Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on February 28, 2012

Reflection on the gospel reading:

Matthew 6:7-15

Jesus said to his disciples: “In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

“This is how you are to pray:

Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name,
thy Kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

“If you forgive men their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive men, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.”

Reflection on the gospel reading: The Our Father is a prayer that has relationship at its base. It begins with an idea that is easy enough to understand. When Jesus tells us to invoke God as our Father, he seeks to establish God’s relationship to us as Father over us, and thus, our relationship to God as God’s children. It is interesting to note, though, what Jesus doesn’t say. Jesus does not teach us to pray our God; the relationship we are establishing is familial with reliance on one who loves, provides, encourages, and corrects. Neither does Jesus teach us to address God as my Father; we are taught to address God as constituent parts of a web of relationships–you and me, and all of us together. Prayer is not a private wish factory; its purpose is to bring us together and to bring us as community into unity with God and God’s creation. When we petition the Father in this prayer, all the needs we present are needs we have. Yes, perhaps my stomach is full, but I belong to a species of being which has many empty stomachs: give us this day our daily bread. Yes, I have ruptured my relationships through my failings, but my restoration to childhood in God results from the restoration to the community we form with one another: forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. Yes, I am put to the test, but we are saved in community: do not put us to the test, but save us from the evil one.

Saint of the day: Daniel Brottier spent most of his life in the trenches—one way or another. Born in France in 1876, Daniel was ordained in 1899 and began a teaching career. That didn’t satisfy him long. He wanted to use his zeal for the gospel far beyond the classroom. He joined the missionary Congregation of the Holy Spirit, which sent him to Senegal, West Africa. After eight years there, his health was suffering. He was forced to return to France, where he helped raise funds for the construction of a new cathedral in Senegal.

At the outbreak of World War I Daniel became a volunteer chaplain and spent four years at the front. He did not shrink from his duties. Indeed, he risked his life time and again in ministering to the suffering and dying. It was miraculous that he did not suffer a single wound during his 52 months in the heart of battle.

After the war he was invited to help establish a project for orphaned and abandoned children in a Paris suburb. He spent the final 13 years of his life there. He died in 1936.

Spiritual reading: One must pass through the desert and spend some time there in order to receive the grace of God; it is there that one empties oneself, that one drives away from oneself everything which is not God and that one empties completely the house of one’s soul in order to leave all of it to God alone. (Charles de Foucauld)

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