Vol.5 No. 50 DoM E Message
Spiritual Gift of the Week
We pray for the grace to resist any temptation to compromise or become indifferent to God’s will.
Let us follow Mary, the ‘Gate of Heaven,”
And choose the “narrow” path taken by her son Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
Spiritual Instruction of the Week
“Become the person God created you to be. Choose the narrow gate.”
Dear Beautiful Daughters of Mary,
We are a gifted group of women, filled with faith, and an ardent desire to share out faith. This week I am especially grateful for our own Audrey Patterson, who served as facilitator. Audrey, thank you for your wise and prudent spiritual instruction. You offer to us great guidance, and hope.
Today we are going to have a practical lesson. Matthew Kelly tells us in his book Rediscover Jesus that there is a big difference between our lives and the life Jesus invites us to live or between who we are and who God created us to be. He calls this difference “the Gap”. As Catholics we should actively discern God’s will in all the situations of our daily lives and work each day to be who God created us to be. In other words we must seek always to close “the Gap” and become the very best version of ourselves. But how??? Matthew’s answer is to get closer to Jesus.
During His life people were constantly trying to get close to Jesus. They knew He had special powers and simply being close to him could be a tremendous benefit. One of the most powerful examples of this is the hemorrhaging woman who sought only to touch His garment to be healed. Jesus Himself tells us “I am the Way, the Truth and the Light. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Jesus also tells us in the gospel for next Sunday “strive to enter through the narrow gate.” He is the gate and growing closer to Jesus will place us on the road to the narrow gate. Remember at His baptism the skies opened and a voice said “This is my beloved Son”? Ladies, at that moment God introduced us to Jesus. He said this is My Son. Meaning, I want you to get to know Him, to draw close to Him.
Matthew Kelly offers 4 practical ways to get close to Jesus, to stay close to Jesus,
and to close “the Gap” in our lives. I would like to share them with you.
1) To get close to Jesus you should read the four Gospels. They are the best record of who Jesus was, what He did, how He lived and what He taught. To get close to Jesus we must know Him and spend time with Him. This is what we do at our
weekly meetings. We learn about Jesus through studying the gospel for each
Sunday. We should do this every day. If you cannot attend daily Mass, get in the habit of reading the gospel for each day.
2) To get close to Jesus we must set aside a time for daily prayer. Without prayer there is no way to close “the Gap” in our lives or have any relationship with Jesus at all.
3) The third one is harder, to get close to Jesus we must deny ourselves. In Matthew’s gospel we read the words of Jesus “If anyone wishes to come after me (or in our words grow closer to Him) he must deny himself, take us his cross daily and follow Me.” Jesus makes denial a primary condition of discipleship. Most of us shy away from this denial because we think of the lofty denial of great saints and because we live in a world that values comfort and ease. But we should deny ourselves at least once each day. There is no loving marriage, no balanced budget or no successful career without self-denial. There are hundreds of small ways to deny yourself and grow closer to Jesus.
• When you put someone else needs before your own you are practicing self-denial.
• When shopping ask yourself “what would happen if I did NOT buy this item”.
• Are you craving a coke or a glass of wine? Have water instead.
• Don’t want to exercise, wash the dishes or work in the yard? Overcome laziness.
• Waiting in the doctor’s office, are you going to read the enticing magazine or use the prayer app on your cell phone to read the gospels?
• What about giving up the satisfaction of complaining? I live directly on Old Shell Road and found this summer that not complaining can be very taxing.
• We could practice our Lenten resolutions one week out of each month.
These might sound trite but practicing self-denial, just like prayer, will bring you closer to Jesus, especially when remember what He sacrificed for us. Self-denial is part of the narrow road.
4) The forth way to grow closer to Jesus is to practice spontaneous prayer. Learn to call out to Jesus in the moments of the day, casually in a very human way. The prayers of the first Christians were not long and they came forth in moments of need or exhilaration. Simple phrases like “My Lord and my God”, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God”, “Lord save me”, “ Jesus I trust in you.” “Lord, open my eyes” is a good one to pray when you are trying to make a decision. These short prayers are immensely practical because they bring thoughts of Jesus into our daily lives and Jesus desires to be near us. Become the person you were created to be. Draw closer to Jesus through reading the gospels, set aside daily prayer time, practice self denial and bring Jesus into the ordinary moments of your day. Choose the narrow gate. Close the gap! (by Audrey Patterson)
As Audrey said in her instruction, let us pray to ‘close the gap’ and ‘draw closer to Jesus.’ In August of 2013 Pope Francis gave a homily that spoke directly to this issue. His words are important for us. He said: “Jesus tells us that there is a gate that allows us to enter into God’s family, into the warmth of the house of God, of communion with Him. This gate is Jesus himself (cf. Jn 10:9). He is the gate. He is the gateway to salvation. He leads us to the Father. And the gate that is Jesus is never closed, this gate is never closed, it is always open and open to everyone, without distinction, without exclusions, without privileges. Because, you know, Jesus does not exclude anyone.”
Veni, Spirito Santo, la misericordia di Dio ci salva—
Come Holy Spirit, it is by God’s mercy that we are saved,