BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD.
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………..
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!
In October 539 BCE, the Persian king Cyrus took Babylon, the ancient capital of an oriental empire covering modern Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Israel. In a broader sense, Babylon was the ancient world’s capital of scholarship and science. The subject provinces soon recognized Cyrus as their legitimate ruler. Since he was already lord of peripheral regions in modern Turkey and Iran and probably Afghanistan, the conquest of Babylon meant the birth of a true world empire. A remarkable aspect of the capture of Babylon is the fact that Cyrus allowed the Jews, who were exiled in Babylonia to return home.
Cyrus had defeated many nations and finally Babylon and had become the ruler of the then middle east. He was very tolerant and understanding toward the exiles and helped them reestablish themselves in their home land. Isaiah reflected on the attitudes and accomplishments of Cyrus and saw that God was at work in and through him (Isaiah 45:1, 4-6). He says God used the hands of a pagan king, to deliver his people, though the king did not even know it. Such was the love God had for his people. What a surprise!
This is really the “Amazing Grace” – God had used the hands of a pagan king, Cyrus, without even his knowing, and through this “pagan hands” saved His people, Israel. God is a God of everlasting, constant, steadfast Love.
God continues to reveal his plan and purpose even through the most unexpected people and situations. Be open to the surprises of the Spirit.
This is what the Psalmist sings in many of his hymns, poems and psalms!
Sing to the Lord a news song,
Sing to the Lord all you lands,
Sing to the Lord bless his name.
Announce his salvation day after day (Psalm 96)
This Psalm celebrates the return of the exiles from Babylon and the new beginning that God had offered them. The Psalmist calls the whole earth to sing to the Lord and tell the nations about the salvation God has won for His people, to glorify God for what He has done and to bring an offering of thanksgiving. Our God is a God of Holiness, who does marvelous things, who judges all peoples with righteousness and loving kindness and a God of unfailing faithfulness. All peoples are to be reached with this good news.
God makes all things new. Each day is a new day and each day calls for a new song. 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. And so……..
It is a new song that he calls us to sing. We cannot sing the old song of abandonment, alienation, loneliness, shame, desolation and such intense feelings. God makes all things new. Each day is a new day and each day calls for a new song. Every day and every moment opens for us new opportunities and new possibilities.
The sixth-century B.C.E. prophet tells us that the people of Judah were being given endearing names by God (Isaiah 62:1-5). These names give us images reflecting God’s special love for his people. They also reflect a change of status….”you shall be called by a new name” ….the exiles who were “Forsaken” and “Desolate” would soon be free to return home to their own land and their own way of life. They will be newly named “My delight” and “espoused”. God was claiming Judah as a groom claims his bride. A new relationship was emerging between God and the people.
The return from exile meant forgiveness, healing and reconciliation with God and the renewal of spousal love. God’s forgiveness was so complete that the prophet spoke of Judah as one still in a virginal state, untouched and untainted. So, the prophet shouts, “I will not be silent … I will not be quiet”.
You have a new name…you are called children of God, children of light! Rejoice and celebrate your new name and be faithful to this new identity! Our God not only brings us to new days and new surprises, but also gives us a new name. He says your name was “desolate”. You shall be called by a new name: My delight, Holy People, redeemed of the Lord, Frequented, and not forsaken (Isaiah 62:1-12). “See, upon the palm of my hands, I have written your name” (Isaiah 49:15-16).
God has his own special name for you. He chose you before the foundation of the world, formed you in your mother’s womb, knows and calls you by name right now.
I will change your name. You shall no longer be called wounded, outcast, lonely or afraid. I will change your name. Your name shall be confidence, joyfulness, overcoming one, faithfulness, friend of God, one who seeks my face” (D.J.Butler).
Take a moment and reflect:
Are there any names from which you need healing and freedom?
Do you know someone who is “wounded, outcast, lonely, or afraid? Can you do anything to change that name?
How about a change of name to “Confidence, Joyfulness, Overcoming one, Faithfulness, Friend of God, One who seeks the face of God.” Write these and other names down! Pray with those who need a name change.
Pray that the Holy Spirit will give you “new names” – new identities or deepened sense of identity that God gives you in Jesus.
Dear Lord, sometimes, I feel defined by those aspects of me that feel weak and vulnerable. Speak your word, Lord, the word that defines me anew. Give me that name that will define me as your own. AMEN.
The truth about every person is so incredibly rich and profound, beyond comprehension that the Scriptures have much to reveal to us………
“in the divine image, He created him: male and female he created them” (Gen.1:27).
“made him less than the angels and crowned with glory” (Ps. 8:6)
“thank you God, for I am, fearfully, wonderfully made”, (Ps139:14)
“you are fellow citizens of the saints and members of the household of God – being built to become a dwelling place for God in the spirit” (Eph.2:19-22)
“Thank you God, I am fearfully, wonderfully made…” (Psalm 139:14)
God has carefully created us and has given us all the tools we need to manage our lives with creativity and dignity.
Meditate on these words! You might want to remember them, dwell on them and draw strength from them the next time you feel overwhelmed and under-equipped.
Almighty God has crowded miracles into you. Why not let them come forth and live? (Norman Vincent Peale)
The Corinthian church had been experiencing disharmony as some of its members had claimed that their gifts were greater than those of others. St. Paul instructed them to recognize that their gifts, though different, had a common source: the same spirit and a common purpose: the well-being of the whole community (1 Corinthians 12:4-11). God has gifted each person with gifts and so the community is gifted in diverse ways for the good of the community. Paul invited the community to simply be grateful for all the gifts that God has given and use them for the well-being of your family and community!
Jesus and his disciples were invited to the wedding at Cana (John 2:1-11). The wedding host had come to a very embarrassing situation. He ran out of wine! He would have become what the Prophet called (See above) “desolate”, “embarrassed”, “Shamed”. Jesus changed his embarrassment in to joy as he changed water into wine.
Jesus has the power to change and transform embarrassing and shameful moments into joy-filled and grace-filled moments!
Take a few moments. Bring those embarrassing, shameful moments to Jesus your own or that of someone else you know and let Jesus transform them into grace-filled moments.
Take a moment and reflect over this thought for some time….
God is alive and at work in his holy temple (Palm 11:4), hearing prayer, forgiving sins, welcoming sinners home, waiting for people who flee or take refuge in him…..He is not away off in the mountains. God is governing his world from on high, noticing and testing every detail of human life. He tests both the just and the wicked (no favoritism). The upright shall behold God’s Face! (Psalm 11:7). Just be faithful and be joyful!
Pray Psalm 18 when you have a moment. David wrote this Psalm after he had finally won all his battles. He sees God as his strength, rock, fortress, deliverer, shield, Altar, stronghold and so on. He has learned to trust in God’s provident care. God’s act of deliverance is described in poetic language….God came riding on the cherubs and on the wings of the wind; He drew me out of many waters and brought me to a broad place. He delivered me because, “He delighted in me”. God has given himself to his people in love and his love is loyal, steadfast and unconquerable.
Read and prayerfully reflect over Psalm 18. Use your imagination. Visualize if you can, “God riding on the cherubs”, “riding on the wings of the wind”, “leaning toward me” because “He delights in me”.
You shall be called by a new name:
My delight, Holy People, redeemed of the Lord, Frequented, and not forsaken.
Fr. Gus Tharappel, msfs