1 February 2019
Remember all the sufferings that you had to meet after you received the light, in earlier days; sometimes by being yourselves publicly exposed to insults and violence, and sometimes as associates of others who were treated in the same way. For you not only shared in the sufferings of those who were in prison, but you happily accepted being stripped of your belongings, knowing that you owned something that was better and lasting. Be as confident now, then, since the reward is so great. You will need endurance to do God’s will and gain what he has promised.
Only a little while now, a very little while,
and the one that is coming will have come; he will not delay.
The righteous man will live by faith,
but if he draws back, my soul will take no pleasure in him.
You and I are not the sort of people who draw back, and are lost by it; we are the sort who keep faithful until our souls are saved.
Jesus said to the crowds: ‘This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man throws seed on the land. Night and day, while he sleeps, when he is awake, the seed is sprouting and growing; how, he does not know. Of its own accord the land produces first the shoot, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when the crop is ready, he loses no time: he starts to reap because the harvest has come.’
He also said, ‘What can we say the kingdom of God is like? What parable can we find for it? It is like a mustard seed which at the time of its sowing in the soil is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet once it is sown it grows into the biggest shrub of them all and puts out big branches so that the birds of the air can shelter in its shade.’
Using many parables like these, he spoke the word to them, so far as they were capable of understanding it. He would not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything to his disciples when they were alone.
You will need endurance to do God’s will…
Life tends to throw me curve balls just when I think that things are finally settling down. After a challenging year at work and, while planning for another eventful year, I am now being asked to devote more time to my ministry. I somehow feel that this is just the tip of the iceberg and that more is to come. I shared with my spiritual director recently that it is funny how when things appear a lot more organised and in place, I seem to be asked to step out of the boat yet again.
I recognise that under my own strength, I would probably crumble under the weight of expectation and responsibility. So I trust that God’s hand will be there for me, holding me up and carrying me on his massive shoulders. And based on my experiences over the past years, I know that this journey will not be smooth sailing; a certain ‘spiritual fitness’ will be required, much as one trains for a marathon, I will have to start getting fit. It will not be enough to just rely on the little I know and do in terms of my spirituality. Very presciently, my SD suggested after our last session that I make our meet ups more regular – once every 4 to 6 weeks.
And as I trained for my Camino in 2016, I have also begun a new physical regime in order to prepare for the journey ahead. I have always believed that in order to do significant things, one needs to be physically well-prepared so that we are not burdened by injuries nor illnesses. Otherwise, you already begin with a disadvantage; an unnecesary weight around yourself, literally and figuratively.
Because the crosses will come, brothers and sisters. God will place them squarely on our shoulders and we will have to endure the weight of all the responsibilities that we will have to bear. And if we have been irresponsible about our own well-being and health, if we have ignored the warning signs and the aches and pains as a result of our own over indulgence, then we only have ourselves to blame if we collapse in a fit of despair.
Yes, God will never allow us to crumble under our crosses. But it first takes a willingness to get fit and to take our daily vitamins and supplements, in the form of prayers. Whether it is the Lord’s Prayer, the Rosary, our own spontaneous prayer, even the Prayer to St Michael, we must all engage in an active prayer life. Because it is only in being active that we can improve our spiritual fitness so that we can endure the journeys ahead of us.
Brothers and sisters, how fit are you now? When is the last time you did a spiritual health check? The calendar of retreats being conducted at CSC is already out and we ministry members have already been asked to commit our time. I pray that He calls you to spend time away with Him so that you can recharge, renew and rekindle your faith.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Desmond Soon)
Prayer: We ask for the grace to hear your call, Father. So that we can be renewed in our faith.
Thanksgiving: We thank you dear Lord, for calling us by name and for never abandoning us.