HUMILITY & GRACE
31 st Week in Ordinary Time
RCIA Session, November 9
Malachi 1:14b-2:b, 8-10
Psalm 131:1, 2, 3
1 Thessalonians 2:7b-9, 13
"Brothers and sisters: We were gentle among you, as a nursing mother cares for her children. With such affection for you, we were determined to share with you not only the gospel of God, but our very selves as well, so dearly beloved had you become to us." -cf. 1 Thessalonians 2: 7-13
"The greatest among you must be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted." -cf. Matthew 23:1-12
ANNOUNCEMENTS: DISCERNMENT & SIGN-UP FOR FIRST RITE of RCIA
- This week RCIA meets in the normal rooms. The youth will be exploring the Ten Commandments. Adults will also explore the Ten Commandments, but also the workings of god's grace.
- Families are working on using the "discernment booklet" at home, to help prepare their children for the Rite of Acceptance or the Rite of Welcome.
- The Rite of Acceptance & the Rite of Welcome will take place at the weekend Masses on December 2 & 3: adult candidates OR parents of young candidates may sign up for a Mass time (for the Rite) this week at RCIA.
PRACTICE THE FAITH: LOVE GOD ABOVE ALL ELSE
- Continue to read the lives of different saints - maybe "meet" one new saint a week online or in a book. OR, consider reading the writings of one particular saint and get to know that saint very well through what they did and wrote. Note the difference among the saints and the Pharisees and religious leaders in the Gospels.
- Pay close attention to what "humility" looks like among the saints, in contrast to the pride of the Pharisees. Reflect on how humility and pride are present within you at this time.
- Begin to practice a daily Examination of Conscience. Admit your sins and frailties; spend time in prayer very close to Jesus, with no sins in your way - like a child, gentle and full of love.
- See Chapter 25, Chapter 26 and Chapter 27 of the USCCA.
CONNECTIONS: LOVE GOD
The first three commandments are all about our need to love God. Even if we desire to love God with our whole being, we often fall short.
When God comes to you, is with you every day, how do you respond? What corners of your life do you try to keep from God? Do you take God for granted, lack respect for God and God's holy name? Do you keep one day a week - Sunday - just for God?
What gives us the ability to love God and welcome him into our lives, despite our frailty and sinfulness?
"...we are left with two questions concerning our own attitude: can we love God without seeing him? And can love be commanded?" -Pope Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas Est, 16
"God does not demand of us a feeling which we ourselves are incapable of producing. He loves us, he makes us see and experience his love, and since he has 'loved us first,' love can also blossom as a response within us." - ibid. #17
"Love can be commanded because it has first been given." -ibid. 14
"...it is clearly revealed that love is not merely a sentiment. Sentiments come and go. A sentiment can be a marvelous first spark, but it is not the fullness of love." -ibid. #17
"But this process is always open-ended; love is never 'finished' and complete; throughout life, it changes and matures...and thus our will and God's will increasingly coincide: God's will is no longer for me an alien will, something imposed on me from without by the commandments, but it is now my own will, based on the realization that God is in fact more deeply present to me than I am to myself. Then self-abandonment to God increases and God becomes our joy (cf. Psalm 73:23-28)." -ibid. #17
"Love of neighbor is thus shown to be possible in the way proclaimed by the Bible, by Jesus. It consists in the very fact that, in God and with God, I love even the person whom I do not like or even know. This can take place on the basis of an intimate encounter with God, an encounter which has become a communion of will, even affecting my feelings. Then I learn to look on this other person not simply with my eyes and my feelings, but from the perspective of Jesus Christ. ...If I have no contact whatsoever with God in my life, then I cannot see in the other (person) anything more than the other, and I am incapable of seeing in him the image of God. But if in my life I fail completely to heed others, solely our of a desire to be 'devout' and to perform my 'religious duties,' then my relationship with God will also grow arid. It becomes merely 'proper,' but loveless." -ibid. #18
"Love of God and love of neighbor are thus inseparable, they form a single commandment. But both live from the love of God who has loved us first. No longer is it a question, then of a 'commandment' imposed from without and calling for the impossible, but rather of a freely-bestowed experience of love from within, a love which by its very nature must then be shared with others." -ibid. #18
"Love grows through love. Love is 'divine' because it comes from God and unites us to God; through this unifying process it makes us a 'we' which transcends our divisions and makes us one, until in the end God is 'all in all' (1 Corinthians 15:28)." -ibid.#18