We all know it is important to pray. Asked, we would certainly acknowledge that our prayer life is important. And we would likely assent to any addendum that reading Scripture should be key to any healthy personal prayer life.
But far too often, when we sit on our own with our Bibles in our laps in the early morning light, or attempt to grab 15 minutes of quiet during nap time, it can seem we are praying in isolation.
women in the bible,
Make no mistake: Jesus was born Jewish. By the time that he was executed by the Romans, many Jewish people would have considered Jesus as guilty of blasphemy because of certain actions and his teachings about God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Many Christians are reluctant to admit that Christ was born, lived, and taught as a pious Jew of his time. They may feel that such an admission shows disloyalty to Our Lord. Some even believe that Christianity has replaced Judaism. Nothing could be further from the truth.
We cannot see them or touch them, and we often cannot even find them! But they are crucial to our lives nonetheless, especially when we begin to feel anxiety rise within us.
Yes, words are powerful tools to quell panic and inspire calm, strength, and peace! But, too, they can stir anger, anxiety, and a frenzy that can spill into awful action. The phrase, “Them’s fighing words,” does (no pun intended) carry a punch.
On December 13, 1979, Mother Teresa went to the Iranian embassy in Rome. America was concerned with the fate of the hostages taken when the American embassy in Iran was seized by Islamic revolutionaries led by Ayatollah Khomeini.
“I have come to see you about the American hostages,” Mother Teresa said. “I come as a mother who longs for her children. I am willing to go to Iran or to talk to the Ayatollah on the telephone.”
mother teresa sainthood,
Smart people learn from their mistakes. Smarter people learn from the mistakes of others. The smartest people learn from good advice. A pithy observation. Also, it would seem, good advice. No one learns solely from his own experience. If he tried, he’d ﬁnd life a lot more frustrating, and perhaps a lot shorter. All of us learn, for better or worse, by others’ guidance. The aim is to get better at separating good guidance from bad.
Every day after Holy Communion, Mother Teresa and her community would say the Peace Prayer of Saint Francis. The foundress of the Missionaries of Charity carried with her a small reproduction of an old painting of Francis in which the weeping saint holds a cloth to his eyes. “He’s wiping his tears,” she said, showing the picture to the Franciscans around her. “I think he’s crying after receiving the Stigmata.”
She treasured this keepsake, remarking that it is different from other items given to her, which her sisters and friends would sometimes “steal.” “I would never give this away,” she said, smiling.
Why did Mother Teresa admire Francis? And why did she think that he has had an impact on her life? “I suppose it’s because Francis of Assisi tried to imitate the poverty of Christ so closely,” she said.
Occasionally, we will hear someone say, “She was a saint,” but we’re more likely to hear, “He was no saint,” or to say with a shrug, “I’m not a saint.” Our concept of saints is that they are extraordinary people who, for the most part, lived long ago and possessed special divine favors that the majority of us neither have nor comprehend.
We admire and venerate them, but their alabaster perfection is beyond us. Becoming a saint is frightening because it seems to demand the impossible. Why would God demand from us what is not attainable?
Or do we not understand what makes a person—a sinner like any of us—a saint?
Ever felt lost on your spiritual journey? Many people have—even in the Bible.
A very wealthy young man runs to Jesus, kneels at his feet and asks him: “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Mk 10:17). After this eager inquirer asserts that he has faithfully kept God’s commands all his life, Jesus lovingly invites him to a deeper level of discipleship—along with a promise that he will find treasure in heaven—after selling his possessions. When the young man hears this, he walks away sad because he refuses to give up his many possessions.
Each year, I’m privileged to visit the Holy Land to promote the nearly 800-year-old mission of the Franciscans there. With each visit, I discover something new. God is always at work, opening up new insights for any pilgrim who visits this ancient land.
fathers and sons,