A Joy to the Father

January 30, 2018

“See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.”
– 1 John 3:1

Do you believe you are a joy for God the Father? Though we may “know” the Father delights in us, we can have trouble truly believing it. Yet, we can consider our own situation. Do you delight in your children? They can drive us crazy, but at our core we know the answer – yes! Then how could God the Father not delight in us? He is THE Father!

So often we examine our spiritual lives based on only our faults and mistakes – only looking at ourselves.  We can leave out the most important aspect: we are in an intimate relationship, a relationship with a God who delights in us and loves us! When we are able to look up and focus on who God is, we are able to truly believe He looks upon us with delight and love. Then, we can discover our delight in Him, and our sinfulness and imperfections will begin to be purified in and through His love.

Live It! Tip of the Week: Do I believe I am a joy for God the Father? Take some time to really ponder this question and rediscover intimacy with your heavenly Father who delights in you. Allow your life to be transformed from the inside out.

“We give you praise, Father most holy, for you are great, and you have fashioned all your works in wisdom and in love. You formed man in your own image and entrusted the whole world to his care, so that in serving you alone, the Creator, he might have dominion over all creatures.

And when through disobedience he had lost your friendship, you did not abandon him to the domain of death. For you came in mercy to the aid of all, so that those who seek might find you. Time and again you offered them covenants and through the prophets taught them to look forward to salvation.

And you so loved the world, Father most holy, that in the fullness of time you sent your Only Begotten Son to be our Savior. Made incarnate by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, he shared our human nature in all things but sin. To the poor he proclaimed the good news of salvation, to prisoners, freedom, and to the sorrowful of heart, joy.

To accomplish your plan, he gave himself up to death, and, rising from the dead, he destroyed death and restored life. And that we might live no longer for ourselves but for him who died and rose again for us, he sent the Holy Spirit from you, Father, as the first fruits for those who believe, so that, bringing to perfection his work in the world, he might sanctify creation to the full.”

–Eucharistic Prayer IV from The Roman Missal.

Do you love me?

January 23, 2018

“He said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And [Peter] said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”…And after this [Jesus] said to him, “Follow me.”
– John 21:17-19

When Jesus entrusted His mission to Peter, he did not give him a long contract to sign or a list of roles and responsibilities. No, he simply asked one question three times: Peter, do you love me? The saints did all the wonderful things they did first and foremost because they were lovers. St. John of the Cross states, “The smallest movement of pure love is worth more to the Church than all works put together.” Even if we accomplish everything on our personal and professional lists for this year, God will continue to ask each one of us this one personal question with much deeper implications: do you love me? Let us rediscover God’s love for us and our love for God, which is not a feeling, but a choice.

Live It! Tip of the Week: When you examine your conscious tonight, remain on the first part of the greatest commandment: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.” Remember St. Therese’s words: “It is love alone that counts.” Be encouraged that God loves you and will give you the grace to love Him back. Just ask!

Lord, open my heart to receive the love in this moment between us. Give me the faith to hear you say, “Do you love me?” and the grace to respond like Peter: “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”

Holy Audacity

January 16, 2018

“As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.”
– Psalm 103:12

In our daily quest to receive God’s love and return it back to Him, our past sins may come to mind and seem like a brick wall between us and God. This is a trick of Satan, but we can fight back through three radical dispositions of the heart, all of which make us look up to God rather than turning inward towards ourselves:

  1. Choose gratitude rather than shame. Thank God for his mercy and forgiveness!  He has wiped your sins away, completely forgotten them, and never grows tired of forgiving! Give him the joy of being your Savior.
  2. Choose humility rather than discouragement. Our sins can serve to remind us of our own weakness. It is not God who grows weary of us, but we who sometimes grow weary of ourselves.  If your past sins keep you humbled, thanks be to God, for “God opposes the proud, even when they are right.”
  3. Choose to receive the gift of faith rather than to despair. St. Paul says where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.  When we recall our past sins and ponder God’s mercy, surely our faith can increase like St. Paul’s.

Rather than become a brick wall, our sin can stir us towards greater communion with God! St. Therese defines sanctity as “a disposition of the heart which makes us humble and small in the arms of God, conscious of our weakness, and confident to the point of audacity in the goodness of our Father.” Just like last week, we are called to rediscover the goodness and love of God.

Live It! Tip of the Week: Make a plan for when you will next go to Confession. Before you go, examine your conscience in a spirit of humble confidence in God’s loving mercy and give God the joy of being your Savior.

“Lord, increase our faith in You! Give us the holy audacity to trust in “the immensity of that infinite mercy which casts all [sins] into the depths of the sea of oblivion when we repent of them with love.”
–St. Francis de Sales

Love for Love

January 9, 2018

“For God is love.”
– 1 John 4:8

The most simple, the most foundational, and most elementary point in the Christian life also carries the potential to transform you entirely, day after day and forever. So what is it? Quite simply, God loves you. EVERYTHING God has done is out of this love. He created the Universe out of love. He created you personally out of love. He left his throne in the Heavens and broke into human history out of love. He poured Himself out and bled His last drop of blood out of love…for you! What more could He have done to make you believe in His love?

This is the very heart of the gospel. Sometimes we need to stay grounded in this simplicity because at times we forget and at times we make it complicated. God loves you. When you really believe in his love and live in his love, everything changes. In rediscovering God’s love for you, you can begin to rediscover your love for God. Return love for love.

Live It! Tip of the Week: Take a few minutes today and ponder the ways
God has sustained you in His love. Consider specific moments, events, and people through whom God has loved you, similar to the Blessed Virgin Mary’s Magnificat in Luke 1:46-55.

“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden.
For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed;
for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
And his mercy is on those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm,
he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts,
he has put down the mighty from their thrones,
and exalted those of low degree;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent empty away.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his posterity for ever.”