Jesus our Life – part one

O Jesus, life of my soul, make me rise each day to a new life of charity and fervor.

In the Mass of today [Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost] there is a dominant thought, so often repeated in the liturgy and so clear to our hearts: Jesus is our life. Whatever goo there is in us is the fruit of his grace, by which we we remain steadfast in good (Collect) and live in the Spirit (Ep); by His Grace we rise from sin (Gosp), and eating His flesh, we nourish His life within us (Communion). Without Jesus we would abide in death; without Him we could never live the glorious life of the Spirit described by St Paul in today’s Epistle (Gal 5.25–6.10).

If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us have no self-conceit, no provoking of one another, no envy of one another. Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Look to yourself, lest you to be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbour. For each man will have to bear his own load. Let him who is taught the word share all good things with him who teaches. Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will reap also. For he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption; but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

It would be well to glean a few thoughts from this. ‘Let us not be made desirous of vainglory, provoking one another. For if any man think himself to be something, whereas he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.’ True humility is presented here as the basis of fraternal charity; anyone who is proud carries about with him a hotbed of discord for, preferring himself to others, he will often be provocative, envious haughty, and disdainful of those whom he considers his inferiors.

‘If a man be overtaken in any fault, you, who are spiritual, instruct such a one in the spirit of meekness.’ One who wishes to scale the heights must never be critical of him who is not so high, nor be scandalized at the faults of another. If duty requires us to admonish anyone, we should do so with sweetness and kindness. This sweetness is another fruit of humility, because when we correct others, we should always take heed to ourselves: ‘lest thou also be tempted.’

‘And in doing good, let us not fail; for in due time we shall reap, not failing.’ We must not allow ourselves to be discouraged by difficulties in the spiritual life, even when we do not succeed in overcoming them. God does not ask us to succeed but to continually renew our efforts, although the resutls may not be apparent. ‘In due time,’ that is, when God wills and in the way that pleases Him, we shall reap the fruit, provided we ‘fail not.’

from Divine Intimacy: Meditations on the Interior Life for Every Day of the Liturgical Year, by Father Gabriel of St Mary Magdalen OCD.

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