Stand Firm against Complacency

  • November 28, 2020 (readings)
  • Saturday of the Thirty-Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
  • Tima Borges
  • Luke 21:34-36

    Jesus said to his disciples: “Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise like a trap. For that day will assault everyone who lives on the face of the earth. Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.”

    Opening Prayer: Holy Mother, through your intercession, I ask for a more fervent faith so that I stand firm in virtue. I pray the grace of this time in prayer will benefit all those I encounter today.

    Encountering Christ:

    1. Effects of Sin: Jesus tells us to “beware” of drunkenness, anxiety, and carousing because these behaviors can seriously impede our holiness. If we sin mortally in these ways, we cut ourselves off from God and must contritely repent through the sacrament of reconciliation. If our sins are venial in nature, the consequences can still be serious. “The repetition of venial sins insensibly weakens the fear of God, hardens the conscience, forms evil attachments and habits, gives fresh strength to the temptations of the enemy of our salvation, nourishes and develops the passions,” according to St. Ignatius (The Spiritual Exercises). We must “be on your guard, stand firm in the faith, be courageous, be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13).

    2. Be Vigilant: If we look back to the first time we experienced an encounter with Christ, we might recall a swirl of excitement and euphoria like one who has fallen in love. For some, the mere memory of that first encounter is enough to keep them on the path to a continually deepening relationship with Christ indefinitely. But for many of us, after years of growing in the interior life, the emotions can fade away. The humdrum of day-to-day routine can leave us feeling dry and ill-motivated to say our prayers or receive the sacraments, a state described by St. Ignatius as spiritual desolation. We avoid this trap of becoming complacent in our spiritual life by practicing the virtue of perseverance. St. Ignatius wrote, “In time of desolation never make a change; but be firm and constant in the resolutions [of] the day preceding such desolation” (Discernment of Spirits, Fifth Rule, St. Ignatius).

    3. Judgement is for Everyone: “Once saved, always saved” is a Protestant belief, but many Catholics can subconsciously allow ourselves to believe this as well. In this passage, we are reminded “that day will come for everyone who lives on the face of the earth.” There is no escaping the day of judgment. Am I ready if Christ comes today to pass judgment on my soul? Am I striving to know the Lord more through prayer and the sacraments? Do I rely on the grace God gives me to sanctify me, so that I can hope to one day meet him in heaven? Come Holy Spirit, prepare me to live with you eternally!

    Conversing with Christ: Lord, thank you for the gift of faith and calling me into relationship with you. I am often tempted, but I want to stay vigilant and not fall into complacency or spiritual sloth. “Lead me not into temptation, and deliver me from evil. Amen.”

    Resolution: Lord, today with the help of your grace I will make a good examination of conscience, and ask for the grace to persevere in holiness, for your glory.

    For Further Reflection: Read and reflect on “Christian conduct” in 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22.

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