If our hope in Christ is limited to this life, we are the most pitiable of all people. But now Christ has been raised from the dead.” 1 Cor. 15:19-20
True story. A missionary in Thailand was trying to bring this young woman to God. They were to meet at the train station at 8:30 am and head for a prayer breakfast. Well, the young woman was late and the missionary became more and more upset as time went on. She was complaining in her heart that she really did not want to do this in the first place and now her time was being wasted. Then God broke into her life and said, “You left my intimacy and became upset at a woman I was asking you to love.” Wow!
Don’t we often leave the intimacy of God and focus on the problems and imperfections? Brothers and sisters, the goal is to never leave His intimacy. And we have the choice never to leave His intimacy because Christ is Risen from the dead and He is with us in all times and places through the power of the Holy Spirit! Because He is Risen, He is intimately with us every step of the way!
We don’t place our hope in someone meeting us at 8:30 am in a train station but in the intimate love Jesus is offering us each moment. Do not leave His intimacy for the problems. Focus on Him loving you in the present and sharing that love with all the other people who are at the train station at 8:30 am.
Intimate love all the time because of Jesus’ Resurrection!
Who do we think of as our model in the faith? OK, here is a most acceptable answer- Mary. Mary does not say many words in the Scriptures so the words she does say are important. Some of her first words are “I am the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done unto me according to your word.” (LK 1:38) Then, the bulk of her words found in the Bible are that of PRAISE. Just read Luke 1: 46-55. “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior…. Holy is His name… His mercy is from age to age… He has lifted up the lowly….”
I want to make the connection of PRAISE and the attitude of Mary has. Her attitude is that she will let God use and form her according to His will. It is about the awesome mystery of God loving and saving her and all His children. The result is a heart full of PRAISE. Most of Mary’s words are PRAISE. Her obedience to the Word of God leads her to PRAISE. Obedience always leads to PRAISE.
Let’s pay attention. If we want to know how much God is a part of our lives we can check our own personal PRAISE barometer. How much is PRAISE a part of our daily life? If God’s word is being accomplished in us we cannot help to be constantly full of PRAISE. Why? Because we simply can’t contain the love of God. As we obey God our hearts will well up with PRAISE. If we’ve really got the love of God forming what we think, say and do, we will want to shout about it from the housetops. Like Mary, the greatest and most natural response to God loving and saving us is that of PRAISE.
I just have a few suggestions to make our PRAISE barometer rise. First, obey God’s Word. Secondly, go to the sacrament of reconciliation. Sin chokes God’s Word and, consequently, PRAISE out of our lives. Let his love and mercy take away our anger and hatred through the sacrament of reconciliation. Thirdly, a lot of times we simply just don’t take the time to reflect and become aware of how awesome God is in our lives. So, as a families let us take at least one prayer time a week together simply allowing the various member to say what they are thankful for. Do this with friends or coworkers. Fourthly, get a praise journal and write something new in it each day you are thankful for- this discipline will transform you! Watch the miracles happen! Watch how loving God can become for us in the midst of all the curses and negativity that this world can send our way. As Christians, you and I are called to be a PEOPLE OF PRAISE.
God is just too good not to PRAISE. Truly, it is impossible not to praise him as he pours out his love in our hearts!
You are loved!
May we always remember the way in which the gates of paradise were opened for us by pondering the life of Christ. Many people thought the Messiah would be a revolutionary who would set Israel free from foreign domination and oppression through political and military power. Indeed, Jesus did come to set God’s children free from sin and for eternal life in heaven, but it was to be through the way of weakness.
Jesus became weak and vulnerable for each of us when he took on frail humanity being born of the Virgin Mary. Though Jesus was in the form of God he did not deem equality with God something to be prized, rather he took the form of a slave, being born in our likeness, obediently accepting even death, death on the cross (see Phil. 2:5-8). Yes, Jesus became a slave for you and me. A slave had no status or say but was at his master’s beck and call. A slave was at the mercy of his master. Jesus offered his whole life to the mercy of the Father’s plan.
As we reflect on the life of Christ from his birth to his public ministry of teaching, healing and miracles, we see how Jesus, at the mercy of his Father’s plan, moves towards ultimate weakness. Jesus moved to the depth of weakness as he was whipped, spat upon and mocked. He chose to be vulnerable to the Father’s plan when he took the cross on his shoulders. The pinnacle of his weakness happened when he breathed his last after an excruciating and humiliating crucifixion. But it was precisely in this supreme weakness that death was conquered and heaven’s love energized the whole world by creating it anew through the power of the resurrection. It was in and through the weakness of Jesus that the sting of death was replaced by the healing embrace of God who would go to any length to share his love with us. The Father’s power became perfect in Christ’s absolute weakness. St. Paul knew this truth when he said: The Lord said to me “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9). Because of the absolute weakness of the man-God, we, like St. Paul, can come to know the power and forever love of the Father who waits for us to come to him in weakness.
“POWER IS MADE PERFECT IN WEAKNESS” (2 Cor. 9:12)