But you, man of God, avoid all this. Instead, pursue righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness.
(1 Timothy 6:11)
Paul instructs Timothy to avoid the traps of seeking for riches and to pursue instead a list of virtues. Some of these are the same as the gifts and fruits of your Holy Spirit, Lord, which I have been examining.
Am I righteous? Do I do the right thing? In this complicated world, it can be difficult to discern what that is, but you have given us the framework of your commandments. Please help me to act according to the love for which and out of which you create me.
If I have devotion to you, I will want nothing more than your will, and nothing less. Love is the basis. Faith is my guide.
The Archdiocese of Washington quotes Mother Angelica in a post, “Patience is adjusting your time to God’s time.” If I remember to think, not as humans think, but as you do, I can learn to wait for you, Lord. When I think that everything depends on me, I become frantic. Help me to realize how small I am and how great you are. Let me float with your current, not try to swim against it. You will take me where I need to be.
If I am patient, I can be gentle, for I will see things from your perspective. Paul is not ordering Timothy (or me) to possess these traits, for only you can give them. We have only to pursue them and to trust in you.
And he gave some as Apostles, others as prophets, others as pastors and teachers, to equip the holy ones for the work of the ministry, for building up the Body of Christ.
What you give us, Lord, if for the purpose of building up your Body, the Church. How can I serve you and my brothers and sisters in you? I sometimes feel restricted, unable to use what gifts I have, and yet it is not for me to know how you are using me. The most important role you have granted me is that of extraordinary Eucharistic Minister. Even when I am not distributing your Body to the infirm and aged, I can help to facilitate our Communion Service for those who come to us. Thank you, Lord, for entrusting me with this ministry, of which I could never be worthy except for your grace. Please help me to carry it out with reverence and humility.
Today, as we celebrate the call to St. Matthew, let me remember that we are all called to follow you.
They are like children who sit in the marketplace and call to one another,
‘We played the flute for you, but you did not dance.
We sang a dirge, but you did not weep.’
Lord, we are your contrary children, never satisfied. Like the Israelites who grumbled about the food you provided in the desert, like those who criticized John the Baptist for fasting and you, my Jesus, for eating with sinners, we can find fault with anything and anyone. How can we learn to look for what is good, to find you in all things?
Yesterday, I wanted to take advantage of the last cool day for a week or more. I went out to fill the bird feeders and took with me a notebook so I could write and pray by the garden. There is a family or colony of skunks in the woods, and something must have frightened them. The odor was more than I could bear. So I walked farther on, to the other side of the pond. I sat on a bench and wrote my reflection, then went closer to the pond to take a photo. The sun was low and shimmered on the water. I walked around to the other side, snapping more photos as I went. When I reached the opposite shore, the sun had turned the whole pond to gold. I came home filled with peace.
Thank you for that skunk! It forced me to go toward your beauty. Help me to love whatever you give me, for I know you give out of love.