Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time – C

 

Good-Samaritan-1

Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

OPENING PRAYER

For Healing

Lord, You invite all who are burdened to come to You. Allow your healing hand to heal me. Touch my soul with Your compassion for others. Touch my heart with Your courage and infinite love for all. Touch my mind with Your wisdom, that my mouth may always proclaim Your praise. Teach me to reach out to You in my need, and help me to lead others to You by my example. Most loving Heart of Jesus, bring me health in body and spirit that I may serve You with all my strength. Touch gently this life which You have created, now and forever. Amen.

http://www.catholic.org/prayers/prayer.php?p=75

 

COLLECT

O God, who show the light of your truth

to those who go astray,

so that they may return to the right path,

give all who for the faith they profess

are accounted Christians

the grace to reject whatever is contrary to the name

of Christ

and to strive after all that does it honor.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you in the unity

of the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.

 

READING I46Rephidim

Dt 30:10-14

Moses said to the people:

If only you would heed the voice of the LORD, your God,

and keep his commandments and statutes

that are written in this book of the law,

when you return to the LORD, your God,

with all your heart and all your soul.

For this command that I enjoin on you today

is not too mysterious and remote for you.

It is not up in the sky, that you should say,

Who will go up in the sky to get it for us

and tell us of it, that we may carry it out?’

Nor is it across the sea, that you should say,

Who will cross the sea to get it for us

and tell us of it, that we may carry it out?’

No, it is something very near to you,

already in your mouths and in your hearts;

you have only to carry it out.”

 

CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH (CCC)

CCC 708 This divine pedagogy appears especially in the gift of the Law.1 God gave the Law as a “pedagogue” to lead his people toward Christ.2 But the Law’s powerlessness to save man deprived of the divine “likeness,” along with the growing awareness of sin that it imparts,3 enkindles a desire for the Holy Spirit. The lamentations of the Psalms bear witness to this.

1 Cf. Ex 19-20; Deut 1-11; 29-30.

2 Gal 3:24.

3 Cf. Rom 3:20.

 

APPLICATION

The history of Israel has a lot in common with the life-history of many, if not most, individual Christians. The Israelites served God while in need of his material help. Their first three centuries in the Promised Land, which he had given them and which he was helping them to occupy, were years of fairly loyal service. When, under David and Solomon, they acquired a political and economic standing among the nations, they gradually began to lose interest in their divine Protector. Under Solomon’s successor a schism came, a political and religious separation of the northern Tribes from Judah and Jerusalem where God’s Temple was situated. Gradually things went from bad to worse. The north was wiped out. Soon the south was over-run by the Babylonians. The city and Temple were destroyed. The people were taken as prisoners to Babylon. They had practically ignored God during the previous centuries of prosperity, and had even taken an interest in the false gods of the pagan nations.

Their years of exile made them think. They repented. They turned back to God and asked him to forgive them and give them another chance. He did, on condition that they would remain loyal this time. He would be their protector and would give them temporal rewards, provided that their loyalty came from their hearts, not from their lips only.

How many Christians thank God when everything is going well with them? How many do so when their health is the best, when their business is prospering? And worse still, there are Christians who not only do not think of God when all is going well with them, but who go out of their way to offend God by abusing the very gifts which he has given them. They break his commandments and they ignore their obligations. The world sniffles on them for a while. If their worldly prosperity lasts until their end comes, they have every likelihood of leaving this world without knowing God, and of being unknown to him when they meet him as their Judge.

Thank God, however, for this is God’s kindness to weak man. Very few, even of the healthiest and the wealthiest, go through life without reminders of their need for God, even in this world. He sends his warnings to earth-bound man through illnesses and business failures, or grave disappointments. This he does in order to awaken man to the realization that he has not here a lasting city. The Christian, unless he has put himself beyond the reach of God’s mercy, and this is a possibility but an exceptional occurrence, will then turn to God once more. He will cry for help, as the Jewish exiles in Babylon did. God is still merciful and will remove the temporary cross or give the necessary strength to bear it. God will and does expect thanks in return, however, and as today’s lesson puts it, the thanks he expects is that his law be kept in future.

What we have said of God sending his messengers of mercy to awaken sinners, must by no means be taken to indicate that all sickness and sufferings are due to sins and injustices on the part of the suffering individual. Many of God’s saints had their share of heavy crosses. This was not in order to awaken them from their sins, but to make them into greater saints. Many good-living Christians, too, get more than their share of life’s troubles. If they remain close to God they will weather these storms and end up closer to God.

What we all need is to keep the God of love always before, our minds. Let us also remember the commandments he gave us for our own good. By doing so the saint will become more saintly and the sinner will grow gradually less sinful. Remember, always, that God can do without you, but you cannot do without God.

 

RESPONSORIAL PSALM

Ps 69:14, 17, 30-31, 33-34, 36, 37

Turn to the Lord in your need, and you will live.

I pray to you, O LORD,

for the time of your favor, O God!

In your great kindness answer me

with your constant help.

Answer me, O LORD, for bounteous is your kindness:

in your great mercy turn toward me.

Turn to the Lord in your need, and you will live.

I am afflicted and in pain;

let your saving help, O God, protect me.

I will praise the name of God in song,

and I will glorify him with thanksgiving.

Turn to the Lord in your need, and you will live.

See, you lowly ones, and be glad;

you who seek God, may your hearts revive!

For the LORD hears the poor,

and his own who are in bonds he spurns not.”

Turn to the Lord in your need, and you will live.

For God will save Zion

and rebuild the cities of Judah.

The descendants of his servants shall inherit it,

and those who love his name shall inhabit it.

Turn to the Lord in your need, and you will live.

 

READING IIChrist_Pantocrator.jpg

Col 1:15-20

Christ Jesus is the image of the invisible God,

the firstborn of all creation.

For in him were created all things in heaven and on earth,

the visible and the invisible,

whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers;

all things were created through him and for him.

He is before all things,

and in him all things hold together.

He is the head of the body, the church.

He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead,

that in all things he himself might be preeminent.

For in him all the fullness was pleased to dwell,

and through him to reconcile all things for him,

making peace by the blood of his cross

through him, whether those on earth or those in heaven.

 

CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH (CCC)

CCC 142 By his Revelation, “the invisible God, from the fullness of his love, addresses men as his friends, and moves among them, in order to invite and receive them into his own company.”1 The adequate response to this invitation is faith.

CCC 241 For this reason the apostles confess Jesus to be the Word: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”; as “the image of the invisible God”; as the “radiance of the glory of God and the very stamp of his nature”.2

CCC 291 “In the beginning was the Word. .. and the Word was God. .. all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.”3 The New Testament reveals that God created everything by the eternal Word, his beloved Son. In him “all things were created, in heaven and on earth. .. all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”4 The Church’s faith likewise confesses the creative action of the Holy Spirit, the “giver of life”, “the Creator Spirit” (Veni, Creator Spiritus), the “source of every good”.5

CCC 299 Because God creates through wisdom, his creation is ordered: “You have arranged all things by measure and number and weight.”6 The universe, created in and by the eternal Word, the “image of the invisible God”, is destined for and addressed to man, himself created in the “image of God” and called to a personal relationship with God.7 Our human understanding, which shares in the light of the divine intellect, can understand what God tells us by means of his creation, though not without great effort and only in a spirit of humility and respect before the Creator and his work.8 Because creation comes forth from God’s goodness, it shares in that goodness – “And God saw that it was good. .. very good”9- for God willed creation as a gift addressed to man, an inheritance destined for and entrusted to him. On many occasions the Church has had to defend the goodness of creation, including that of the physical world.10

CCC 331 Christ is the center of the angelic world. They are his angels: “When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him. .. ”11 They belong to him because they were created through and for him: “for in him all things were created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities – all things were created through him and for him.”12 They belong to him still more because he has made them messengers of his saving plan: “Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to serve, for the sake of those who are to obtain salvation?”13

CCC 504 Jesus is conceived by the Holy Spirit in the Virgin Mary’s womb because he is the New Adam, who inaugurates the new creation: “The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven.”14 From his conception, Christ’s humanity is filled with the Holy Spirit, for God “gives him the Spirit without measure.”15 From “his fullness” as the head of redeemed humanity “we have all received, grace upon grace.”16

CCC 624 “By the grace of God” Jesus tasted death “for every one”.17 In his plan of salvation, God ordained that his Son should not only “die for our sins”18 but should also “taste death”, experience the condition of death, the separation of his soul from his body, between the time he expired on the cross and the time he was raised from the dead. The state of the dead Christ is the mystery of the tomb and the descent into hell. It is the mystery of Holy Saturday, when Christ, lying in the tomb,19 reveals God’s great sabbath rest20 after the fulfillment21 of man’s salvation, which brings peace to the whole universe.22

CCC 753 In Scripture, we find a host of interrelated images and figures through which Revelation speaks of the inexhaustible mystery of the Church. The images taken from the Old Testament are variations on a profound theme: the People of God. In the New Testament, all these images find a new center because Christ has become the head of this people, which henceforth is his Body.23 Around this center are grouped images taken “from the life of the shepherd or from cultivation of the land, from the art of building or from family life and marriage.”24

CCC 792 Christ “is the head of the body, the Church.”25 He is the principle of creation and redemption. Raised to the Father’s glory, “in everything he [is] preeminent,”25 especially in the Church, through whom he extends his reign over all things.

CCC 1042 At the end of time, the Kingdom of God will come in its fullness. After the universal judgment, the righteous will reign for ever with Christ, glorified in body and soul. The universe itself will be renewed:

The Church. .. will receive her perfection only in the glory of heaven, when will come the time of the renewal of all things. At that time, together with the human race, the universe itself, which is so closely related to man and which attains its destiny through him, will be perfectly re-established in Christ.27

CCC 1701 “Christ,. .. in the very revelation of the mystery of the Father and of his love, makes man fully manifest to himself and brings to light his exalted vocation.”28 It is in Christ, “the image of the invisible God,”29 that man has been created “in the image and likeness” of the Creator. It is in Christ, Redeemer and Savior, that the divine image, disfigured in man by the first sin, has been restored to its original beauty and ennobled by the grace of God.30

CCC 2305 Earthly peace is the image and fruit of the peace of Christ, the messianic “Prince of Peace.”31 By the blood of his Cross, “in his own person he killed the hostility,”32 he reconciled men with God and made his Church the sacrament of the unity of the human race and of its union with God. “He is our peace.”33 He has declared: “Blessed are the peacemakers.”34

CCC 2641 “[Address] one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart.”35 Like the inspired writers of the New Testament, the first Christian communities read the Book of Psalms in a new way, singing in it the mystery of Christ. In the newness of the Spirit, they also composed hymns and canticles in the light of the unheard-of event that God accomplished in his Son: his Incarnation, his death which conquered death, his Resurrection, and Ascension to the right hand of the Father.36 Doxology, the praise of God, arises from this “marvelous work” of the whole economy of salvation.37

1 DV 2; cf. Col 1:15; I Tim 1:17; Ex 33:11; Jn 15:14-15; Bar 3:38 (Vulg.).

2 Jn 1:1; Col 1:15; Heb 1:3.

3 Jn 1:1-3.

4 Col 1:16-17.

5 Cf. Nicene Creed: DS 150; Hymn “Veni, Creator Spiritus”; Byzantine Troparion of Pentecost Vespers, “O heavenly King, Consoler”.

6 Wis 11:20.

7 Col 1:15, Gen 1:26.

8 Cf. Ps 19:2-5; Job 42:3.

9 Gen 1:4,10,12,18,21,31.

10 Cf. DS 286; 455-463; 800; 1333; 3002.

11 Mt 25:31.

12 Col 1:16.

13 Heb 1:14.

14 I Cor 15:45,47.

15 Jn 3:34.

16 Jn 1:16; cf. Col 1:18.

17 Heb 2:9.

18 I Cor 15:3.

19 Cf. Jn 19:42.

20 Cf. Heb 4:7-9.

21 Cf. Jn 19:30.

22 Cf Col 1: 18-20.

23 Cf. Eph 1:22; Col 1:18; LG 9.

24 LG 6.

25 Col 1:18.

26 Col 1:18.

27 LG 48; Cf. Acts 3:21; Eph 1:10; Col 1:20; 2 Pet 3:10-13.

28 GS 22.

29 Col 1:15; cf. 2 Cor 4:4.

30 Cf. GS 22.

31 Isa 9:5.

32 Eph 2:16 J.B.; cf. Col 1:20-22.

33 Eph 2:14.

34 Mt 5:9.

35 Eph 5:19; Col 3:16.

36 Cf. Phil 2:6-11; Col 1:15-20; Eph 5:14; 1 Tim 3:16; 6:15-16; 2 Tim 2:11-13.

37 Cf. Eph 1:3-14; Rom 16:25-27; Eph 3:20-21; Jude 24-25.

 

APPLICATION

Philosophers, thinking men of all ages and races, who had not the blessing of revelation, have puzzled their brains searching for the meaning and purpose of man’s life on earth. It cannot be riches, for no man ever seems to have had enough, and there are not enough riches in the world to make even ten per cent of men moderately rich. It cannot be pleasure, for life on earth is too short to enjoy a fraction of the pleasures that would satisfy men. It isn’t power, for only a few can have it, and their hold on it is tenuous and too short-lived.

Through his divine revelation. God has given us the answer to the problem that baffled millions. We are not to look for man’s purpose in life here on this earth. We were created by God for a future life in which we would share in his eternal, everlasting happiness. In that life, and only in that, will all the rational desires and all the rational powers which man possesses be completely fulfilled.

This is the consoling truth, the foundation-stone of our Christian religion, that St. Paul puts before us for our consideration and our consolation today. He tells us God created us as intelligent beings, capable of seeing truth and beauty and of enjoying happiness. He did so with the image of his Incarnate Son before his mind. Through the assumption of our human nature by his divine Son, we would be made brothers and sisters of Christ, children of God, and heirs to his own eternal kingdom.

This was an act of sheer love of which only the infinite God could be capable. We shall need all eternity to get even a vague grasp of what such infinite love means, but in the meantime all we can and must do is to say “thank you God, for the infinite love you have shown us.” When the appointed time had come, the Son of God came on earth, took our human nature, went about telling people of God’s great love for them and what they should do to profit by this love. In all of this, although he was God, Christ hid his divinity under the veil of his humanity. He put up with insults, abuse, hard-heartedness, disbelief and, finally, permitted his enemies to crucify him. The world’s only benefactor died as a malefactor, hanging between two crucified thieves on Mount Calvary, beside Jerusalem.

But his enemies’ victory was short-lived. The Father raised him from the tomb, revealed the divinity that had been hidden, and gave him a glorified body fit for heaven. He was “the first-born of the dead.” This phrase means that Christ was the first of millions of human beings to be raised like him from the dead, given glorified bodies and transferred to heaven to enjoy an eternal happiness for which God created them. It is the one and only answer to the philosopher’s problem: “What is man’s purpose in life?”

Let us say a heartfelt “thank you” to God today. Let us also thank his divine Son, our beloved Christ, who planned and executed such an act of benevolence for our sakes, unworthy though we are of such love. Even the holiest amongst us are unworthy. We know where we are going and we have all the means necessary to get us there. It is no harm to remember that thinking pagans found the trivial things of life of no real value to man. As Christians, should we allow them to come between us and the eternal life in which our human nature will find its eternal fulfillment, as well as the one and only real explanation of its existence?

 

GOSPELChrist-samaritan

Lk 10:25-37

There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test him and said,

Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law?

How do you read it?”

He said in reply,

You shall love the Lord, your God,

with all your heart,

with all your being,

with all your strength,

and with all your mind,

and your neighbor as yourself.”

He replied to him, “You have answered correctly;

do this and you will live.”

But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus,

And who is my neighbor?”

Jesus replied,

A man fell victim to robbers

as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho.

They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead.

A priest happened to be going down that road,

but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.

Likewise a Levite came to the place,

and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.

But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him

was moved with compassion at the sight.

He approached the victim,

poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them.

Then he lifted him up on his own animal,

took him to an inn, and cared for him.

The next day he took out two silver coins

and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction,

Take care of him.

If you spend more than what I have given you,

I shall repay you on my way back.’

Which of these three, in your opinion,

was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?”

He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.”

Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/071016.cfm

 

CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH (CCC)

CCC 1293 In treating the rite of Confirmation, it is fitting to consider the sign of anointing and what it signifies and imprints: a spiritual seal.

Anointing, in Biblical and other ancient symbolism, is rich in meaning: oil is a sign of abundance and joy;1 it cleanses (anointing before and after a bath) and limbers (the anointing of athletes and wrestlers); oil is a sign of healing, since it is soothing to bruises and wounds;2 and it makes radiant with beauty, health, and strength.

CCC 1825 Christ died out of love for us, while we were still “enemies.”3 The Lord asks us to love as he does, even our enemies, to make ourselves the neighbor of those farthest away, and to love children and the poor as Christ himself.4

The Apostle Paul has given an incomparable depiction of charity: “charity is patient and kind, charity is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Charity does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Charity bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”5

CCC 2083 Jesus summed up man’s duties toward God in this saying: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.”6 This immediately echoes the solemn call: “Hear, O Israel: the LORD our God is one LORD.”7

God has loved us first. The love of the One God is recalled in the first of the “ten words.” The commandments then make explicit the response of love that man is called to give to his God.

CCC 2196 In response to the question about the first of the commandments, Jesus says: “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”8

The apostle St. Paul reminds us of this: “He who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. The commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,‘ and any other commandment, are summed up in this sentence, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”9

CCC 2822 Our Father “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”10 He “is forbearing toward you, not wishing that any should perish.”11 His commandment is “that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”12 This commandment summarizes all the others and expresses his entire will.

1 Cf. Deut 11:14; Pss 23:5; 104:15.

2 Cf. Isa 1:6; Lk 1034.

3 Rom 5:10.

4 Cf. Mt 5:44; Lk 10:27-37; Mk 9:37; Mt 25:40, 45.

5 1 Cor 13:4-7.

6 Mt 22:37; cf. Lk 10:27:“… and with all your strength.”

7 Deut 6:4.

8 Mk 12:29-31; cf. Deut 6:4-5; Lev 19:18; Mt 22:34-40; Lk 10:25-28.

9 Rom 13:8-10.

10 1 Tim 2:3-4.

11 2 Pet 3:9; cf. Mt 18:14.

12 Jn 13:34; cf. 1 Jn 3; 4; Lk 10:25-37.

 

APPLICATION

Whether this lawyer acted in good or bad faith when he questioned our Lord, need not trouble us now. We can be thankful that his question brought forth this beautiful parable which has a lesson for us today as fresh as it had for all those who heard it from the lips of Jesus.

The roads of life, no matter where we live, have neighbors lying injured by the wayside. They are waiting and hoping that some fellow-man will come to give them a helping hand. We can shut our eyes or turn away, as the priest and levite did. No doubt, these two men had urgent business or they had troubles enough of their own. Perhaps they had helped a few other similar cases already that day. Our Lord does not seem to excuse them on any of these scores. Even the lawyer did not find any justifying excuse for them. They behaved badly. They showed that they had no interest in their neighbor when he was in need. They did not keep the command that God had given them through Moses.

Judged in the light of that parable, are my dealings with my neighbor such as would earn the praise or the condemnation of our Lord? Would he number me with the priest and levite, or with the Samaritan? If I give a helping hand to the neighbors whom I see in corporal or spiritual need, as often as I possibly can, he will number me among the good Samaritans. If, instead, I turn a blind eye and busy myself with my own affairs, I am classing myself with the condemned priest and levite.

I have excuses. We all have. They sound plausible to ourselves. We have more than enough to do to look after our own affairs, material and spiritual. So too had the priest and levite. We have had to go through similar hardships and nobody gave us a helping hand. Two wrongs don’t make a right. These people in corporal or spiritual need brought this on themselves. Let them get themselves out of their difficulties now. Why should I be expected to help? People who are so foolish and so thoughtless as to bring such difficulties on themselves are the very ones who need help, advice and encouragement. They need it from one who has not their particular weakness of character. I must do all I can to save them from their own folly.

Our excuses for not helping our neighbor, who is every man of any description without distinction of race, creed or color, may sound plausible to us now. But will we dare repeat them on the judgement day? When describing the judgement scene, our Lord told certain people that they were being excluded from heaven because they refused to help him when he was in need. They cried out in consternation: “Lord when did we see you hungry, thirsty, naked and did not come to your aid?” His answer was: “you saw my neighbor, my ‘little ones.’ my friends, in need and you did not help.”

Today, with so much social provision for the less fortunate in most countries, we are not called on so often to exercise the corporal works of mercy. Never before, however, was there more need for sincere Christians to carry out the spiritual works of mercy. We are living in a world which is growing daily further and further away from God. We find people in every walk of life whose one purpose is to get all they can out of their few short years here on earth. They completely ignore or forget that their real purpose in life is to get to heaven.

Of course, we cannot go out and preach the truths of faith to these people on every street corner. Even if we did they would not listen to us. There are many other more effective ways of getting a neighbor to see his mistakes, if we but take the trouble. Start by taking an interest in your neighbor, in his work, his family, his recreations. Show by your way of living and by your outlook on life that God is never far from your thoughts. Show that your concern is more with the future life than with the present one. The neighbor will bring up the question of religion, not you. When he does, be ready to give him a simple explanation of what makes you live and act as you do. You will not win him over immediately. You may not win him over at all. But you will have sown a seed which will blossom forth somewhere, some day.

Where there is true love of God, there will be true love of neighbor. There must be. That love will find a way into the heart of the neighbor. Resolve, today, to be a Good Samaritan, especially towards those who are injured spiritually and who will not reach heaven unless you give them a helping hand. Never forget that it is the Lord who is with you doing nine-tenths of the work, while you strive to help a neighbor spiritually or physically. What you did to your neighbor, to “one of his little ones,” you did to him, and he will not forget it when your hour of judgement comes.

Applications written by Fr. Kevin O’Sullivan O.F.M. and used with permission of Franciscan Press.

 

BENEDICTUS

How Love is Possible

Love of neighbor is thus shown to be possible in the way proclaimed by the Bible, by Jesus. It consists in the very fact that, in God and with God, I love even the person whom I do not like or know. This can only take place on the basis of an estimate encounter with God, an encounter which has become a communion of will, even affecting my feelings. Then I learn to look on this other person not simply with my eyes and my feelings, but from the perspective of Jesus Christ. His friend is my friend. Going beyond exterior appearances, I perceive in others an interior desire for a sign of love, of concern. This I can offer them not only through the organizations intended for such purposes, accepting it perhaps as a political necessity. Seeing with the eyes of Christ, I can give to others much more than their outward necessities: I can give them the look of love which they crave… If I have no contact whatsoever with God in my life, then I cannot see in the other anything more than the other, and I am incapable of seeing in him the image of God. But if in my life I fail completely to heed others, solely out of a desire to be “devout” and to perform my “religious duties,” then my relationship with God will also grow arid. It becomes merely “proper,” but loveless. Only my readiness to encounter my neighbor and to show him love makes me sensitive to God as well. Only if I serve my neighbor can my eyes be opened to what God does for me and how much he loves me.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

CLOSING PRAYER

Act of Love

O God, all that I am and all that I have is from you. You have given me my gifts of body and soul. You have numbered me among your favored children. You have showered me with countless graces and blessings. From all eternity you have thought of me and loved me. How shall I ever love you in return?

And now in your merciful goodness you are coming into my soul to unit yourself most intimately with me. You came into the world for love of man, but now you are coming from the altar for love of me. You are coming to fill me heart with your holy love, my Creator, my Redeemer, my Sanctifier, my God.

O Jesus, I want to return this love. I want to love you with all the powers of my soul. I want to belong only to you, to consecrate myself to you alone. Jesus, let me live for you; let me die for you. Living and dying may I be yours.

http://www.catholic.org/prayers/prayer.php?p=433

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About Benedicamus Domino

Let Us Bless The Lord - A Benedictine oblate's weekly study of the Catholic Church's Sunday Sacred Liturgy. I hope that families and friends will benefit from this as a prayerful way to prepare and actively participate in the holy sacrifice of the Mass.
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