Moved to Greater Love
Moved to Greater Love

Saturday, April 12

Today’s Grace

I pray for the grace to be united with the Lord Jesus in his vision as I journey with Him to Jerusalem and the cross.

Scripture/Reading

Reading via the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops website:

Ez 37:21-28
Thus says the Lord GOD:
I will take the children of Israel from among the nations
to which they have come,
and gather them from all sides to bring them back to their land.
I will make them one nation upon the land,
in the mountains of Israel,
and there shall be one prince for them all.
Never again shall they be two nations,
and never again shall they be divided into two kingdoms.

No longer shall they defile themselves with their idols,
their abominations, and all their transgressions.
I will deliver them from all their sins of apostasy,
and cleanse them so that they may be my people
and I may be their God.
My servant David shall be prince over them,
and there shall be one shepherd for them all;
they shall live by my statutes and carefully observe my decrees.
They shall live on the land that I gave to my servant Jacob,
the land where their fathers lived;
they shall live on it forever,
they, and their children, and their children’s children,
with my servant David their prince forever.
I will make with them a covenant of peace;
it shall be an everlasting covenant with them,
and I will multiply them, and put my sanctuary among them forever.
My dwelling shall be with them;
I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Thus the nations shall know that it is I, the LORD,
who make Israel holy,
when my sanctuary shall be set up among them forever.

Reflection Questions

  1. The prophet Ezekiel speaks of God’s promise to gather all the Israelites and bring them back to their land. Where sins divide and fears enslave, we yearn to be united in the Lord and experience his love and grace. Where have I made a good return of God’s love and promise, and where can I make a more generous return?
  2. We will soon enter into the Passion of Christ to contemplate on the meaning of the cross, which unites us in the self-emptying love of God. How am I invited to live more rooted in Christ?
  3. As companions of Christ, we are also called to follow the example of the Good Shepherd, to live and support our sisters and brothers in Christ. Where am I challenged to serve the needs of others in my ministries and communities?

Reflection

Selections from Pope Francis’ 2013 Chrism Mass Homily:

We need to “go out,” then, in order to experience our own anointing, its power and its redemptive efficacy: to the “outskirts” where there is suffering, bloodshed, blindness that longs for sight, and prisoners in thrall to many evil masters. It is not in soul-searching or constant introspection that we encounter the Lord: self-help courses can be useful in life, but to live our priestly life going from one course to another, from one method to another, leads us to become pelagians and to minimize the power of grace, which comes alive and flourishes to the extent that we, in faith, go out and give ourselves and the Gospel to others, giving what little ointment we have to those who have nothing, nothing at all.

The priest who seldom goes out of himself, who anoints little — I won’t say “not at all” because, thank God, the people take the oil from us anyway — misses out on the best of our people, on what can stir the depths of his priestly heart. Those who do not go out of themselves, instead of being mediators, gradually become intermediaries, managers. We know the difference: the intermediary, the manager, “has already received his reward,” and since he doesn’t put his own skin and his own heart on the line, he never hears a warm, heartfelt word of thanks. This is precisely the reason for the dissatisfaction of some, who end up sad — sad priests — in some sense becoming collectors of antiques or novelties, instead of being shepherds living with “the odour of the sheep.” This I ask you: be shepherds, with the “odour of the sheep,” make it real, as shepherds among your flock, fishers of men. True enough, the so-called crisis of priestly identity threatens us all and adds to the broader cultural crisis; but if we can resist its onslaught, we will be able to put out in the name of the Lord and cast our nets. It is not a bad thing that reality itself forces us to “put out into the deep,” where what we are by grace is clearly seen as pure grace, out into the deep of the contemporary world, where the only thing that counts is “unction” — not function — and the nets which overflow with fish are those cast solely in the name of the One in whom we have put our trust: Jesus.

From “A Fire that Kindles Other Fires” - Decree 2 of the Society of Jesus’ General Congregation 35:

Through prayerful discernment, open discussion, and spiritual conversations, we have again and again been privileged to know ourselves as one in the Lord: one united, apostolic body seeking what is best for the service of God in the Church and for the world. This graced experience reminds us of the experience recounted in the Deliberation of the First Fathers. Our earliest companions, even though they considered themselves weak and fragile and originating from many different places, found the will of God together amid great diversity of opinion. What enabled them to find God’s will was their “decided care and alertness to initiate a completely open way” and to offer themselves fully to it for the greater glory of God. Thus they began a narrative; they lit a fire, which was handed on in subsequent generations whenever people encountered the Society, enabling the personal histories of generations to become embedded in the Society’s history as a whole. This collective history formed the basis of their unity; and at its heart was Jesus Christ.

Other Resources

View the daily readings at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops website.

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