Monday – Christ First
In today's Gospel, Jesus says something positively shocking: “Whoever loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me...”
With these words, Jesus is claiming first place in our lives, even above our closest family. And why shouldn't He? Jesus is our God, our Savior, the One Who died for our sins and rose again to open the gates of Heaven for us. With the Father and the Holy Spirit, He created us. With the Father and the Holy Spirit, He holds us in existence. He loves us with a love so strong we can't even imagine it. Why shouldn't we love Him more than anyone else?
Yet our hearts might still rebel a bit at the idea of skimping on love for our parents or children. But that is not what Jesus is asking us to do. Quite the contrary. In fact, when we put Jesus first in our lives and give Him the first fruits of our love, we will actually love our dear ones even more. Jesus' love will pour into us to a greater extent the closer we are to Him. We will love our friends and family in Him and thereby love them better that we would have otherwise.
Jesus wants our love to increase all around, both for God first and foremost and for others in and with God. As this happens, we will become more and more worthy (with God's grace, of course) to be children of God.
Tuesday – Divine Advice
King Ahaz of Judah had good reason to be upset and anxious. His enemy was almost literally camped on his doorstep, and he didn't have any idea in the world what to do about it.
But God did. He promised Ahaz that Judah would be safe and its foes would fall. He also gave Ahaz three pieces of divine advice.
First, Ahaz was to remain tranquil. He must not let himself be overwhelmed by anxiety. Peace of heart and mind was key for a king to be able to function well and to trust in God.
Second, Ahaz was to release his fear and take courage. God was on his side, after all. Who better to have fighting for him?
Third, Ahaz was to have firm faith. God even warned him, “Unless your faith is firm
you shall not be firm!” Ahaz needed to believe that God's words were true and, even more, to submit himself to God and His plan.
God gives the same advice to each of us. We, too, must seek to remain tranquil even in the most difficult times. We must quiet ourselves and rest in His presence, trusting that He has everything well in hand. We, too, must let go of our fears and take courage. God gives us His grace and strength just for the asking. He fights on our side as long as we strive to do His will. We, too, must have firm faith. Everyday we should make a sincere profession of faith, even if it is just a recitation of the Apostles Creed (with full attention and from the heart, of course), for speaking words of faith helps us grow in faith.
Tranquility, courage, and faith. Dear God, make these all increase every day in our hearts, minds, and souls.
Wednesday – Childlike
Dear Jesus, make me childlike that I may trust You.
Dear Jesus, make me childlike that I may have simple faith in You.
Dear Jesus, make me childlike that I may hear Your words in my heart.
Dear Jesus, make me childlike that I may run to You with joy.
Dear Jesus, make me childlike that I may hope to receive every good gift from You.
Dear Jesus, make me childlike that I may love You with a pure heart.
Dear Jesus, make me childlike that I may be with You for all eternity.