I am overjoyed at the promises of tomorrow! My heart is filled with hope in what lies ahead. Guide me as I am made anew, and overshadow me with your grace of endurance!
Amen!