Best Friend

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As you read this musing, you have a choice. You can power through or you can pause and contemplate the questions that are asked.

Take 30 seconds and write the name or names of your best friend or friends.

Who did you identify? Was it your spouse, parent, child, sibling, high school pal, neighbor?

What are their characteristics? For example, they are a great listener. Take 3-5 minutes to jot down “what makes them your best friend?” 

Do you have a good list? Many thoughts come to mind. They are the first person you want to speak to in the morning; the last before you go to bed. They listen, hear, and understand. They know you sometimes better than you know yourself. They want the best for you. They celebrate your joys and accomplishments. They console and support during your challenges, struggles, and times of sorrow. They pick you up when you are down. They encourage you to be the best “you.” 

It is sometimes easy to take them for granted. You miss them and they miss you when you haven’t spoken, but you call them and pick up right where you left off.

They are honest, trusting, caring, have your back, walk by your side. They know your faults. They accept you even when you are at your worst; support you even when they don’t agree. They won’t let you fall too hard. You can and do share everything with them. They know your deepest secrets and they know what you want and need even before you do. You disappoint them, sometimes repeatedly, and they forgive you. Simply put, they love you, unconditionally.

Look at your list and the one above. The best friend you identified may have many of those characteristics.

There is One, who has all of these and more. There is One who loves you always. The One is Jesus.

Perhaps you speak to Him every day or perhaps it has been a while. Talk with your real best friend today. Talk with Him. Really talk with Him. Go past asking for what you think you need. Tell Him about your day, your tomorrow, your struggles, fears and faults, your joys, accomplishments, and aspirations. Thank Him for everything you have. Oh, and don’t forget to listen.

He has a birthday in a few weeks. He has already given us the best present we will ever receive. He gives Himself to us every minute of every day. He gives us His unconditional Love. He gives us the opportunity to live eternally in His kingdom. 

He only wants one gift in return. He wants us, unworthy as we are. He wants us. He wants YOU.

Posted by Michael Ricci
Tags: jesus, friend

The Holy Name of Jesus

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The act of saying Jesus’s name is a prayer in and of itself. This simple prayer brings Him directly to you. An intentional disciple is conscious of the power of saying Jesus’s name. Invoking the Most Holy Name of Jesus is not something to be done lightly or irreverently, but unfortunately, it happens all the time. When you catch yourself invoking His Most Holy Name, take it as a prayer opportunity.   Do you really want Jesus there? Do you really need Jesus there? Probably yes, as many will shout out His name in anger or frustration. Changing this habit of absentmindedly shouting out His name to an act of humility will require awareness and discipline, for prayer is a discipline. Disciple is part of the word discipline. Turn your focus back to God by simply being more aware of your words and the power they carry, especially in the Holy Name of Jesus.

There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved. – Acts 4:12 (New American Bible, revised edition, 2011)

Only All for Jesus

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Every day, I begin my day in prayer. The routine is very simple but well-rehearsed. It is the same prayer I have had for the last nine years. As part of my routine, I pray that I be the vessel by which the Lord fulfills His work. It is a prayer of surrender. Surrendering is not new to me, I have lived my life in surrender to Jesus Christ since I was sixteen years old. When I get that "feeling" it usually falls in line with a moment of change, a moment of conversion at the climax of surrender. We are meant to go through multiple conversions throughout a lifetime as we grow into a deeper relationship with Jesus by surrendering to His will. I recently had one of those moments that moved me deeper into conversion resulting, once again, into surrendering. It is then that I started having that "feeling". I am now left waiting to see what the "feeling" is going to bring. Since my announcement to transition out of the principalship, many have asked what I am doing next. I truly do not have a “next”. I am open to the will of the Father. He will make my path clear but until then, I am here.

Many Saints write about conversion and surrender, as it is a pathway to holiness. St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta would say, "We have to love until it hurts. It is not enough to say I love. We must put that love into a living action. And how do we do that? By giving until it hurts". This loving until it hurts is conversion. It is surrender because it is counter-cultural. St. Faustina brought us the depiction of surrender through the image of the Divine Mercy and the simple yet powerful prayer "Jesus, I trust in you!" Releasing oneself to the will of the Father is liberating yet terrifying.

It is not enough to say yes to God when he has called us for himself. It's very important to put that “yes” into a living action. And how do we put that into a living action? By our total surrender to Him. We understand that He has chosen us for Himself - all that follows is that we allow Him to use us without consulting us. We are human beings and we like to know exactly what He wants, how He wants, and so on. But if we really want to be only all for Jesus, it is important that we give Him a free hand to do with us what He wants, as He wants. Only then can we really say we are only all for Jesus. - Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Thirsting for God, 2000. 

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