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Posts Tagged ‘St. Paul of the Cross’


Mark 14:27-31: Finding Holiness in Shaken Faith

Friday, September 2, 2022how-do-you-keep-the-faith

All of you will have your faith shaken. Jesus makes this pronouncement not long before his own resolve is tested in the Gethsemane Garden. He warns his followers that they will abandon him but even though they do, he will still return to bring them back to the fold. We see the work of a good and watchful shepherd.

None of us is exempt from uncertainty or doubt. All of us experience times of dryness and bleak landscapes. Jesus goes before us everywhere, even though we may often feel that we walk alone. Jesus prepares a way for us, even though we might think the road is blocked with obstacles. Jesus comes to gather us, even though we believe that we are not worth collecting, or we do not need saving. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, must bring us to his home because he is not capable of forgetting or abandoning his little ones.

When we feel the pressure of our days, we may want to think about this reflection from today’s MAGNIFICAT Meditation by St. Paul of the Cross: [God] knows how to console us when we least expect it. If anyone hurts you, turn on him as something of great value and, with the eyes of one who loves, see him as the person chosen by God to clothe you in holiness and in the patience, silence, and meekness of Jesus Christ. If you can learn to see God’s will as a source of strength, taking every difficulty you go through as something that comes not just from circumstances but from the loving hand of God your creator, you will soon be speeding along the short road to holiness. The troubles we have in life, if we see them as part of God’s loving plan and accept them as being what he wants for us, will actually help us to grow in knowledge and love of him.  Even when things are at their worst, keep your peace of heart and accept whatever God sends you as being for your good. God is your guide, your father, your teacher, your husband. In everything that happens the best thing you can do is abandon yourself to his will.

And so we pray:  Good and gracious God, keep us ever mindful that the times when we feel furthest from you are when we are closet. Remind us that when we are most harried, we are also most loved. Tell us again that when we are most in pain, we are most comforted. 

Let us act as Jesus does when the time of persecution comes; he does not seek revenge but builds bridges instead. 

Let us act as Jesus does when the time of pain arrives; he does not curse the darkness but turns to the Father for strength. 

Let us act as Jesus does when the time of abandonment happens; he does not rebuke the followers who leave him but turns to them in love.

We ask this in Jesus’ name.  Amen. 


Cameron, Peter John. “Meditation of the Day.” MAGNIFICAT. 20.10 (2010). Print.

Image from: https://www.logos.com/grow/what-does-the-word-faith-mean-in-hebrews-11/

Adapted from a reflection written on October 20, 2010.

 

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Psalm 43Peace of Heart

Thursday, March 15, 2018

In some versions of the Bible, we find this psalm as the final portion of psalm 42. It may begin in this manner: Grant me justice, O God; defend me from a faithless people . . . Or it may begin differently: Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause against an ungodly people . . .   

No matter the style, the psalmist here presents the universal plea humans have when they come to God: I see myself as wronged . . . and I want you to put things right. 

The Meditation in MAGNIFICAT today serves as a perfect solution for our very human desire to seek vindication; it speaks to our peace of heart.  This is an idea we investigated from time to time when we look at the troubles Job experienced.  Each of us lives a life of trial in one way or another and it is for those times that Saint Paul of the Cross, the founder of the Passionists, writes: The easiest way to keep your peace of heart is to accept everything as coming from the hands of God who loves you.  If you do this, any pain or persecution, anything which is difficult to accept will be transformed into a source of joy, happiness, and peace . . . This does not mean to say that God sends disaster to trip us up.  Nor is this saying that God delights in punishing us.  The opposite is true.  God so loves us that when calamity occurs, God wishes most to transform all damage and harm into goodness and fruitfulness.  This is why it is imperative that we maintain constant, open contact with God . . . otherwise we will misinterpret all that happens to us and around us.

St. Paul continues: Silence and recollection are two very effective ways of bringing ourselves before the Lord and entering into the sanctuary of [God’s] love . . . When a person comes to terms with his feelings, when he lives in God and walks by the light of faith, he has attained that stillness of the night which God is waiting for.  It is then that the Word of God comes to birth in him in a way which is entirely of God.  Remain within your deepest self, in the interior kingdom of your spirit.  Remember that your soul is a temple of the living God.  “The kingdom of God is within you”. 

We may have difficulty in finding these quiet times to be still and so St. Paul continues with this counsel: Night and day let your aim be to remain in simplicity and gentleness, calmness and serenity, and in freedom from created things, so that you will find joy in the Lord Jesus.  Love silence and solitude, even when in the midst of a crowd or when caught up in your work. 

By living in the world but not of it, by keeping our line of communication with God open and clear at all times, we will understand better what we are to do when disaster strikes – as it always does.  We will be more prepared to see the goodness that can come from cataclysm – as it always can.  We will sink less into despair, we will rise more into joy.  We will find what St. Paul of the Cross calls a certain peace of heart.

When we suffer – as we do – when we are wronged – as we will be – when we wrong others – as we are bound to do . . . rather than seek vindication, let us seek peace of heart For when we maintain faith and seek joy, peace arrives . . . and all else will fall into its perfect place.

Cameron, Peter John. “Meditation of the Day.” MAGNIFICAT. 20.10 (2009). Print.  

A Favorite from October 20, 2009.

For other translations of these verses, use the scripture link and the drop-down menus. 

For a reflection on this topic with verses from the wisdom Book of Job, visit: https://thenoontimes.com/2013/04/23/peace-of-heart/ 

Image from: http://irjaberg.se/mediala%20tj%C3%A4nster/healing%20heart%20afton.html

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