Tuesday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time, May 25
Let Us Open Our Hearts to Live As Christ Would Have Us Live, Giving to God the Best of Ourselves in Our Daily Walks of Faith.
From the Book of Sirach today, we hear words which are meant to guide us in our moral conduct with one another, and also the way in which we are to offer our praise and worship to God –
“To refrain from evil pleases the LORD, and to avoid injustice is an atonement. Appear not before the LORD empty-handed, for all that you offer is in fulfillment of the precepts. The just one’s offering enriches the altar and rises as a sweet odor before the Most High.”
We pattern our life of faith after the example set for us by our Savior, and also by all the holy saints and martyrs who have gone before us and have left this life in God’s eternal friendship.
When we look at the people who have lived during our lifetime, what heroes of holiness come to mind? Please understand that I am not talking about the kinds of heroes some of our children create out of sports figures or actors or actresses. What I am referring to are those persons of heroic virtue who make us think about the various aspects of living a virtuous life, and about God Himself – who God is and what He is all about.
We may each think of someone different, and that is okay, if that person helps us to reflect upon a life of virtue. For me, the person who comes immediately to mind is our late Holy Father, Saint John Paul II.
Throughout his Pontificate, he was a living example of God’s Love, for he never ceased to reach out to the less fortunate and the marginalized in society. And he also exhibited a great love for our Blessed Mother.
In his last year of life here on Earth, while suffering tremendously from the debilitating effects of Parkinson’s Disease, he gave a homily on the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. In it, he said, “Overcoming evil with weapons of love becomes the way in which each person can contribute to the peace of all.”
In the waning days of his life, he was tireless in his efforts to promote peace through love. It was his desire that each of us, as a child of God, live the kind of peace in our hearts which would permeate our entire being. And this could only be accomplished through, as he put it, “weapons of love”.
And for you and me, what are these weapons of love? First of all, humility; for without the virtue of humility, the other virtues have no depth of meaning in our lives. Humility allows us to empty from ourselves our own pride, our own selfishness and our own misplaced sense of ego.
True humility allows us to submit ourselves, unreservedly, to the Divine will of God, placing His will for us first and our needs secondary or of lesser importance. And did our Lord not say to each of us in today’s Gospel, “But many that are first will be last, and the last will be first”?
The second weapon of love is charity. Charity is the virtue which inclines us to love God above all things for His own sake, and to love our neighbor for the sake of God.
When we pray the Rosary, which was John Paul’s favorite prayer, the meditation for the second Joyful Mystery is the virtue of charity, which is love of neighbor, for we meditate on the selfless giving of our Blessed Mother, while she was pregnant with Jesus, for the needs of her cousin Elizabeth.
Charity unites each of us in a closer relationship to God through our selfless acts of love for others.
The third weapon of love, in John Paul’s arsenal, would be patience. It is the virtue which allows us to calmly endure mental or physical distress or anguish, not because of pride or personal gain or ambition, but out of genuine love of God and in union with Christ, our Supreme Model in the practice of this virtue.
And did we not see John Paul live this virtue close to his heart in the last years of his life, as he patiently endured the cross which was chosen for him to bear as a holy example from which each of us was to learn?
The last weapon of love is forgiveness. And this is probably the most difficult for many people to embrace in their lives, truly forgiving others who have offended us, especially if the offense “cuts to the quick”, so to speak, if it truly cuts into the very depths of our heart and being. Forgiveness is a virtue which can be, at times, the most difficult to live.
And yet, our Lord gave us the ultimate example of forgiveness as He hung in the desperation of pain and loneliness upon His Cross, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And it is a virtue which we are required to live, especially when we reflect upon the words of the Lord’s Prayer – “Forgive us our trespasses AS we forgive those who trespass against us.”
And even John Paul gave us the example of what forgiveness should truly entail, when he visited his would-be assassin and forgave him, after the pope recovered from his bullet wound and visited him in prison.
In a message John Paul gave during Lent in the year 2001, he said, “The only path to peace is forgiveness. Forgiveness given and received enables a new kind of relationship among people, breaking the spiral of hatred and revenge and shattering the chains of evil which bind the hearts of those in conflict with one another.”
And it is through forgiveness, as John Paul continues to say, wherein we find “…A heart reconciled with God and neighbor is a generous heart.”
It is this arsenal of love, these weapons of love – humility, charity, patience and forgiveness – which help us to grow to be holy as God is holy. And our Lord Himself once said, as we pondered one time in a previous meditation, “…be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Let us truly open our hearts to live as Christ would have us live, not selfishly, not arrogantly, not for personal gain – but with true humility, which will allow the remainder of the arsenal of love to become a part of our own way of life.
In this way, we truly give to God the best of ourselves in our daily walks of faith! †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “To refrain from evil pleases the LORD, and to avoid injustice is an atonement. Appear not before the LORD empty-handed, for all that you offer is in fulfillment of the precepts. The just one’s offering enriches the altar and rises as a sweet odor before the Most High.” (Sirach 35:3-5)
- “Those who offer praise as a sacrifice honor me; to the obedient I will show the salvation of God.” (Psalm 50:23)
- “Jesus said, ‘Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the gospel who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age…and eternal life in the age to come.’” (Mark 10:29-30a, 30c)
- “But many that are first will be last, and the last will be first.” (Mark 10:31)
- “And all of you, clothe yourselves with humility in your dealings with one another, for: ‘God opposes the proud but bestows favor on the humble.’ So humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.” (1 Peter 5:5b-6)
- “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me…Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:35-36, 40b)
- “You need endurance to do the will of God and receive what he has promised.” (Hebrews 10:36)
- “Then Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.’” (Luke 23:34a)
- “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” (Matthew 6:12)
- “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do.” (Colossians 3:12-13)
Prayer for the Day
“Lord Jesus, our Glorious Savior,Anonymous
we humbly give to You our lives.
Do with us as Your Providence wills,
for Your greater honor and glory.
Make our lives useful to Your service.
“The only ambition we have is to humbly
and honestly fulfill Your Divine will
in all that we say and do in this life.
We want to lift up Your Holy Name, Jesus, not ours.
“We desire to make known the power of Your Spirit,
the Holy Spirit of Divine Love and Truth.
We want You to claim us for Yourself,
and use us according to Your Divine purpose.
“And no matter the task
which You assign to us in life,
we will be contented, and full of joy,
to fulfill our purpose as disciples of Your Spirit.
“Jesus, may Your Holy Spirit live in us always,
guiding us to live a virtuous life,
always pleasing to You and helpful to our neighbor,
as we help to build up the Body of Christ here on Earth.
“Fill our lives with meaning and our hearts with hope.
And when our time here is completed,
bless us with eternal life in Your Heavenly Kingdom,
where we shall stand with You giving glory to Your Father
in the Presence of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”