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Posts Tagged ‘humility’


James 1:26-27: Reaching Out

Tuesday, October 4, 2022beadoeroftheword

We benefit from James’ clarity at the end of this first chapter. How do we become doers of the Word and not sayers onlyWhat does it take to enter into solid and holy relationships with others? Humility, honesty, and care for the marginalized.

Anyone who sets himself up as “religious” by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world.

In these opening verses James gives us a view of the whole person who enters into the work of the kingdom with a full heart and willing hands. We do more than we say. We give more than we receive. We look to God for all things rather than looking to the world.

Use the scripture link to compare different versions of these verses, and allow the humility and truth of Christ to govern your day.


Image from: http://quotesgram.com/doers-of-the-word-quotes/

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James 1:19-21: God’s Garden of Love

Sunday, October 2, 2022

Post this at all the intersections, dear friends . . . 

What news does James have for us today and how do we proclaim that news to others? How do we see God’s wisdom?

Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear.

Wisdom is found in listening more than we speak, in loving more than we despise.

God’s righteousness doesn’t grow from human anger.

God’s wisdom is not found in antagonism.

So throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage.

God’s truth cannot flow from false virtue or from thoughts that want to hide the light.

In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life.

God does not live in pride but in the humble belief that we are all flowers in God’s garden of love.

When we compare these verses with other scripture versions we have the opportunity to imagine what sort of flower we might be. Do we prefer shade or sun? Do we grow best in damp soil or dry?  What color bedecks our blossoms? And what good nectar do we produce for the good of the kingdom?

Tomorrow, the importance of doing the word.


Image from: https://www.thespruce.com/flower-garden-paths-4046012

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Ezekiel 37: From Dry Bones to Restoration – Part IIwith-God

Thursday, September 15, 2022

At the end of chapter 37 is the Oracle of the Two Sticks in which we understand that the two kingdoms will be re-united (something thought totally impossible) and the true Davidic king will reign eternally from Jerusalem – Jesus. The chapters following this one describe the battle against Gog, again a dramatic description, and the end-of-time feast in the restored Jerusalem. In all, this portion of Ezekiel’s prophecy tells the reader that what is thought impossible . . . is possible for God. It tells us that God does not abandon us even when we abandon God. It tells us that God loves us and God is constantly with us, even when we have turned away.

The most hopeless of cases have hope in them somewhere, but it takes an act of great love to resuscitate what has been lost.  God does this for us, and God calls us to do the same for one another.  When we move through a desert experience it is difficult to believe that God is with us; but this difficulty does not make God’s love more distant. Through the visions of Daniel and Ezekiel we see that with God all things are possible. It is possible to move toward our own conversion. It is possible to move away from the brittleness of the dry bones and toward the refreshing, renewing waters of restoration in the New Jerusalem.

There is a line from an old novena to St. Jude that I remember: When the difficult was too great to bear, Saint Jude somehow managed to see that it was lifted.  It was almost as if he had set the pattern for one of the branches of the armed services: “The difficult I shall take care of immediately; the impossible (in terms of human power) may take a little longer”.  Faith found that humility means power in the eyes of God.

Jesus saidAnd so we can petition God for forgiveness – which God freely gives. We can ask for restoration. And this God also gives.  We can come before God humbly as we stagger through the deserts of our lives, and we can ask that God grant us all that we believe to be impossible. And God will always answer.

In MAGNIFICAT on Saturday evening, there was a small reflection at the beginning of the Evening Prayer: God is present in the deserts of our lives.  It is in the desert that God revealed himself to Abraham.  It is in our dryness and desolation that God is often working the most marvelous transformations.  Let us rejoice in this blessed desert . . . where Christ reveals himself.  

As we tumble into our beds, perhaps weary at the end of a dry day full of impossibility, let us remember to pray for the impossible as the psalmist does in Psalm 63.

O God, you are my God, for you I long; for you my soul is thirsting. For your love is better than life, my lips speak your praise. So I will bless you all my life, in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul shall be filled as with a banquet, my mouth shall praise you with joy. On my bed I remember you.  On you I muse through the night for you have been my help; in the shadow of your wings I rejoice. My soul clings to you; your right hand holds me fast.

 As we begin our days that promise impossibility, let us remember . . .

O God, you are my God, for you I long; for you my soul is thirsting.  Your love is better than life . . . My souls clings to you . . . your right hand holds me fast.  Amen. 

Tomorrow, praying for the impossible . . . 


Cameron, Peter John. “Prayer for the Evening.” MAGNIFICAT. 26.1 (2008). Print.  

Adapted from a reflection written on February 1, 2008. 

Images from: https://olayemirichard.wordpress.com/2015/02/16/with-god-all-things-are-possible/

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2 Corinthians 10: God’s ToolsMicah6_8

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Explore THE MESSAGE version of these verses at the scripture link and compare it to other versions to allow Paul’s message to open in us more fully.

Can we apply Paul’s words to our lives today? Do they describe our world of social media and connectivity?

I hear that I’m being painted as cringing and wishy-washy when I’m with you, but harsh and demanding when at a safe distance writing letters. 

Can we see our world in Paul’s words today? What do we consider to be the tools of our trade and how do we use them?

The world is unprincipled. It’s dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn’t fight fair. But we don’t live or fight our battles that way—never have and never will. The tools of our trade aren’t for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. 

Do Paul’s assertions call us to God or send us away? Do we affirm or deny their truth?

What you say about yourself means nothing in God’s work. It’s what God says about you that makes the difference.

God says: When my servant Paul speaks of an unprincipled world, he does not mean to frighten you into obedience to me. No. He knows that the faithful respond best to love rather than fear. Yet, I understand that his words may seem harsh, strident or bitter to you. I do not hear them this way. No. What I hear is his deep devotion to living life in and through Christ. And I hear his earnest desire that all experience the warm and loving bond with me that he shares. So this is what I ask of you today and all days, and these are the tools I ask you to use. Walk with me humbly and willingly. If you do not want to be by my side, go apart for a while. I am always here when you are ready to be with me. I also that you love others gently and mercifully. It is my hope that you will live in me as I live in you, and that you will show this love to the world. And finally, I ask that you act justly. Rather than simper or berate, intercede for those who need my help. Ask forgiveness, pardon others, and act prudently and compassionately so that my justice will roll from your hands and hearts. Turn away from what you see is corrupt. Use the modern tools you have at your hands, but use my ancient ones as well for all else is meaningless. All else holds empty promise and false hope. All else is useless. Remain in my mercy, enact my justice, and live in my humble love. Become my tools in the world you experience in and around you today. 

Spend time with Micah 6:8. Consider how the prophet’s words are pertinent to our modern world, and consider how we might better become mercy, wisdom, humility, justice and love as we go through our days.


 Image from: http://www.4catholiceducators.com/Micah_6-8-poster.htm

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2 Corinthians 3: The Mystery of Ministryserving-people

Sunday, July 3, 2022

We so often find that in ministering to the fears and needs of others, we ourselves find confidence and sustenance. Paul reminds us that when we minister in Jesus’ name, we enter into an eternal and unbreakable covenant with Christ. This is the present truth and the future promise of entering into ministry to others.

If the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, was so glorious that the Israelites could not look intently at the face of Moses because of its glory that was going to fade, how much more will the ministry of the Spirit be glorious?

When we bring hope to others we learn to live in hope.

For if the ministry of condemnation was glorious, the ministry of righteousness will abound much more in glory.

When we determine to carry joy to others we also live in joy.

Indeed, what was endowed with glory has come to have no glory . . .

When we bring hope to others we become hope itself.

Therefore, if we have such hope, we act boldly and not like Moses who put a veil over his face . . .

When we humbly minister in Christ’s name, we find our fear and despair dissolve into hope and joy. We find that death becomes life and sorrow becomes joy.

All of us, gazing with unveiled face on the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, as from the Lord who is the Spirit.

Tissot: The Woes of the Pharisees

James Tissot: The Woes of the Pharisees

We need not hide or fear the light of our ministry for it is freely given by God to those who humble themselves in Christ’s service. When we minister to others in Christ’s name, God’s Spirit rests in us and shines forth from us. This is the fruit and gift of ministry God offers us today.


Jesus speaks to the scribes and Pharisees to call them to ministry. Are we blind guides or God’s prophets? Are we white-washed tombs or Jesus’ ministers? Are we or broods of vipers or humble servants in the Spirit? To further examine this theme, visit Matthew 23 and reflect on verse 12 in particular.

Images from: https://mycatholic.life/catholic-question-and-answer/q-raising-hands-during-the-our-father/ and  https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Brooklyn_Museum_-_Woe_unto_You,_Scribes_and_Pharisees_%28Malheur_%C3%A0_vous,_scribes_et_pharisiens%29_-_James_Tissot.jpg

 

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Matthew 6:1-4: Teaching on Almsgivinggivinghands

Saturday, April 30, 2022

From the June 20, 2007 MAGNIFICAT reflection, an excerpt from the writings on Hans Urs von Balthasar, a Swiss theologian: “God is no trainer of souls bent on attaining extravagant record performances. He is a Lover who wants nothing but great love and who accepts with a smile everything such love invents to offer him. But he declines everything man uses – no matter how subtly – to put on airs before him.”

God says: The world draws you to extol yourself, to outdo your neighbors, to store up goods for yourself, to regard yourself as the creator of your world. I ask you to aside all prizes and titles except for those I give to you each day. I give you my love unconditionally. I give you myself ceaselessly. I give you life eternally. I call you my children. I call you sisters and brother of Jesus. I call you salt and light for the world. Does not this outweigh all that the world has to offer? All that I offer must – surely – be enough. When you give alms you demonstrate that you understand this relationship with me and my kingdom. When you practice humility you prepare yourself to receive me in my Way. You prepare yourself to travel with me in this eternal path.

Read more about Hans Urs von Balthasar and consider what lessons his life has to offer us as we struggle with our own search for genuine humility. Visit: http://www.ignatiusinsight.com/authors/vonbalthasar.asp

Tomorrow, bringing hearts and minds together in Beatitude. 


Cameron, Peter John. “Meditation of the Day.” MAGNIFICAT. 20.6.12 (2007). Print.

Image from: http://classicalchristianity.com/2012/01/29/on-almsgiving/

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Matthew 5:5: The MeekPsalm-37-11

Easter Monday, April 18, 2022

On this Easter Monday we continue our reflection on the Beatitudes as we re-focus our attention on God’s priorities rather than our own.

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land. (Matthew’s account of the Sermon on the Mount)

Perhaps patience is the quality we most need if we are to be humble servants. Patience in our understanding that we are not in charge. Patience in our knowing that it is God’s wisdom and grace that answers our deepest questions. Patience in allowing God’s fidelity and mercy to invade all that we do. Patience in both giving and accepting God’s healing love. Psalm 27 reminds us what we gain when we are able to wait. These verses bring into focus what it is we inherit, and why the land in which the Spirit dwells is worth our offering of meekness.

Though a host encamp against me, my heart will not fear . . .

On this Easter Monday we celebrate God’s strength . . .

Though war arise against me, I shall be confident . . .

We celebrate God’s hope . . .

I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living . . .

We celebrate God’s gift of eternal life and love . . .  

Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage . . .

We celebrate God’s gift of promise . . .

Yes, wait for the Lord . . .

We celebrate God’s gift of persistence.

2012042151empty_tombWhen our quiet strength rises from God we have no need to boast or strut. When our simple humility follows the example of Christ we have no need to exclude or divide. When our genuine meekness grows in the Spirit of God we have no need to hate or avenge. Let us wait on the Lord, let us give thanks for God’s presence, and let us celebrate the patience we inherit that offers us the gift of God’s meekness.

Using the scripture links, explore different versions of these verses and give thanks for our inheritance of meekness.

Tomorrow, the merciful. 


Images from: http://eagleviews.org/2011/10/14/they-say-he-said/ and http://flowers-kid.com/easter-empty-tomb-images.htm

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John: Naming OurselvesMislabeling-the-Word-of-God

Monday, March 28, 2022

In beautiful prose, the writer of John’s Gospel gives us many portals to name Christ, to understand the person of Jesus, and to model ourselves after this Word of God Among Us.  As we move closer to Palm Sunday, as we prepare to enter the holiest of times in the liturgical calendar, let us take time to assess who Jesus is, how we convey to the world our own understanding of God in the person of Jesus, and how we intend to change in order that we become more like this saving servant.

Chapter 1: Word of God and Light of the World – What does it mean to be the Word of God? Do we enact God’s mercy and justice in our actions and words? How might we bring light to the world’s darkness? Do we look for hope, bring peace, and heal others?

Chapter 3: Spirit of God – God grants us eternal life. What do we store up for this eternity? Where does our treasure lie? Do we offer life or death to ourselves and others?

Chapters 4 – 9: Healer and Miracle Worker – How do we become the hands and feet of Christ? When do we allow God to work many small miracles for and through us? How often do we witness to injustice? When and why do we heal ourselves and others?

good shepherdChapter 10: The Good Shepherd – We have the prophets’ cry out against false shepherd and teachers. Do we number among them? Do we listen for the voice of Jesus the Shepherd? Do we put aside the world to follow the one true shepherd? When do we call others to follow in Christ’s Way?

Chapters 11-12: Restorer of Life – We cannot raise Lazarus from the dead but we can restore wounded hearts, ask and grant forgiveness, bridge gaps and mend fences. We are capable of bringing hope to the hopeless, mercy to the marginalized and love to the abandoned and brutalized. When and where do we grant these gifts we have been given by God?

Chapters 13 – 14: Advocate – It is easy to look away from problems and slip into denial. Who are our loved ones, associates, colleagues and friends? Do they call us to good or encourage us to hide in darkness?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAChapters 15 – 17: Vine for our Branches – God gives us the choice to be life-takers or life-givers. What path do we choose and why? Are we willing to change course once we see that we need to change? Do we offer to God the apology saying that we are content in our comfort zone? Do we inflict discomfort on others or call them gently? What nourishment do we allow God to bring us and how do we pass this sacred sustenance along?

Chapters 18 – 20: Lamb of God – Humility is such a difficult quality to wear in our status and power-driven world and yet it is essential. Do we strive for the meekness that Jesus displays? Do we give more than we receive? What role does pride play in our lives? How do we handle our own sense of entitlement and that of others?

Chapter 21: Resurrection – There are no words to express the beauty of God’s desire to bring us to eternal happiness in the kingdom. What fidelity to do we show to the Gospel story in our actions and words? What narrative of resurrection do we live out? What promise of resurrection to we believe? And how do we witness to the miracles of resurrection we know God performs constantly in our own lives and in the lives of others?

empty tomb with sheet and lightWe are perhaps too accustomed to these images and if this is so, we must spend quiet time with them today. If we celebrate and enact these metaphors in our lives daily then let us rejoice in the Good News that is so familiar. In either case, let us spend time with these names and call ourselves followers of Christ as today we prepare for the Palm Sunday gift of Jesus as the very name of God.

Tomorrow, Christ in Us.


Images from: http://www.redletterchristians.org/mislabeling-the-word-of-god/, http://jnwheels.com/tag/jnwheels/, http://galleryhip.com/i-am-the-vine-you-are-the-branches-bible.html, and http://wallpaper-kid.com/empty-tomb-worship-backgrounds.htm

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Sirach 51:23-30: In Earnestlistening To God

March 11, 2015

Wisdom is close to those who seek her, and the one who is in earnest finds her.

Much is written about wisdom and finding the key that unlocks access to her depths. We spend many hours and a great deal of money looking for the wisest ways to earn a living, to make solid friendships, to find the magical access to happiness. And while we search, we often overlook Wisdom’s presence in the simplest of times, the most unpretentious spaces, and the humblest of relationships. Wisdom is not to be found in the glitz and glory; rather, Wisdom makes her home with the meek, the ordinary and the earnest.

If we spend time with these verses today and compare varying versions of the text, let us take stock of the places we frequent, the people we befriend, and the time we spend with our creator.


In some traditions, the book of Sirach is categorized as Apocrypha. Use the scripture link to explore different versions of this citation and listen in earnest for Wisdom’s whispered words.

Image from: http://whomshallisend.blogspot.com/2012_02_26_archive.html

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