The Source of Our Strength
May 30, 2022 (readings)
- Monday of the Seventh Week of Easter
- Teresa Williams
The disciples said to Jesus, “Now you are talking plainly, and not in any figure of speech. Now we realize that you know everything and that you do not need to have anyone question you. Because of this we believe that you came from God.” Jesus answered them, “Do you believe now? Behold, the hour is coming and has arrived when each of you will be scattered to his own home and you will leave me alone. But I am not alone, because the Father is with me. I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.”
Opening Prayer: My Jesus, guide me in the deepest recesses of my heart to encounter you in this time of prayer. Give me the courage to examine my heart and to discover the truth about where I look for strength and security. I want to share your certainty of the Father’s love and rest in it and find the strength to build my life on you alone.
- We Believe That You Came from God: Listening to Jesus’ words as he described his relationship with the Father, the disciples were moved to a great act of faith. “We believe that you came from God,” they proclaimed. There was no longer room for doubt. Yet Jesus knew their hearts better even than they did themselves. He rightly foresaw that within only a few hours they would flee in fear, leaving him utterly alone. Their spontaneous act of faith was built on the powerful emotions they felt as they heard him speak, words that produced profound sentiments of joy, loyalty, and allegiance in their hearts. Yet, only too soon, they were forced to come face to face with the frailty of their own human strength. Their faith flourished when powered by emotion but collapsed in the face of adversity.
- I Am Not Alone: Jesus’ own faith in the Father was built on much more than convincing words and delightful feelings. His certainty of the Father’s love and his guiding presence was unshakeable. He knew that in the hour of trial, he would be abandoned by his beloved Apostles, but he found the strength to continue forward to his Passion with the certainty of the Father’s presence. His desire is that each one of us might also come to know the Father’s love in this way. He wants us to find the source of our strength not in ourselves or in any other human source, but in the Father’s unfailing love.
- Take Courage: Jesus knew he was sending his Apostles forth as sheep among wolves. The trial they would endure on this night of his Passion was only the beginning of a road marked by contradiction. Thus, he desired to share his own source of strength with them. Just as even in the darkest hours of his Passion, he was never alone because his Father was always with him, so too would his disciples never be alone, even in the throes of persecution, for he had promised to be with them. This promise holds true for us as well. He does not promise to free us from suffering, but to be our strength when we encounter it. Where do we automatically look for security in moments such as these?
Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, so often I look to you to give me guarantees of a life marked by success, prosperity, and unadulterated happiness. I subtly expect you to be an earthly Messiah, much as the Jews of your time did. Yet you invite me to put my trust not in earthly guarantees but in your Kingdom that is not of this world. Teach me the ways of your Kingdom and help me to discover unfailing strength and joy in the certainty of your constant presence.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will entrust a difficult situation, in my own life or in a loved one’s, to you, asking not that you take it away, but that you allow me to encounter your presence in the midst of this suffering.
For Further Reflection: OMNIPRESENCE, Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary:
“God being simultaneously wherever he is, since he is present everywhere. The divine omnipresence is twofold, by nature and by grace. By nature, God is present in all things by essence, knowledge, and power. This is the presence of a cause in the things that share in God's goodness. By his essence, he is substantially in all things, including the created spiritual essences (angels, demons, human souls) as the immediate origin of their existence. By his knowledge, he exercises his wisdom directly in all creation down to the least details. By his power, he operates with divine activity as the First Cause of everything that creatures do. By grace, God is further present in the souls in whom He dwells as in a temple. Hence the creature is joined, as it were, to God's substance, through the activity of mind and heart, by faith cleaving to the First Truth, and by charity to the First Good. He is therefore present by grace as the known is to the knower and the beloved is to the lover. This presence is more than a cause of an effect. It is the possession of God on earth similar to his being possessed by the angels and saints in Heaven.”
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