THE VIRTUE OF PERSEVERANCE

Saturday 14th November – Saturday of week 32 of the year

Reflection: Luke 18:1-8

THE VIRTUE OF PERSEVERANCE

Have you ever tried to seek audience with a VIP? Perhaps you needed to meet a highly placed official or needed a favour from some influential personality. How easy was it to get across to such a person? If you take time to reflect on this, you cannot but be grateful for the privilege we have as God’s children. The Almighty God who created all things is the only ruler who has no protocol officer through whom you must go to get his attention. With faith as tiny as a mustard seed, we can approach our loving and just Father and be confident that He will answer our prayers in due time.

Christ encourages us today with the parable of the widow and the unjust judge never to be discouraged in making our requests known to God. If even an unjust man cannot but attend to the unrelenting request of a widow, what should we expect from our all good God? “And will not God vindicate his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, He will vindicate them speedily” Lk 18:7-8

Beloved, what are you looking up to God for? Is it success in your exams, a life partner, peace or some other seemingly difficult situations? Have your rights been infringed and there is no one to fight your course? Does it look like God has forgotten you and has not answered your requests? Jesus’ words to us today is reassuring. We have a God whom we can trust; indeed His delays are never denials.  Do not ever give up, keep up asking God in faith and in due season He w

PRAYER: Heavenly father, relying on your words today, I lay all my requests humbly at your feet; please give answers to them so that my faith can be strengthened. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT510 – Is it possible to pray always?

Prayer is always possible. Prayer is vitally necessary. Prayer and life cannot be separated.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Now will God not judge in favour of his own people who cry to him day and night for help? Will he be slow to help them? Luke 18:7 GNB

Today’s Readings: Wisdom 18: 14-16, 19: 6-9; Ps 105: 2-3, 36-37, 42-43; Luke 18: 1-8

DO NOT GIVE UP ON THY SELF

Friday 23rd October – Friday of week 29 of the year

DO NOT GIVE UP ON THY SELF

Romans 7: 18-25

One of the greatest tragedies of faith is for any Christian to give up on him or herself. To surrender to our human weaknesses and quit striving in the salvation struggle is to relinquish oneself as prey to Satan. God never gives up on any one (Ephesian 2:4); we are the only ones that can shut the door of mercy on ourselves through unbelief. That was the tragedy of Judas’ faith.
Beloved in the Lord, is your lamentation similar to that of St. Paul in today’s first reading? “… for though the will to do what is good is in me, the performance is not, with the result that instead of doing the good things I want to do, I carry out the sinful thing I do not want” (Romans 7: 21-23). Let us not be discouraged; the manifestation of our human weakness should promote humility of heart and spur us to greater dependence on God.

By humility of heart, I mean three things. Firstly, our weaknesses teach us that none of us is yet perfect (Romans 3: 23), though we have been converted to Christ, our salvation is a journey which we must daily work out (Philippians 2:12). Secondly, we are reminded of our need to daily quest and depend more on the grace of God (2 Corinthians 12:9; 1 Samuel 2:9). Thirdly, our weakness should teach us to accommodate the imperfections of others having come to see the short comings in ourselves.

Dearest in Christ, let us not get wearied on the journey of faith; let us persevere in good work. Faithful is He that has called us (1 Thessalonian 5: 24) and He is able to safeguard the souls that have been committed to him to the glorious appearance of the saints in heaven (1 Timothy 1:12).

Prayer: Thank you father for your great love and mercy over my life. Please help me never to be discouraged by my shortcomings but that I may be committed to greater seek and serve you. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 679 – The father has given “all judgement to the Son.” Yet the Son did not come to judge, but to save and to give the life he has in himself. By rejecting grace, one already judges oneself, receives according to ones’ works, and can even condemn oneself for all eternity by rejecting the Spirit of love. 

HIDE A TREASURE: “My grace is all you need, for my power is greatest when you are weak” 2 Corinthians 12:9 GNB

Today’s Readings: Romans 7: 18-25; Psalms 119: 66, 68, 76-77, 93-94; Luke 12: 54-59

FINISHING STRONG

Saturday 19th September – Saturday of week 24 of the year

Reflection: 1 Timothy 6: 13-16

FINISHING STRONG

“Thank God for this beautiful day” exclaimed Ifeoma as she yawned tiredly. It was her matriculation to start studying her dream course after three years of battling with the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) and the university admission process. As she retired to bed she reflected on the words of the Vice Chancellor. After congratulating the new students on their admission, he had reminded them that they were beginning a journey, aimed at acquiring knowledge and graduating with excellent grades and their joy will be full only if they persevered in their studies and achieved this goal at graduation.

The words of the vice chancellor hold true not only for students but also for us all as Christians. Through our baptism, God has transferred from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of his beloved Son (Col 1:13); and our journey of faith has begun. We have become children of God and heirs to His kingdom. Yet, it is only if we strive to live out our call to holiness each day and persevere in it till the very end that we receive the final reward of our faith.

Let us take St Paul’s admonishment to Timothy in today’s first reading to be obedient to all that he had been told with no faults or failures, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ as our own. Our Christian profession will be of no benefit to us if we begin our journey of faith well but allow ourselves to drift away, distracted by the lure of the world around us. We must aim at finishing strong. We must endure to the end so that we can be saved (Matt 24:13). Let us approach our Lord in the Sacrament of Penance each time we fall and receive His ever abounding strength for the journey at the table of the Eucharist.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, thank you for the gift of my faith. Please help me to persevere in living it out sincerely till the very end. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 1023 – Those who die in God’s grace and friendship and are perfectly purified live forever with Christ. They are like God for ever, for they “see him as he is,” face to face.

HIDE A TREASURE: “For we share in Christ, if only we hold our first confidence firm to the end.” Hebrews 3:14 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: 1 Timothy 6:13-16; Psalm100:1-5; Luke18: 4-15

TRUSTING GOD’S DESIGN

Saturday 11th July – St. Benedict, ABB (memorial)

TRUSTING GOD’S DESIGN

Genesis 49: 29-33, 50: 15-26

Are there times you have subjected yourself to discomfort because you were aiming at a particular goal? You may have denied yourself a good meal before a sporting event so as to be able to perform well or as a student, you denied yourself the pleasure of extra sleep and play time so as to study effectively and ace your test. You would notice that in those situations, you did not complain about the discomfort because you knew the benefit it would bring in the end.

Beloved, do you trust that the uncomfortable events in your life too are part of God’s design to make you whom He wants you to be? When Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers, he may have complained about their wickedness and about the suffering he underwent as a slave and then a prisoner in Egypt. Yet, in today’s reading he could look back at his experience and tell his brothers: “the evil you planned to do me has by God’s design been turned to good…” (Gen 50:20).

Our human minds cannot see beyond the present and we are tempted to complain about our circumstances. Yet, God calls us to trust in His design for our lives. He has a good plan for each of us and permits certain uncomfortable events to shape us so we can fulfil His beautiful purpose. In the midst of his suffering, Joseph lived in obedience to God and God’s blessing was upon him. Like Joseph, set your mind on pleasing God; let each day of your life be lived in obedience to Him and He will lead you ultimately to the fulfilment of His promises.

PRAYER: Dear Lord, I trust in your perfect plan for me. Please help me to see your hand at work even in the unpleasant circumstances of life and to please you always. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 51If God is all-knowing and all-powerful, why does he not prevent evil?

“God allows evil only so as to make something better result from it” (St. Thomas Aquinas).

HIDE A TREASURE: “We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose” Romans 8:28 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Gen 49: 29-33, 50: 15-26; Psalm 105: 1-7; Mt 10:24-33

CAN YOU HOLD ON?

Sunday 28th June – 13th Sunday of the year

Reflection: Mark 5: 21-43

CAN YOU HOLD ON?

St Theresa of Avila says that “all difficulties in prayer have just one cause: praying as though God were not there”. Beloved in Christ, this is one of the greatest tests of faith which we experience in our lives. Sometimes, God seems silent and our waiting on him appears prolonged. This period is never pleasurable. Yet, it is a period reserved for those who truly believe in God and have experienced his mighty deeds. This is the wisdom of waiting on God.

In today’s reading, Jairus’ walk with Jesus when he came seeking for help was truly a walk of endurance. Even though he was a man of faith and a great intercessor for his ill child, he encountered a situation which stretched his faith even further. He watched the woman with the issue of blood receive her healing while his own request remained pending. Do we not often face similar situations today? We see others give testimony of the power of God while ours is not forthcoming. Jairus was silent and even in the face of bad news from his messengers, he watched Jesus do exactly what he believed and trusted him for. Can we hold on for Jesus just like Jauirus did?

Beloved in Christ, Jesus is tell us today; “Do not be afraid, only believe” (Mk 5:36). Our endurance in hope must carry us all the way to the end without failing, so that we can be made complete and perfect. (James 1:4). Patience in prayer would only become a wellspring of faith in our lives if it rejoices in the perfection of others and still holds tightly to what God is capable of doing. Nothing is impossible for God. Tears may flow in the night but joy will come at dawn. Let us be courageous then as we trust and wait on God for his unfailing help.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, help me to trust in your designs for my life. May my faith in you continue to grow by your grace. Jesus, I trust in you. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 507What happens if you find that prayer does not help?

Prayer does not seek superficial success but rather the will of God and intimacy with him. God’s apparent silence is itself an invitation to take a step farther—in total devotion, boundless faith, endless expectation. Anyone who prays must allow God the complete freedom to speak whenever he wants, to grant whatever he wants, and to give himself however he wants.

HIDE A TREASURE: “I wait patiently for the Lord’s help; then he listened to me and heard my cry” Psalm 40:1 GNB

Today’s Readings: Wisdom 1:13-15; 2:23-24; Psalm 30: 2-6, 11-13; 2Cor 8:7, 9, 13-15; Mark 5:21-43

WAITING ON THE LORD

Thursday 25th June – Thursday of week 12 of the year

Reflection: Genesis 16:1-12, 15-16

WAITING ON THE LORD

“To wait on the Lord, is not as important as what we do while waiting.” God made a covenant with our father Abraham to give him an heir of his own (Gen 15:4-5). After ten years in the Promised Land, Sarah thought of a way out and she gave out her servant Hagar as a concubine to Abraham. However, God’s plan of an heir for Abraham was to be fulfilled through Sarah. The result of their impatience was more trouble to contend with. Dear friends in Christ, we are not oblivious of God’s promises for us, nor are we ignorant of His good plans in store for us, however, we often lose patience while waiting.

Patience is not passivity, but a strong endurance in the face of seeming defeat and disappointment; it is a refusal to be crushed by the blow of circumstances. “He who believes, does not hasten,” and “In our patience, we must learn to possess our souls.” Possession of soul describes the state in which a person has full command and undisturbed enjoyment of himself in opposition to outside influences, which disturb and decompose his peace of mind.

The Angel of the Lord told Hagar, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her.” This is the word of the Lord for so many that suffer injustice, not because tyranny is just but because we too, need to be freed from our arrogance. It is true that we are worth more than what society offers us, but if, through our circumstances, the Lord humiliates us, let us trust Him, knowing that such humiliation will prepare us for a greater mission. Patience in the face of injustice is not a sign of weakness. Every man has a soul to save, but this cannot be done without steadfast loyalty to the highest and the best. Patience then, is a submissive waiting. In the words of St. Theresa of Avila, “Patience attains all that it strives for.” Dear friends, let those who trust in God, wait on Him and possess their souls while waiting.

PRAYER: Lord, please grant me the virtue of patience and the grace to be obedient and to trust you wholeheartedly. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 311What are the fruits of the Holy Spirit?

The fruits of the Holy Spirit are charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, and chastity (cf. Gal 5:22-23). In the fruits of the Holy Spirit, the world can see what becomes of people who let themselves be adopted, led, and completely formed by God. The fruits of the Holy Spirit show that God really plays a role in the life of Christians

HIDE A TREASURE: “Since this is a vision for an appointed time; it will not fail but will be fulfilled in due time. If it delays, wait for it, for it will come and not be deferred.” Habakkuk 2:3 CCB

Today’s Readings: Genesis 16:1-12, 15-16, Psalm 106:1-5, Matthew 7:21-29

THE LORD’S PRAYER: AN IDEAL PRAYER

Thursday 18 June – Thursday of week 11 of the year

Reflection- Matthew 6:7-15

THE LORD’S PRAYER: AN IDEAL PRAYER

“Prayer is the raising up of our minds and hearts to God or the requesting of good things from God” St. Therese Lisieux. Prayer is the living relationship of the children of God with their Father who is good beyond measure with his son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Thus, prayer is a communication between man and God. As a loving Father, He delights in our communion with Him when we approach Him in faith and love. God speaks and man listens and man speaks, God listens. Often a time, we only speak without listening to God. In the scripture, it is the heart that prays, if our heart is far from God, the words of our prayers are in vain.

In The Lord’s Prayer, we are reminded of the need to forgive offenses (Matthew 6:14-15). Unforgiveness hinders our requests from being granted by God. As Christians, come what may, we are meant to be bridge builders; initiators of peace and reconciliation. Also of special note in The Lord’s Prayers is the need for us to be opened to the will of God. Prayer must not be reduced to a forum where we merely throw our concluded plans and desires to God for His sanction Yes, we must petition the Lord in faith for our needs and desires; however, amidst this we must acknowledge His sovereign wisdom to decide how best to answer our prayers ( Matthew 26: 36-42) . This is a cardinal component of faith which trusts in the supreme goodness of God to do that which is supremely good for us.

Beloved in Christ, let us not get weary of praying, let us keep hope alive in God. He surely responds to His children who trust in His love.

PRAYER– Dear Father, I thank you for the gift of prayer as a means of dialoging with you. Please when it is difficult to pray, listen to the words of my heart. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH:  Why is Abraham a model of prayer?

Abraham listened to God. He was willing to set out for wherever God commanded and to do what God willed. By his listening and his readiness to make a new start, he is a model for our prayer.

Hide a Treasure: “Ask, and you will receive; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks will receive, and anyone who seeks will find, and the door will be opened to those who knock.” Matthew 7:7-8 GNB

Today’s reading: 2 Corinthians 11:1-11; Psalms 111:1-4.7-8; Matthew 6:7-15.