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 being deliberate, intentional, unwavering and unyielding as we strive to keep our faith alive.
The disciples prayed to their master: “Increase our faith” (Luke 17:5) and the Lord said, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed….you will be able to uproot a sycamore tree” (Luke 17:6).
The imageries of mustard seed and sycamore tree seem to imply that the apostles possessed the “gift” of faith. All they had to do was to live it, unwrap the gift they had, translate it into action and see to its maintenance and care – they had to nurture it and give it life.
We read about Moses becoming awakened to God and God’s presence in an extraordinary event, a bush burning, but the bush not consumed by the fire (Exodus 3:1-8, 13-15). Moses asked: Tell me your name….so that I may tell my people who you are……Without giving him a name, God asked Moses simply to rely on His presence in all that would happen……..Moses had to walk in mystery…..And by the strength of God’s abiding, faithful, steadfast presence, Moses led his people out of Egypt……
May God bless you and enable you to walk in mystery and keep your faith alive !
Moses remained obedient to the Lord, following the Lord’s directives in all details. Moses prepared a dwelling for the ark with a tent covering it. He put the commandments in the ark, placed it in the dwelling and covered it with a veil. A cloud covered the tent as a sign; only when it lifted did they go forward on their journey. God gave them a sign: cloud by day, fire by night. This was the sign of God’s presence among his people. The presence of God with Israel was displayed by the cloud and the fire. God blessed the tabernacle by showing His presence in the form of the cloud by day and the fire by night (Exodus 40:16-21, 34-38).
May God bless you with the guiding and protecting “cloud by day and fire by night” and enable you to keep your faith alive!
From evening until morning it was above the tabernacle like the appearance of fire. This was for Israel, more than proof of God’s presence. The cloud by day and the fire by night were actual helps and comforts to Israel. The fire at night was obviously a comfort to Israel in the midst of a dark wilderness and the cloud by day would be a shade from the hot wilderness sun.
The cloud covered it by day, and the appearance of fire lighted the night. After the cloud was taken up from above the tabernacle, the children of Israel would journey and in the place where the cloud settled, there the children of Israel pitched their tents. Whether it was two days, a month, or a year, if the cloud remained above the tabernacle, the children of Israel would remain encamped and not journey; but when it was taken up, they would journey. They only went where the presence of God led them and they only stayed where the presence of God stayed.
A cloud by day and fire by night…that is who God was for Moses and for Israel….ever present, ever faithful GOD.
The cloud and the fire guided Israel…….
Dancing in the cloud with the angels….playing in the dirt with children and everything in between……cloud by day and fire by night! Reflect on what this means in terms of your personal life! And let the cloud and the fire keep your faith alive!
Abide in this thought for a while!
Though Israel had been organized and ordered by God, though they had been cleansed, set apart and blessed, they still had to be guided by God each step of the way to make it to the Promised Land. God had not done all those previous things to make them able to start towards the Promised Land on their own, but to make every step in constant dependence on Him.
The Psalmist sings with confidence and let us join the psalmist in singing today: “Your word is a lamp for my feet….and a light unto my path (Ps.119:105)…every step of the way…cloud by day, fire by night!
Believers today must, in the same way, be led by the presence of God. St. Paul says, let the peace of God rule in your hearts (Colossians 3:15)…..the presence of God’s peace is to govern our hearts…..the Lord is near and our lives should be lived out with that belief.
Again Paul says,
“Dismiss all anxiety from your minds; Present your needs to God in every form of prayer and in petitions full of gratitude. Then God’s own peace, which is beyond all understanding, will stand guard over your hearts and minds, in Christ Jesus,” (Philippians 4:6-7). The presence of God’s peace is to govern our hearts….the Lord is near and our lives should be lived out of that belief.
Just as Moses became awakened to God and God’s presence in an extraordinary event – a bush burning, but not consumed, we, too, must awake to God and God’s presence in our own events, ordinary or extraordinary. God asked Moses to simply rely on His presence in all that would happen. God asks of us the same thing.
Take a moment….Pray Psalm 139 when you have time…..But for the moment pray the following verses…..
Yahweh, you search me and know me.
Whether I walk or lie down, you are watching;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Close behind and close in front you hem me in,
shielding me with your hand.
Where could I go to escape your spirit?
Where could I flee from your presence?
If I climb to the heavens, you are there; there, too, if I sink to Sheol.
If I flew to the point of sunrise or far across the sea—
your hand would still be guiding me, your right hand holding me.
If I asked darkness to cover me and light to become night around me,
that darkness would not be dark to you; night would shine as the day.
Take another moment….Pray Psalm 23 when you have time…..But for the moment pray the following verses…..
Even though I walk in the dark valley…..risky, scary, dangerous valley, I fear no evil…..
For you are at my side….ever, faithfully present,
With your rod and your staff that give me courage…..
Only goodness and kindness follow me…all the days of my life…..
And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for years to come…abiding in God’s love!!
A cloud by day and fire by night…that is who God was for Moses and for Isreal….ever present, ever faithful GOD.
May God be your strength, your guide, your focus, your purpose and the end of your journey……And may He enable you to keep your faith alive!
It is not always easy to follow the Lord’s call. His call sometimes takes us to places where we would rather not go. But trusting in His presence on the road, inspired by the signs and symbols that proclaim His presence, “Rainbow in the sky; Cloud by day; Fire by night; Lamp unto my feet; Light unto my path…Unfailing presence…. Steadfast Love, every step of the way…..we move on to where our God leads us and keep our faith alive! And it is definitely not easy with all our human limitation and imperfections.
Keeping our faith alive means making daily and difficult choices consistent with who we are, choices that reflect our character and according to the values that we have chosen and affirmed as our own.
God’s people must choose to live godly lives, choose God’s way and be faithful to God in all matters of life. This choice however is very demanding because the freedom that comes from choosing God’s Way is always very demanding. True freedom limits us to choose only that which fits our nature, our character and the opposite is absence of or lack of true freedom. True freedom is freedom to be……it is the freedom of the children of God.
Jesus was once asked whether only a few would be saved (Luke 13:22-30). Behind this question was the belief that only the Jews would be saved and not the gentiles. Jesus responded by telling them that entrance into the kingdom was not automatic…membership in the Jewish community or any faith community did not guarantee entrance into the kingdom. He called them to make difficult choices and make the difficult journey….the door is narrow, he said. He himself was making his way to Jerusalem to face rejection and eventual death.
We know how narrow the path forward can be when we face life-altering decisions. We are often confronted with situations where all our options must give way to one choice. No one else can make the decision for us and no one else would suffer the consequences of that decisions. All our choices will come to this narrow “gate” that will define who we are, how we live and even define us into the future. We must walk through the narrow gate and enter the kingdom and keep our faith alive!
God is faithful where God is….. He is steadfast, unfailing in His Love! We are called to be faithful where we are….to be steadfast on our journey…to keep our faith alive!
Full of life and energy or tired and weary, let us choose to be faithful.
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