Tag Archives: Christian life

Three Precepts

Someone asked Abba Anthony, “What must one do in order to please God?” The old man replied, “Pay attention to what I tell you: whoever you may be, always have God before your eyes, whatever you do, do it according to the testimony of the Holy Scriptures; in whatever place you live do not easily leave it. Keep these three precepts and you will be saved.”

—–Antony of Egypt


  • ALWAYS HAVE GOD BEFORE YOUR EYES

This statement begs the question, how do we always have God before our eyes? God is before our eyes when we worship and pray. The monk is telling us that our lives should be bathed in worship and prayer. In these practices we can find the face and heart of God.

  • WHATEVER YOU DO, DO IT ACCORDING TO THE TESTIMONY OF THE HOLY SCRIPTURES

The Psalmist writes, children sing -“the Bible is a lamp unto my and a light unto my path.” The monk advises that this simple instruction is one of the keys to pleasing God. Today’s world seems to have neither light nor path. Antony steers us to the lighted path of Holy Scripture.

  • WHATEVER PLACE YOU LIVE DO NOT EASILY LEAVE IT.

Monks call this one stability. Our transient, temporary society is floundering for lack of stability. Marriages crumble, jobs are abandoned, work goes unfinished, all because we are not willing to commit ourselves to being in for the long haul. Pleasing God requires that we develop stay power – the type that settles us in long enough to walk through the valley that precedes the mountain.

The words of this monk of old can take us a long way today.


God-Before-your-Eyes-Quote

Prayer

Lord help me to know how to live this day. May I have the unction to keep you before my eyes in the midst of the many distractions of this life. Help me to look to the scriptures when confusion and disarray come my way. Let your scriptural light- light my way. Allow me to find peace in the place that you have provided for me. In finding that peace, I then can become a blessing to others.

Amen

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Moments of enlightenment

There are moments in life-both spiritual and intellectual—that are like no other. They change us. They redirect us. They complete us. Between these moments of Enlightenment—all of which are relatively rare—we simply go from one life event, one change point,

But after such times of acute insight, life takes on a different hue.

Enlightenment is a matter of coming to see life—to see ourselves—differently. It transforms us from average, everyday kind of people to people with a purpose in life.

Sometimes it is the moment in life when we simply know, absolutely know, that the person we have just met is the person we are going to marry. Or sometimes it is the awareness that what we have studied so hard to become is not what we are going to be. Or it might be the awareness that where I am is not where I belong. For me, it had to do with coming to understand that I would spend my entire life simply following the presence of God that consumed me more than anything else I could imagine in life. I dedicated my life to trying to unravel what that entailed in the present world and passing on those thoughts to others.

Where these moments of Enlightenment come from can seldom be identified with any kind of certainty. They just are. They are within us, unspoken and often unseen, but never unknown. They strike us like lightning and burn within us all our lives.

Joan Chittister

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Filed under Christian Journey, Christian Living

Thursday Prayer 4

man.rosary.pray_.prayingGive me the grace, Good Lord

To set the world at naught. To set the mind firmly on You and not to hang upon the words of men’s mouths.

To be content to be solitary. Not to long for worldly pleasures. Little by little utterly to cast off the world and rid my mind of all its business.

Not to long to hear of earthly things, but that the hearing of worldly fancies may be displeasing to me.

Gladly to be thinking of God, piteously to call for His help. To lean into the comfort of God. Busily to labor to love Him.

To know my own vileness and wretchedness. To humble myself under the mighty hand of God. To bewail my sins and, for the purging of them, patiently to suffer adversity.

Gladly to bear my purgatory here. To be joyful in tribulations. To walk the narrow way that leads to life.

To have the last thing in remembrance. To have ever before my eyes my death that is ever at hand. To make death no stranger to me. To foresee and consider the everlasting fire of Hell. To pray for pardon before the judge comes.

To have continually in mind the passion that Christ suffered for me. For His benefits unceasingly to give Him thanks.

To buy the time again that I have lost. To abstain from vain conversations. To shun foolish mirth and gladness. To cut off unnecessary recreations.

Of worldly substance, friends, liberty, life and all, to set the loss at naught, for the winning of Christ.

To think my worst enemies my best friends, for the brethren of Joseph could never have done him so much good with their love and favor as they did him with their malice and hatred.

These minds are more to be desired of every man than all the treasures of all the princes and kings, Christian and heathen, were it gathered and laid together all in one heap.

Amen

—-Thomas More

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The Visit

Luke 19:1-10

            Fifteen little boys sat on hard benches in the synagogue and tried to pay attention as the rabbi droned on from the writings of Moses.  One boy was about half the size of the others.  He hated school and he hated the other fourteen boys.  They made his life miserable.  They were unmerciful in their ridicule of him.  He was a “runt, half-pint, Pee Wee.”  They picked him up and tossed him around like a ball.  They refused to allow him on their teams; he made them lose.  While the rabbi examined the Sabbath laws with the class, Zaccheus made plans for revenge.  He fed his bitterness and anger by justifying his hate with the actions of others.  He was on the receiving end now, but one day he would get even!

The boys grew up.  Zaccheus became an adult with a child’s body.  The Roman government employed him as a tax collector – and he got even!  By collecting far too much money and pocketing the extra, Zaccheus became enormously wealthy, selfish, and lonely.

The news was that the great prophet Jesus was coming to town.  Out of curiosity, Zaccheus made his way to the road on which Jesus would travel.  He never expected such a huge crowd!  He pushed, shoved, and tried to elbow his way through the sea of humanity to no avail.  It was fun to keep little, despised Zaccheus in the back!  Totally frustrated, he spied a tree just a bit up the road and perched on a limb overhanging the route.  Here, he had a great view away from the riffraff.  Smugly, he waited for Jesus.

Try for a moment to imagine the shock Zaccheus felt when Jesus walked under the limb, looked straight into his eyes, and said, “Get out of the tree, Zaccheus.  I’m coming over to your house.”  He very nearly fell out of the tree, but he managed to climb down and hurry home to make preparations for his guest.  The crowd stood in indignant amazement at Jesus’ judgment.  Of all the homes He could have chosen to visit!  Zaccheus through the eyes of God, not through the eyes of man.

Jesus and Zaccheus talked that day.  Zaccheus opened his heart and poured out his hurt and anger.  When it was empty, Jesus made it over – new-and filled it with love only He can give.  Zaccheus recognized Jesus that day, and he was never the same.  He stopped being a “taker” and became a “giver.”  He got a stack of money and ran every step to town.  He sought out each and every person he had cheated and paid them back four times what he owed them.  He gave a lot that day.  He gave forgiveness to those fourteen school mates.  He gave the grace of Jesus to all he met. He gave his heart to Jesus, and that necessitated giving to others.

Use these contemplative days of Lent to visit with Jesus.  Empty your heart of hurt and anger and let it be filled instead with grace.  Become a “giver” not a “taker” as you journey.                                   Monica Boudreaux

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