Wednesday, October 23, 2019

My Brother's Keeper

Luke 12:39-48

Each morning, before starting school work, we sit at the kitchen table and read the gospel for the day.  After a brief silence, we discuss what the gospel means or what is being taught.

After yesterday’s reading, I asked the boys how they would live their lives differently if they knew Jesus would return in 5 minutes or 5 hours, days, months, etc.  They told me that they would pray more, go to confession, and do similar things to prepare.  We talked about how it’s not easy to stay ready and that the things of this world can often be distractions.  When we finished our discussion we closed with a prayer for the grace to be ready or at least work at staying ready for the Lord’s return.

Father Hahn with the youngest nephew.
As soon as we had ended our prayer and closed the Bible a fight ensued over who was going to sit in which chair.  Talk about easily being distracted from our goal to live a better life!  I pointed this out to the boys and we went about the rest of our day.

Today’s Gospel helps me to realize that not only do we have to be ready but many of us are charged with the task of encouraging others to be ready as well.  As a parent I made a vow at each child’s baptism to do all that is in my power to get them into Heaven.  Priests and Bishops too are charged with the care of souls.  Today’s Gospel reminds us that we are in fact our “brother’s keeper” and in the end we will have to render an account of how we handled that responsibility.

Being a good parent, priest, bishop, etc., takes work.  It requires study, discipline, and a great deal of prayer.  This should in no way overwhelm us.  We are not alone!  God will generously give us the grace needed to fulfill our role if we only ask.  Thousands of men and women of good will are more than ready to help us in our task.  We find their help through personal conversations, books, blogs, and uplifting audio talks.  Self-discipline is the key to holding it all together.  Again we can find encouragement from trusted sources concerning how we might discipline our own lives so that we can better serve those in our care.  Let us together prepare ourselves and those in our care for the return of the Lord!

From the Saints:
"How much has the Lord entrusted to us?  How many graces has He conferred on others as a result of our lives?  How many people are depending on my own correspondence with grace?  Today's Gospel passage is a clarion call reminding us of our responsibility with regard to our proper vocation."  - Francis Fernandez, In Conversation with God, Vol. V, 51.1.

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How to get better at prayer.
  1. Set a prayer appointment - Set a time on your calendar each day to meet and speak with God.
  2. Slowly increase your prayer time. - Don't jump in with an hour right from the get-go.  Build up your "tolerance" so to speak.
  3. Commit - to praying and slowly increasing your prayer time for 30 days.  Mark off the days on your calendar.  If you miss a day, jump right back in, don't give up.
  4. Pray - praying is talking to God, it's spending time with your attention focused on Him.  I enjoy spending time with my children regardless of their level of development.  God is the same way.  Spend time praying as best you can.  Use formal prayers if you want or simply speak in conversation.  Don't forget to listen
  5. Journal - Our newly revised 4 Simple Steps to Better Scripture Meditations: Guide, Workbook, and Journal walks you through 4 easy steps that will help you go deeper in your prayer life.  It includes 31 days of workbook and journal pages too!
  6. Read other good books about how to pray better - Prayer PrimerDeep Conversion, Deep PrayerTime for GodThe Spiritual Life: A Comprehensive Guide to Catholics Seeking Salvation.
* Contains affiliate links.  No, that doesn't mean that the kids should leave the room.  Rather, it means that if you click on a link, and if you purchase something, I may get some financial remuneration for that click and buy.  All that means is that my kids will finally get to eat, just kidding but I may get something, just so you know...

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