Be on Guard!

Challenge: Strive to unite yourself to Christ in all you do so you will never be caught unaware.
by Father Todd Arsenault, LC | Source:

August 28, 2008
Saint Augustine, bishop. Memorial

Matthew 24: 42-51
Jesus said to his disciples: "Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into. So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come. Who, then, is the faithful and prudent servant, whom the master has put in charge of his household to distribute to them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master on his arrival finds doing so. Amen, I say to you, he will put him in charge of all his property. But if that wicked servant says to himself, 'My master is long delayed,' and begins to beat his fellow servants, and eat and drink with drunkards, the servant's master will come on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour and will punish him severely and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth."

Introductory Prayer: My God, I believe in you with all my heart because you have made yourself known to me in so many ways, especially through the gift of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. I hope in you because you have never abandoned me. I love you, Lord, because you have loved me first and have shed your blood for my salvation. I want to love you with my whole life. Recognizing my sinfulness and trusting in your mercy, I humble myself before you. Mother Mary, I entrust my life to your maternal care so that I will always be faithful to God’s holy will for my life.

Petition: Lord, help me to be a person of constant prayer, never being caught off guard by any temptation.

1. A Watchful Eye 
We can’t be caught snoozing! Woe to us if we are! Christ is calling us to be vigilant, spiritually vigilant, so that we are not caught by surprise when temptations arise. Not only is Christ warning us about being ready to meet him face-to-face, but also about being vigilant so as never to fall from his friendship in day-to-day living. It is important that we have a strong prayer life so that we are not caught off guard. We can’t be naïve or presumptuous. We need to be on guard.

2. Constant Effort 
Sometimes we can feel as though all our efforts toward some goal are in vain. We begin to slacken in the fight to maintain our level of commitment, and thus we put ourselves in danger of falling. This is a trap that we can also fall into in the spiritual life: a trick that the evil one loves to play on us – if he can. We need to be people prepared to fight and not to give Satan a chance to get one up on us. We must make the firm resolution to fight constantly to stay faithful to Christ at all times.

3. Looking for Fidelity 
Christ is so happy when he sees that we are faithful to his will in our lives. At times it is very hard; many challenges will come up. We may even be tempted to think: What is the sense in all of this? However, no matter what we feel, we need to be faithful. Christ is counting on us. Initially St. Augustine had a hard time giving up his old way of life to embrace Catholicism fully, but once he converted to the faith, he was always ready to do whatever the Lord wanted. He is an example for us all on how to be completely at the service of Christ.

Conversation with Christ: Lord, I know that sometimes I can get a little selfish and tired in the fight for holiness. I realize that it is because I am trying to do too much on my own. I want to be a dependable disciple, one that you can count on at the drop of a hat. I trust in your infinite grace that you will help me to be forever faithful no matter what. Only by uniting myself to you will I be prepared for all you ask of me.

Resolution: Today I will strive to unite myself to Christ in all I do so I will  never be caught unawares.

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