Saturday, October 29, 2011

Take the Lowest Place

'When you are a guest, make your way to the lowest place and sit there, so that, when your host comes, he may say, “My friend, move up higher.” In that way, everyone with you at the table will see you honoured. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the man who humbles himself will be exalted.’

Jesus is a guest at a Pharisee's house and he observes the the behaviour of guests who are seeking places of honour around the table.  In response He gives a teaching on humility.

Jesus strikes at the very heart of every person's inner struggle.  It is summed up well I think in the old-fashioned word, "vainglory". There is a vanity in me that is always seeking subtle ways to be glorified, ways to be exalted.  The lesson Jesus gives is so very simple.  Seek the lowest place so that there is no lower place to go.  Then I can only be lifted up.  It's risky.  My fear is I would be left at the lowest place.  But when I think about, so what?  That would be far better than the humiliation of being made to take a lower place.

The main point is that Jesus makes a promise to those who humble themselves; they will be lifted up.  Today I tame my vainglory and work on humbling myself.

Lord Jesus, You are the ultimate example of what it means to humble ones self.  The humility it took for God to become man I cannot fathom.  Help me Lord overcome my desire for self exaltation and replace it with true humility, that You may then lift me up.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Friday, October 28, 2011


Jesus went out into the hills to pray; and he spent the whole night in prayer to God. When day came he summoned his disciples and picked out twelve of them; he called them ‘apostles’

Jesus is about to start His ministry with a hand-picked team of twelve.  Even He doesn't rely on His own abilities to do this but calls on His Father in a night of prayer.  Jesus did nothing without praying first.

It seems holiness and prayer go hand-in-hand.  When I think about holy people I know like Bishop Fulton Sheen, Mother Theresa, Sister Briege McKenna and Pope John Paul II, they all spent hours each day in front of the blessed sacrament.  The busier they became, the more time in adoration they spent. 

I've never spent a night in prayer.  If I'm serious about my desire for holiness, perhaps I need to pray more...

Lord Jesus, in Your name I call on the Holy Spirit.  Come Holy Spirit and teach me how to pray.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Love made Visible

For I am certain of this: neither death nor life, no angel, no prince, nothing that exists, nothing still to come, not any power, or height or depth, nor any created thing, can ever come between us and the love of God made visible in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Saint Paul writes to the church of Rome to correct their over-emphasis of the Greek influence of human reason.  Here he distills what the love of God is; Christ Jesus our Lord.

I remember very clearly what it was that finally caught my attention to Jesus.  It came from a humble priest on a team leading a Marriage Encounter weekend that Kate and I attended.  He made a passing remark on the Sunday of the weekend, saying the love we had rediscovered for each other was just a fraction of the love Jesus has for each one of us.  I remember thinking this was just a lie or...could it possibly be true?  And if it was possibly true then I need to find out more about this person Jesus.  That led to asking good questions about Jesus to which I was given good answers.  Four years later I was hammering on the door of the Church crying "Let me in!"

That love that was made visible to me twenty-five years ago is just as fresh and real and exciting today.  Today I feel the love of Jesus.

Lord Jesus, You are my greatest love.  Thank you for loving me, no matter what.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Leavened all through

‘What shall I compare the kingdom of God with? It is like the yeast a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour till it was leavened all through.’

Jesus is quoted by Saint Luke as describing what the Kingdom of God is like.  Jesus uses common physical things to describe something extraordinarily spiritual.   The common feature is that the Kingdom of God seems small and insignificant but, as it works from the inside out,  in time it influences everything.

The Kingdom of God is within me.  It is so insignificant that at times I forget it is there.   I need to mix it in with the dough of my life and let it work from the inside out.  In time it will influence everything.

Holy Spirit, help me mix the yeast of my faith into every corner of my life that it may leaven everything I am for the glory of God's Kingdom.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Spiritual Things

The unspiritual are interested only in what is unspiritual, but the spiritual are interested in spiritual things. It is death to limit oneself to what is unspiritual; life and peace can only come with concern for the spiritual.

Saint Paul is writing to the Roman church correcting the unbalance from Greek thought that relies too heavily on human reason.  He goes so far as to say that peace and fullness of life can only come from things of the spirit as that is where God is found.

I've just fare-welled my son and some of his friends who are going for a two day tramp into the Uruwera National Park.  It's a ruggedly beautiful part of the North Island that I recall tramping around their age.  It was a time in my life prior to my knowing Jesus, a time when I was very much focused on unspiritual things.  Yet I remember in the midst of tramping in the great out-doors there were times I sensed spiritual things within the physical beauty I was in.  I now know it was the fingerprints of God I was seeing in His created beauty. 

The Spirit of God is everywhere and can be seen when I look with the spiritual eyes. Today I put on spiritual eyes of faith to see "God-with-me", here, now...

Thank you Lord God that You are in all things.  I long for the life and peace that comes with Your spirit.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Do Good

Pain and suffering will come to every human being who employs himself in evil – Jews first, but Greeks as well; renown, honour and peace will come to everyone who does good – Jews first, but Greeks as well. God has no favourites.

Saint Paul is writing about what each type of life can expect on judgement day.  There is a universal law that even God will not interfere with, the law of the harvest.  Put simply, we reap what we sow.

Whenever I choose to sin I am aware of a certain mind-game I play.  The devil in me says, "No one will know and no one will care".  Of course, the exact opposite is true.  Everyone will know when the book of my life is opened and God cares.  When I keep this big picture in mind the perceived gain of the sin is eclipsed by its huge cost... my eternal destiny.  Today I choose to do good even if no one notices... because God does.

Lord Jesus.  You have no favourites.  You love me no less than the greatest saint.  Help me choose what is right today that I may have renown, honour and peace with You in heaven.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Eyes to See

Ever since God created the world his everlasting power and deity – however invisible – have been there for the mind to see in the things he has made.

Saint Paul is describing how the glory, majesty and divinity of God can be seen in what He has created.  However, when man wants to deny the existence of God, he quickly starts worhiping creation instead of the creator.

Kate and I had a "date day" last Wednesday.  It was great.  We did a leisurely road-trip to places of interest around the Waikato.  It was a stunningly beautiful spring day, the sort of day where the simplest of things can make you smile... like lambs gamboling over the verdant green Waikato pasture.  I had a sense that God had us in mind when He created that time and place for Kate and I to enjoy.  It elevated the whole experience to another plane.

I never want to loose the eyes to see God in His creation. It makes God very real and very present to me in my day to day living.  It makes God present to me now...

Father God, thank you for the beauty of Your creation and the life You have given me to enjoy it.  May I always have eyes to see Your fingerprints in Your creation.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Hear and Do

As Jesus was speaking, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said, ‘Happy the womb that bore you and the breasts you sucked!’ But he replied, ‘Still happier those who hear the word of God and keep it!’

A spontaneous cry of adoration has been called out from a woman in the crowd.  Even though the cry was a compliment to Mary His mother, Jesus uses the moment to make a greater point about true happiness... hearing and doing the Word of God.

Hear and do.  It's a simple formula but like all simple formulas, it takes discipline to achieve.  I have to stop taking and listen.  Even before that, I have to make time to listen.  Then comes the doing.  Sometimes the doing goes against what I want to do.  It means being close enough to God to hear Him and trusting Him enough to obey Him.  This affects every moment of my day, ...every moment of this day.

Lord Jesus, You are my way to true happiness.  Speak that I may hear and give me courage that I may do.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Ask for More

 ‘So I say to you: Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For the one who asks always receives; the one who searches always finds; the one who knocks will always have the door opened to him.'.

Jesus continues His instruction on how to pray.  He tells the parable of the persistent friend hammering at his neighbor's door for a loaf of bread.  Active persistence is the way to pray.

There's a bigger picture here.  If prayer is all about relationship with God then the dynamic prayer-method Jesus advocates actually prescribes a dynamic active relationship with God.  I'm not to be a passive bystander in my faith life.  It is a lively, vibrant thing that involves constant effort and activity from me.  Drifting along is not an option.  Have I hammered on the doors of heaven lately?  When did I last ask, seek, knock with persistent fervor?

Lord Jesus, thank you for waiting patiently for me to engage with You.  Holy Spirit, let my heart burn within me for more of God.  Help me ask for more, seek for more, knock for more.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Teach us to Pray

Once Jesus was in a certain place praying, and when he had finished, one of his disciples said, ‘Lord, teach us to pray...'

Jesus is asked by a disciple how to pray.  In reply He gives us The Lord's prayer which is said at every Mass every day around the world.  It is the perpetual prayer of the Church that is always being prayed. Every time I pray it I am joining other brothers and sisters somewhere in the world

Prayer is the very life-blood of faith and yet it is often the first thing to be dropped in a stumbling faith-life.  Jesus prayed constantly to His Father.  The disciples soon picked up that prayer was part and parcel of being a follower of Jesus.  The same is true today.  Prayer is not an option, it is essential for a vibrant relationship with my God.

Our Father who art in Heaven,
Hallowed be thy name;
Thy kingdom come
Thy will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
And forgive us our trespasses
As we forgive those who trespass against us;
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil. 

Little Flower, please pray for me.