Morning of Reflection – St Peter Church Danbury CT

Religion and Ritual

Religion and Ritual is the Sept. topic. Today we often hear the statement, “I’m spiritual but not religious.” Yet from the beginning of humankind peoples were religious and created rituals to honor or supplicate their gods. We will look at this reality and examine the role of religion for us. Join Yvette Lessard in the Parish hall of St Peter Church on Main St. in Danbury CT, Thurs. Sept. 12 from 10-11:45 AM

#Spiritual

#LivingOurFaith

And The Rich Man Turned Away Sad

It has been a busy but good summer that has slowed down my posting. Most recently spending four days with my two sisters and their families and my mother in Colorado. A time that really rejuvenates the soul.

Now that I am back, there have been several good Daily readings in August. One of them was the story about the rich man who asked Jesus several questions about what he should do to gain eternal life. We usually focus on how he was saddened by Jesus’ final response and went away sad. We do not hear about him again but was that really the end of his story? Here was a man who realized that he needed to grow and that is why he approached Jesus. Isn’t this what we should be doing as followers of Jesus i.e to ask questions of ourselves and seek asnwers from God? The meditation by Word Among Us on this reading was excellent and is included below.

Meditation: Matthew 19:16-22 

What do I still lack? (Matthew 19:20) 

When we read this story of the rich young man, we often focus on how he “went away sad” (Matthew 19:22). But we don’t always give him enough credit. He knew enough to realize he needed help—and to ask Jesus for it. His question was sincere too: “Teacher, what good must I do?” He wanted to be a better man, and he wanted the “eternal life” that he saw the disciples enjoying (19:16). 

This is a good question for us to ask Jesus every day as well. In fact, the Church encourages us to do it. Every day, we can ask Jesus to help us see how we are doing in our walk with him and how we can do better. In the sixteenth century, St. Ignatius of Loyola developed a way for us to do just that. He called it the “Daily Examen.” Here’s a version that consists of five steps. 

The first step is to thank God for all the blessings you’ve received that day. What are you thankful for? 

The second step is to pray to the Holy Spirit. It can be hard to recognize God’s presence in the course of the day. So ask him to help you look back with spiritual hindsight to see where he was with you that day. 

Third, review what happened today. Whom did you encounter? What situations and emotions arose? How was God speaking to you through them? And how did you respond? Don’t worry about every circumstance; just look at what stands out. 

Fourth, think about when you felt closest to God. Perhaps it was as someone helped you in the grocery store or as you admired a beautiful sunset. When did you feel further away from God? Maybe you felt impatient when someone asked you for help. Perhaps someone cut you off in traffic, and you got angry. Be sure to ask the Lord’s forgiveness for any sins and for his help to change. But remember, don’t go away sad! Jesus is inviting you to follow him on the path to heaven. 

Your fifth and final step is to look ahead to the next day. Think about the people you’ll meet, the situations you’ll face, and invite Jesus to be part of them. Remember, he wants to walk with you every step of the way. 

“Lord, open my eyes! Help me to become more like you.” 

Judges 2:11-19 

Psalm 106:34-37, 39-40, 43-44 

#IgnatianSpirituality

No Longer Strangers

I always like reading from Ephesians and this morning’s daily reading was no exception with its’ focus on relationship. The Word Among Us had an excellent meditation on today’s Epistle and is included below.

Meditation: Ephesians 2:19-22

Saint Thomas, Apostle (Feast)

Members of the same household as saints like Thomas? It might seem like a stretch, especially when you think of how much the saints accomplished for Christ. You might feel that your life falls far short of such a high standard. But remember, as Thomas’ own story tells us, the saints were not perfect. Look at the apostles, the “foundation” Paul says we are built upon: Peter misunderstood Jesus and denied him. All of them except John abandoned him. Thomas himself proclaimed he wouldn’t believe Jesus had risen until he had probed the wounds with his own hands.

You are . . . members of the household of God. (Ephesians 2:19)

But that is not the end of their stories. Jesus gave Peter the chance to proclaim his love three times, mirroring his threefold denial. Then Peter went on to lead the early Church. Jesus appeared to Thomas and let him see his wounds. Once Thomas saw the resurrected Jesus, he made one of the most powerful proclamations of faith you will hear in the New Testament: “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28). From there, he went on to proclaim the gospel all the way to India!

These apostles were no less members of the household of God when they struggled with unbelief or weakness than when they became courageous heroes of the faith. This means that you are no less a member of the household of God when you are painfully aware of your own weakness and unbelief. In fact, that’s a great place to start because the more you know how much you need Jesus, the more open you will be to meeting him and receiving his grace. Look at Thomas: Jesus did not deny him the chance to touch his wounds. But he didn’t stop there. He called Thomas further, beyond his weakness and into deeper faith.

You are a member of God’s household, and in this household, the saints are your big brothers and sisters. They have so much to teach you, especially through their stories about how God accepted them and continued to work in them. You can be confident that God will accept and work with you too.

“Jesus, thank you for bringing me into your household of faith.”

John 20:24-29

Psalm 117:1-2

Word Among Us – July 3, 2019