Monday, February 6, 2012

Devotion for today: finding our strength in God

This week is question and answer week.

Question: How do I go about finding my rest and strength in God?
Scripture for meditation: Psalm 84:5
Happy are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion.

Christ tells us: Matthew 11:28-30
“Come to me, all you who are weary and find life burdensome and I will refresh you. Take my yoke upon your shoulders and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart. Your souls will find rest, for my yoke is easy and my burden light.”

Padre Pio tells us: Unite your heart with the heart of Jesus, and be simple-hearted as He desires. What happiness it would be if one day, returning from holy Mass, you were to find your miserable and poor heart outside your breast, and in its place you found the precious heart of our God. But, as we must not desire such great and extraordinary things, I at least desire that our hearts live only under obedience and by the commandments of the heart of this Lord. In this way we would be sweet, humble and charitable because the heart of our divine Master has no law more lovable than that of sweetness, humility, and charity. Don’t ever fall back on yourself when the storm is raging. Place all your trust in the heart of our most sweet Jesus, who is not only mine but your Jesus also. Renew your faith continually and never give it up, for faith never abandons anyone, much less a soul that is yearning to love God.
(Padre Pio’s Words of Hope, edited by Eileen Dunn Bertanzetti, Our Sunday Visitor, 1999)

Prayer: Psalm 63:2-9
O God, you are my God, for you I long; for you my soul is thirsting. My body pines for you like a dry, weary land without water. So I gaze on you in the sanctuary to see your strength and glory.
For your love is better than life, my lips will speak your praise. So I will bless you all my life, in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul shall be filled as with a banquet, my mouth shall praise you with joy.
 On my bed I remember you. On you I muse through the night for you have been my help; in the shadow of your wings I rejoice. My soul clings to you; your right hand holds me fast.

My thoughts: I think the greatest temptation in life is to turn away from God when we face great disappointment or trial. How do we hold on to God when we feel so weak and tired, when it is all we can do to get up in the morning and not cry, or yell at God? Padre Pio shows us the way. He tells us that, although the temptation to abandon God is strong, we must never fall back on ourselves. We must adopt the heart of Jesus and become sweet, humble, charitable, and obedient. God has us in His hands, and as the psalmist reminds us, we must remember that although we are pining now, God’s love is better than life, and we will, if we keep Christ’s yoke upon our shoulders, one day be filled as with a banquet. We will never get through life rejecting God when we feel disappointment or anger. It is at these times that we must become patient, and trust. We must allow our souls to cling to God, and never let go of His hand. The alternative is a life of despair and hurt.

Our prayer to God: We are not the only people in the world who may be hurting or angry with God right now. Let us adopt the psalmist’s prayer as our own for this week, repeating it every day, even if we don’t feel it in our hearts. Then, let us ask God to bring someone into our lives who may need His comfort and love, and pray that we can be the source of that life-giving water. Turning our eyes away from our own weariness and weakness and onto the pain of others will bring us into God’s light. It is there we want to live. Darkness is depressing.

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