Tag Archives: path towards God

13 August, Saturday – Free Will

13 August – Memorial for St. Pontian, Pope, Martyr, and St. Hippolytus, Priest, Martyr

Pontian was among the first victims of an anti-Christian new emperor. Rounded up with the antipope Hippolytus, Pontian was deported to the labour mines. While imprisoned, Hippolytus reconciled his differences with Pontian and even ordered his followers to bring themselves back to the Church. Before he succumbed to the harsh treatment of the mines, Hippolytus became a true confessor of Christ. Pontian, in the mines only two months, was brutally beaten to death by his jailers.

– Patron Saint Index

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Ezekiel 18:1-10,13,30-32

The word of the Lord was addressed to me as follows:

‘Why do you keep repeating this proverb in the land of Israel: “The fathers have eaten unripe grapes; and the children’s teeth are set on edge”?

‘As I live – it is the Lord who speaks – there will no longer be any reason to repeat this proverb in Israel. See now: all life belongs to me; the father’s life and the son’s life, both alike belong to me. The man who has sinned, he is the one who shall die.

‘The upright man is law-abiding and honest; he does not eat on the mountains or raise his eyes to the idols of the House of Israel, does not seduce his neighbour’s wife or sleep with a woman during her periods. He oppresses no one, returns pledges, never steals, gives his own bread to the hungry, his clothes to the naked. He never charges usury on loans, takes no interest, abstains from evil, gives honest judgement between man and man, keeps my laws and sincerely respects my observances–such a man is truly upright. It is the Lord who speaks.

‘But if anyone has a son prone to violence and bloodshed, then this son shall certainly not live; having committed all these appalling crimes he will have to die, and his blood be on his own head.

House of Israel, in future I mean to judge each of you by what he does–it is the Lord who speaks. Repent, renounce all your sins, avoid all occasions of sin! Shake off all the sins you have committed against me, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why are you so anxious to die, House of Israel? I take no pleasure in the death of anyone–it is the Lord who speaks. Repent and live!’

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Matthew 19:13-15

People brought little children to Jesus, for him to lay his hands on them and say a prayer. The disciples turned them away, but Jesus said, ‘Let the little children alone, and do not stop them coming to me; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.’ Then he laid his hands on them and went on his way.

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I take no pleasure in the death of anyone – it is the Lord who speaks.

In my line of work, there comes a time where we need to decide if a student who obtained less than desirable grades and exhibited behaviour which does not meet expectations, is a result of us, as teachers, failing the student; or is it because the student chose his own path. Indeed, this is something which we see in the readings of today where God reminds the Prophet Ezekiel of the importance of choosing the straight and narrow.

Doing what is needed to fulfil one’s Christian’s duties is certainly not something which we find easy to do. The ways of the world do make us falter but I believe that Jesus has shown us the way in which we need to stay close to Him. This is to adopt a child-like attitude towards things. A child-like attitude requires us to trust in God and to work our way towards achieving what God desires of us in our lives. In practical terms, this means we need to identify the strengths and talents we have in our lives and then decide how best we can use it to glorify God. However, is this something which we are open to?

As we continue with our lives, we need to accept our frailties and weaknesses. However, what makes us a better Christian is how we recover from it. God reminds us in the first reading that He wants us to live and not die. Just like the teacher in the first paragraph, we need to accept the fact that students choose their own behaviour. We can counsel, lecture, pray and even ignore but ultimately, the decision lies with the individual on his choice of behaviour. Let us ask God for the wisdom to guide us in deciding what is the decision we should make.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Nicholas Chia)

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we pray for the wisdom to choose the path which leads to life.

Thanksgiving: We give thanks to all who offer Spiritual Direction.

23 July, Saturday – Living Out Our Faith

23 July – Memorial for St. Bridget of Sweden, Religious

Coming from a noble yet religious background, St. Bridget (1302-1373) was friend and counsellor to many priests and theologians of her day. As chief lady-in-waiting to Queen Blanche of Namur, she counselled and guided the Queen and King Magnus II. She was harassed by others at the court for pursuing a religious life.
She eventually renounced her title of princess and became the foundress of the Order of the Most Holy Savior (Bridgettines), chastening and counselling kings and Popes Clement VI, Urban VI, and Gregory XI. St. Bridget encouraged all who would listen to meditate on the Passion, and of Jesus Crucified.

– Patron Saint Index

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Jeremiah 7:1-11

The word that was addressed to Jeremiah by the Lord, ‘Go and stand at the gate of the Temple of the Lord and there proclaim this message. Say, “Listen to the word of the Lord, all you men of Judah who come in by these gates to worship the Lord. The Lord Sabaoth, the God of Israel, says this: Amend your behaviour and your actions and I will stay with you here in this place. Put no trust in delusive words like these: This is the sanctuary of the Lord, the sanctuary of the Lord, the sanctuary of the Lord! But if you do amend your behaviour and your actions, if you treat each other fairly, if you do not exploit the stranger, the orphan and the widow (if you do not shed innocent blood in this place), and if you do not follow alien gods, to your own ruin, then here in this place I will stay with you, in the land that long ago I gave to your fathers for ever. Yet here you are, trusting in delusive words, to no purpose! Steal, would you, murder, commit adultery, perjure yourselves, burn incense to Baal, follow alien gods that you do not know? – and then come presenting yourselves in this Temple that bears my name, saying: Now we are safe – safe to go on committing all these abominations! Do you take this Temple that bears my name for a robbers’ den? I, at any rate, am not blind – it is the Lord who speaks.”’

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Matthew 13:24-30

Jesus put another parable before the crowds, ‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. While everybody was asleep his enemy came, sowed darnel all among the wheat, and made off. When the new wheat sprouted and ripened, the darnel appeared as well. The owner’s servants went to him and said, “Sir, was it not good seed that you sowed in your field? If so, where does the darnel come from?” “Some enemy has done this” he answered. And the servants said, “Do you want us to go and weed it out?” But he said, “No, because when you weed out the darnel you might pull up the wheat with it. Let them both grow till the harvest; and at harvest time I shall say to the reapers: First collect the darnel and tie it in bundles to be burnt, then gather the wheat into my barn.”’

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The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field.

I chanced upon this article and felt I shouldn’t rewrite it, so here it is for you to enjoy. May it speak to you as it did to me.

“A friend recently wrote to me about how prolific her garden was, but that the weeds were prospering as well. She said that because of the rains, the weeds would be easy to pull up. I thought how when we allow the rain of God’s word into our life, the lies, untruths and deceptions are also easy to weed out. But if the word is not given its place of priority, then when those evils take root and the ground hardens, how hard it is to pull up the weeds! Have you ever tried to pull a weed out of a dry, caked, hardened piece of ground? What usually happens is you pull off the green foliage above the soil, but the root remains, only to quickly grow up again. Notice the word ‘quickly’. Weeds don’t grow slowly. But the trick in pulling them up successfully is to soak the ground with water, soften the soil and then weed-pulling becomes a pleasure again. I remember when I was a boy and I had to weed my Dad’s garden. The tops of the weeds would come off and I would say to myself, “Oh, well, at least it LOOKS LIKE I got that weed out. Dad won’t know,” and I would leave it, being satisfied with that. In the spiritual realm, apathy towards the weeds in our life is just as deadly to us as the real weeds are to the future fruit of a vegetable garden. Water, or the word of God, plays a crucial part in both the natural realm and the spiritual in staying weed-free.

There is a time to distinguish between darnel and wheat. The fruit of the darnel is smaller than the fruit produced by true wheat. They say the difference is very distinguishable and obvious, and the difference in the sizes of the seeds makes separating them an easy task. There are those who have convulsed, been made drunk, trembled uncontrollably, stammered in their speech, were stupefied, turned giddy, etc., who have tried to tell us that that was wheat. There are also those who have not fallen into such things, but have brought confusion into the Church with darnel such as the non-Trinitarian doctrine, a watered-down gospel, and agendas that lead the Church off into corporate efforts God never sanctioned. Are these things wheat or darnel? Some are obviously darnel, while with others, it takes time to make the distinction. This I know for sure: The One who planted the good seed which bears fruit will come back to harvest His wheat, and not one grain of darnel will be found in the barn.” Adapted from http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/tares.html.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Benjamin Mao)

Prayer: Dear Lord, we pray that we may not just take the easy way out and choose the most comfortable path for ourselves, but it is also to be able to be patient for you will reveal to us the fruits of our labour, for us to choose the path that will lead us to you. Help us to be fervent in our prayer, that we may be able to distinguish between your will and that of the evil one. Help make our hearts like yours. Amen.

Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord for your Word, for touching our lives and speaking to us. Thank you for your mercy, graces and your love. Amen.