Posted tagged ‘supernatural’

Persecution’s Coming–Get Vulnerable!

May 21, 2013

Say what?!

From today’s readings:

My son, when you come to serve the Lord…
prepare yourself for trials.
Be sincere of heart and steadfast,
undisturbed in time of adversity…
Accept whatever befalls you,
in crushing misfortune be patient…
Trust God
~Sirach 2:1,2,4,6

The Son of Man is to be handed over to men
and they will kill Him…
If anyone wishes to be first,
he shall be the last of all and the servant of all…
whoever receives one such child as this in My Name,
receives Me
~Mark 9:31,37

First of all, we want to think that coming to serve the Lord
is going to eliminate our problems–not add to them!

And secondly, we want to prepare for problems
by gathering weapons, installing defenses,
learning to be assertive!

Sirach tells us, rather,
to be sincere and steadfast, patient,
accepting and trusting–positions of vulnerability.

Jesus only adds to the effect
by telling us to be the least and last,
like helpless little children!

The thing is, earthly strength is spiritual weakness, and vice versa.

Our battle is not against flesh and blood (cf. Ephesians 6:12)
Mortal strategies will yield mortal results.
We need the supernatural–
which is exactly what Sirach is proposing.

If we are to win supernaturally,
we must arm our souls with virtue
–the very word means “power”–
not with hostility.

Virtue wins by losing.
It wins by being what it is
–at the expense of earthly vulnerability–
in every circumstance.

The malice of men cannot shake it
from the practise of divine self-sacrifice,
from the love that sees, with God’s eyes,
the treasure in every soul–
even in the souls of those who hate it.

the power that has conquered the world
is this faith of ours
~I John 5:4

This is the man who was thrown into boiling oil
and emerged unscathed,
the man who was exiled on the bleak Isle of Patmos
for proclaiming the Gospel.
He conquered the world…
by sincerity, steadfastness, patience, acceptance
and trust in God.

We can too.

Yes, persecution is coming.
Get ready!
Get vulnerable!

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God’s Idea of Glory

January 31, 2012

When, therefore [Judas] was gone out,
Jesus said; Now is the Son of man glorified:
and God is glorified in Him
-John 13:31

I’ve heard the Gospel of John divided into
“The Book of Signs” (the first 12 chapters)
and “The Book of Glory” (the rest of the Gospel),
but never really grasped what that meant.
Signs, yes, I can see the miracles qualifying, but glory?
Those chapters are all about Jesus’ humiliations.
Yet here Jesus is, as His betrayer goes off to set in motion
the most horrific crime in history,
saying that now He is glorified.
I’m missing something…

As I reflected, Psalm 19:4-5 came to mind:

He has set a tent for the sun,
which comes forth like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,
and rejoices like a champion to run the race

An athlete is not glorified by lounging on the couch,
but by meeting a challenge that’s worthy of him.
He rejoices to run the race,
to meet the test for which he has prepared and trained.

Then I thought of our new blender.
It’s advertised in a series of videos that demonstrate
that this blender can handle things no ordinary blender can.
It’s glorified by being put to the test…
and coming out on top.

That’s how God the Father glorified His Son.
He put Jesus to the test,
subjecting Him to injustices and sufferings
no ordinary man could handle
without either crumbling or lashing out–
without losing his God-given dignity.
Yet through it all, Jesus was fully Himself
(how many times do we have to say, “I’m just not myself today”):
responding, not reacting–repaying evil with good, loving,
giving, fully human to the end.

We who have been made partakers in His divine nature (see II Peter 1:4) can expect to be glorified in the same way.
The martyrs were.
Their stories boggle the mind!…
but that’s what Jesus came to do for us:
to give us the ability to live a supernatural life
by uniting us to Himself (see Galatians 2:20, among others).
That doesn’t just happen.
It takes training and preparation,
just as it does for an athlete preparing for a race.

In God’s eyes, glory is not in fame or fortune or worldly success.
Those things are spiritually very dangerous (just ask King Solomon!).
Glory is in remaining faithful and generous under pressure
through the power of His divine life, vibrant within us,
which we have trained and honed
through the practise of a devout life,
through prayer, study, sacrifice and the sacraments.

The next time you have a bad day, hold your head up.
Be encouraged.
God is glorifying you!


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