READINGS for 2008-10-15
hOusEhOLD hELP — bOON OR bANE?
In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23
Our household helper have been a “source of grace” to me over the years. I could write a book on my many encounters with them. There were those who lied, who destroyed our property, who stole…. The advent of the cell phone has added to the misery of managing them because it has taken away their focus on their housework. My biggest horror story was when an angry bakery owner scolded me over the phone because their bakers were always on the phone with our helper.
Despite all the seeming setbacks and anguish over my helpers, I thank God for them not only because they have been a big help to my family. With them, my patience has been tried and tested. When I started teaching them the Word of God, they became dutiful and I myself grew and bore the fruit of the Spirit.
It is only when the Spirit moves that people grow in virtues and are changed. Donna España
How do you treat those who help you? God loves them too.
Lord I pray for all our household help. Bless them with Your Spirit.
It is good to reflect often upon these two lists so that we can excise those things in the first list, and cultivate the ones in the second. Neither of the lists is exhaustive but they are very good places to begin our search for holiness. Paul challenges the Galatians in no uncertain terms to put a big focus on ensuring that their lives truly reflect the faith they proclaim to have. This is a good lesson for us as well.
Galatians 5: 18-25
18 Brothers and sisters: If you are guided by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are obvious: immorality, impurity, licentiousness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, 21 occasions of envy, drinking bouts, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 Now those who belong to Christ [Jesus] have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit.
P S A L M
Psalm 1: 1-2, 3, 4 and 6
R: Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.
1 Blessed the man who follows not the counsel of the wicked nor walks in the way of sinners, nor sits in the company of the insolent, 2 but delights in the law of the LORD and meditates on his law day and night. (R) 3 He is like a tree planted near running water, that yields its fruit in due season, and whose leaves never fade. Whatever he does, prospers. (R) 4 Not so the wicked, not so; they are like chaff whichthe wind drives away. 6 For the LORD watches over the way of the just, but the way of the wicked vanishes. (R)
G O S P E L
It is easy to get distracted by the little things in life and miss the ones that really matter. This is one of the tactics of the devil in trying to lead us astray from a life of true holiness. He will get us caught up in the minutiae of the Christian life, so that we never get around to addressing the big issues we need to face, in order to really grow. He is quite happy if we are distracted from the main focus of God’s will as this means we will be ineffective in our work for the Kingdom.
42 The Lord said: “Woe to you Pharisees! You pay tithes of mint and of rue and of every garden herb, but you pay no attention to judgment and to love for God. These you should have done, without overlooking the others. 43 Woe to you Pharisees! You love the seat of honor in synagogues and greetings in marketplaces. 44 Woe to you! You are like unseen graves over which people unknowingly walk.” 45 Then one of the scholars of the law said to him in reply, “Teacher, by saying this you are insulting us too.” 46 And he said, “Woe also to you scholars of the law! You impose on people burdens hard to carry, but you yourselves do not lift one finger to touch them.”
think: It is easy to get distracted by the little things in life and miss the ones that really matter.
God’s special verse/thought for me today________________
T O D A Y ’ S BLESSING LIST
Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________
READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Sirach 27-30
THE SPIRIT SHOULD BE OUR LIFE
It can be easy to think that someone who constantly talks about desiring to be holy and wanting to have spiritual experiences, and who is always in the chapel praying is truly on the path to holiness. This is not the case for St. Teresa of Avila, whose feast day we celebrate today. She is interested in the fruits of a person’s life, and not just their desires or what they seem to be doing. It was not beyond her to send someone fitting the description above off to the kitchen to peel a sack of potatoes and to tell her to stop that sort of prayer for the time being. Why? Often such desires are totally unrealistic and are merely pious dreams. True holiness will come only when the concrete realities of discipleship are lived according to the grace of the Holy Spirit. This is why Paul tells the Galatians that they must live according to the Spirit and not just by so-called holy desires.
The litmus test of holiness is not the desires of an individual but the fruit of his or her life. Thus, Teresa will instruct an overly pious novice to go to the kitchen and do something that will benefit her and others rather than just sit and daydream in the chapel. Even if our desires are good and holy they will not benefit us unless we are willing to work to attain them. The only way to do this is through the daily grind of discipleship. Teresa knows this from experience and is not shy about applying the principle in its most basic form.
St. Paul challenges the Galatians to compare the end results or fruits of holiness and sin. They are poles apart and easily distinguishable. Therefore, it should not be difficult for them to discern the actions that will give rise to such fruits, and to cultivate holiness and shun all that leads to sin. The same should be true for us. As we reflect upon the Scriptures and the lives of the saints, we should be able to see what sort of actions are going to aid our growth in faith and love, and those that will not. Fr. Steve Tynan
How disciplined am I in doing the basic things of my faith well? Am I committed to daily prayer? Do I read the Bible? Am I growing in my knowledge of the faith?
Holy Spirit, help me to be a doer and not just a dreamer. Let me put my faith into practice daily so that I will truly witness to the truth that I am indeed a disciple of Jesus Christ.
St. Teresa of Avila, virgin and doctor, pray for us.
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