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……….
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 pray for all, who, at this moment, are receiving the gift of this new day! May this day be a day of blessing and grace for you and for all!
Take a moment. Bless your morning. Let your morning Bless you……
Take another moment…. Bless your world…… Let your world bless you……
Prayerfully, gently, slowly read…..take time…go slow!
We now continue our journey through Lent……from promise to fulfillment!
The fifth Sunday of Lent invites us to listen to the prophet Jeremiah inviting his people (Jeremiah 31:31-34) to trust in God’s promise of a new covenant, that they would enjoy a new, unbreakable, unconquerable, unconditional friendship with God and that it is God’s gift to his people. He was speaking to a people whose world was falling apart.
This new covenant was going to be different. God would give them the gift of His law. But this time, the law will be written upon the hearts of God’s people and not on stone tablets. By this covenant God would establish a new, more intimate and personal relationship. God and people will belong to each other: “I will be their God and they will be my people” and their sins will be forgiven and remembered no more! It’s pure Grace!
Reflect on God’s law “written upon” your heart. The Love of God is poured into the heart by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). It’s pure Grace!
Reflect on the gift of God’s forgiving Grace: “sins will be forgiven and remembered no more”.
It’s pure Grace!
The gift of Grace, God’s personal love includes forgiveness of sin, God’s personal acceptance of us as we are, not as we should be. It is being embraced by God’s personal love for us.
This gift of Grace frees us to love. With all the sin and evil in the world, we still find love. This is a reality because God is love and what inspires love is God’s Grace. It opens a human spirit curved in on itself in the direction of God. Grace frees the self to transcend itself in love.
Grace enhances human freedom. God’s grace does not replace human freedom, but fulfills it by enhancing its own potentiality.
Grace unites us with God and transforms us to share God’s divine life. Through grace the human person is justified and sanctified and God dwells within so that we share God’s life. The union with God in grace is not an escape from the world but it is freedom from the world in order to be freely immersed in it.
St. Paul tells us, “The grace of God has appeared, saving all and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires and to live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age, as we await the blessed hope, the appearance of the glory of our great God and savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to deliver us from all lawlessness and to cleanse for himself a people as his own, eager to do what is good. When the kindness and generous love of God our savior appeared, not because of any righteous deeds we had done but because of his mercy. He saved us through the bath of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he richly poured out on us through Jesus Christ our savior, so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life. (Titus 2:11-14; 3:4-7)
Reflect on what Paul says:
- The Grace of God has appeared saving all;
- training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires;
- training us to live temperately, justly and devoutly in this age
- so that we might be justified by his grace
- and become heirs in hope of eternal life.
Because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, God made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:4-9)
Reflect on what Paul says:
- by grace you have been saved through faith;
- this is not your doing, but the gift of God
St. Paul also tells us: Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Corinthians 12:8-9)
Reflect on what Paul says:
- My grace is sufficient for you,
My power is made perfect in weakness.”
Our Sacred Scriptures give us many examples of God Gracing His people, forgiving the unfaithful, empowering the weak, showing them the way, going after the stray…tending his flock like a shepherd: gathering the lambs in his arms, carrying them close to his heart, gently leading them that are young (Isaiah 40:10-11).
The OT and the NT are full of examples, events, parables and stories where God treats people gracefully, not necessarily as they deserve. But often giving what is not deserved.
Joseph was a boastful, proud, arrogant and disrespectful son. But God rescued Joseph from the hand of his brothers and made him a great ruler in Egypt (Genesis 37)
God promised Gideon success in battle (Genesis 6). Gideon in his weakness did not believe God and asked for a sign. God in his mercy, gave the sign. Gideon, in his weakness still did not trust God and he asked for another sign. God gave Gideon this sign also. Pure Grace it was!
King David had an adulterous affair with Bathsheba and then had her husband murdered. In chapter 12 God brought David to a position of repentance and then continued to bless David throughout his life (2 Samuel 11-12).
Elijah, the prophet of God, in fear and weakness, ran away and handed in his resignation to God. God fed Elijah, brought him to the mountain at Sinai. He demonstrated his power. He gave him strength and encouragement (1 Kings 19).
We need have no fear as long as we put our trust in the saving Grace of God. When we are spiritually literate, we discover that the whole world is charged with sacred meaning, with purpose, with life, with power, with spirit, with God. And God’s Grace is NOW in this moment where we are
I am the spirit seated deep in every creature’s heart,
from me they come, by me they live.
A clean heart create for me O God
And a steadfast spirit renew within me.
Cast me not out form your presence,
And your holy spirit take not from me. (Psalm 51)
Fr. Gus Tharappel, smfs