14 February, Friday – Just do the next most loving thing

14 Feb 

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1 Kings 11:29-32, 12:19

One day when Jeroboam had gone out of Jerusalem, the prophet Ahijah of Shiloh accosted him on the road. Ahijah was wearing a new cloak; the two of them were in the open country by themselves. Ahijah took the new cloak he was wearing and tore it into twelve strips, saying to Jeroboam, ‘Take ten strips for yourself, for thus the Lord speaks, the God of Israel, “I am going to tear the kingdom from Solomon’s hand and give ten tribes to you. He shall keep one tribe for the sake of my servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem, the city I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel.’

And Israel has been separated from the House of David until the present day.

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Mark 7:31-37

Returning from the district of Tyre, Jesus went by way of Sidon towards the Sea of Galilee, right through the Decapolis region. And they brought him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they asked him to lay his hand on him. He took him aside in private, away from the crowd, put his fingers into the man’s ears and touched his tongue with spittle. Then looking up to heaven he sighed; and he said to him, ‘Ephphatha’, that is, ‘Be opened.’ And his ears were opened, and the ligament of his tongue was loosened and he spoke clearly. And Jesus ordered them to tell no one about it, but the more he insisted, the more widely they published it. Their admiration was unbounded. ‘He has done all things well,’ they said ‘he makes the deaf hear and the dumb speak.’

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He hath done all things well.

We know that He has done all things well. How could we ever want to follow another?  How could we ever choose our way, instead of His? How could we ever refrain from doing what is right and good (going to Mass, daily prayer time, helping a friend, showing up to whatever is scheduled with a present-to-the-moment attitude of love…) just because we are tired, or have something else more fun to do, or just don’t feel like getting dressed, or feel like being around that group of people, or that person, or…

We all desire to hear, “Well done, my good and faithful servant!”, yet we procrastinate about being our BEST, being fully faithful at all times, because this person is rude, that person didn’t treat us right, this person has the opposite political view, that person gets on my nerves…that person talks to much…this person…that person…this person.

What you have done to the least of my brothers, you have done unto me.

When I was hungry…or self centered

When I was in prison…or annoying

When I was naked…or needy

When I was a stranger…or ‘different’

When I was……

As Catholic Christians, we know that ‘that’ person is loved beyond measure by God, too.  Jesus is IN that person. And still, if you’re like me, we ignore Jesus’ words and walk, and we become the self centered one. I can’t be bothered right now, because I have more important tasks to finish, more important people to be around…

I recently attended a 4-day silent retreat at a monastery, and the three main takeaways were:

  1. Trust in God
  2. Be present to the moment
  3. Just do the next most loving thing

Those three points are what Jesus lived. He was fully committed to those three things every second of his life. Simple instruction, when followed, will allow us to clearly hear, “Welcome home, my good and faithful servant”. Simple, but certainly not easy for me because I so often choose MY will over His. How easy it would be to walk in His will if I would do those 3 things. And those 3 things bring joy, calm and more joy. Yet, I so easily am distracted from the moment, thinking about what has happened, will happen, what I have to do next, etc. I so easily don’t do the most loving thing. Maybe what I am doing isn’t a wrong thing, but it isn’t the most loving thing.

I want to commit those three guiding principles to my daily walk. I want to review nightly how I did, or didn’t, live well.

(Today’s Oxygen by Gina Ulicny)

Prayer: Father God, open our hearts so that we will see you in everyone.

Thanksgiving: Father God, thank you for giving us a new beginning every morning, every minute, and allowing us to fall into your ways and not our own. Thank you for never rejecting us based on our past. 

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