September 6, 2012
Welcome to Sabbath Moments, the Saturday meme hosted by Colleen at Thoughts on Grace. Pop over there for more Sabbath Moments.
Teaching Latin and piano to the home schooled kids across the street is always great fun. They are eager, smart, polite, and energetic. I thank God for the privilege of working with these interesting young minds. Perhaps the greatest thing about it is that this family is very God oriented which allows me to weave Scripture into the lessons from time to time. I wish I had a few more students like these.
Meditation #319 from Divine Intimacy was about being Gods collaborator. I often think about what it means to be an apostle in today’s age. Father Gabriel writes:
…we ought to fix our eyes on Jesus, whose humanity was the instrument which the Word used to redeem the human race. The humanity of Jesus possesses not personality of its own; His will, intellect, affections, and body are instruments of the Word, which He used with the most complete freedom and by which he accomplished His work of love for the salvation of men.
In an analogous way the apostle – although he has his own personality which always remains distinct from God, even in the highest states of mystical union – should give himself up to God as a docile instrument, as a pure capacity placed wholly at His disposal. The apostle should freely offer to God all he has received from Him – his intellect and will, his natural and supernatural gifts – for Him to use as He pleases for the extension of His kingdom.
It matters little whether God employs him in great and brilliant works or in humble, hidden ones, whether He uses him to preach His word publicly or to enlighten souls privately, whether He engages him in intense activity or immolates him in prayer and silence, provided his whole life and all his strength be spent in the service of souls.
This is quite a bit to meditate on. Imagine that all of us had started at a young age to ask ourselves, is what I’m doing contributing to the salvation of souls? How many different choices might we have made? It’s never too late to capture this focus as we work to practice virtue and serve others. It’s also a good litmus test to govern our contributions on the internet where bad example abounds. Are we, by any chance, contributing to it in comboxes or posts?
At every offertory at every Mass we can renew our offering of ourselves as “a docile instrument as a pure capacity placed wholly at His disposal.” Then let God work His miracles in us for the good of others.
The Church in the Middle East
This is the title of Pope Benedict’s apostolic exhortation delivered on his recent trip to Lebanon. It’s quite long – so long it’s divided into three parts – and contains wonderful teachings that apply to all of us. The overall theme comes from Acts 4:32: Now the company of those who believed were of one heart and one soul.
The Pope did not shrink from condemning the evil of the inhabitants of the Middle East tearing one another apart. Then he moved on to a short discourse on peace, part of which I have here:
9. For the sacred Scriptures, peace is not simply a pact or a treaty which ensures a tranquil life, nor can its definition be reduced to the mere absence of war. According to its Hebrew etymology, peace means being complete and intact, restored to wholeness. It is the state of those who live in harmony with God and with themselves, with others and with nature. Before appearing outwardly, peace is interior. It is blessing. It is the yearning for a reality. Peace is something so desirable that it has become a greeting in the Middle East (cf. Jn. 20:19; 1 Pet 5:14). Peace is justice (cf. Is. 32:17); Saint James in his Letter adds that “the harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” (3:18). The struggle of the Prophets and the reflections of the Wisdom authors were inspired by the hope of eschatological peace. It is towards this authentic peace in God that Christ leads us. He alone is its gate (Jn. 10:9). This is the sole gate that Christians wish to enter.
So much to meditate on here! When we pray for the souls of the faithful departed to rest in peace, we pray that in death they be restored to wholeness. When at Mass we pray, “Peace be with you” we are asking to live in harmony with God and each other. Sometimes I wonder if these are just words prayed with the lips and not with the heart, especially when we immediately after Mass run out and participate in discord.
Then there is the Beatitude: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” If we don’t work assiduously for interior peace, we cannot be a peacemaker.
Finally, Our Lady of Fatima comes to mind. If the Pope consecrates Russia to her Immaculate Heart, we will have a period of peace. Our Lady told Sister Lucy that he would do it, but it would be “late”. When heaven uses terms like “late”, it generally means a lot longer than what we mean by it. We have not seen a period of peace throughout the world in my lifetime. Sure, wars have ended, but deadly conflicts arise elsewhere all the time. The enemies of Christ and His Church are on the prowl everywhere and war is their signature. Wouldn’t it make sense to beseech God that the consecration of Russia be done soon? We would likely see massive conversions to Christianity. Is that not what we apostles desire above all?
Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us.
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