Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Devotion for today: strive to pass the test

Today we look at another Teresa, this one a modern day “saint”.

Scripture for meditation: Colossians 3:15-17
Christ’s peace must reign in your hearts, since as members of the one body you have been called to that peace. Dedicate yourselves to thankfulness. Let the word of Christ, rich as it is, dwell in you. In wisdom made perfect, instruct and admonish one another. Sing gratefully to God from your hearts in psalms, hymns, and inspired songs. Whatever you do, whether in speech or in action, do it in the name of the Lord Jesus. Give thanks to God the Father through him.

Scripture for reflection: Genesis 4:3-7
In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.”...

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta tells us: We are all capable of good and evil. We are not born bad: everybody has something good inside. Some hide it, some neglect it, but it is there. God created us to love and to be loved, so it is our test from God to choose one path or the other. Any negligence in loving can lead someone to say yes to evil, and when that happens we have no idea how far it can spread. That’s the sad part. If someone chooses evil, then an obstacle is set up between that person and God, and the burdened person cannot see God clearly at all. That’s why we have to avoid any kind of temptation that will destroy us. We gain the strength to overcome this from prayer, because if we are close to God we spread joy and love to everybody around us. If evil takes possession of someone, that person in turn may spread evil to everybody around him. If we are in contact with such people we must try to help them and show them that God cares for them. Pray hard to help bring prayer back to them so that they may once more see God in themselves and then see Him in others. It is this which will help the person who is bad because everybody – it doesn’t matter who – has been created by the same loving hand. Christ’s love is always stronger than the evil in the world, so we need to love and to be loved: it’s as simple as that. This shouldn’t be such a struggle to achieve (Mother Teresa, A Simple Path by Lucinda Vardey, Ballentine Books, 1995).

 Prayer: Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen

My thoughts: Blessed Teresa of Calcutta has such a straight way of speaking. She takes the issue of good vs. evil and makes it so applicable to our lives. Life is a test. We get a choice. We can choose good, or we can choose evil. If we choose good, we will spread good to all those who come in contact with us. If we choose evil, we will infect those around us. She also puts a great responsibility on us: if we neglect to love someone out of feelings of superiority, righteousness, hatred, etc., we can cause evil to be born in them. Remember, the absence of love is evil. “God is love, and he who abides in God abides in love.” If someone you know is destroying his or her life by sin and wrongdoing, first pray for them, seek good spiritual advice on how to deal with it, and then do as Blessed Teresa says, and try to help them. We want to take everyone to heaven with us. That is why God put so many people in our lives! We are to bring them all to heaven. It shouldn’t be a struggle; it should be a joy.

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