BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD.
Be in your prayer space, follow the usual steps and settle into silence.
Sit still…..Relax…….Do not rush………
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……
Now from the depth of your heart begin to wish your mind well……….
Take a moment. Bless your day. Let your day Bless you……Take another moment. Bless your world. Let your world bless you……
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…….Now from the depth of heart, wish your mind well……
Now I invite you to consecrate this day and all that come with this day….in your own way, in humble, simple, may be even inadequate words………..
I pray for you and I invite you to pray for each other and for all, who, at this moment, are receiving the gift of this new day!
We continue our meditation on keeping our faith alive. Our last meditation was on the virtue of “hospitality” which was at the heart of the live of early Christians, which sustained and kept their faith alive. And that is what should keep our faith alive today.
We now continue our meditation on being hospitable as a way of letting our faith come to life and change our relationships.
I invite you today to spend some time with some of the strangers that I had welcomed into my “home” many years ago. Perhaps, this will enable you to remember some of the strangers that you welcomed into your “home”. I have never met them in person, that is, in the flesh…but I welcomed them into my life.
They were strangers…….they were guests……now they are home to stay…..friends forever! I have come to know them, personally, intimately……their stories have enabled me to trust the mystery within, to trust myself, to trust God, to trust others…..their coming into my life enriched my faith, helped me to be more optimistic, enriched my prayer life, kept me faithful on my journey of faith….they helped me find and re-find Christ in my life!.
I often wonder what would have happened to me if I had not welcomed them home!!!! And what would have happened to me if I had let them remain strangers!!! I am more amazed at what has happened and what continues to happen in my life because they are no more strangers and guests…… I have come to know them, personally, intimately…they are home to stay…..they have now become friends forever!
Allow me to tell you a few things about a few of the strangers who have become friends forever. I am telling you about them to invite you and to encourage you to remember the strangers who came into your life…..to be hospitable….to welcome them home….and to let them become friends forever…….
Take a moment…..Be still!
Try to remember strangers who came into your life and have become your friends…..
Begin again…… Wish your mind well before you read further.
I remember, many years ago, learning about John the Baptist. He was not just a stranger; he was strange in so many ways. He came with great passion, with fire and with a simplicity and honesty that was attractive, challenging and demanding…..He kept pointing to Christ; he continues to call forth conversion of life; he continues to inspire simplicity, honesty, integrity and passion …..
I remember meeting the crippled woman in Luke’s Gospel (Lk. 13:10-17). She was held in bondage for eighteen years. Welcoming Christ enabled her to stand straight and praise God. She continues to challenge me to stand straight and walk straight and invite others to stand their ground and be steadfast……
I remember meeting Bartimeus, the blind man in Mark’s Gospel (Mk.10:46-52). Nothing stopped him from crying out: “I want to see”. Desire to see more…..search for a clearer vision that is still very moving…….
I met Ruth and Naomi…they are women of strength and devotion, sensitive, attentive and loyal to each other, models of fidelity on the journey……..they continue to call me to faithfulness and loyalty on the journey…….
I remember Moses, investigating a strange phenomenon, a bush on fire, not knowing he was going to be on fire! I remember him overwhelmed with divine experience, feeling his feet on holy ground, begging the Lord to send someone else….with fear and trembling he took up the mission given to him by the Lord….How blessed I am to welcome him!
I remember meeting Abraham and Sarah……leaving familiar territories and people and moving into the mystery of the unknown and the untried…waiting and trusting….called to be blessing for the nations…….What a challenge! To be blessing for others!
I remember meeting Jeremiah. He sounded crazy and many things about him felt strange. The first thing I read about him was cursing the day of his birth. It was both amusing and sad that he cursed the man who brought the news about his birth to his father. In the middle of it all, he was praising his God. He was a man who couldn’t keep quiet…the word of God was imprisoned in his bones! He had to let the “Word” out…God’s word couldn’t be imprisoned. He spoke and ended up in a mud hole! He continues to inspire and challenge me to stand and walk steadfast on Gods’ word!
I remember meeting Francis De Sales…..gentleness, simplicity, optimism, hospitality, loving kindness, compassion, contemplation…..little virtues……Oh not so little, have become real and have become moving forces in my life! I learned a strange word from him, “Disinterested Love”. It took a long time before it made sense. One day I could come to see Love as a “one way street” and it began to make sense…hard to explain, but it is very freeing and joy-filled and grace-filled!
I remember meeting my mother one day….having lived with her from the time of my birth, a real meeting happened one day. Life and Faith and Hope and Love and Jesus and all that goes with Jesus became real and alive. I keep meeting her every morning and she has a way of making things alright as she always did! This morning she did it again!
This meditation remains incomplete…….for you to complete!
Now take time…..complete it! Take time…remember the strangers who came into your life…… Reflect on how you have welcomed them and how they have become your friends and how they continue to walk with you…….
Be grateful for today and every day, for the miracle of life, for the amazing grace and blessing of your history, for the men and women who gave you spirit and tradition and for today, be specially grateful for your family and your community…….
May the “Year of Faith” be God’s wonderful gift to you and I pray that you will make it a gracious and joyful gift to others.
Keep your faith alive and your faith will keep you alive!
Fr. Gus Tharappel, msfs