Be in your prayer space, follow the usual steps and settle into silence.
Take a couple of gentle, slow and deep breaths…becoming aware of your breath going in and out… stay focused on this breath of life……
Breathe in all that is of God and from God…all that is true, honest, pure, admirable, noble, decent, virtuous, worthy of praise, good, loving, kind – all that deserves respect..
Settle into silence, into peacefulness, into profound silence, into pure joy. Keep listening in quietness, stillness and serenity. Come to that place, that space within, that place of deep silence – Solitude…to just being here and now, without having to accomplish something.
Now I invite you to consecrate your time and all that come with this moment….in your own way, in humble, simple, may be even inadequate words………..
Every day that we wake up is a good day. Every breath that we take is filled with hope for a better day. Every word that we speak is a chance to change what is bad into something good….every moment of the day brings new opportunities and possibilities.
May this moment and all other coming moments open new doors for you and may God bless you with wisdom and courage to walk in faith, as you continue your journey of life!
This meditation is on our prophetic calling to be vigilant, attentive and watchful. We have been anointed with a prophetic mission at our baptism. Among the many things that prophetic mission implies, the one that stands out is the call to look out for the well-being of the community, to call our brothers and sisters to be vigilant, to warn others of dangers lurking around and to call others to justice and faithfulness.
Watchman on the city walls or out on the hills formed part of the defense system in biblical times. They had to sound a warning when undesired foreigners or strangers were spotted. Ezekiel saw the prophet as such a watchman in charge of the well-being of the community. He must fulfill his mission.
Ezekiel, the prophet reflected on his responsibility (Ezekiel 33: 7-9) to call his people to conversion, to point to the presence of evil, to warn people of the dangers of wickedness and call forth change. He reflects on his responsibility to be vigilant like a watchman on the city wall.
We share in this prophetic mission of Ezekiel: to be vigilant, to be the voice of God, to be mutually correcting and forgiving, and be supportive of each other. Ezekiel describes this mutual concern as a personal responsibility for which God will hold us accountable.
In his letter to the Romans Paul spoke about man’s debt to society. He insisted that man should pay his debt to society however unpleasant it may be. He has certain obligations to the state and to the local authorities and he must fulfill these obligations (Romans 13:1-7).
After his thoughts on obligations to the State, he speaks of obligations to one another. He says, we have no debts to each other “except to love each other” (Romans 13:8-10). This is the fulfillment of the Law. All commandments are held together by this one command to “love each other”. Mutual love calls forth mutual support and mutual correction. Love, he says is the complete fulfillment of the Law. This is expressed in our concern for the well-being of others.
The one debt that a man must pay every day and yet, at the same time, must go on owing every day, is the debt to “love each other”.
Jesus taught his disciples to make honest efforts to help one another recognize and correct the mistakes and wrong-doings. He taught them to spare no effort to correct a person. He also taught them to be patient in correcting brothers and sisters as God is patient and offer one another every chance for change (Mathew 18:15-20). He taught them to treat them as Gentiles and tax collectors if they refuse to respond, after all efforts have been made. Jesus gave them his own example of how to treat Gentiles and tax Collectors, with understanding and compassion.
“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector (Mathew 18:15-17).
Our baptismal anointing calls us to help and support one another realize mistakes and correct them. We are called to be vigilant, be watchful and correct one another. We must help one another change and become more responsible.
Watchfulness is a necessary spiritual posture for a transformation of our life in the Spirit! To be watchful is to be attentive, to be vigilant, to be awake, to be alert! It is like the presence of the shepherd to the sheep – Alert, Awake, Attentive, Vigilant, Caring, Seeking, Self-sacrificing (John 10; Psalm 23). The shepherd keeps vigil, stays alert and awake and attentive. The shepherd is attentive to the needs of the sheep, to the dangers around, to the thieves or the wild animals that are ready to strike, to the straying sheep and all else that concerns the sheep.
Watchfulness is a healthy disposition which nurtures a culture of meaningful relationship, genuine caring for one another that includes a certain openness of life between members in families and communities, where members discipline, instruct, serve, forgive, show compassion, mourn and rejoice with one another. It takes watchfulness to care well for those entrusted to our care; to teach sound doctrine, healthy values and morals; develop noble friendships and relationships. Conscious, deliberate and extensive “watching” is necessary to care well for those entrusted to our care.
It’s also important to watch our conduct and our doctrine (1 Tim. 4:16). This is particularly true of parents, teachers and pastors. But it is also true for every Christian who is involved in helping the members of family and community to watch their lives, their doctrine, their ethical and moral conduct, their faith and prayer life. It is our Christian responsibility to correct one another and to call one another to fidelity.
It takes time to consider the diverse needs of individual members in your care. And I’ve learned that taking that time is essential to faithfully watching over those entrusted to our care and preserving and maintaining the health of the community. Watchfulness, definitely, is not spying on our neighbors, gossiping, being unforgiving or fostering mistrust. These are the opposite of watchfulness.
Our baptismal anointing calls us to be attentive to what is happening within us and around us and about us. We must be watchful on our journey! Look more attentively, closely and deeply on our journey….look at where our heart has been and where it is now. Has it been and is it in a good place, a peaceful place, a safe place, a quiet place? Let us be watchful and keep our heart in a good place!
Be watchful of places and people and situations that challenged you, tested you, discouraged you, and may be, even hurt you……Be attentive to what these experiences have taught you.
Be watchful of roadblocks, detours or dead ends during your journey.
Be watchful of places where you felt stuck or lost or the times you felt like moving backwards and make good and wise choices.
Be watchful and mindful of old destructive behaviors, negative patterns of thinking or abusive situations…… they may be dead ends and closed roads for your personal growth.
Be watchful of whatever is going on in your life. You may have been on the move…..on the fast-moving, busy highways…in a hurry to get somewhere or accomplish something….may be just a little too much going on. Be watchful!
Pay attention! You may have heard this from your parents or from your teachers. Maybe you’ve heard it from the policeman who just pulled you over. Maybe you are half-asleep during the sermon. Maybe you are thinking about something else when someone is trying to share important things about his/her life
Be watchful…Be attentive…Pay attention! Maybe you are just going through the motions and have missed the moments of grace that God has put in front of you because you were not paying attention. Pay attention to your desires. We have all kinds of desires. Pay attention to the desires that need to be purified or abandoned or carefully and tenderly taken care of.
Pay attention to those wonderful desires that are there but have not been acted upon and see what you would like to do to respond to those desires.
It takes Vigilance to discover and correct our own mistakes and keep our conduct consistent with our calling and commitments. Be attentive to what is important and what is trivial, what needs action now and what is not really all that urgent. Be attentive to whatever is going on beneath the surface. There is always something beyond what seems urgent.
Pay attention…notice the “moments of grace” in your life. These moments are not just random moments, just something that happens to you…they are what you can offer someone else. The times that you can be there for someone, listen to someone, compliment someone, help someone and serve someone. Those are the moments in life worth paying attention to….they are moments of Grace and now is the moment of grace.
It takes real discipline to “attend to” – take note of – ordinary things. For most of us, it takes deliberate effort to be attentive. Major happenings like birth, moving, promotion, financial loss, death, etc. force themselves on our consciousness. The ordinary realities of life simply pass by; they just go by or we just go by them. Morning comes and evening comes, one day passes.
It takes real discipline to be attentive to our shortfalls, limitations, imperfections. It is ease to ignore them and dismiss them as insignificant. Most of us don’t commit crimes or have major failures. We have imperfections and shortfalls. If we are not attentive to our imperfections, they have a tendency to take hold of us.
Be attentive…be Vigilant…Be present to the moment!
Be present to others! Be present to yourself!
Be present to God and God’s way for you!
Now is the moment of Grace!
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” (Hebrews 12:5-11)
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. (Galatians 6:1)
Take time to reflect on what you can do to cultivate watchfulness!
Take a moment and pray….
Lord, help me to care and care deeply, intensely and personally,
Help me to be alert, awake, attentive, vigilant and sensitive to the needs of others,
Empower me to respond with tenderness and compassion,
Teach me to look out for other’s needs rather than my own,
Fr. Gus Tharappel, msfs