Saturday, August 29, 2015

prayer diary Saturday 29 August 2015

'As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' 
Matthew 25. 30

There are many who like to think that God does not care how we live. Yet Christ himself warned us that at the end we will all face judgement – a judgement that will not be pleasant for all.

Friday, August 28, 2015

prayer diary Friday 28 August 2015 ( day of discipline and self-denial)

Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, “Lord, lord, open to us.”But he replied, “Truly I tell you, I do not know you.” 
Matthew 25. 11,12

It is easy to become complacent and think 'I am part of the Church – what more need I do?' The lamp of their faith burns low and then goes out unnoticed by them until it is too late. Our Lord warns against such carelessness and we must heed his warning.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

prayer diary Thursday 27 August 2015

'Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.' 
Matthew 24. 44

We know not when our Lord may call us to stand before him. It is for good reason, then, that great teachers, from the Fathers of the early Church to the great spiritual fathers of our own time, remind us to keep the thought of death always before us; for in that thought may lie the salvation of our soul.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

prayer diary Wednesday 26 August 2015

'You are like whitewashed tombs, which on the outside look beautiful, but inside they are full of the bones of the dead and of all kinds of filth.' 
Matthew 23.27

Did Christ not say lustful thoughts were the same as adultery, and anger equivalent to murder? A façade of goodness may mask a life that contains much that is evil. Strive, then, to master the passions within for the sake of your soul.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

prayer diary Tuesday 25 August 2015

'You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may become clean.' 
Matthew 23.25

Our internal life is of great importance to our spiritual well-being. Purity of life begins with purity of heart.

Monday, August 24, 2015

prayer diary Monday 24 August 2015 (St Bartholomew)

'The greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like one who serves.' 
Luke 22.26

Our Lord spoke these words to his Apostles, men whom he only moments later told would in his kingdom sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. If they were commanded to live lives of humble service, must not do so also?

Sunday, August 23, 2015

truth matters

May my words be in the Name of the Holy & Undivided Trinity: + Father, Son, & Holy Spirit. Amen.

In our Gospel reading today, our Lord might seem to be somewhat inflexible, a man not open to the idea of compromise. He has told his listeners that they must eat his flesh and drink his blood if they are to have life in them. Some present complain that this is a hard teaching. Does Jesus try to soften it for them? He does not. Instead, he tells them his words are spirit and life. Many begin to leave. Does Jesus then call them back and try to soften his teaching?

No, he doesn't. Instead he turns to the 12 Apostles and asks them if any of them would like to leave as well. Accept what I say or go, is his clear message. And he will not change his teaching in order to keep those who hear him happy. The truth is the truth and it can not be changed just because hearing it makes some, or many, or even most unhappy to hear it. There is good reason for this. Not telling people the hard unvarnished truth, and instead only saying to them what they want to hear, can have disastrous consequences.

Imagine, for example, a doctor who didn't like to give his patients bad news. First into his office is a woman in her early forties. Doctor she says, I just got married. My husband and I hope to have children, but it's a very busy time at work for me, and we have a lot of bills after the wedding. Do you think it would be ok to wait a few years. No worries, says the doctor. Women are starting families later these days; and I believe the longer you wait, the more likely you are to conceive. So delay all you want. And the woman leaves the office delighted. 

Next in comes an older man, wheezing and coughing. He has a sixty cigarette a day habit and the first thing he says to the doctor is that he knows he needs to quit but he has tried before and found it very hard. Well, have I got good news for you, says the doctor. It turns out the tobacco companies have been right all along; there is no proof that cigarettes causes lung-cancer, or heart disease, or emphysema, or anything else. In fact, because they help you relax and deal with stress, they're really quite good for you. Actually, you might want to think about smoking a few more. And still coughing and wheezing, but smiling now, the man leaves.

Finally, a man comes in looking for his test results. He's afraid; he's sure he has cancer. In fact, he does have cancer. But the doctor just gives him a big smile and says not to worry, he's grand – the tests came back all clear. Oh, thank you says the man – I feel so relieved. And he leaves the office a happy man. And the doctor nods and smiles to himself thinking that he has done good work that day as he has made so many people happy.

I do not think that any of us would like to be the patient of such a doctor, even if he did manage to keep us happy for a brief while by telling us what we want to hear. And this is why Jesus insists on telling his followers the truth, even when they do not wish to hear it. For he is the physician of souls, the one who has come to make sinners well from the sin that afflicts them. And if the truth he tells causes some to run from him, better that they leave; for there is no salvation in staying to believe in a lie – quite the opposite, for did not our Lord tell us that lies are of Satan, who is the father of lies? Telling people what they want to hear rather than the truth, even if they find it painful, is of the devil then, not of God – and how could Christ do the work of the one whose power he had come to set man free from?

No, with Christ it is the truth, always … and so it must be with us. We must not be afraid to hear the hard truths, and live out the hard teachings. And we must not be afraid to share them with others. Jesus was not afraid to do so, even though it cost him many followers; we must do likewise, even if it will cost us friends.

For consider St Peter's words when Jesus asked the apostles if they, like those who left because the truth was too much for them, wished also to go – he replied 'Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words of eternal life.' What kind of friends would we be to them if we refused to share those words of truth with them, the truth that can save their souls? Indeed, is not refusing to share the truth with others the same as leading them astray, as causing them to stumble? And what was it our Lord said of those who lead others astray? It was that it were better that a millstone be tied around their neck and they be cast into the sea. So by sharing God's truth with others not only may you save the souls of those others – you may in fact save your own.

I pray that God will grant his grace to all present today to hear his truth, live it out in their lives, and share that truth with others always. Amen