Again today it seems our gathering to Encounter Christ was one of intercessory prayer. Turning to the Holy Spirit, we held in our hearts a list of people who are hurting and need prayers. At the time of our meeting, we also prayed for two young women who were undergoing surgeries, one of whom is particularly inspired by the story of Chiara Corbella Petrillo, and the prayer that she prayed every day;
(*Totus Tuus=I am all yours)
This Week’s Case Study
Aligning with this special prayer and the story of Chiara’s life, our case study was about a young teenage girl who saw the movie “The Truman Show”, and was moved by the message of this movie in a profound way. The character in the movie didn’t know any other life other than the one he lived being recorded by cameras as a television show. He unknowingly was the “object” of everyone’s views, judgments and entertainment. This teenage girl was struck by that idea, and asked her mother an existential question; “What if we were all living a life like that?”, in other words, an object of other’s opinions, views and criticisms? It struck her that many of us, are actually living our lives as the object of others’ perspectives, the “remote control” literally being when we allow other’s opinions (whether face-to-face or via media influences) to guide our next move, our view of ourselves, our view of God, or others. How many times do we rely on others approval to be OK with ourselves, and conversely, how deeply are we affected by people’s disapproval? The advice of her mother was to meditate on our identity in Christ. What does that look like?
According to the writer, we can know how our identity in Christ impacts our lives by the following five practical markers;
- We no longer grasp for, or chase things.
- We are no longer crushed by failure or our weaknesses; we don’t despair over disappointments.
- We no longer fear the future because we live in peace. We have confidence that our Heavenly Father is sovereign over every moment of our life and equips us for all events.
- There is no need to judge or compare ourselves to others because we seek to glorify Christ in the gifts and talents he has uniquely chosen for us.
- We live with a supernatural spirit. When suffering comes, we are confident that it will produce eternal fruit. That’s real trust. *
UPCOMING SUNDAY’S GOSPEL REFLECTION
Third Sunday of Lent;
Since the Passover of the Jews was near,
Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
He found in the temple area those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves,
as well as the money changers seated there.
He made a whip out of cords
and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and oxen,
and spilled the coins of the money changers
and overturned their tables,
and to those who sold doves he said,
“Take these out of here,
and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.”
His disciples recalled the words of Scripture,
Zeal for your house will consume me.
At this the Jews answered and said to him,
“What sign can you show us for doing this?”
Jesus answered and said to them,
“Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.”
The Jews said,
“This temple has been under construction for forty-six years,
and you will raise it up in three days?”
But he was speaking about the temple of his body.
Therefore, when he was raised from the dead,
his disciples remembered that he had said this,
and they came to believe the Scripture
and the word Jesus had spoken.
While he was in Jerusalem for the feast of Passover,
many began to believe in his name
when they saw the signs he was doing.
But Jesus would not trust himself to them because he knew them all,
and did not need anyone to testify about human nature.
He himself understood it well.
Reflections from our group:
- They came to believe…and they began to believe…Jesus was the fulfillment of God’s plan; we have the privilege of history; we can look back and see the results of all that happened in retrospect; the recorded miracles and signs; but how does this frame my life and how I live each day? Knowing Jesus as my Lord, how do I trust in him?
- Jesus would not trust…and the last three lines of this reading (many responses to these lines);
- Not much has changed over the course of human history. Jesus knew he had to allow for human nature; Do we? How do we permit our faulty human nature to dictate our own lives? Am I being run by my own nature, or am I letting Jesus be my guide in life? Can Jesus trust me?
- Who do I trust? Do I look to others for affirmation or is my identity in Christ? If I truly look to Christ for my value and identity as a person than nothing anyone says can affect me either way; positively or negatively. Why do we let ourselves be influenced by others when it is only Christ that matters?
- Jesus had the authority to preside over his Father’s house, the temple, but the Jews doubted his reasons and authority. He knew what was in each person’s heart and knew better than to rely on the way we often choose not to control ourselves or be the master of our own temple, but allow external things to control us, such as earthly desires or other’s opinions.
- The first reading from today’s (Thursday’s) readings was from Jeremiah 17:
- Thus says the LORD:
Cursed is the man who trusts in human beings,
who seeks his strength in flesh,
whose heart turns away from the LORD…
- Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
whose hope is the LORD.
He is like a tree planted beside the waters
that stretches out its roots to the stream:
It fears not the heat when it comes,
its leaves stay green;
In the year of drought it shows no distress,
but still bears fruit.
- Thus says the LORD:
- Take these out of here, and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace: One of our members just moved back to the states after a few years of living in the Netherlands with her family. She witnessed all over Europe, and especially in the Netherlands, beautiful old churches had been closed and turned into bars and concert halls. It was a devastating thing for her to see, as well as many other people of faith. What does this say about our culture? Do we listen to our culture so much that we cannot hear God anymore?
- Even when we consider giving rewards and punishments based on the praise and criticisms of others to our children, what are we teaching them about the source of their own value?
Resolved To Pray and Act
The Holy Spirit seemed to be using our entire time together to knit together yet another unmistakable message; we belong to GOD and our value and gifts are all rooted in our identities through Christ. TRUSTING our lives to His providence is the ultimate act of faith. We discussed the “Prayer of Transformation”; a prayer in which we completely surrender ourselves to the will of God, and in preparation for that, many of us felt that we needed to work up to this powerful prayer by first praying Acts of Hope and Trust on our rosary beads this week.
THEOLOGICAL VIRTUE: HOPE
HUMAN VIRTUES: FORTITUDE AND TRUST IN THE LORD
SPIRITUAL RESOLUTION: Pray “Jesus, I trust in you”, on the Hail Mary beads, with an “increase my trust” on the Our Father beads, beginning with an Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be on the cross to begin.
APOSTOLIC RESOLUTION: Each day, examine the five points outlined in the case to make a resolution for myself, based on what I need to work on for the week to increase my understanding of my identity in Christ. (Begin by meditating on what each means for me).
One member made sticky notes for her and her children’s mirrors:
*Identity in Christ from Lucy Honner’s blog at RCSpirituality.org