Speak Lord, you’re servant is listening

Every prayer is heard by God.

Every prayer is answered by God.
He answers in three ways…

1: Yes.

2: Not yet.

3: I have a better plan.

Matthew 7:7
Ask, and it will be given to you seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

‘The prayer of a Christian is never a monologue’
-St Josemaria Escriva

Bless the Lord oh my soul

Ss_Simon_and_Jude

Simon, Jude and Cornerstone

Today is the feast of Sts Simon (not Simon Peter, the other one) and Jude.

The readings at Mass remind us of how the Church is founded on the apostles; she didn’t just ‘spring up’, but rather the actual work of those men, who Jesus especially called, was her foundation. The Church that they worked so hard to build so many centuries ago for the sake of Christ is the very same Church that we know and love today – how cool is that!

You are part of a building that has the apostles and prophets for its foundations, and Christ Jesus himself for its main cornerstone.
Eph 2:20

Sts Simon and Jude, pray for us that we may truly live with Christ as our cornerstone.

 

 

 

Wisdom 3

The Charismatic Gifts.

The Charismatic Gifts – Wisdom

Over the next few weeks, each Charismatic gift will be explored.

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of working, but it is the same God who inspires them all in every one. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are inspired by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.” ~ 1 Cor 12:4-11

The Charismatic gifts are unique abilities we have been given by God, to use for the good of others. I sometimes describe them as ‘super powers’ because they are things we wouldn’t humanly be capable of doing.

Wisdom

The gift of Wisdom comes in the form of knowing what to say to someone or to a group of people, passing on messages from God.

The spiritual gift of wisdom, like the gift of knowledge, is also referred to as the “word of wisdom” or “utterance of wisdom.”  The Greek word for wisdom is sophia and it refers to the intimate understanding of God’s Word and His commandments which results in holy and upright living.  In the context of 1 Corinthians 12:8, it means to speak to the life of an individual or to a specific situation with great understanding and a righteous perspective, with the goal of guiding others toward a life of holiness and worship.

Several Scriptures reveal the true beauty and fruit of wisdom.  Psalm 111:10 says: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever!”  Wisdom begins with the Fear of the LORD.  It begins with knowing who God is and who we are in comparison to Him.  That leads to understanding and then to practicing righteousness.  A life of wisdom ultimately results in the praise of God.

James 3:17 says “the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.”  This is undoubtedly a work of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer.

The Holy Spirit gives some the spiritual gift of wisdom to not only impart the truth and understanding to believers, but to invoke a response of holiness and worship lived out in the world and amongst God’s people.  Wisdom doesn’t end with knowledge, but is expressed in transformed hearts and lives.

Those with the gift of wisdom have a deep understanding of the holiness of God and the lack of holiness in their own hearts.  They can recognize this in others as well and have the compassion and boldness to share that truth with them.  They are able to take from their own life experiences and share what God has taught them through those things.  They can easily recognize where a decision or action may lead and can warn against those that may be harmful or unfruitful.  They can often see through the confusion of a situation and can give direction that would help an individual or group obtain a God-glorifying goal. The church needs those with the spiritual gift of wisdom to guide her though uncertain or difficult times.

God bless

praisethroughthestorm +

Love our neighbour as ourselves? or as Christ loves us?

Sunday readings

http://universalis.com/20141026/mass.htm

Jesus tells us to love God with all our heart, mind and soul. This makes sense. But the second commandment seems to make less sense. How are we to love our neighbour as ourselves when we so often do not “love” ourselves… in a true way. We do often put ourselves first. Maybe this is how Christ is asking us to love others… but maybe we can go deeper. Our concern for ourselves is often selfish and out of pride and fear. We compare ourselves with others, seek compliments and attention… we want to be loved but we fear that we are not loved. In reverse, from the same pride, we cut ourselves off from others for fear they will not love us in return, for fear that we are not good enough. This does not seem that we know what it is to love ourselves. But we find a key in the first reading. The Lord tells the sons of Israel that they must not be harsh and molest the widow and stranger, that they must not ask interest on a loan, and give back what has been borrowed to them. This is because this is the same way that God treated the Israelite’s. They cut themselves off from God through their sin, they turned away from Him, they failed to love Him. And yet, God was not harsh with them, He did not molest them, but Gave them His help (His inheritance – in the end His son) without demanding interest. And so we must see first how we are loved before we can try to love others as oursleves. We are loved by God even when we desert Him. We are treated with gentleness when we make errors and when we fail to love in return. So we must first respond to the love of God, this is the first commandment. It is only in this response, knowing that we have been shown so much mercy, that we can love others as ourselves. In this way we can “love one another as I (Jesus) has loved you”. Our love must not be based on justice, because if so, we could never love the other in the faults. We must love others in the mercy with which Christ has loved us… especially in our faults.

Mary, teach us how to receive Christ’s mercy.

Pompallier’s Legacy

pompallierMost New Zealand Catholics have heard of Bishop Pompallier; he was the first Catholic priest to reside in New Zealand, and became its first Bishop. But have you read his diary? It’s a stirring, surprisingly intense read about what went on in the early years of his mission to Oceania.

The full text can be found online here (look on the left-hand side of the page for download links) or you can purchase a physical copy from Amazon. I recommend jumping through to Chapter VII about one third of the way in, which is when he arrives in New Zealand – the previous chapters focus on his time in the Pacific.

Some of the encounters and struggles that Bishop Pompallier had are amazing. One morning, he opened his door to find a large number of hostile Maori seated outside his house. He began to pray and quickly called for his interpreter. After a heated 45-minute discussion, the interpreter convinced the Maori to remain peacable. But their intentions of violence had been real:

They had intended breaking the images, the crucifix, and a statue of the Holy Virgin, which were in the principal room in my house ; then to seize M. Servant and myself and take us in their canoes up the river, into which they would probably have cast us…
I caused the natives, who had grown calm and ashamed of having followed bad advice, to be informed that I bore them no ill-will, and that I invited them to enter my house and shake hands as a sign of peace and friendship.

Recently after that encounter, Bishop Pompallier and his companions decided to start traveling to meet nearby tribes. One encounter that he had shows the grace of God that went before him, blessing his ministry:

After having gone about ten leagues up the river we reached a tribe called the Wirinaki, consisting of about four hundred natives, the most populous and powerful, and, at the same time, the most feared and wicked tribe in Hokianga, constantly resisting the advances of the Protestant ministers. [...] At the same time, the natives of this part were intelligent, lively, and very open-hearted. They gave me a favourable reception. One of the principal chiefs said to all his people in our presence: “These two strangers have neither wives nor children ; they do not appear to be well off. These are ministers of the true God.”

It is as well to remark here that this and several other tribes at Hokianga and the Bay of Islands had known for some years that the ministers of the true Church were unmarried, that they would come to New Zealand, and should be easily recognisable by the celibacy which they practised. From whence had they got this tradition, it is difficult to find out at the present day. According to some of the natives a spirit had foretold these things to some of their forefathers.

Let us pray that we may have the courage, faithfulness and dedication of Bishop Pompallier and the other early missionaries!

God bless,
lukechapter12

Behold

Behold the Lamb of God,

Behold Him who takes away the sins of the world.

Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb.

Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.StJohnTheBaptist

These are the words which always strike me the most at mass. Perhaps it’s that after my mind heads off on some long tangent during the Eucharistic prayer (which I tell myself off for it during the Our Father!), I am finally jolted back into recollection. Perhaps it is the forcefulness of the imperative ‘Behold’. I may be corrected, but I think ‘Behold’ is the only time, aside from the ‘Go forth’ at the end, that you are told to do something in mass. But perhaps there is a deeper reason – Jesus did say

and I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself. (Jn 12:32)

I wanted to know a little more about these words I say and hear so often. What is Jesus saying to me, and what is it that I am speaking back to him?

The words of the Priest are the words of St John the Baptist at the start of the Gospel of John (Jn 1:29). The Baptist points out Jesus, he bears witness to him – here, finally is the one who John was sent to herald, the one who will deal definitively with our sin and brokenness. The next day he repeats himself, this time to his disciples:

“Behold the Lamb of God.”  The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. Jesus turned, and saw them following, and said to them, “What do you seek?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where he was staying; and they stayed with him that day (Jn 1:37-39)

The invitation ‘Behold’ is not meant to leave us staring at the host. It is an invitation to follow Jesus, to have him dwell and remain with us. It is inviting us to ‘communion’ – not just to receive the sacramental presence of Jesus, but to have him dwell in our lives, and even to enter into the ‘communion’ of heaven:

Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:9)

The wedding banquet is laid out, and we are invited. But we are not just to be guests. We are the Bride. We are on our knees, but it is Christ who is proposing.

It’s at this point, faced with the truth of who is in front of us and the enormity of what we are invited to, that a moment of panic sets in. Originally we did dwell with God in the garden. Our dignity as humans is that we are made to be a dwelling place for God – by God’s gift were meant to be his temple and his Bride. But now, faced with the truth of Love and Holiness, we know the truth about ourselves. We are hardly wearing white. Our house is not in order. We have traded in our dignity, we have cheated on our lover, we are not worthy to live this marriage. We are reminded of another ‘Behold’, the ‘Ecce Homo’ of Pilate – “Behold the man” who is scourged and crowned with thorns. Our courage to look falters. We feel like saying with St Peter, when after a miraculous catch of fish he perceived a little who he was dealing with:

Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord (Luke 5:8)

But the liturgy does not leave us there! It puts on our lips the faith of the Centurion, of which Christ says:

Truly, I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such faith (Mt 8:10)

We acknowledge the truth about ourselves, but also our firm faith in Jesus to enter into us as we are, and to heal us, to heal our soul. It is a faith that takes courage, because it involves tearing the bandages from our wounds and taking away our crutches so that Jesus may find us as we are. Not to leave us as we are, mind you, but so that we, the Church, the Bride, may be presented to Christ in splendour

without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that (we) may be holy and without blemish. (Ephesians 5:27)

It is this faith that gives us the courage to go to communion, to keep confessing our sins and to try and bring God’s love into our day to day life. Or more precisely, it is the love of Christ that gives us courage, for he, fully knowing what he is getting himself into, still wants to wed our souls.

Today’s Psalm

Psalm 85
The Lord speaks peace to his people.

I will hear what the Lord God has to say,
  a voice that speaks of peace.
His help is near for those who fear him
  and his glory will dwell in our land.

The Lord speaks peace to his people.

Mercy and faithfulness have met;
  justice and peace have embraced.
Faithfulness shall spring from the earth
  and justice look down from heaven.

The Lord speaks peace to his people.

The Lord will make us prosper
  and our earth shall yield its fruit.
Justice shall march before him
  and peace shall follow his steps.

The Lord speaks peace to his people.
Reading the daily Mass readings is a great way to pray. I like to choose a line from the Psalm and repeat it prayerfully as often as I remember to during the day!
Dailyreadings