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“Obedience is better than sacrifice and submission than the fat of rams.” 1 Samuel 15:22

    Trying to obey and yield to those in authority is not something we like to do or find easy to do. But obeying our God, parents, teachers, and others in authority is something we are asked to do everyday.

    What helps me to grasp what it is to be obedient to God, is to study the life of Mary and Joseph in Scripture. Mary was obedient when she received the call from God through the angel that she would be with child.

    Mary did not understand the full meaning of the angel’s announcement; she placed her trust in God. She was obedient to God, the Father. God gave Mary free will just like He gives us free will to obey or not to obey.

    Mary proclaimed: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”(Luke 1:38)

    When Joseph found out that Mary was with child, he decided to divorce her quietly so as not to expose her to shame. However in a dream, an angel of the Lord appeared to him and said: “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child was conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus because he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1: 20-21)

   After Joseph woke from his dream he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took Mary into his home. Even though St. Joseph did not fully understand, he was obedient to what God was asking him to do.

    Obedience is something that requires me to surrender to God and to trust Him with the outcome. The more I surrender the situation to Him, the more God gives me the grace and the wisdom to be obedient to His most Holy Will.

 Reflection:

“And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.” 2 John: 1:6

 

 

 

 

 

 

   I read a true story about a priest that really got me thinking about how God loves us. This dearly beloved priest was dying of cancer and the end was near. His brother priest wanted to go see him before he died. He made the two-hour journey by car to the hospital hoping and praying that his friend had not passed away before he could say his final goodbyes.

   When his friend entered the dying priest room, his heart sank because there was an empty bed. He thought he didn’t make it in time. Then out of the corner of his eye, he spotted his brother priest sitting and staring out the window. His friend asked him what he was doing staring out the window? The dying priest said, “I am allowing God to love me.” He didn’t need to speak or say anything, only to be still and allow God to love him right where he was at. The dying priest was filled with God’s peace and love.

   It seems like in my life, I get busy doing lots of things which I think are necessary. And some of these things are necessary to complete in order to function in this world— go to Mass, pray the rosary, read scripture, clean house, grocery shopping, cook, dishes, make out budgets, walk my dog and the lists go on and on. But how much time do I spend just sitting in the quiet and allowing God to just love me? How much time do I spend fretting and worrying about many things, instead of just surrendering my concerns to God so he can fill me with His love?

   “Be Still and Know that I am God.”-Psalm 46:10. I need to write these words on my heart and quiet my thoughts and breath in the peace of Jesus. It takes an hour by hour, day by day decision to let go of my anxious and worried thoughts. As I surrender, Jesus is ready to fill me with his love. With each act of surrender, I am allowing Jesus to love me. 

Reflection:

Jesus, I desire to come to you in the quiet. I beg you to help me surrender everything to you, so that you can love me right where I am at. Come Lord Jesus come and quiet my heart. 

        Lent is upon us. By observing the 40 days of Lent, we imitate Jesus Christ’s sacrifice and His withdrawal into the desert for 40 days. Lent is a great time to step back and reflect where we are in our relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church. We reflect on what we are giving up for Lent in order to draw us closer to Jesus.

        A few years ago, I discovered a wonderful practice of fasting from my negative attitude which I’ve turned into a prayer, asking God to change my negative attitude to an attitude of gratitude.

         I invite you to join me to fast from negativity during Lent. Don’t worry if you fail at giving up your negative attitude. God’s mercy is new each morning.  We get a “do-over” each morning because of God’s mercy and forgiveness. “Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning.”  Laminations 3:23.

Let Us Pray:

“Jesus with Your grace, help me to fast from bitterness and turn to forgiveness; with Your grace help me to fast from hatred and return good for evil; with Your grace help me to fast from negativism and be positive; with Your grace, help me to fast from complaining to being grateful; with Your grace, help me to fast from pessimism to being an optimist; with Your grace, help me fast from harsh judgments to thinking kindly thoughts; with Your grace, help me to fast from worry and turn to trust in Divine Providence; with Your grace help me to fast from discouragement to being full of hope; with Your grace help me fast from anger to being more patient; with Your grace help me to fast from pettiness to being more mature; with Your grace, help me to fast from gloom to enjoy the beauty around me; With Your grace help me to fast from jealousy to praying for trust; With Your grace help me fast from gossiping to controlling my thoughts and with Your grace help me fast from sin to turning to virtue   Amen.”

   When Mary and Joseph took Jesus up to Jerusalem to be presented as prescribed by the law, they encountered Simeon and Anna in the temple. Simeon was a righteous and devout man who prayed daily for the Christ child to come. Anna who worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer, also was waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem. They both had waited eagerly day in and day out for the coming of the Messiah. They prayed, fasted and hoped.

    I wonder at the end of the day as each of them went to sleep, did they whisper to God, “The Christ child did not reveal Himself today as we hoped He would. But we will continue to pray and trust that it will happen." They persevered in praying daily.

    If Anna and Simeon had grown so weary that they gave up praying, fasting and hoping for the Christ child, they could have easily missed the Heavenly encounter. But they were faithful and continued to pray, trust and hope each day. They listened to the Holy Spirit daily. 

   By their faithfulness, and being willing to be led by the Holy Spirit, they knew that this was the awaited Messiah when Mary and Joseph came into the temple with the Christ child.

    When my prayers seem to go unanswered, it is tempting to get discouraged.  Faithful Simeon and Anna, help me to continue on and never give up praying.

   It maybe that my prayers will not be answered this side of Heaven. However, if Simeon and Anna can trust, pray and never give up hope, then I too will trust, pray and hope. Help me Saint Padro Pio to "Pray, Hope and Don't Worry."

Reflection:

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” Ephesians 6:18

 

   Do you know the story behind the well-known song, “I have decided to follow Jesus?” The lyrics come from the last words of Nokseng, a man from the Garo tribe in Assam. It is today, the song of the Garo people and an Anthem for Persecution.

   About 150 years ago, there was a great revival in Wales. As a result of this, many missionaries came to north-east India to spread the Gospel. The region known as Assam was comprised of hundreds of tribes who were primitive and aggressive head-hunters

   Into these hostile and aggressive communities, came a group of missionaries from the American Baptist Missions spreading the message of love, peace and hope in Jesus Christ. Naturally, they were not welcomed. One missionary succeeded in converting a man, his wife, and two children. This man’s faith proved contagious and many villagers began to accept Christianity.

   Angry, the village chief summoned all the villagers. He then called the family who had first converted to renounce their faith in public or face execution. Moved by the Holy Spirit, the man sang theses words in reply: “I have decided to follow Jesus. I have decided to follow Jesus. I have decided to follow Jesus. No turning back, no turning back.”

   Enraged at the refusal of the man, the chief ordered his archers to arrow down the two children. As both boys lay twitching on the floor, the chief asked, “Will you deny your faith? You have lost both your children. You will lose your wife too.”

   But the man sang these words in reply: Tho' none go with me, I still will follow, No turning back, no turning back.” His wife was killed, and he was executed while singing, “The world behind me, the cross before me. No turning back, no turning back.

   The death of this family. triggered a mass revival in the village – beginning with the chief! The chief was extremely disturbed by the faith of this man. He could not understand why Nokseng, his wife, and two children gave up their life for a man who lived some 2,000 years ago in some other continent.

   The Holy Spirit touched the chief and he spontaneously confessed, “I too belong to Jesus Christ!” When the gathered villagers heard their chief confessing his faith in Jesus Christ, the whole village accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior.

   The formation of these words into a hymn is attributed to the Indian missionary Sadhu Sundar Singh. The melody is also Indian and with the title “Assam” after the region where the text originated. An American hymn editor, William Jensen Reynolds, composed an arrangement that was included in the 1959 Assembly Songbook.  (from the renewal journal)

If you love this song before knowing its story, you will love it even more because you know what it really means.

Reflection:  Jesus help me each day to decide to follow you no matter what. May I have the courage to lay down my life for you, Jesus.  “The world behind me the cross before me, no turning back, no turning back. Amen  Click on the link below and watch this beautiful little girl skating and the little children singing "I have decided to follow Jesus." 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gjr9tVRnDaY

 

 

Latest comments

28.02 | 07:56

Yes -- be quiet and listen.

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14.02 | 12:50

Well said

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13.02 | 19:05

Not so easy.

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17.01 | 10:04

GREAT STORY. HOPE I DIDN'T CLICK THE WRONG BUTTON AND CANCCEL I'M LEARNING TO USE MY LEFT HAND TO TYPE RESULT OF A FALL AND A BROKEN RIGHT ARM KEEP UP THE GO

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