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The Fire of the Holy Spirit

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We come across a very passionate and emboldened Jesus in Luke 12: 49-53. We are also given one of Jesus’ harder teachings to understand. What does Jesus mean that he didn’t come to bring peace? He is Jesus, isn’t that just what he does?

The point Jesus is trying to get across is this passage of Luke is that preaching the gospel will, at times, cause very difficult divisions. It is often said the two subjects never to talk about with family and friends are religion and politics. Why? Because these are such personal aspects of people’s lives. I’m sure we’ve come across many family tensions that are rooted in differences of faith or theological interpretations.

I wish that the world was set ablaze with the fire of the Holy Spirit. I wish that every believer’s heart, including my own, could be so on fire with God’s love that our world would be transformed. Since we are people of faith we must also be aware that though the fire of the Spirit does burn bright, we have our work to do to share the gospel message.

Yes, we might experience conflict in living out our faith, but let’s pray with Jesus that the world be evermore set ablaze with the fire of the Holy Spirit!

in Faith

Striving for Holiness

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Are you ready to be called home to God?

Christ tells us that we “must be prepared” for our time will be “at an hour you do not expect.” Are you ready to be called home to God? I think this is a question we need to ask ourselves daily. This is why I love the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, especially the evening examine. It keeps me accountable as I strive for holiness. How have I shown a love for God and love for others today? What are the moments from today in which I have fallen short?

How can I avoid these traps tomorrow? Depending on how my day has gone, I often need to ask myself, “do I need the sacrament of reconciliation to repair my relationship with God?”

We do not know the time or place, but if we constantly strive to love God with all our heart, mind, and soul, and seek to share that love with others, the time will not matter.

Our Father

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Without a doubt, the “Our Father” is the most universally recognized Christian prayer, uniting believers throughout the world.  It’s a prayer that many of us learned as children and has become so routine, that we might rattle off the words without giving a second thought to their meaning or what we are asking of God.

As I reflect on the words of the Lord’s Prayer, I was struck by three distinct phrases that inspire and challenge me.

First, “Our Father…” We address God in a most personal way. God is our father and we are his children, no different than the loving, caring, relationships we hold dear with our children and families.

“Thy will be done…” In a world that promotes self-centeredness and that it’s all about me…we state in the Lord’s Prayer that it’s not about my wants, but God’s will which is to be done.

The third phrase, and most significant: “Forgive us, as we forgive…” How do we want God to treat us?  By forgiving us in the manner that we forgive others.  How we act towards others, is how we are asking God to treat us!

C. S. Lewis wrote: “To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” We are offered forgiveness on no other terms. To refuse it means to refuse God’s mercy for ourselves.

The next time you pray the most common of Christian prayers, “The Lord’s Prayer,” reflect on what the words truly mean and what you are asking of God, “Our Father.” I guarantee your prayer will take on a whole new meaning and become anything but common.

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