Pope Francis Homily
Reading The Imitation of Christ, Book II, Chapter 5, as part of my Consecration to Mary. It is so important that we build up our personal relationship with God alone, examine the state of our soul daily, by Examination of Conscience, spend time in conversation with God. ‘What does it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and suffers the loss of his own soul. Mathew 16:26. Makes sense doesn’t it? If we get involved too much in the affairs of others and of the world, we neglect our own soul. To a certain degree, things around us happen, someone needs help, we need to attend to working a job, paying our bills, cooking our food to sustain us, to clean our homes and care for family around us. But we need to devote some time of the day to God alone, even if it for a few minutes early morning and late night. If we spend some time examining our day and what happened, how did we respond to certain things, how we felt about it and what feelings it evoked within us, we ask God to shed His Light on that situation and to help us grow and change, so that next time it happens, we will respond in a charitable way, which is good for our souls and the good of other souls. This is how we grow positively and change the world a little at a time!
We must not rely too much upon ourselves, for grace and understanding are often lacking in us. We have but little inborn light, and this we quickly lose through negligence. Often we are not aware that we are so blind in heart. Meanwhile we do wrong, and then do worse in excusing it. At times we are moved by passion, and we think it zeal. We take others to task for small mistakes, and overlook greater ones in ourselves. We are quick enough to feel and brood over the things we suffer from others, but we think nothing of how much others suffer from us. If a man would weigh his own deeds fully and rightly, he would find little cause to pass severe judgment on others.
The interior man puts the care of himself before all other concerns, and he who attends to himself carefully does not find it hard to hold his tongue about others. You will never be devout of heart unless you are thus silent about the affairs of others and pay particular attention to yourself. If you attend wholly to God and yourself, you will be little disturbed by what you see about you.
Where are your thoughts when they are not upon yourself? And after attending to various things, what have you gained if you have neglected self? If you wish to have true peace of mind and unity of purpose, you must cast all else aside and keep only yourself before your eyes.
You will make great progress if you keep yourself free from all temporal cares, for to value anything that is temporal is a great mistake. Consider nothing great, nothing high, nothing pleasing, nothing acceptable, except God Himself or that which is of God. Consider the consolations of creatures as vanity, for the soul that loves God scorns all things that are inferior to Him. God alone, the eternal and infinite, satisfies all, bringing comfort to the soul and true joy to the body.
I wish you God’s peace and may you find God’s Grace to grow from strength to strength in the virtues that God has promised us!
Here are Christian radio websites for your listening, while you work, drive, travel…
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“The task for a Christian is to drown evil in an abundance of good. It is not a question of negative campaigns, or of being anti anything. On the contrary, we should live positively, full of optimism, with youthfulness, joy and peace. We should be understanding with everybody, with the followers of Christ and with those who abandon him, or do not know him at all.
— But understanding does not mean holding back, or remaining indifferent; it means being active.
St Josemaría Escrivá, Furrow, 865.
Today at Mass, our priest spoke on this topic. So how do you define ‘happiness’?
‘Seeking holiness rather than happiness is a hard thing to do in the culture in which we live,” wrote John Maxwell, “because so much is geared to happiness—whatever makes you feel good. In a secular society, happiness is the aim of life. In a spiritual society, holiness is the thing that we strive for….Happiness is really found in holiness. But if we try to bypass holiness in our search for happiness, we’ll miss it altogether. Happiness is a by-product of holiness; it’s a benefit of living a pure life, rightly related to God, self and others.”
Material happiness is short-lived, it is just a feeling. If we strive to live holy lives we will be at peace, that is seeking peace with ourselves and others, doing the Will of God, obeying God’s Commandments, praying throughout the day, going to Mass, receiving the Holy Eucharist, Confession, striving to overcome our weaknesses, serving others. Striving to achieve this is hard work, but God gives us much more abundant Grace when we look to serve others, giving us peace and strength for daily living.
I was driving yesterday and tuned in the radio. There was a lot of discussions on state of the nation issues, welfare, pensions, unemployment, which was enough to send me into a spirit of desolation! We daily hear news of the state of the world, the violence erupting at any place, at any time, the economy, governments, marriage, identity, religious freedom, etc. People are angry, they have worked hard all their lives and to be deprived of their rewards at retirement is unfair; our local farmers are unhappy that their family business is affected; parents of schoolchildren are unhappy with the system; people out of work at middle age because employers are not employing them. The pension is not guaranteed anymore. Its overwhelming the complexity of these issues and we feel totally powerless. Jesus said ‘Trust in Me’ when times get difficult.
During Eucharistic Adoration I surrendered all these problems of the world to the Lord Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, saying to Him ‘why Lord do we have so many problems today’. The reply came ‘You were born for this moment in history, to face it and be courageous’. It was a surprise to hear it, but I needed to hear it!
We are all born for this time to be brave and courageous, we have to face these problems with God on our side. With God’s help only we can find the strength and courage to do whatever He tells us. Each of us have gifts that is given to us by God and we can only pray and ask Him what it is He wants us to do in this present age. We can very well shirk our duties, let someone else do it, shrug our shoulders and say ‘well blame the world’ and bury our head in the sand.
God has created you for this moment in world history, to be loving to your family, forgive, help one another at home and those around you, someone on the street needs your help, offer them help, stand up for justice for the good of all around us, not just for ourselves, but for the good of all. Increase your prayer life, yes even in the middle of housework, study, working, travelling to and from school or work, at the doctors, wherever, just say a little prayer.
Spend time at Mass, receive the Sacrament of Holy Communion, Confession, Eucharistic Adoration, daily Rosary, Divine Mercy Chaplet. It seems a lot to build into your daily time schedule, but if you give God the time, He will reward you a hundredfold.
A lot of people want to help the world with donating their time and it seems out of reach, but with prayer we can achieve more. Pray for the Missions, the hungry, the homeless, those in prison, those at war, for the sick, the disabled, the dying, the elderly. God will fill our souls with immense Grace we need to lead a more fulfilling spiritual life and prepare us for our Eternal Home.
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Today I was walking in the city. It has been raining for many days and the sky was overcast many days – enough to make us feel in a bit of low mood. Then you get added life challenges! Someone sends you a bill or letter demanding something, you find something wrong with your car or house, something doesn’t work, or somebody crosses your path and says something rude or mean. You know that type of day!
I had just been to Mass and Communion and Adoration and was on my way home. I had paused at the intersection with many people who were impatient to cross the road as it was busy with cars and road works.
And then this thought came to me – my Lord Jesus came to earth for me, to live a humble life for me, to suffer a horrendous death on the cross for me and rose on Sunday (as He said He would) for me to have new Life! How can I be sad when God came for us, the greatest miracle in the world when the Son of God came to earth, to be part of our humanity, to show us the Way, the Truth and the Life. How can we be sad when life throws us challenges or people try to make you feel worthless!
And then the sunshine broke through the dark clouds! It was dazzlingly bright! God was giving us a message! Rejoice, always rejoice, even when life looks bleak. Pray and trust in God.
‘We are the Easter people and Alleluia is our song’ St John Paul II
God bless you!