Petition: Lord, give me confidence in the power of your grace.
- Look at the Real Dangers: Christ feared nothing. He wasn’t afraid of Satan. He wasn’t afraid of public opinion. He wasn’t afraid of the narrow road and hard path. Even though it would cause him to sweat blood, he wasn’t even afraid to fulfill his Father’s plan for him as the Suffering Servant. Through his words and way of life, he was constantly encouraging his followers to watch out for dangers and to pray not to be put to the test. He knows that there are real dangers out there: “If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away” (Matthew 5:29). “Woe to him who scandalizes one of these little ones” (cf. Matthew 18:6). “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees” (Matthew 16:6). “Satan has demanded to sift all of you like wheat” (Luke 22:31). Christ will always point out for me the real dangers that exist in my life.
- I Will Not Take Them from You: Christ clearly warns us, and our own experience confirms, that God normally will not remove these dangers from our lives. These dangers will usually remain whether they be exterior — “Father, I ask not that you remove them from this world” — or interior. When St. Paul would ask Christ to remove the thorn from his side, Christ simply replies, “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Corinthians 12:9). In the thick of these sufferings, it is hard for us to understand why God would permit them. But maybe we can find some reason in Christ’s words today. May it never be said of a Christian: “This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” Suffering and hardship often keep our heart close to Christ.
- I Will Give You the Grace to Overcome Them: Very much aware of both the internal and external dangers that would await them, Christ was not afraid to send his apostles out into the world. He sends us out as “sheep among wolves” (cf. Matthew 10:16) into a world that will “hate you as it hated me” (cf. Matthew 24:9). He distributes his divine word and precious grace to the world through us, fragile earthen vessels. Through his Vicar on Earth, he tells us, “Be not afraid.” Moreover, he expects us to produce one-hundred fold and give fruits that will last. What is the key to his confidence? The key is the humble person who is ever ready to look inwardly and purify his heart from the smallest attachment, the slightest impurity, making it an acceptable dwelling place for Christ. What…who…can separate us from the love of Christ? What is there to fear but those “evils that come from within and defile?”
Resolution: I will set aside some time today and ask Christ to help me identify any attachments to sin in my heart. I will write them down and look for concrete ways to purify my heart from them.