November 26, 2008
Wednesday of the Thirty-Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Luke 21: 12-19
Jesus said to the crowd: "They will seize and persecute you, they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons, and they will have you led before kings and governors because of my name. It will lead to your giving testimony. Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand, for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute. You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends, and they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all because of my name, but not a hair on your head will be destroyed. By your perseverance you will secure your lives."
Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, you guide and teach me through the Holy Spirit. You show the depth of your love for me at every turn. Let me show my love for you by my constant prayer.
Petition: Lord, help me to trust the inspirations of the Holy Spirit. Grant me the grace to act upon them today with great confidence and simplicity.
1. Total Trust
Jesus does not mince his words. He is straightforward and simple when he tells the apostles that they can expect persecution, hatred, and possibly death for being his apostles. He also tells them that although they should expect these negative experiences, they should not prepare for them in advance. They are simply to trust and wait for the Holy Spirit to inspire in them what they should say and do. “Trust is no abstract mental virtue, but a radical act of self-entrustment, of depositing one’s being into the hands of God precisely when, humanly speaking, the circumstances would seem to call for the greatest self-initiative and self-management” (Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis, The Way of the Disciple).
2. Immediate Cooperation
God sent the Holy Spirit among us to sustain and illuminate us. He is the gentle guest of our soul. We can find a true friend and guide in him. We need to be attentive to the Holy Spirit’s gentle inspirations. These inspirations can come in the ordinary activities of our daily life, such as the advice of a friend or a book we are reading, or they can come as swiftly as lightning, bringing a sudden moment of clarity. We might want to check the prudence of following extraordinary inspirations with our spiritual director or a friend experienced in the spiritual life, but once we are pretty sure it is the Holy Spirit who is inspiring us, Christ asks us to trust and act. The inspirations of the Holy Spirit do not need our human preparation, but they do require our attentiveness to the supernatural and our cooperation with it.
3. I Am Weak and He Is Strong
St. Paul said “I am quite content with my weaknesses, and with insults, hardships, persecutions, and the agonies I go through for Christ's sake. For it is when I am weak that I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10). Jesus promises to be present with us during our trials. He promises that our perseverance for the sake of his name will be rewarded. Jesus’ grace is enough to sustain us at any moment, but he wants to increase our faith. Jesus needs us to become mature followers who are confident in the strength of his grace as we go forth to spread the Kingdom of Christ. “My grace is enough for you: my power is at its best in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12: 9).
Conversation with Christ: Lord, I entrust myself to your care for when I am weak, you make me strong. Help me to quiet myself so that I can hear the gentle whisper of the Holy Spirit and act upon your inspirations.
Resolution: I will attend the ministry fair at my parish. I will be attentive to the urgings of the Holy Spirit in volunteering for a ministry.
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