good-shepherd-2Dear Brothers and Sisters,

We can ask ourselves today, for what do I pray? It is always important to see what we ask of the Lord and to be aware that what we ask says a lot about us. We want to follow the Lord Jesus and we want to be willing to give up all things in order to follow Him. The Gospel of Mark today gives us the story of a young man who seems to be very good and yet is attached still to the things of this world. Probably most of us are attached to something in this world. It will be important for us to recognize those attachments so that we can begin to work against them in our lives. Jesus tells us clearly that all things are possible with God. So we can never tell ourselves: I just cannot do this! Rather, we might tell ourselves: I don’t seem to be able to do this yet, but I will keep praying and keep trying.

The first reading today, from the Book of Wisdom, tells us the value of praying for prudence and a spirit of wisdom. What a wonderful gift those virtues can be in our lives. Most of us have received those gifts, at least in small portions. Yet we can pray for more prudence and more wisdom. These gifts of virtue will allow us to continue the struggle against our brokenness Wisdom will show us when and what we can fight. Part of the advice of the earliest Christian spiritual writers was to choose spiritual battles that could be won, and start the spiritual life with those. This was prudence and wisdom again, indicating that if we choose the biggest fights first, we quite likely will fail and stop the spiritual struggle.

For the spiritual struggle, seeking to overcome the things that we might desire more than we desire God, the Letter to the Hebrews reminds us that, indeed the word of God is living and effective. We need to take time every day to live in the presence of that word, savoring that word, listening to that word and allowing that word to form us and give us strength. My sisters and brothers, it is the living God whom we seek.

It is the living God who chooses us today and invites us to go deeper into the spiritual struggle so that we may be able to hear His call and respond: Here am I, O Lord! I come to do your will .

Father Jesus