Stand up for the faith

Christ teaching the apostles

Jesus warned his followers on one occasion that they would be hated and persecuted for the sake of his name. Today this is happening on a grand scale, in part because the Catholic Church is the largest single religion in the world and in part because the Church stands firmly for what the world is against: the sanctity of life and of marriage, the importance of chastity, the rights of parents in the education of their children… In this meditation we use Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete et exsultate to consider how:

  • The Church is being attacked for its stand on many issues
  • The world needs what the Church teaches in order to find the happiness and peace it desires
  • We must learn what the Church teaches and defend this teaching with charity and strength
  • We must seek holiness, “the most attractive face of the Church” in order to show the world the beauty of our faith and to avoid being swept along by the current of the world

Growing in hope

We all have situations in which we wish something were different but we are not in a position to change it by ourselves: our job, finances, health, relationships, etc. In these circumstances we can sometimes become discouraged. It is then that we need to grow in hope, to trust more in God. In this meditation we pray about this important virtue, drawing on Scripture, the Catechism, Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical Spe Salvi  and St Josemaria’s book The Way to consider:

  • The nature of hope
  • How God is always with us and will give us what is best
  • How we should know that God is close to us especially when we are suffering
  • How we can grow in hope especially through prayer

Discovering our calling

Jesus told the apostles in the Last Supper that they had not chosen him, but that he had chosen them for a particular mission:  to go out and bear fruit. God has created each individual for a purpose: to fulfil some definite part of his plan for the salvation of all souls. In this meditation we use texts of Scripture. St John Henry Newman, Pope Francis and St Josemaria to see how:

  • God has a particular plan for each of us, which only we can fulfil
  • To fulfil this plan we must first seek holiness, love for God which consists in doing his will
  • If we think ourselves unworthy and incapable, so were the apostles
  • Many great things depend on whether we fulfil the mission God has planned for us

Sacrament of joy

 

The parable of the prodigal son is mercy perosnified.

The sacrament of Penance is truly a sacrament of joy, a sacrament of mercy. In this meditation we use texts of Scripture, St John Paul II, Pope Francis and St John Vianney to consider how:

  • Christ gave the sacrament of penance  to the Church on the very evening of his Resurrection
  • The sacrament corresponds to deep-seated human needs
  • We obtain many benefits when we go to Confession
  • We do well to receive the sacrament frequently
  • We should do all we can to take others to Confession

 

 

Love for our neighbour

 

 

St Paul tells us that the greatest of the virtues is charity. If we are to live this virtue well, we must first grow in love for God so that his love fills us and overflows into those around us. In this meditation we consider how:

  • The more we love God, the easier it will be to love our neighbour
  • We can learn charity from saints like Mother Teresa of Calcutta and St Josemaria, who loved God with their whole heart and their neighbour as themselves
  • We can grow in four aspects of charity: patience, love for people of all backgrounds, forgiveness and kindness

Sorrow for our sins

Face of Christ in the Passion

 

 

We all sin, but how much true sorrow do we have? In this meditation we use texts of St Augustine, the Roman Catechism, St John Vianney and St Josemaria Escriva to consider three aspects of penance: the virtue of penance, or sorrow for our sins, the sacrament of penance and the acts of penance, striving to:

  • Contemplate the sorrowful face of Jesus, as St Peter did
  • Consider how many sins we have committed and how our sins hurt Our Lord more than those of people who are distant from him
  • Foster a true purpose of amendment, a sincere resolution to try hard not to sin again
  • Go regularly to the sacrament of penance and invite others to go with us
  • Be generous in our acts of penance, of self-denial, as we have been generous in committing sins

Learning to love

Our Lord, Jesus Christ washing the feet of his apostles.

Our Lord, Jesus Christ washing the feet of his apostles. An act of love.

 

Our Lord loved us “to the end” and he gives us the New Commandment to love one another as he has loved us. In this meditation we consider how:

  • The saints, including St Josemaria, truly poured out love because they themselves were in love with God
  • If we are going to love our neighbour truly we must first fall more in love with God through prayer, the sacraments, etc.
  • We can improve in patience by considering how patient God is with us
  • We can strive to improve in such other aspects of love as spirit of service,  forgiveness and kindness by considering Christ’s example