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 lives of early Christians, which sustained and kept their faith alive. And that is what should keep our faith alive today.
Keeping our faith alive means living noble and virtuous lives and for us it means the practice of Christian virtues. Living virtuous lives has become a very challenging and difficult and even troublesome work in the modern world where a culture of suspicion has been developing over many years, where fear keeps us from entering each other’s lives, where selfishness has become the norm and where consumerism has become a way of life.
In this mediation, we want to reflect on how our God has gifted us with virtues that free us and empower us to keep our faith alive and enable us to live noble and virtuous lives.
God has gifted us with faith which contains within it the potency to unity and goodness. This means that we have an inner, inherent disposition to unity and goodness. Keeping faith alive by living noble and virtuous lives is a way of recognizing, accepting, expressing and celebrating this inner disposition.
God has gifted us with hope which enables us to see goodness in the world, to be optimistic about the world around us and stand strong in the face of the pains, struggles and tragedies that life brings. Keeping faith alive by living noble and virtuous lives is a way of reaching out with this hope to those around us…of being a light in darkness!
God has gifted us with love which transcends competition and control and reaches out in selfless and generous service. Keeping faith alive by living noble and virtuous lives is a way of loving and caring and being a channel of blessing and grace for others!
Faith, Hope and Love bring us into communion with others – bind us together into caring, welcoming families and communities. Keeping faith alive by living noble and virtuous lives is a way of reaching out in communion and fellowship with others.
God has gifted us with a heart of love and compassion. Compassion enables us to enter into solidarity with a joyful person, a suffering person and a person with great passion for his calling. Keeping faith alive by living noble and virtuous lives is a way of understanding and sharing the passion of others.
God has gifted us with a call to serve. We are called to be men and women of service. Service is an inseparable virtue. Keeping faith alive by living noble and virtuous lives is a way of serving God by serving others…..a virtuous life is a gift to the world.
Remember Jesus bending his knees before his disciples with a bowl of water, to wash their feet… assuming the role of a servant at the door, the servant who fulfilled the ritual of hospitality!!!
Accept the gift of love in this “foot-washing” and share it with others. Remember the times you have refused this gift! Take a moment….remember: you and I stand in constant need of foot washing!
Our baptism brings us into solidarity with Christ and with him into solidarity with all people as brothers and sisters…….. Keeping faith alive by living noble and virtuous lives deepens this sense of solidarity.
Reflect on the many opportunities available to you for being men and women of service.
Look beyond the immediate…beyond the ordinary…beyond service within the circle of family and friends…to solidarity with all people in service, in self-sacrifice…..in sacrificial love!
Reflect on being called to be men of service. Let all you do become service with a passion for God and God’s people……service and sacrifice are inseparable virtues.
God has given us the gift of courage. Keeping faith alive by living noble and virtuous lives has become a very difficult and troublesome work in the modern world and demands courage and lots of it! It is fear that makes us strangers and keeps us strangers. It is fear that keeps us from entering each other’s lives and celebrating who we are with one another. And it is often fear that prevents us from keeping our faith alive by living noble and virtuous lives.
The only weapon strong enough to destroy fear is trust…trusting self and trusting others and trusting our God. This means taking risks and becoming vulnerable. And it takes courage and lots of it to take risks and become vulnerable…..
It is this gift of courage that helps us be steadfast, stand strong and persevere even when our plans are not working out, when we meet with disappointments, when hatred, jealousies, greed and other such slings and arrows surround us or when God seems silent even when we pray faithfully. Courage is our spiritual muscle that enables us to do the right thing and endure suffering and hardship that come with making the right, the wise and the difficult choices and letting our faith become real for us and for others.
God has given us the gift of His wisdom…continues to give us the good counsel and the gentle wisdom of His Holy Spirit to help us discern…..to guide us to be prudent in making choices. Christian living often demands that we become vulnerable and be open to taking risks…..not any risk, but calculated risks…discerned risks. We take risks where risk is healthy, good and holy, where risk is a virtue.
It is unwise and unhealthy to welcome all situations and all kinds of people into our life. We live in a society where welcoming all strangers and all situations can be dangerous to us, to our children and to innocent and vulnerable people. God has given us the gift of wisdom…his good Council to help us discern his will in uncertain and difficult situations. We need the wisdom of God to guide us in living our faith and keeping our faith alive.
Full of life and energy or tired and weary, full of doubts and fears or free and unafraid, we must strive to be faithful, to be true to ourselves, to be authentic in all we say and do, to be men and women of integrity, to be steadfast in living our faith and in loving our God and giving ourselves generously to one another in love and service….to let our faith be real where we are, to keep our faith alive by living noble and virtuous lives!
Some use their faith like a bus – they ride on it only when it is going their way. Let us choose to let our faith carry us…even to those places we would rather not go!
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