Author Archives: frjflader

Hope in God

 

 

In the ups and downs of life there are many events which are not in our control, where we can only put our hope in God. In this meditation we use texts of Scripture and Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical Saved by hope to put our life on a sure foundation. We consider that:

  • The foundation of our hope is God, who is always with us.
  • Our hope in God enables us to find peace and joy even amidst the uncertainties and sufferings of life.
  • The ultimate object of our hope is eternal life with God in heaven.
  • Many passages in Scripture speak to us of hope.
  • We can grow in hope through prayer in its various forms.
  • Mary, our Mother, is our hope: she brings us hope in the person of Jesus, she lives hope herself in many moments, and she intercedes powerfully for us in heaven.

 

 

 

Growing in fortitude

 

God is calling all of us to “go out and bear fruit”, to bring the truth and love of Christ into the world. In a word, to change the world for the better. But it is not easy. It is hard enough to change ourselves. For this reason we need the virtue of fortitude, which strengthens the will. In this meditation we consider:

  • Our mission to go out and bear fruit
  • The need for fortitude, for will power to achieve our goals
  • Some of the important goals we will find difficult to achieve
  • The obstacles we will encounter: the world, the flesh and the devil
  • How we can grow in this virtue

 

Faith in the Church

St Peter’s Basilica

 

The Church has been under fierce attack in recent months with news of widespread sexual abuse by clergy and cover ups by the hierarchy, leading many people to become discouraged and critical of the Church. In this meditation we look at the situation with eyes of faith, considering how:

  • In the history of the Church there have been many crises, some of them much worse than the present one.
  • The Church has always been made up of sinners.
  • The Church, as the Mystical Body of Christ, goes beyond the faithful on earth who make her up at any one time.
  • The Church is founded on rock and will last until the end of time.
  • The British historian Thomas Macaulay and St Josemaria Escriva examine the history of the Church and see an institution which has predated all other institutions on earth and will outlast them all.
  • Pope Francis has called on all the faithful to pray very much and do penance for the Church.

The mission of the laity in the world

The lay members of Christ’s Faithful People (Christifideles Laici), whose “Vocation and Mission in the Church and in the World Twenty Years after the Second Vatican Council” was the topic of the 1987 Synod of Bishops, are those who form that part of the People of God which might be likened to the labourers in the vineyard mentioned in Matthew’s Gospel.

They used to joke that the role of the laity was “to pray, pay and obey”! In this meditation we use the words of Our Lord in the Last Supper, the Second Vatican Council’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen gentium and St John Paul II’s Apostolic Constitution Christifideles laici to consider the great mission of the lay faithful:

  • The laity have a true vocation, a calling from God to engage in the affairs of the world and order them according to the will of God.
  • The Letter of Diognetus from the early Church describes how Christians are the soul of the world.
  • In order to be effective in their mission, the lay faithful should have a truly lay mentality consisting of seven aspects, including interest in the affairs of the world, a deep interior life, a solid doctrinal formation, an effort to be involved in secular activities and respect for the opinions of others in temporal matters.

Contemplatives in the middle of the world

Mary and Jesus praying

A contemplative person is more patient, peaceful, kind and cheerful. Picture shows the young Jesus praying beside her mother.

 

 

St Josemaria taught that all Christians can be contemplatives in the middle of the world: that they can find God and be aware of his presence in every activity. This is within the reach of all but it requires effort on our part. In this meditation we will consider how:

  • Jesus promised the apostles, and us, that he would be with us always, until the end of the world.
  • God is with us in many different ways.
  • Like St Augustine, we often have to say that God was with us but we were not with him.
  • In order to grow in contemplative life it is important to live well our regular times of prayer and space them out throughout the day.
  • We can intersperse our regular times of prayer with aspirations.
  • A contemplative person is more patient, peaceful, kind and cheerful.

 

Receive Him well

Christ holding Communion host

In Holy Communion we receive our Lord in the species of the host and wine. This is the greatest union we can have with Jesus Christ while on earth.

Many people receive Holy Communion regularly but it is easy to fall into routine in doing so. If we remember Who it is that we are receiving we can receive it better, with the “purity, humility and devotion” with which Our Lady received it, in the words of the Spiritual Communion taught by St Josemaria. In this meditation we use quotations from many saints, especially St Josemaria and St John Vianney, and from the Catechism of the Catholic Church to consider:

  • Holy Communion is the greatest union we can have with Christ on earth
  • It is a promise of heaven, an anticipation of heaven and the means to reach heaven
  • Communion cleanses our soul from venial sins and helps us avoid mortal sins
  • How we can prepare well to receive Communion
  • How we can receive Our Lord with more faith, hope and love
  • How we can give thanks better after receiving Communion
  • Why we should receive Communion as often as we can

Formation in Christ

Christ teaching the apostles

Before the apostles were sent out to evangelize, he spent time in their formation.

 

 

We are called to live out our faith and share it with others, to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth. To do this effectively in a society which is increasingly ignorant of and even hostile to Christian values we need formation. In this meditation we consider how:

  • Christ spent time forming the apostles before sending them out to all nations
  • We too are called to go out and help others find God and to make our culture more Christian
  • For this we need  a deep spiritual, doctrinal, human and apostolic formation
  • Pope St John Paul II writes of the need for formation in his Apostolic Exhortation “Christifideles laici
  • We can receive this formation in a variety of ways