In asking us to take up our cross daily, God takes us out of the world and draws us to Himself. Suffering teaches us empathy, helps us to acquire patience, builds character and calls us to have trust. It helps us to become courageous and forces us to love God unconditionally. Our cross then becomes a catalyst for acquiring the virtues and an absolute necessity for the sanctification of the soul.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:5&6)
Love Not The World
If you wish to know joy in this life and feel at peace within your heart then you must live by virtue in this world and not by appetite. You must desire the fruits of the spirit rather than the pleasures of this world. Your conscience must be formed by the grace of the Holy Spirit rather than by the sensuality of your nature, only then will you know true peace. Your happiness will consist in loving and serving God and your neighbour.
The value of a person’s life should not be measured by their material wealth, but by their capacity to love, because love is of God and is eternal, whereas material wealth is temporal and will return to the earth from where it came.
A soul which embraces love, possesses the greatest of all things, because love is the only thing that will survive this world and return to the Creator who is love. Love comes from God and is used by Him to bring forth children. These children are not called to love the world but to love God.
Make love your aim and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 14:1)
“I AM That I AM”
Jesus stands at the door of every person’s heart and knocks that He may enter in. There is no human heart that He refuses to enter into, once He has been earnestly invited. Jesus rejects no one! Not only does He not reject repentant souls, but He tirelessly goes out in search of obstinate ones to draw them to the Father’s love. Every soul is beautiful in the sight of God, for He looks not at the stain of sin that clothes it, but at the child within that is His. Each soul was conceived in love; no soul was created for hell, but all were created to be united to the Father in Heaven.
There is no sin too great that God will not forgive, no offering too small that He will not treasure. He watches over His children with eyes more loving and tender than a mother. He is the Father of truth and justice, the giver and sustainer of life. He is all that is good and Holy, and if you were to ask Him, how is it that you are so loving and faithful? He would reply:
“I AM that I AM” (Exodus 3:14)
I am the true vine, and my Father is the Vinedresser. Every branch of Mine that bears no fruit He takes away, and every branch that does bare fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit…abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself.” (John 15:2-4)
The True Vine
True Spiritual growth comes when we are grafted, like a young shoot, into the True Vine, Jesus Christ, our Saviour. There, we can nourish our souls and grow in beauty, providing much fruit for our brothers and sisters. There, we can feed on the life-force of the Author of Life.
If we are grafted well, we shall remain healthy and grow in strength and grace; we shall become the perfect image of our master, and no one will know that we were grafted-in, but they will see only the beauty of the Vine, the Body of Christ, the church. If we do not graft well into the vine, we shall lack sustenance and wither, falling to the ground. Once we except the need, and have the desire to be grafted, then Our Lord binds us to Himself with strong ties that we may never be separated – even amidst the fiercest storms! As long as our desire remains we shall stay grafted to the vine and live as one.
We shall be pruned by the Vinedresser to ensure that we provide a good harvest – for ourselves and for the whole world. Whilst pruning is painful, it is an absolute necessity if we are to remain strong and healthy. We must also avoid branching-out too far on our own away from the Vine, if we do this, we may suffer an infestation from the world, one which will stunt our growth.
Eventually, when we are laden with the ripened fruits of repentance, obedience and charity, our fruit will be picked, taken to the wine press and there it will become a fine wine, poured out at the heavenly banquet.
“First of all, I urge that supplications, prayers and intercessions and thanksgivings
be made for all men.” (1Timothy 2:1)
The Treasure Store
There is a treasure store full of grace, that has been gained by the merits of Christ, for all the people of the world. As Christians we receive freely from this store all the graces necessary for our sanctification. There are however, many souls in this world who do not look to Christ for their redemption and who turn their back’s on the calling of grace, and to these souls the treasure store remains locked. But God in His infinite mercy has placed upon this earth a currency that can purchase for these souls the key to the treasure store. This currency is Christian-prayer, and it is the duty of all Christians, through the grace that they have freely received, to be charitable in praying that these souls may obtain from the treasure store the grace of conversion.
Let us pray:
Most Holy and loving Father,
We believe in You, and we trust
In Your infinite mercy.
We ask pardon for sinners.
We beg of you this day,
By the light of Your divine grace,
The conversion of a soul in darkness.
We offer to You the merits
Of Your Son’s Holy Passion,
And death upon the cross,
In atonement for our sins
And those of the whole world.
Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication (Eph 6:18)