Sunday, July 31, 2016

Examin Sunday 31 July 2016

So many wish to lead their lives as if God will not judge us at the end of days. They either pretend that the day of judgement is not real; or convince themselves, or allow others to convince them, that it it is not. But we know it is real for Christ spoke of it often and warned us against it. His warning is a true gift from God; for if we heed it and live our lives knowing that we will die and be judged according to how we have loved God then how much greater is the chance that we will be saved. But we must remember that we show our love by obedience to God's will. For as Christ told us, there are many who say 'Lord, Lord' who will not be admitted into the Kingdom of Heaven.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

prayer diary Saturday 30 July 2016

Herod apprehended John and bound him, and put him into prison, because of Herodias his brother' s wife. For John said to him: It is not lawful for thee to have her. 
Matthew 14. 3,4

John was not afraid to speak the truth of God's law, whatever the cost. So too must we proclaim that truth, however unpopular it may be and however unwilling some may be to hear.

Friday, July 29, 2016

prayer diary Friday 29 July 2016

And they were scandalized in his regard. But Jesus said to them: A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house. 
Matthew 13. 57

Those who do not wish to hear God's truth may grasp at any excuse for the deafness they choose. Some would not hear Christ, claiming they knew him; and if you speak out some may do likewise. Do not let this silence you; knowing they will not hear does not justify refusing to speak.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

prayer diary Thursday 28 July 2016

'So shall it be at the end of the world. The angels shall go out, and shall separate the wicked from among the just. And shall cast them into the furnace of fire.' 
Matthew 13.49,50

Our Lord speaks many times of the judgement to come; and that there are those who will be found wanting. We must therefore strive to be found among the just.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

prayer diary Wednesday 27 July 2016

'The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field. Which a man having found, hid it, and for joy thereof goes, and sells all that he has, and buys that field.' 
Matthew 13.44

Nothing in this life can compare with the bliss that awaits us in heaven. Therefore we would be foolish indeed if we did not dedicate all that we have in this life to attaining it.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

prayer diary Tuesday 26 July 2016

'The Son of man shall send his angels and they shall gather out of his kingdom all … them that work iniquity and shall cast them into the furnace of fire.' 
Matthew 13.41,42

We must always keep before us that we shall one day die and face judgement. Such thoughts can do much to help us resist the temptations we face in the world.

Monday, July 25, 2016

prayer diary Monday 25 July 2016 (St James, Apostle)

'He that will be first among you, shall be your servant. Even as the Son of man is not come to be ministered unto, but to minister.' 
Matthew 20. 27,28

Christian leadership must mirror the leadership modelled by Christ. It seeks no glory, but rather humbly serves, and seeks always the salvation of souls.

Sunday, July 24, 2016


Sunflowers ...

... easy on the eye ... 

... providers of edible seeds ...

... and the original emoticon!

What's not to like?

"Lord, teach us to pray"

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

Our Gospel reading today includes some of the most well known verses in all of Sacred Scripture – well known, of course, because most of us learn them off by heart as children. I speak, of course, of what we call the 'Lord's Prayer' – so called because it was given to us by our Lord himself – or the 'Our Father' after the first two words; which is why it was known at the Pater Noster for so many centuries in the Western or Latin Church, those being the first two words of the prayer in Latin. We have two versions of this prayer: the longer and more familiar one in St Matthew; and the shorter one that we hear today from St Luke.

The riches and the beauty of this prayer are inexhaustible. You may recall that I preached a sermon series on it over the course of Advent a couple of years ago; and in ten sermons I think I barely scratched the surface of its wonders. But that is hardly surprising – great saints and Fathers of the Church have been exploring its wonders from the earliest days … Saint Cyprian of Carthage, for example, wrote a marvellous treatise on it in the third century … and this exploration on the part of the faithful continues to this day. So what might be said of it in the context of a single sermon, something that is of necessity quite brief? Well today, I think we might take three lessons from it, not directly from the prayer itself, but from the manner in which it is introduced by St Luke.

First, let us note what is happening before our Lord bestows this great gift upon his people. He is himself praying. One of his disciples approaches him. And he asks our Lord that he teach his followers to pray just as St John the Baptist taught his followers to pray. And our Lord begins by saying: 'When you pray … '

This brings us to the first of my three thoughts. The phrase 'when you pray' expresses an expectation of our Lord that his followers would pray. Of course he did; he uses the phrase 'when you pray' elsewhere in the gospels; he gives us his own example of prayer on many occasions to his disciples, who are called to be as Christ-like as possible in every way; the expectation that his followers would pray is in keeping with the many commandments to prayer in the Old Testament, whose continuing authority when it came to the moral law our Lord affirmed; and that this is the right interpretation of what our Lord intended to convey by his words, that those who follow him should be a people of prayer, is shown by the lives of his apostles and disciples in the generation after his Ascension and of all generations since. Prayer is an integral part of the Christian life.
And that it should be so is not simply because it is something that God asks of us – although, that in itself should be enough. No it is part of our nature that we should wish to pray. This brings me to my second point. Recall how it is the disciple who approaches our Lord and asks him that he teach those who follow him to pray. The man reaches out to the Messiah with this request, because it is only natural that we, created beings, should desire that we hold conversation with, in other words pray, the one who created us. We are his children; and the child, by his very nature, wishes to speak with his Father. And consider this also: we are created in his image and likeness; and the Son, once made made, prayed to the Father. Christ is the perfect man; and if he teaches us by his example of the necessity and goodness of prayer, then we ought to understand that prayer is something we need as much as the very air we breathe or the food we eat … things that were also given to us by our Father in heaven to sustain us during our sojourn on this earth.

Finally, note the manner in which the disciple asks the question of our Lord: teach us to pray as St John the Baptist taught his disciples to pray. There is nothing wrong from seeking guidance on prayer from someone who is in spiritual authority over you; indeed, it is a good thing, demonstrating as it does the all important Christian virtue of humility. Accepting that there are things that we can learn from others – and that there are those that God has given greater gifts in certain areas – is a fundamental part of what it is to be a Christian. As St Paul taught, together we are the body of Christ; but God has given various gifts to various members for the good of all. Some are called to be apostles, others preachers, others teachers. This is a great gift to us from God; and it would be foolish indeed, not to say spiritually dangerous, to allow a proud spirit to cause us to reject what God has given us for our benefit – that is, to say, the salvation of our souls.

The salvation of souls is, of course, the first law of the Church. This is why our Lord taught his disciples to pray – that they might follow the path to their own salvation and be better equipped to help others along that path. The salvation of souls was the reason our Lord came into this world and why he was willing to suffer and die – so that we might be saved. Prayer is a powerful, and precious, and wonderful gift to us from God, given us that we might learn his laws, live them in our lives, and in the end attain the eternal life we we were created for. And today it is my prayer that you will not reject or neglect that gift … neither today, nor in the days that follow, persevering in prayer until the moment you draw your final breath. Amen

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Examin Sunday 23 July 2016

If you were to stand before the Heavenly Throne a few minutes from now, what would your fate be - would the Lord judge you to be among the wheat or the tares? Ponder this matter with great soberness; and take time over the task. Consider each of the commandments in turn and what the Church teaches of how they are to be obeyed. Are you indeed obedient to them? Answer this honestly without making excuses. Objectively judge yourself – have you followed what you have been taught in relation to each? If you cannot in truth say that you have, remember the fate of the tares. Ask God's pardon for the failures of the past and his grace to do better for what remains of you life; giving thanks that you have been afforded the time to begin afresh the task of living a life that is pleasing to him.

prayer diary Saturday 23 July 2016

'At harvest time I will tell the reapers, 'Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.'' 
Matthew 13.30

Judgement does not come in this life but the next; but come it will. Humble yourself, therefore, and obey the Lord so that you may at the harvest be gathered to him.

Friday, July 22, 2016

prayer diary Friday 22 July 2016 St Mary Magdalene

(Joseph) laid him in a tomb which had been hewn out of the rock; … Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where he was laid. 
Mark 15.46,47

The faithfulness of Mary to her master knew no bounds. So too must we not fear to follow Christ - whatever the cost, and without ever losing hope in him.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

prayer diary Thursday 21 July 2016

'Truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.' 
Matthew 13.17

We see what holy men of ancient days desired in the words of the Gospels. Be joyful and follow the Lord today and always.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

prayer diary Wednesday 20 July 2016

'Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.' 
Matthew 13.8

Some will bear more fruit than you. Accept this with humility and be at peace with it; and focus on the fruit that you yourself must bear.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

prayer diary Tuesday 19 July 2016

'Who is my mother, and who are my brethren?' And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, 'Here are my mother and my brethren!'
Matthew 12.48,49

The one who follows Christ is in a close and intimate relationship with God himself. How then can we ever fail to do our utmost to live the way he teaches?

Monday, July 18, 2016

prayer diary Monday 18 July 2016

'An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign; but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.' 
Matthew 12.39

All generations were given the greatest sign of all – our Lord's Resurrection from the dead. Nothing can exceed this; and expect more is to effectively deny Christ.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

choosing the better portion

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

There is a story told of Queen Victoria, most likely apocryphal, that it was once told about an order of enclosed nuns. It was explained to her that they spent their lives secluded from the world in order that they might spend their time in constant prayer. The great queen pondered this idea for some moments before remarking 'But could not something useful be found for them to do?'  The quote, true or not, illustrates the all too common but unfortunate notion that prayer is not useful in itself and is something to be engaged in once all other, more important, useful work has been done.

I was reminded of it while considering today's Gospel, the well-known passage where the Jesus has gone to the home of Lazarus. His two sisters are there, Mary and Martha. Martha is doing all the 'useful' work that needed to be done to entertain a guest. St Luke does not tell us what it is, but we can imagine that she is getting food ready for our Lord and the disciples who are with him. Mary chooses a different path; she instead sits at the feet of Jesus and listens to what he is saying. Again St Luke does not tell us what our Lord is saying, but to sit at someone's feet is indicative of the master and student relationship, so it is safe to assume that Jesus is engaged in teaching those who have gathered around him as all wait for the meal to be served.

Martha, we are told, is distracted by her many tasks. Of course she is; she suddenly has a great many unexpected guests in her house. And we know from elsewhere in the Gospels that Lazarus and his family were devoted followers of Jesus. So not just guests, but honoured guests. To have our Lord under their roof makes it a special occasion, which means there is even more to do than usual. And in the middle of all this busy-ness Martha notices that her sister is not helping her – she is lounging around, sitting down at her ease, while Martha is doing all the work on her own.

So she is not pleased with her sister. And also it would seem from the text she is not altogether well pleased with our Lord either. For when she decides to do something about the situation she does not quietly enter the room and whisper in her sister's ear that she would appreciate it if she would come into the kitchen and help. No, she goes to the Lord, St Luke tells us; so we can imagine her bustling in, red-faced from the heat of the cooking fire, and stands before him. And interrupting his teaching she says: Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.’ Consider well what she is saying here. She doesn't say 'Lord, can you not see?' but 'Lord, do you not care?' It would seem then that she thinks it obvious what is going on, that her sister is neglecting her duties and leaving all the work to her, and she charges our Lord with being uncaring about the situation. And then she commands Jesus to correct the situation 'Tell her then to help me.'

Now we may pardon, I think, Martha's attempt at rebuking the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity and trying to tell him what to do. She would not at this time have understood that he was God incarnate. But as one his close followers she would have known that he was indeed the Messiah; which means that she should have realised, harassed though she might have felt by the pressure she was under, that the way she was speaking to our Lord was more than a little inappropriate. So we can imagine the gasp of amazement that would have come from the mouths of all present at the occasion. But Jesus is unperturbed; and he responds to her outburst with gentleness and understanding. 'Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.’

Now, we must be careful to understand that Jesus is not denigrating the work that Martha is doing. Work is important; the necessity of honest labour is made clear in the Bible – as St Paul tells us, those who do not work shall not eat! And Christ, by his constant references to the work of fishermen, farmers, shepherds and others might well be said to have emphasised the dignity of labour and sanctified it. So the work that Martha is doing is good – but through her busy-ness she has missed something better. For by it she has missed the opportunity to spend time with the Lord. 

The issue is not about whether whether work is somehow in competition with our devotional life of prayer, scripture reading, and worship; it is about balance and understanding where the priority lies. The time we give to God is not some kind of an afterthought, nice if you can find time to do in the midst of a busy schedule, at the bottom of a list of more important things, such as spending a extra hour at work, or watching the latest episode or your favourite TV show. No, it is the heart and soul of your day, the good portion, the better part around which all things must fit in. And it makes abundant sense that it must be so: for the rest are only the things of this life, things that will be left behind, while the other helps prepare you for eternal life in the next. I pray that all here will be like Mary and always choose the better part. Amen

Examin Sunday 17 Jul 2016

Christians are called to speak the truth in love. This means we share the fullness of the truth of the Gospel message with all. This sharing does not entail hectoring or berating; and it does not mean hating, excluding, or belittling those who having heard will not believe. There is no love in that; and such unloving behaviour can only make it harder for them to accept the Gospel at some later time. But this love can never mean altering or watering down the faith in any way, for what is shared must be the fullness of the truth. For just as love calls us to share the Gospel, it calls us to share the full truth of it. To do otherwise is not love for it denies the one who hears the full truth.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

prayer diary Saturday 16 Jul 2016

'He will not wrangle or cry aloud, nor will any one hear his voice in the streets; he will not break a bruised reed or quench a smouldering wick, till he brings justice to victory.' 
Matthew 12.19

How gentle is the way of Christ! And this is the Christian way. The truth must always be proclaimed, firmly and without compromise – but always with gentleness and always with love.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Nice:everything is a weapon; everyone is a target.

The horror of what happened in Nice yesterday is staggering. Families out enjoying a national holiday are mowed down by a previously ordinary seeming young man driving a truck. Men, women, and children chosen for no other reason than they were gathered together to enjoy the day and were a soft target, completely defenseless ... and that the randomness and scale of the attack would only serve to make it more appalling.

This is terrorism in its purest form. Everything is a weapon. Everyone is a target. And it is almost impossible to predict who the perpetrator may be and protect oneself from his or her evil actions. 

Please pray for the victims, the dead and the injured, and those who love them; and all those in the emergency services who have deal with close quarters with such shocking things. Pray also for those tempted to commit such atrocities that they will be given the strength to resist. And pray for us all, that we will not be overwhelmed by such evil. 

prayer diary Friday 15 Jul 2016

'For the Son of man is lord of the sabbath.'
 Matthew 12.8

The Sabbath was instituted by God as one of the Ten Commandments. How foolish then are those who try to say he was only a good man who made no divine claims, for who is Lord of the Sabbath other than God himself?

Thursday, July 14, 2016

prayer diary Thursday 14 Jul 2016

'Take my yoke upon you, & learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, & you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, & my burden is light." 
Matthew 11. 29,30

The burdens the world lay upon us seem light; but they equip us for a false path and great is their final cost. Though at times the cost of discipleship may seem greater, it is not; for it sets us on the true path, the one that leads to the infinite reward of heaven.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

prayer diary Wednesday 13 Jul 2016

"I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes.' 
Matthew 11.25

There are those who are too proud of what they consider their own wisdom to heed the word of God. But their wisdom is folly and leads to the grave. But it is those who are humble of heart that are truly wise, for from their humility flows obedience to God.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

prayer diary Tuesday 12 Jul 2016

"Woe to you, Beth-saida! for if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago.' 
Matthew 11.21

Jesus speaks here to condemn a place that had witnessed his mighty acts and yet refused to repent. He warned that things would not go well for them at the final judgement; and his warning applies also to those who will not repent today.

Monday, July 11, 2016

prayer diary Monday 11 Jul 2016

'He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.' 
Matthew 10. 37

This teaching may sound hard, but it is not. We must love God; and we must love our parents and children. The love of one does not stand in opposition to the other; it is simply a matter which comes first.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Examin Sunday 10 July 2014

Christians are called to be citizens of heaven. This means we live in the world but our first loyalty is to the Kingdom of God. We must, of course, be good and law-abiding citizens of this earth – in fact we should be the best of all citizens, the kind that others should be inspired to model themselves on. But that does not mean we can ever let ourselves forget our citizenship of heaven; or ever relax even for a moment our duty to live by God's Holy Laws. And if the laws of man and the laws of God come into conflict then we must put God's first. This does not make us bad members of the secular society; in fact it makes us the best. For all law comes from God; and where man's law does not follow God's then it is of necessity a bad and evil law. And the Christian who acts to correct it serves not only God but his fellow man as well.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

prayer diary Saturday 9 July 2014

'And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.' Matthew 10.28

How much we worry about those with power in this world; we tremble even at the idea they may hold a poor opinion of us. And all the while we forget something of far greater importance – the judgement of Almighty God which all must one day face.

Friday, July 8, 2016

prayer diary Friday 8 July 2014

'You will be hated by all for my name's sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.' Matthew 10.22

Christ's words were true in his time and they remain true today. Think of how the spirit of the world constantly attacks the faith and tries to get it to conform to its ways. But we must resist; for we are called not to please men but God.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

the long unmarked grave of Henry VIII

While we are in Windsor for the Clergy Consultation we are worshiping in St George's Chapel. We sit in the choir for morning and evening prayer (in the stalls belonging to the members of the Order of the Garter). I was fascinated to discover that buried in the aisle of the Choir lay the mortal remains of King Henry VIII.

More fascinating still is the fact that until 1837 his resting place remained unmarked. He had a great tomb prepared for himself long before he died, ready to be assembled once the time came. But not one of his three children who followed him to the throne saw fit to erect it. Edward, of course, died young. Mary always hated that her father had divorced her mother to marry Anne Boleyn; and Elizabeth was the daughter of Anne whom he had beheaded. So perhaps one can understand their neglect.

The place where the body of the king lay was lost to memory and was only rediscovered by accident at the time of the beheading of Charles I while they were looking for a place to inter his remains. When the vault where Henry lay was discovered, it was decided to place the remains of his martyred successor to the throne there also. 

The Roundheads didn't want Charles' grave to become a place of pilgrimage so when the vault was re-sealed it remained unmarked and it again became uncertain where it lay. It wasn't for another century and a half that it was decided to seek it out again - not because of an interest in Henry, but in Charles. So the vault was sought out; and its location having been ascertained, it was finally marked by William IV in 1837. So his grave remained unmarked, with no one sure of its exact location from his death in 1547 until then. 

It is an interesting footnote, for me at least, that the man who sparked the English Reformation in pursuit of his 'great matter' spent so many years in an unmarked grave. And perhaps an even greater irony that he shares his final resting place with a martyred king that many Anglicans regard as a saint. 

prayer diary Thursday 7 July 2014

'And if any one will not receive you or listen to your words … truly, I say to you, it shall be more tolerable on the day of judgement for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town.' Matthew 10. 14, 15

God offers his Grace to all. Rejecting it is a free and deliberate act of the human will. And those who do so will not be held blameless for their actions on the final day.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

prayer diary Wednesday 6 July 2014

'And preach as you go, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.'' Matthew 10.7

Do you find it hard to speak of others of God, of your faith? Pray that you may overcome such reticence, for it impedes you from the part you are called to in evangelising others.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

prayer diary Tuesday 5 July 2014

"The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest." Matthew 9. 37,38

All are called to spread the good news. Some are called to be pastors or missionaries, others to support them, and all to keep this work in their prayers.

prayer diary Monday 4 July 2014

 Monday 4
Jesus said, "Depart; for the girl is not dead but sleeping." And they laughed at him. Matthew 9. 24

By the restoration of this child many souls were saved from darkness. For there is only one true death, that which leads to eternal darkness in the next.

the view from my window

I'm staying in St George's House, in the precinct's of Windsor Castle, for the Clergy Consultation. This is what I see when I look out the window. Can't quite figure out where the wand shop is!

Sunday, July 3, 2016

'I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.'

May my words be in the Name of Almighty God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

In our Gospel reading today our Lord says something that has always intrigued me - 'I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.' To remind you of the context … he has sent out 70 of his followers two by two to the towns and villages he plans to preach to prepare the way for where he plans to go to himself shortly. And he has given the men he sent authority – not just to preach, but also to heal and to exorcise evil spirits. And when the men return, they are joyful for they have experienced for themselves the great power of God, for they have found that even the demons, those minions of the Evil One, are subject to them in the name of their Lord, Jesus Christ. And it is when they are rejoicing that he tells them he saw Satan fall from heaven.

Now, this is a mysterious phrase that has caused people to ponder down through the ages. What exactly does our Lord mean – is he speaking metaphorically or literally? The Church Fathers have tended toward the literal, while more modern scholars lean to a metaphorical explanation. Myself, I tend to put more faith in the opinion of the Fathers – both in general and in particular in relation to what Jesus says here. But let us consider the possibilities.
If Jesus is speaking metaphorically, it could be taken to mean that he is praising his disciples … they have gone out into the world, preaching the Good News and casting out evil spirits in his Name. They are doing God's work and the forces of darkness are being driven back by it. It is as if Satan is being cast down by all they do.
But if it was intended to be a metaphor, there is something wrong with it, I think. For our Lord does not say he saw Satan driven back, but cast down; and not cast down from some place of earthly power but from heaven. And Satan, we know, was cast down from heaven long ago, by God himself.

So our Lord is talking literally here, of seeing Satan fall. But when?There are two possibilities. Considering the first, his disciples have just come back from the mission he sent them on; and they tell him that they have been casting out demons in his Name. Does he mean, then, that as they were out their in the towns, villages, and country places, he could see Satan being thrown down as a result? I do not think so for the reason I already mentioned – that Satan was cast out of heaven long ago. Also, he says 'saw' – past tense, as if it were an act that was completed … as if his men by their work have defeated Satan in the world … and we know that this is something that is manifestly not true … the powers of darkness are at large in the world even today.

So that leaves us with only one interpretation of what our Lord is saying: he is making a statement of literal fact; he is saying he saw Satan fall from heaven; he is saying he witnessed when Lucifer attempted to rise up against the God of heaven and was cast out for his unpardonable sin of thinking himself equal to the one who made him and rebelling against him. He is saying he saw something that no human eyes could have seen, for that rebellion in heaven took place before the creation of man and his own Fall. It is, therefore, a divine claim; for while no man could have seen it, the second person of the Blessed Trinity, the Son, could. And so when Jesus stands before his disciples as a man and tells them he saw Satan fall from heaven he is telling them that he is himself God.

But why does he choose to mention this to them on their return from their mission? This is what has always intrigued me; and again, I think we must look to context for the answer. They have returned from their journey to the towns and others places where they have been sent – and they are rejoicing that the demons have been forced to submit to them in the name of Jesus. And Jesus it seems sees that there is a danger that they will be seduced by the power of casting out demons, of bending these evil spirits to their will, and think it more important than the work of spreading the good news. For he says to them after that they should not rejoice that the spirits are subject to them, but rather that their names are written in heaven. Our Lord sees they are at risk of being proud of the power he has given them, and being glad of it for its own sake, rather than for what it signifies – that they are obedient followers of Christ, and through their faithfulness they will end in heaven. And so he reminds them of Satan – the one who was proud, and as a result of his pride lost heaven for all eternity – to warn them of the dangers that they face.

For pride is a very great danger indeed – so great that a person can even be doing God's work in the world, but because they do so with a prideful spirit, giving glory to themselves rather than to God that they gain no benefit for their own souls for what they do, even if all the world thinks them a great hero of the faith. It is in this way that Satan can lead even holy people astray; which is why Christ warns of the evil to be avoided, the evil of pride, the evil of following in the devil's footsteps. Instead we must follow in those of the Lord, and be meek and humble of heart. He will give you the grace to do so; so that you may, as our Lord wishes for his disciples and all who follow him, find that in the end your names are written in heaven. Amen. 

Examin Saturday 2 July 2016

There are many today who deny the sinfulness of man. This a great and dangerous heresy: great because it denies the very words of Sacred Scripture that all are sinners and all have fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3.23); and dangerous because those who do not think they are sinners do not think they are in need of forgiveness and thereby put their souls in mortal peril. Thrust the evil of this thinking from you; and rather repent and be saved.

prayer diary Saturday 2 July 2016

And Jesus said to them, "Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come, when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. 
Matthew 9.15

Jesus expected that his followers would fast. That is because disciplining the body is an excellent way of training the will and strengthening it to avoid sin. We must therefore fast because our Saviour recommended it as way to help save our souls.

Friday, July 1, 2016

prayer diary Friday 1 July 2016

“Go and learn what this means, 'I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.' For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners." 
Matthew 9.13

All of us are sinners. Reflect well on this the next time you try to excuse your own wrong-doings; for what you do not admit as sin you can not repent of; and what you do not repent of you can not be forgiven.