Obedience

The Power of Yes – First Meditation of Advent

The Power of Yes – First Meditation of Advent

Mary was confident that, although this call on her life would cost her everything, it would not be at her expense…No, she was central to the purposes of that call because by it, she, too, would not only be saved but also honored. “All generations will call me blessed” she says, in confidence that the fulfillment of God’s call rested not on the whims of man but in His faithfulness, for His plans are not to harm his faithful ones, but to prosper them and give them a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).

Wherever He has called you, wherever He is asking you to serve Him right here and now, however great the sacrifice to your dreams or even your life know this:…You are not simply His instrument, but His beloved child whom He delights to use not only for his glory, but for your good.

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Following Christ – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

Following Christ – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

If, then, following Jesus is the more demanding command, why order the rich man sell and give? Because this was the concrete incarnate way this particular man was to follow Jesus; it was his particular cross. Paul says of the meaning of the Cross: “You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich”(II Cor. 8:9) Isn’t that what he asked of this man? Isn’t that what he asks of us, each in our own way? And since comparative material wellbeing is the lot of most of us, will not our cross of sacrificial love involve, in part, sacrificial giving to the poor as well?

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Detachment and Trust – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

Detachment and Trust – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

It is only as we cling to these promises, and more importantly to the one in whom they find their “yes”, our Lord Jesus Christ, that we are able, in faith, to let go of the things of this world—whether it is material possessions, personal justice, or our idea of how our lives should end up, not because they don’t matter but because we trust that God is good and faithful, and because he is just.. Discipleship and obedience, particularly when it comes to teachings as challenging as these, are not ultimately about getting things right; they are about surrendering “to the Love that makes man fully alive” (Robert Barron).

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Grace and Obedience – Fourth Meditation in the Studies of 1 Peter

Grace and Obedience – Fourth Meditation in the Studies of 1 Peter

Throughout both the Old and New Testaments, our obedience to His command is a double response to what he has already done. It is first the response of gratitude, our due thanks for his gift. Second, it is the response of trust. Knowing that he has already shown he has our best interests at heart, we are certain that whatever he asks is for our well being.

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Bearing Christ – Gospel in Preparation for the Fourth Sunday in Advent

Bearing Christ – Gospel in Preparation for the Fourth Sunday in Advent

This is the type of surrender to which we are all called, one in which we don’t measure out our faith or faithfulness by the quantity (or quality!) of specific deeds themselves, but by the depth of our own “Yes” to God and all the challenges, discomforts and hardships this may entail. As Fred has captured beautifully in the first two posts of this week, it may take us to places we never imagined we’d go and put us in situations we would be otherwise prone to avoid (namely, the cross!), but the value and power of that obedience to bring God’s healing and redemption to not only our own lives but also those in the world around us inestimable.

For it is the means by which we, like Our Lady, bear Christ in and for the world around us.

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A Life of Obedience – Second Reading in Preparation for the Fourth Sunday in Advent

A Life of Obedience – Second Reading in Preparation for the Fourth Sunday in Advent

Some may back away from an obedience so complete, believing that serving God means loss to self. After all, look what it got Jesus – a cross. Others may say it is our duty anyway. In truth, they are right; it is our duty anyway. However, there is more to it than that. Obeying God did bring Christ to the cross but on the cross he became the Savior of the world; and beyond the cross, his obedience brought him to the resurrection, to eternal glory, and to the right hand of God. Adam, Satan, and all of us have made the same mistake too often and too long. Obeying God in the long term loses us nothing, but gains us everything and has it the power to bless countless others in the world around us. .

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The Power of Yes – First Reading in Preparation to the Fourth Sunday in Advent

The Power of Yes – First Reading in Preparation to the Fourth Sunday in Advent

So it is that the Birth of Jesus in the city of David has not one hint of accident about it. It was fully planned by God, the way paved by God, and consummated by Mary and Joseph whose desire was to cooperate fully with God. Once again, Mary (and Joseph) said yes. Yes to a long, difficult, and harrowing journey while far along in her pregnancy. Yes to separation from family and friends who could help and support at the birth. Yes to uncertain and rugged lodging both on the way and on their arrival. And yes to many, many other things as well, all because God had asked it of her. The Messiah must be born in Bethlehem and so she must go to Bethlehem with Joseph.

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The Requirement of Love – Gospel in Preparation for Pentecost

The Requirement of Love – Gospel in Preparation for Pentecost

This requirement creates no small amount of anxiety in me since the level of my love–at least the level shown by my obedience–is far less than I would wish or than He deserves. Nevertheless, I am not to worry, for he who made the promises wants to fulfill them in my life even more than I want them fulfilled. If I cooperate, He will make a way. He will meet me where I am and the Holy Spirit…will help me to grow in love, and so growing in love, grow also in my realization of his presence here and in my confidence of being with him in heaven.

As we cooperate with him, he wants us to rest in the firm assurance that one day we shall live with him and that until that day He will live every day with us. We are not to worry; he is faithful that promised.

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A Plea for Life in the Face of Death – Second Reading in Preparation for the Fifth Sunday in Lent

A Plea for Life in the Face of Death – Second Reading in Preparation for the Fifth Sunday in Lent

Soon we will focus our attention on the Cross of Christ. On Good Friday we will go with him to Golgotha and watch, weep and pray. And we will give thanks. Today we are called by our reading to go with him to Gethsemane, the place where his yes embraced the Cross. Should we not watch and weep and pray here as well? And should we not give thanks? After all it is here that his “yes” to death guaranteed our “yes” to life. “Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!”(II Corinthians 9:15)

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To See the King – Gospel in Preparation for the Second Sunday in Lent

To See the King – Gospel in Preparation for the Second Sunday in Lent

What does God expect of those of us who have recognized Jesus? I am always amazed at how simply Scripture puts it. Nothing elaborate, nothing esoteric, nothing complex. From the lips of Mary at the wedding at Cana of Galilee it is “Do whatever he tells you”. From Jesus’ own lips it is simply “Follow me!” From the cloud at the Transfiguration God says simply “Listen to him!” What is asked is a simple thing – that we listen, trust, and obey. Of course “simple” does not mean “easy”. Nevertheless, it is the call, to follow wherever he leads.

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