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Keeping Faith Alive (17)

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 prayer and prayerfulness as essential to keeping our faith alive. How could faith be kept alive without intimate contact with the one in whom we believe? We now continue our reflections on prayer and prayerfulness as ways of keeping our faith alive today.

Prayer should not be our attempt to bend God’s will to our desires – but must be a surrender of our will to Gods’ will – bringing our will into harmony with God’s will.

Surrender as a virtue is difficult for all people to understand and to practice. The word surrender is often confused with giving up.

Surrender is not a word often associated with positive actions. After all, “surrender in the name of the law” usually means trouble for someone. And we know that when one side surrenders to another in battle, it’s a sign they’ve given up any hope for victory.

Surrender is not giving up or giving in or resignation or submission because there is no other possibilities. Surrender is a very dynamic and positive experience. Surrender may be understood as “giving over” or “yielding” or still better would be “gifting”. “Sur” means “back” and “rendere” means give (in Latin) – meaning giving over or handing over.

Surrender means yielding ownership, relinquishing control over what we consider ours: our property, our time, our “rights”, our desires. When we surrender to God, we are simply acknowledging that what we “own” actually belongs to Him. He is the giver of all good things.

We are responsible to care for what God has given us, as stewards of His property, but by surrendering to God, we admit that He is ultimately in control of everything, including our present circumstances.

Surrendering to God enables us to let go of whatever has been holding us back from God’s best for our lives. By surrendering to God, we let go of whatever has kept us from wanting God’s ways first.

Remember the story of Adam and Eve. We have no idea what would have happened if they had surrendered to God, rather than listening to their own desires. What God desires for us…what God has in his heart for us is what suits us, what is tailor-made for us, what fits our character. We can know that only if we surrender our desires, our longings and our “rights” to God.

What is it that you desire today? What desire or “right” are you clinging to, even though deep down inside you know you’d be better off if you gave it up? Do you think that voice, deep down inside, could be God giving you the same choice He gave Adam and Eve?

God loved us so much that He sent His son Jesus, who willingly took on human flesh and choose obedience and surrender for us. Because of Him, all you and I need to do today is to place our faith in Him and listen, obey His Word.

Surrender is essentially an ongoing practice – not a one-time action! Surrender happens through many experiences and creative practices which evoke connections of the sacred, the divine, God….which help us remember, connect with God and receive God’s blessing and grace…they help us care for the small things with love and bring us into the bigger, larger and greater picture.

“I thought

that my voyage had come to its end to the last limit of my power,

the path before me was closed;

that provisions were exhausted and the time come to take shelter in a silent obscurity.

But I find that thy will knows no end in me.

And when old words die out on the tongue,

new melodies break forth from the heart;

and where the old tracks are lost, new country is revealed with its wonders.” (Tagore).

Take a moment and reflect:

I find that thy will knows no end in me………………

When old words die out, new melodies break forth from the heart……….

“This is my prayer to thee, my Lord,

strike, strike at the root of penury in my heart.

Give me the strength lightly to bear my joys and sorrows.

Give me the strength to make my love fruitful in service.

Give me the strength never to disown the poor,

or bend my knees before insolent might.

Give me the strength to raise my mind high above daily trifles.

And give me the strength to surrender my strength to thy will with love. (Tagore).

We reflected on surrender as an ongoing practice – not a one-time action! Surrender happens through many experiences and creative practices which help us connect with God and receive God’s blessing and grace…they help us care for the small things with love and bring us into the bigger, larger and greater picture.

We reflected and prayed “I find that thy will knows no end in me…When old words die out, new melodies break forth from the heart……….

We reflected and prayed “Give me the strength to raise my mind high above daily trifles…..”

We reflected and prayed “Give me the strength to surrender my strength to thy will with love…”

We continue to reflect on prayerfulness as a desire and an act of self-surrender, as an ongoing practice of daily surrender to His will in all aspects of our life.

One day, Jesus was in a Samaritan town. Tired form the journey, he took rest at Jacob’s well. The disciples went to buy provisions. On their return they found Jesus in conversation with a Samaritan woman. They said to him, “Rabbi, eat something”. He responded, “I have food of which you do not know”. “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work” (John 4:1, 31-34). My food – what I hunger for, what I desire, what I long for, what would satisfy my deepest hunger is the Father’s will.

Jesus taught his disciples: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness (God’s way), they will be satisfied” (Mathew 5:6).

Surrender to the Father’s will is what Jesus deeply desired. He was the only that we know was perfectly obedient to the will of the Father. Jesus did what he liked and loved and he did what the Father willed of him. He was sent by the Father with a mission (with orders) and he remained obedient. He says, “I have come, not to do my own will, but to do the will of him who sent me” (John 6:38); “I always do what is pleasing to him” (john 8:29). Jesus taught, the only proff of love is obedience (John 14:23).

The dynamic and the moving force, the mainspring and the core of the life of Jesus was one of continuous self-surrender. His life of obedience has taught us:

The only way to peace is to do the will of God. There can be no peace when our will is at variance with the will of God.

The only way to fullness of Joy is to do the will of God. There can be no joy when our will is not aligned with the will of God.

The only way to power is to do the will of God. When we go God’s way, we go with His power. When we go our way, we rely on our power which tends to weaken.

The only way to freedom is to do the will of God. We are free only in God’s wisdom. Our ignorance makes us unfree.

Surrendering to God and obeying His will and purpose for your life brings you into the abundance of his life and love that Jesus came to offer, “I have come so that you may have life to its fullness (John 10:10)” . If you hang on to your desires, plans and rights, you may be happy for awhile, a satisfaction for the moment, a sense of accomplishment for the present, or a temporary relief from stress or longing.

We are often tempted with transitory longings, desires of the moment, cravings for the passing pleasures of life. Surrender these passing, perishable longings to God, ride them out, choose obedience, rise above them, reach beyond them and attend to the deeper longings of your heart, the desire for God and God’s ways.

Surrendering our desires, wants, rights and wills is hard to do. We are all often like children. When we want something, we want something and we really want it! Those of you who have tried to go on a diet, knows well that if you don’t surrender your desires, wants and cravings, you will not have the desired result. The same is true of our spiritual life. If we do not surrender our desires and open ourselves to the will and purpose of God, we will not know the ultimate fulfillment of our life.

The mainspring and the core of the life of Jesus was one of continuous self-surrender. His life of obedience has taught us that the only way to peace is to do the will of God. There can be no peace when our will is at variance with the will of God; that the only way to fullness of Joy is to do the will of God. There can be no joy when our will is not aligned with the will of God.

Surrender to God is a choice we must make with every breath.

Let us strive to be true to ourselves, to be authentic in all we say and do, to be steadfast in living our faith and keep our faith alive. 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