“For greater things you were born.” (Ven. Mother Luisita)
MONDAY, AUGUST 24th Jn. 1:45-51 Feast of St. Bartholomew “Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.” (Responsorial Psalm)
Part 1: Words of Encouragement to Bring Us Joy by Fr. Ed Broom, OMV… Sad Christians will never bring others to Christ!
Part 2: Reflection on the Call of Nathanael (St. Bartholomew)
Part 3. Christians are Small People by Servant of God Madeleine Delbrel
WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT TO BRING US JOY! by Fr. Ed. Broom, OMV
“If God is with us who can be against us?” (Rom 8:31). “Our help us in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth” (Ps 124:8). “The Lord is my Shepherd, there is nothing I shall want” (Ps. 23:1). “The Lord is my Light and my strength” (Ps. 27:1). “Surely, I will be with you always, even until the end of time” (Mt. 28:20). “Have courage: I have conquered the world” (Jn. 16:33). “Rejoice in the Lord! I say it again: rejoice in the Lord” (Phil 4:4). “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” (Mt. 24:35). “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior” (Lk. 1:46-47).
All of the above short but potent phrases come from the Bible, which is the living Word of God. No doubt these words give courage, comfort, strength and abundant consolation. As a sequel to the topic of encouragement, let us offer ten short reasons why we should be rejoicing constantly even when plunged in a series of complications, contradictions and crosses.
TEN SHORT REASONS TO REJOICE CONSTANTLY ON OUR PATHWAY TO HEAVEN!
1. HEAVEN. First and foremost, let us constantly remind ourselves as to our final destiny and the most consoling words of Jesus, Our Lord, God, Savior and Best Friend: “I am going to prepare a place for you so that where I am you also might be.” (Jn. 14:3) That place is Heaven. Reflecting on being with Jesus, Mary, the angels and saints in heaven should fill us with an overflowing joy and hope.
2. SAINTS. You are never alone in the least. In all times, places and circumstances, your friends, the saints are present to you. They are ready and willing to lend a hand. Call upon them! Invoke them and they will turn to God to attain for you all the graces you need in the moment.
3. JESUS IN THE TABERNACLE. Once again, you are never alone, but sometimes Jesus in the Tabernacle suffers loneliness because all too few come to visit Him. However, once you give Jesus some time visiting Him, He will fill you with joy in His Presence. In the words of the Psalmist: “Look to the Lord and you will be filled with joy!” (Ps. 16:11)
4. THE WORD OF GOD. How fortunate indeed, better yet, how blessed we are to live in a time when all can have easy access to the Bible and even to have our own Bible. The Word of God gives light, encouragement, counsel, correction, insight, admonition, and serves as a sure bridge to unite time with eternity. If you find yourself down and in the dumps, pick up the Bible, the Word of God, read, meditate and God will speak to your heart. “The Lord is my Shepherd, there is nothing I shall want.” (Ps. 23:1)
5. CONFESSION. No doubt we are sinners and the just man falls seven times a day. However, how encouraging the words of Saint Paul to the Romans: “Where sin abounds, the mercy of God abounds all the more.” (Rom. 5:20) And also: “God is slow to anger and rich in kindness and mercy. (Ps. 145:8) If we fall: NUNC CAEPI!!! I will start again; I will get up and return to the loving embrace of my Heavenly Father, as so beautifully presented in the Parable of the Prodigal Son, which can aptly be titled, the Parable of the Merciful Father. (Lk. 15:11-32)
6. THE SUNRISE AND LIGHT OF THE NEW DAY. As the sun rises every day, we call to mind the many times during the course of the day that a Catholic priest is lifting up Jesus, “The Sun of God” in the Mass in the moment of consecration. Every time the Host is lifted, may Jesus, the Sun of God be that bright star that rises in your heart!
7. FAITHFUL FRIENDS. We should call to mind the faithful friends, that we might even call “The Good Samaritans” (Lk. 10:25-37), that the good Lord has placed on the Highway of our life to lift us up, direct us, orient us, and possibly correct us. How many of these good persons, friends indeed, has God purposely planted in our way to become for us sure signposts to God? “Let us give thanks to the Lord for He is good; His mercy endures forever.” (Ps. 136:1)
8. THE HOLY EUCHARIST. And of the greatest importance in our lives is the reality of the most Holy Eucharist. Remember the classical words: The Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. Every consecrated Host is truly and substantially the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God. However, Jesus rejoices most exceedingly when He enters into the depths of the heart of the person who truly loves Him. This should be our constant goal: to receive Jesus, the true Bread of Life, as often as possible. However, every Holy Communion received, should be received with greater fervor, devotion and love. The fire of love for the Eucharistic Lord should never wane and be blown out, but rather be transformed into a living conflagration—a wildfire of love for the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings!
9. THE COMPANY OF THE ANGELS. Sacred Scripture mentions three specific Archangels: St. Michael, meaning, Who is like unto God; St. Gabriel, Power of God; St. Raphael, Medicine of God. Only these three are named in the Bible among the countless number of angels in heaven. However, all these many angels in Heaven ardently desire to become your friends. They want to do all that is possible to help you arrive at your final destiny—Heaven. One of them is your Guardian Angel! Let us strive to be more aware of these Heavenly friends and invite them to be with us, to inspire us, to protect us, to console us and to point us always in the right direction towards Heaven.
10. MARY: THE QUEEN OF ANGELS AND THE QUEEN OF SAINTS. Among the many titles given to Mary is that of Queen of angels and Queen of saints. We also cry out to Mary in these consoling words: “Hail Holy Queen, Mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope.” Saint Therese of Lisieux pointed out Mary’s relationship to us in these words: “Mary indeed is Queen, but she is more Mother than Queen.” What overflowing and constant joy we should experience, keenly aware of the fact that Mother Mary is always, like at the Wedding Feast of Cana, ready to pray for us and intercede for us so that the bitter waters of our lives are transformed into the sweetest and the most exquisite of wines. Mother Mary, take me by the hand and place it in the Hand of Jesus my Lord, God, Friend, and Savior! Amen.
PART 2: Reflection on the Call of Nathanael (St. Bartholomew)
- Are we friends of the Lord? Do we make known the glorious splendor of His Kingdom? Philip finds Nathanael and tells him, “We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law, and also the Prophets, Jesus son of Joseph, from Nazareth.”
- Nathanael’s reaction is, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” It was an insignificant village in the time of Jesus. Philip simply says, “Come and see.” He wants his friend to see and hear Jesus for himself.
- The Lord used Andrew to call his brother Peter. Now He uses Philip to call his friend Nathanael, later known as the Apostle Bartholomew. Who did the Lord use to call you to Him? Perhaps a parent or grandparent? A brother or sister? A priest? A friend? Your spouse? Let us thank God for the people who were instrumental in bringing us to the Lord!
- Has the Lord used you to call others to Him? Maybe a person new to the faith, or a person fallen away from the faith? Perhaps He wants you to say to someone right now, “Come and see.” Come to Mass with me… Come to confession with me… Come take the Spiritual Exercises with me on line – accompany them, walk with them through this life-transforming program so they can come to know Jesus more intimately, love Him more ardently, and follow Him more closely! Maybe you’re thinking, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” The Lord’s response is a resounding Yes!
- When we appear before Jesus in judgment, He will ask us this question, “Where are your children?” Meaning, where are your spiritual children! Everyone is called to be a spiritual father or mother! We should all have children in heaven! Who is it that we have invited to “come and see” the Lord… or return to the Lord… or encounter the Lord in a deeper way… or accept His mercy when death was approaching by bringing a priest to give them the last sacraments – Confession, Holy Communion, Anointing of the Sick? Who is it that we are offering countless tears, prayers and sacrifices for so they may be saved, like Monica praying for Augustine???
- Nathanael doesn’t commit to anything, he only agrees to come and see. Sometimes that is all it takes! Jesus says, “Here is a true child of Israel. There is no duplicity in him.” Surprised Nathanael asks, “How do you know me?” “Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree.”
- Nathanael knows this is impossible, he wasn’t anywhere near Jesus! “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the king of Israel!” Nathanael goes from doubter to believer in an instant, because there is no duplicity in him! Sometimes we don’t believe because we don’t want to believe – we’re afraid of what Jesus might ask of us – we don’t want to give up our way of life, our self-love, our self-will, perhaps even certain sins.
- The psalmist says, “The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth.” He is near to all who have no duplicity in them. We must come before the Lord in humility and honesty – ready to hear and deal with the truth! The truth hurts. The truth is a two edged sword, both wounding us and setting us free with self-knowledge!
- What is this self-knowledge? That we are small. All the good that we do is God’s grace; all we have that is our own, is our sins. Servant of God Madeleine Delbrel articulates this truth clearly! We cannot meditate on this too often. We can only beg to believe this with our whole heart and live this with our whole being!
PART 3: Christians are Small People… by Servant of God Madeleine Delbrel (+1964)
The law of Christ may only be lived by people who are gentle and humble of heart. It is this gentleness and humility which are the characteristics of Jesus Christ in His filial love for God and His fraternal love for human beings.
Whatever their personal gifts, Christians are small people. Small people, whatever their place in society, their jobs, their possessions, their class, their race, whatever the development and power of the human sciences, whatever the discoveries concerning the prodigious evolution of the human race and its history – in spite of all this, Christians remain people who are small.
Small in God’s presence because God created them and they depend on Him. Whatever the journeys that mark their lives and their fortunes, they came from God and they are going to God. They are gentle like weak, loving children, close to their Father who is strong and loving. They are small because they know that they are in God’s presence and they know only a few things, can do only a few things, and are limited in their love and in their knowledge.
They do not argue about the will of God in the events that happen, nor do they argue about what Christ has commanded them to do, so that in these events they may themselves, for their part, do the will of God. They are gentle like the trusted and active performers of a work, the enormousness of which is hidden from them, while yet they know their own particular task. End of Reflection
- For this reason, Jesus says to Nathanael: “You will see greater things than this. Amen, amen, I say to you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
- When we are “gentle like weak, loving children, close to their Father who is strong and loving” we see with the eyes of child-like faith the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man in the hands of the priest at the Consecration in every Mass and we adore Him!
- We see the angels of God surrounding the Son of Man in the tabernacle, the Holy of Holies! The angels etched on the glass doors behind the altar at St. Peter Chanel Church are kneeling in adoration before Jesus’ real Presence in the tabernacle, a constant reminder of this supernatural reality, and we adore Him!
- Let us beg Mary our Mother for the eyes and heart of child-like faith to see these supernatural realities. Then, let us ask others with conviction to “come and see” what we have seen!