Friday, December 01, 2006

"Ready for God's Will"

Adoration, tonight, 7-8 pm, SAA Church. All are invited!
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The following is an extraordinary sermon by St. Cyprian (Bishop, 3rd cent.) from today's Office of Readings (Liturgy of the Hours):

"Our obligation is to do God's will, and not our own. We must remember this if the prayer that our Lord commanded us to say daily is to have any meaning on our lips. How unreasonable it is to pray that God's Will be done, and then not promptly obey it when he calls us from this world! Instead we struggle and resist like self-willed slaves and are brought into the Lord's presence with sorrow and lamentation, not freely consenting to our departure, but constrained by necessity. And yet we expect to be rewarded with heavenly honors by him to whom we come against our will! Why then do we pray for the kingdom of heaven to come if this earthly bondage pleases us? What is the point of praying so often for its early arrival if we would rather serve the devil here than reign with Christ.

The world hates Christians, so why give your love to it instead of following Christ, who loves you and has redeemed you? John is most urgent in his epistle when he tells us not to love the world by yielding to sensual desires. Never give your love to the world, he warns, or to anything in it. A man cannot love the Father and love the world at the same time. All that the world offers is the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and earthly ambition. The world and all its allurements will pass away, but the man who has done the will of God shall live for ever. Our part, my dear brothers, is to be single-minded, firm in faith, and steadfast in courage, ready for God's will, whatever it may be. Banish the fear of death and think of the eternal life that follows it. That will show people that we really live our faith.

We ought never to forget, beloved, that we have renounced the world. We are living here now as aliens and only for a time. When the day of our homecoming puts an end to our exile, frees us from the bonds of the world, and restores us to paradise and to a kingdom, we should welcome it. What man, stationed in a foreign land, would not want to return to his home as soon as possible? Well, we look upon paradise as our country, and a great crowd of our loved ones awaits us there, a countless throng of parents, brothers and children longs for us to join them. Assured though they are of their own salvation, they are still concerned about ours. What joy both for them and for us to see one another and embrace! O the delight of that heavenly kingdom where there is no fear of death! O the supreme and endliss bliss of everlasting life!

There, is the glorious band of apostles, there, the exultant assembly of prophets, there, the innumerable host of martyrs, crowned for their glorious victory in combat and in death. There, in triumph, are the virgins who subdued their passions by the strength of continence. There, the merciful are rewarded, those who fulfilled the demands of justice by providing for the poor. In obedience to the Lord's command, they turned their earthly patrimony into heavenly treasure.

My dear brothers, let all our longing be to join them as soon as we may. May God see our desire, may Christ see this resolve that spring from faith, for he will give the rewards of his love more abundantly to those who have longed for him more fervently."

6 Comments:

At 12:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That homily is really nice. I want to embrace its meaning, but I have this abiding sense that there is a total dissonance between prayer and meditative life and the active life we all live -- jobs, family, chores. (I do not think this would apply to a priest or other religious for whom prayer and sacraments are daily, even hourly, activities). I love to meditate on such ideas as are contained in the posted homily, but when I return to my active life -- which I must -- it's like the prayer and meditation are in another world that has no connection to what I do most of my waking hours. As I live (outside of prayer) I have no sense of a divine presence, a call from God to do or not do a certain thing, or a meaning beyond the task at hand. I apologize if this venting is not appropriate here, but sometimes the personal comments of others on this blog have helped me, even (especially) the ones that bespeak struggle.

 
At 1:54 PM, Anonymous Kelly said...

Anon,
I think your struggles are the same as all of us lay people who are trying to live by God's will. FG was a deacon at my parish and we were honored to see him ordained. This sounds funny but I was a bit envious then of those who are chosen to live out their lives as priests,deacons, and nuns. My envy was due to the fact that they are able to participate - as you said- daily in sacraments and prayers.

I am right there with you on the jobs, chores, family-let me throw in teenagers and aging,ill parents. That is why I think we crave the holy Eucharist, confession, prayer, Adoration, and resting in the Lord. Yet they are meant to give us strength to keep on loving others and serving God.

I just started wearing a crucifix (small silver necklace), and I touch it frequently throughout the day. It reminds me to pray and to stay true to my duties. Also, I thank the Lord for my health and physical strength througout the day. This helps me to have gratitude that I can serve Him even if it is housework or whatever needs to get done to serve others.

Sorry for the long post. I had a hard week. My dad is ill and he is in danger of sudden death. Your post touched me because sometimes it comes down to putting one foot in front of the other.

Anon, God bless you and you are among many (including me) who struggles with this....

 
At 2:28 PM, Anonymous Kat said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 2:49 PM, Anonymous Kelly said...

kat,
Thank you very much...I am very grateful for the prayers and your post just brought on the tears. FG was able to adminster sacrament of the sick to my Dad. I am so thankful. It meant so much to my dad and family. Thanks for the prayers. My dad is in procedure as I type this.. In Christ,Kelly

 
At 5:11 PM, Anonymous markov said...

Kelly,

I will keep you in my prayers. I know what you are going through because a friend of mine has recently gone through the very same thing.

Know that you are surrounded by people who care for you here on this blog.

 
At 6:14 PM, Anonymous Joan said...

Kelly,

I too will keep you and your family in my prayers.

It is so hard to see a family member ill. One often is caught between the fear of their loved one's death and witnessing their suffering. And then there's balancing everything else in your life. It can be hard to know what to pray for, and sometimes it just hard to pray.

Joan

"The Lord replied, 'My precious, precious child, I love you.... During your times of trial and suffering, when you only see one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.'" (Margaret Powers, 1964).

 

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