Confidence

A Single Purpose and a Sure Hope – Meditation of the Studies in 2 Timothy

A Single Purpose and a Sure Hope – Meditation of the Studies in 2 Timothy

“We do not depend on the inspiration of a memory, however great. We enjoy the power of a presence. When a Christian is summoned to a great task…he must go into it in the certainty that he does not go to it alone, but there is with him forever the presence and the power of the risen Lord. When fears threaten, when doubts assail, when inadequacy depresses, remember the presence of the risen Lord.” (William Barclay)

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From Anxiety to Peace – Second Reading in Preparation for the Third Sunday in Advent

From Anxiety to Peace – Second Reading in Preparation for the Third Sunday in Advent

So where do we find the gift of living without debilitating anxiety? Many say the answer is right here in these few verses: it is taking everything to the Lord in prayer. But that is only so if something far more fundamental has happened first: we have come to trust the Lord and his love for us and are confident that when we pray he always hears and always answers. Anxiety diminishes as faith increases.

One small verse in Isaiah captures the secret, “You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is staid on you, because he trusts in you”(Isaiah 26:3)

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A Confident Future – First Reading in Preparation for the Solemnity of Christ the King

A Confident Future – First Reading in Preparation for the Solemnity of Christ the King

He will come again, he has promised, “on the clouds of heaven” to complete what he has begun. On that day all oppression shall cease:

“He will wipe away every tear from their eye and death will be no more. Neither shall there be crying, nor mourning, nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.”(Revelation 21)

We are confident of this because we have seen his love for us, his power, and his victory as he walked the earth and as he continues his work through the Holy Spirit today. Moreover, we are confident because we are convinced that he who promised is faithful.

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Our Great Defender – First Reading in Preparation for the Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Our Great Defender – First Reading in Preparation for the Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

I do not know what struggle you are facing nor how hard and bitter the fight. I do know that we all tremble when we see the hosts arrayed against us. Every one of us comes, from time to time, to the place where we cry in terror, “Alas, my Master! What shall we do”. God’s gentle reply is always, “Fear not, for those who are with you are more than those who are with them.” My hope for you is that in all such times, Elisha’s prayer will be answered again–“O Lord open his eyes that he or she may see”–and you will see the reality that has always been there: we are surrounded by the Lord’s hosts and chariots of fire.

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A Vision of Conquerors – First Reading in Preparation for the Solemnity of All Saints

A Vision of Conquerors – First Reading in Preparation for the Solemnity of All Saints

The vision is given so that we, too, might envision and hope to find ourselves in that crowd, joining in our own time all those who have gone before and who, as John says elsewhere, “have overcome by the blood of the Lamb and their testimony”. And we are to see ourselves in today’s troubles as those who are conquering and shall conqueror; who, no matter how strong the foe, are able to affirm “we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”

Our end is assured, and the end of every trial as well. What is needed is confidence for today, the confidence that comes when we take our eyes off the temporary difficulty and raise them to the permanent reality.

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Confident in Mercy – Second Reading in Preparation for the Twenty Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Confident in Mercy – Second Reading in Preparation for the Twenty Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Our confidence does not change God at all, but it does change everything for us. From fear we turn to assurance, from worry we turn to trust. We may not know how God will answer, but that he will (and even that his answer will be informed by his love) is never in doubt. The writer of Hebrews originally wrote so that those in his day who were struggling with a difficult time, growing weary and on the brink of giving up might find the strength not only to endure but to conquer. He asked them to take their eyes off of their difficulties and put them on Jesus. They were to become as confident as Paul: “If God is for us, who can be against us?!” And they were to be absolutely certain that God was for them because he had so clearly demonstrated it through Jesus and his work on the Cross.

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A Power Unsurpassed – Second Reading in Preparation for the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord

A Power Unsurpassed – Second Reading in Preparation for the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord

“At the center of Paul’s prayer for the church …is his longing that they will come to realize that this same power, the power seen at Easter and now vested in Jesus, is available to them for their daily use…Far too many Christians today and, one suspects, in Paul’s day are quite unaware that this power is there and available.’(NT Wright)

Of course, that power, that presence, is not available to do just anything and everything we want or wish, but it is there to accomplish everything, absolutely everything, God wants and wishes for us, primarily the conquering of sin and the accomplishing of all we are called to do and be.

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Neither Presumption nor Despair – Second Reading in Preparation for the Third Sunday in Easter

Neither Presumption nor Despair – Second Reading in Preparation for the Third Sunday in Easter

If we presume, we never try. If we despair, we give up. John would have none of this for his beloved children. Rather, he would have them strive and trust and move forward, perhaps tripping all the way, in their relationship with God and in the sure confidence of complete fulfillment:

“See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are…Beloved, we are God’s children now; it does not yet appear what we will be, but we know when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

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Freedom from Fear – Gospel in Preparation for the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Freedom from Fear – Gospel in Preparation for the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

“Are we not perhaps all afraid in some way? If we let Christ enter fully into our lives, if we open ourselves totally to him, are we not afraid that He might take something away from us? Are we not perhaps afraid to give up something significant, something unique, something that makes life so beautiful? Do we not then risk ending up diminished and deprived of our freedom? . . . No! If we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing of what makes life free, beautiful and great…And so, today, with great strength and great conviction, on the basis of long personal experience of life, I say to you, dear young people: Do not be afraid of Christ! He takes nothing away, and he gives you everything. When we give ourselves to him, we receive a hundredfold in return. Yes, open, open wide the doors to Christ – and you will find true life. Amen.” (Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI)

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