Saturday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time
“For greater things you were born.” (Ven. Mother Luisita)
Saturday, September 11th Lk. 6: 43-49 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ but not do what I command?”
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock…. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.”
- Jesus is asking each one of us to build our life on solid rock according to His teachings, the teachings of His Mystical Body the Church, the inspirations of the Holy Spirit and grace. To do this, we need to examine each and every area of our life to see where we are standing on rock so as to persevere, and where we are standing on sand so as to make changes before the storm hits and we are lost!
- We all agree with this in theory, but most of us are very poor at putting this into practice. In fairness, the task is daunting. That is why Fr. Ed wrote the book “Roadmap to Heaven” outlining in detail, areas of our lives where we need to make sure we are standing on solid rock, and if we are not, what practices we can adopt to arrive at a solid rock foundation in our spiritual life. It is a book you pray and work with over time until you finally and truly order the disorder!
- This except from Fr. Ed’s book sets the stage. It is for us to become an actor and no longer a by-stander!
Excerpt from “Roadmap to Heaven” by Fr. Ed Broom, OMV (Tan Books)
WHAT ABOUT THE FOUNDATION OF YOUR HOUSE???
At the very end of the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 7: 24-27), Jesus presents us with a literary contrast that focuses on the foundation of a house. One house was built on rock; the other, built on sand. Both are houses!
Then it happens! A violent storm strikes relentlessly both of these houses! Now we come to a keen awareness of the difference between the two houses that from their outside appearance seemed almost identical. Indeed, external appearances can be very deceiving. Man can see the exterior, but only God can read the inner depths and secrets of the heart.
THE HOUSE BUILT ON SAND. Now the violent storm descends upon the house built on sand and the house rocks and rolls, turns and gyrates, and in a very short time, the house crumbles and collapses. Total disaster and ruin has visited this house built on sand. The reason for this disaster and total ruination of the house is clear and obvious! It had a very weak foundation—that of sand!
THE HOUSE BUILT ON ROCK. Once again the violent storm descends. However, this time on the house that is built on rock, solid rock. Thunder, storm, rain, and wind batter violently against this house built on rock, for hours and even days. No problem whatsoever in the least! The reason? In contrast to the house built on sand, the rock foundation of this house can resist the most violent weather conditions in any time and place.
INTERPRETATION: OUR SPIRITUAL LIFE AND THE FOUNDATION!
In a very clear and parallel sense we can compare the two different house foundations to our own spiritual life. The Words and Parables of Jesus have infinite value and an all-time encompassing interpretation.
WHAT ABOUT US??? If our spiritual edifice is constructed on sand, then it will crumble and collapse—as in the above-mentioned story. Our spiritual edifice must be constructed on solid rock, not sand! If we have chosen sand, then sooner or later, we will collapse, crumble, and disintegrate in our spiritual life!
WHAT IS THE HOUSE BUILT ON MERE SAND??? The house built on mere sand is the individual who has little or no spiritual life. Or it might be somebody who has a spiritual life built on mere feelings and emotions. His feelings are his spiritual indicators. If he feels good, then he will pray to God. If not, he reasons, what is the purpose. This is the sandy-foundation: the person who has little or no spiritual life or his spiritual life has a foundation based on mere whims. He is like a leaf detached from the tree falling, fluttering, driven by the wind. The wind determines its course. He is like the New England weather vane perched on the roof of the house that is blown in whatever direction the wind pulls and pushes it.
WHAT ABOUT THE HOUSE BUILT ON ROCK??? The house built on rock is the individual who has God as his foundation. Feelings come and go, but they are not his master and mover. The man whose house is built on rock has his whole life—his thoughts, feelings, desires, motivations, and ultimate goal directed towards God. This is manifested by having established for himself goals—long term, short term, as well as immediate. Motivation is the key word. He is motivated by a desire to get to heaven and to use all the practical steps to arrive at that goal.
What type of foundation do you have in your spiritual house? Is your spiritual life built on the sand of feelings, emotions, and the changing winds of fortune? Or is your spiritual life built on the Rock who is the eternal and everlasting God!
PLAN OF LIFE: GOD AS OUR ROCK FOUNDATION. The whole goal of this work on the Plan of Life is to help all of us establish for ourselves concrete, clear, and practical objectives to carry out, so as to arrive at our goal—the eternal salvation of our soul and union with God in heaven for all eternity. If God indeed is the center of our thoughts, desires, and decisions, then heaven will eventually be our eternal destiny. Jesus stated this very clearly: What would it profit a man to gain the whole world, if he loses his soul? (Mk 8:36)
PANORAMIC OVERVIEW. The Plan of Life invites and challenges us to step back, peer into our lives with dead honesty, and ask ourselves the question: how are we using our time, our talents, and our treasures in relationship to God, eternity, and our ultimate goal which is heaven??? We have to be transformed into the Eagle soaring over the mountain viewing in detail all that is below—the contour and colors of the trees, the rivers, the lakes, the ocean whitecaps, the animals large and small, the hills, the ravines, the stones, the leaves, all! In an analogous sense, this is how we must view our lives, our actions, and the direction in life that we are taking. Even though painful, we will come to a penetrating awareness that there are many areas in that huge landscape of our interior life that must be changed, cleared, uncluttered.
EXAMINATION OF CONSCIENCE. What is really being said here is that we must make an honest examination of conscience and admit that there is much to be changed, much to be converted in our spiritual life. The first message in the public life of Jesus resonates in our ears: Be converted because the Kingdom of God is at hand. (Mk. 1:15) Composing a Plan of Life is a very concrete manner in which we can develop an honest and sincere working out of our Conversion of Life. Why not accept the challenge???
ANOTHER HUGE BLESSING OF THE PLAN OF LIFE!!!
Another extraordinary blessing that flows from the composition of a good Plan of Life is to implement one of the primary purposes and ends of living out the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius of Loyola. At the very commencement of the text of the Spiritual Exercises, the first Annotation, which succinctly explains what the Spiritual Exercises are and their purpose, Ignatius states that these Spiritual Exercises help the Retreatant to discern God’s will in his life and also, and this is of primary importance, to work out a Plan of Life TO ORDER THE DISORDERED.
In other words, as a result of Original Sin that we all inherited from Adam and Eve, and due to our own personal sins, we live with disorder; I might even say, we live with constant and most likely great disorder! We are keenly aware of this disorder but feel the acute pain and helplessness of not knowing what to do to remedy this painful disorder.
DISORDER??? Yes, we must say: DISORDER, and in many areas. We suffer physical disorder, mental disorder, emotional disorder, family disorder, work disorder, relational disorder, eating disorder, sleep disorder, spiritual disorder, and much more. This causes within the depths of our hearts a deep unrest, anxiety, and even sadness.
ORDER THE DISORDERED. For this specific reason we offer you this humble work, this simple Plan of Life, as a remedy for your constant disorder. This plethora and wide variety of disorders fundamentally stem from sin and a lack of God in one’s life. In other words, our God is a God of order; sin, on the contrary, wreaks havoc and causes universal disorder in our lives. The Holy Spirit is a God of order; sin disrupts this order.
OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE: WE GIVE OURSELVES TO YOU. Therefore, as we embark upon this wonderful journey from disorder to order, from sin to holiness, from the world to God, from sadness to happiness, let us lift up our eyes to the Blessed Virgin Mary. In 1531 Our Lady appeared four times to the humble Saint Juan Diego. The last appearance took place on Tepeyac hill on December 12, 1531, early in the morning. The sign that the Bishop requested was growing on the cold and frozen hillside—a multi-colored array of beautiful Castilian roses. Juan Diego scrambled to the place where the roses were growing, cut them, cast them into his tilma in a very disordered and unruly manner, and then brought them to the presence of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Before sending Juan Diego off to the Bishop, Our Lady, with her own gentle hands, the hands that held Jesus as a Baby and even His Dead Body, took and arranged the roses in a beautiful and well-ordered bouquet to present to the Bishop.
OUR LADY AND OUR LIVES OF DISORDER. Therefore, we would like to present this work to Mary, to Our Lady of Guadalupe, and beg her for this most special grace and gift: to order the disordered in our lives. We beg Our Lady to pray for us and to intercede for us before the throne of Almighty God, to help us become that eagle and see the panoramic view of our lives, to help us honestly admit the many disorders in our life—usually due to sin, and to help us to change, to be converted. How? Quite simply by reading carefully this humble work, written for the purpose of saving souls. But also, that through Mary’s prayers we will be able to hammer out a concrete, written Plan of Life to order the disordered, and as a result, experience the peace that surpasses all understanding, the peace that only God can bestow upon us. Dear Mary, take our broken and disordered lives and order them with your gentle but firm hands so that we will be a sacrificial offering pleasing to Jesus the Lord.