SING PRAISES

Monday 7th March – Monday of the 4th week of Lent

Reflection: Psalm 30

SING PRAISES

“Count your blessings, name them one by one

and it will surprise you what the Lord has done”.

So reads a song we are all familiar with. It’s a song that calls us to give thanks to God as we reflect on the numerous blessings we receive from Him each day. However, the words of this song unveils one reality: if we are not careful, we can easily forget the great things God does for us and begin to take them for granted, hence the need to count our blessings and name them one by one.

The Psalmist in today’s reading does just that. He reflects on all the wonders God has done for Him and cannot but sing praises to God from the depths of His heart. We too should stop and think. Think of the times of uncertainty or difficulty you have experience in the past. Think of the times of sickness, suffering and pain, think of the numerous times you have turned to God and asked for His help. Think of the many blessings you have received which you did not even ask for. Look around you and see the beauty and order of creation.

Dear friends, God’s steadfast love and faithfulness is indeed great. Let us take time to praise Him. Let us look beyond the difficulties assailing us right now and praise our God for the many blessings we receive each day. Remember, God dwells in the praises of His people and moves mightily on their behalf. A heart of thanksgiving always touches God’s heart. Are you ready to praise? Go on, God is waiting to hear your voice!

PRAYER: Lord I thank You for the blessings You give me each day. Please give me a heart of gratitude that I may praise you always. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 489 What does it mean to praise God?

God needs no applause. But we need to express spontaneously our delight in God and the rejoicing in our hearts. We praise God because he exists and because he is good. We thereby join even now in the eternal praise of the angels and saints in heaven.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Praise the Lord, all nations! Extol him, all peoples! For great is his steadfast love toward us; and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord!” Psalm 117 RSV-CE

Readings for today: Isaiah 65: 17-21; Psalm 30; John 4: 43-54

REMEMBER, IT IS ONLY A GIFT

Tuesday 22nd December

Reflection: 1 Samuel 1: 24-28

REMEMBER, IT IS ONLY A GIFT

When science fails to solve our puzzles, medicine fails to heal our wounds and our efforts are apparently futile; it is only natural to turn even to the most “illogical” solution. When faced with unnerving problems even the staunchest atheist (as they proudly profess) might consider talking to the God; he had consistently tagged non-existent. It is amazing what promises we are willing to make when they earnestly desire something. Just then, we are reminded that God is our ultimate help.

When we ask in faith and humility; God our loving Father would not deny us anything we need for our salvation and well being. This is the assurance Christ has given us: “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him” (Matthew 7 :11). It is however saddening to know how many turn a cold heart to God after He has dried their tears.

Hannah, whom the Lord had saved from the shame of childlessness, was indeed grateful. She did not cling to Samuel her only son. She saw him as a gift from God and though he was still an infant whom she had just weaned, she was willing to fulfil her promise to God as difficult as it appeared to be. In gratitude, she exalted God, recounting His power to supply the needs of the weak and dejected, and humble the proud and she joyfully gave her son back to God (1 Samuel 1:28). God increased her joy, giving her five children in the place of one which she had requested for (1 Samuel 2:21)

Beloved, let us constantly remember that every answered prayer is a gift from God; who is able to do immeasurably more. When we do this, we would show enough gratitude to fulfil our vows to Him and our obligation of love to our neighbour. Remember everything you have is only a gift, and you will not forget the giver.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, you have given me so much; please give me one more thing – a grateful heart. May I never forget that You are the source of my life and happiness. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 488 – Why should we thank God?

Everything that we are and have comes from God. Paul says, “What have you that you did not receive?” (1 Cor 4:7). Being grateful to God, the giver of all good things, makes you happy.

The greatest prayer of thanks is the “Eucharist” (“thanksgiving” in Greek) of Jesus, in which he takes bread and wine so as to offer in them to God all of creation, transformed.

HIDE A TREASURE: “What have you that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if it were not a gift?” 1 Corinthians 4:7 RSV-CE

Readings for Today: 1 Samuel 1: 24-28; 1 Samuel 2: 1, 4-8 (Canticle); Luke 1 : 46-56

RECOGNISING GOD’S HAND

Friday 14th August – Memorial of St Maximilian Kolbe, Priest & Martyr

Reflection: Joshua 24: 1-13

RECOGNISING GOD’S HAND

Our day to day life presents us with pleasant and unpleasant circumstances alike. Some seasons of our lives bring us joy and fulfilment while others can leave us disillusioned and frustrated. Yet, we have the tendency to take the glory for the pleasant seasons and blame other people, our environment or even God for the unpleasant ones.

As Joshua neared the end of his time as leader of Israel, he reminded them in today’s first reading of the wondrous works God had worked amongst them and their fathers over the years. Why did he remind them of these? He did this because the people had a habit of forgetting all God’s miraculous works each time they encountered difficulty. This forgetfulness led them to complain against God and their leaders several times during their exodus – before the crossing of the Red Sea, when they were thirsty, when they craved for meat, at the verge of entering the Promised Land etc.

Dear friend, we are often just as guilty as the Israelites, failing to recognize God’s hand at work in our lives and forgetting so quickly the many ways He cares for us, provides for us and saves us from evil. As long as we attribute our successes to ourselves, we will be unable to trust God with our lives. On the contrary, when we recognize His mighty deeds around us, we will grow in faith and true commitment to God. Thank God today for the many blessings you have received from Him and trust Him to take care of the difficult situations you encounter.

PRAYER: Thank you dear Lord for the many blessings you have showered on me. Please help me to recognize your hand at work in my life and trust you in difficult situations. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 488Why should we thank God?

Everything that we are and have comes from God. Paul says, “What have you that you did not receive?” (1 Cor 4:7). Being grateful to God, the giver of all good things makes you happy.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Bless the Lord oh my soul, and forget not all His benefits” Psalm 103:2 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Joshua 24: 1-13; Psalm 135: 1-3.16-18.21-24; Matthew 19: 3-12

ATTITUDE OF WORSHIP

Tuesday 23rd June – Tuesday of week 12 of the year

Reflection: Psalm 15: 2-5

ATTITUDE OF WORSHIP

God inhabits the praises of His people (Psalms 22:3). As children of God, it is good and proper to constantly do Him homage and worship. Our worship and reverence to God must be an attitude born out of love, acknowledgement and appreciation of who He is. It is far more than a routine Sunday activity in the church as some have wrongly believed; God seeks us to worship Him with our whole being every day, every moment of our lives.

The Psalmist today gives some qualities of the man who truly lives in God’s presence: A person who is committed to obeying God; who acts with sincerity of heart; who does no wrong to his neighbor; committed to justice and fairness; who is true to his promises…. (Psalm 15:2-5). Beloved in Christ, if living righteously amidst our daily routines is the proper act of worship that keeps us in God’s presence; may we ask ourselves how well we are faring in this?  We are called to be planted in Christ that we might bears fruits that bring Him praise every seasons of our lives. It is the will of God that we perpetually worship him like the angels in heaven do (Isaiah 6:1-3). As the will of God is done in heaven, so is it done in the lives of His children who choose to remain in His presence through their ways of life.

Let us embrace the worship of God today by striving to be agents of peace, bearing fruits of patience, self-control and love amidst our contemporaries. Worship is a life to be lived not an event. People around us should see our good works and give glory to our Father in heaven.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, make my life a fountain of praise. Remove from me anything that bring your name to shame I pray.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 353: Why do we worship God?

We worship God because he exists and because reverence and worship are the appropriate response to his revelation and his presence. “You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.”
Worshipping God, however, is also beneficial to men, for it frees them from servitude to the powers of this world. When God is no longer worshipped and when he is no longer thought to be Lord over life and death, others assume that position and put human dignity at risk.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Worship the Lord, all the earth. Honor him all peoples of the world” Psalm 33:8 GNB

Today’s Readings: Genesis 13:2, 5-18; Psalm 15:2-5; Matthew 7: 6, 12-14

GIVE CHEERFULLY

Tuesday 26th May – Memorial of St Philip Neri, Priest

Reflection: Sirach 35:1-12

GIVE CHEERFULLY

From time to time, telecommunication companies advertise a promotion with prizes worth millions of naira and attract many Nigerians to participate at a token. Hence, the company gains millions of Naira in the process of giving out some. The contemporary world understands that without giving we cannot truly possess anything. For what really belongs to us is what we give out to others rather than what we hold on to.

Christ tells us: “Give and it will be given to you, …good measure, pressed down, full and running over. For the measure you give will be the measure you receive back.” (Luke 6:38-39). This, He reminds Peter of in today’s gospel reading when Peter wondered what reward they would have for leaving everything to follow Him (Mark 10:28-31). Hannah gave up Samuel, her only child to the Lord in fulfilment of her promise. In return, God gave her five more children though she only asked for one (1Samuel 2:21).

Dear friend, realizing that our “God is a good rewarder who will reward us seven times over,” (Sirach 2:11) we are called to honour the Lord with generosity and not stint when we bring our gifts before the Lord. Give to the Lord as He has given to you, generously and cheerfully as your means can afford. Give to the Lord the best of your gifts in appreciation of His goodness to you and He will surely bless you more as He did for Hannah. Never think you are too young to give to God. Give the Lord your time, your treasure and your talents and you will lay up blessings for your life and future.

PRAYER: Lord, help me understand that it is in giving that I can receive and help me to be more generous with what you have given me. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 488Why should we thank God?

Everything that we are and have comes from God. Paul says, “What have you that you did not receive?” (1 Cor 4:7). Being grateful to God, the giver of all good things, makes you happy.

HIDE A TREASURE: “What have you that you have not received? And if you received it, why are you so proud, as If you did not receive it” 1 Corinthians 4:7 CCB

Today’s Readings: Sirach 35:2-15, Psalm 50: 5-8, 14, 23, Mark 10: 28-31

A HAPPY ENDING

Wednesday 31st December – 7th day within the octave of Christmas

Reflection: Psalm 96:1-2, 11-13

A HAPPY ENDING

After a journey of 365 days in the year 2014, what more can we do but give thanks to God for his unending love and faithfulness to us all throughout the year? It is a great privilege to count your blessings and remember the goodness and mercy of God through the happy and sad moments that we have encountered in the year 2014. Think less of what you would have loved to accomplish this passing year and thank God for what you have been able to do. Lift him high in praise and worship. Find some moments today to reflect over the past year, and rejoice in thanksgiving as you look forward to the beginning of the New Year.

Dear friends, the scripture says that the end of anything is better than its beginning (Ecclesiastes 7:8). Hence we must heed the psalmist today as he calls us to: “Sing a new song to the Lord, sing to the Lord all the world” (Psalm 96:1). Just as a pregnant woman rejoices when she finally gives birth to her child, so must we enter the New Year with joy as we hope for a good start. Make a choice to be happy and let the Spirit of truth lead you to make right decisions and conclusions for whatever plans you have. A happy ending would always usher in a note of peace, a sign of freedom from worry and a platform for the presence of God’s spirit. Be determined to finish strong by letting go strongholds of malice, depression, self-pity and all that weighs you down. Today can still make a difference in this passing year.

So be at your duty post today no matter how little it may be. Do everything out of love. Remember also that life is a pilgrimage the end of which must come one day. Keep focused and live well so as to die well.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, thank you for seeing through me another year, help me to remain united to you as long as I live. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 186What is the liturgical year (the Church year)?

The liturgical year, or the Church year, superimposes the mysteries of the life of Christ—from his Incarnation to his second coming in glory—on the normal course of the year. The liturgical year begins with Advent, the time of waiting for the Lord, and has its first high point in the Christmas season and its second, even greater climax in the celebration of the redemptive suffering, death, and Resurrection of Christ at Easter. The Easter season ends with the feast of Pentecost, the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Church. The liturgical year is repeatedly interrupted by feasts of Mary and the saints, in which the Church praises God’s grace, which has led mankind to salvation.

HIDE A TREASURE: “You would do everything you have promised; Lord, your love is eternal. Complete the work that you have begun”. Psalm 138:8 GNB

Readings for Today: 1 John 2:18-21, Psalm 96:1-2, 11-13, John 1:1-18