FINISHING SCHOOL

“He Who has begun the good work in you will carry it through to completion.” —Philippians 1:6

Hours before His death, Jesus Himself prayed to His Father: “I have given You glory on earth by finishing the work You gave Me to do” (Jn 17:4). At His death, Jesus “said, ‘Now it is finished.’ Then He bowed His head, and delivered over His spirit” (Jn 19:30).
Paul, having the mind of Christ (1 Cor 2:16), stated in the last years of his life: “I put no value on my life if only I can finish my race and complete the service to which I have been assigned by the Lord Jesus” (Acts 20:24). Paul proclaimed: “The Lord stood by my side and gave me strength, so that through me the preaching task might be completed” (2 Tm 4:17). Before his death, Paul also proclaimed: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Tm 4:7). Paul assured the church of Philippi: “I am sure of this much: that He Who has begun the good work in you will carry it through to completion, right up to the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil 1:6).
The Lord has called us to make our lives beautiful temples of the Spirit to His glory (see 1 Pt 2:5). Our concern is that we may not “complete the work” (Lk 14:29). Then all who see our lives will not give glory to God; rather, they will jeer at us and say: “They began to build what they could not finish” (see Lk 14:30).
However, because we have been baptized into Christ and have the mind of Christ, we can confidently say: “The Lord will complete what He has done for me” (Ps 138:8).

Prayer: Father, may I cross Your finish line.
Promise: “He took the man, healed him, and sent him on his way.” —Lk 14:4
Praise: Charles prays, studies the chur

The word of God is alive and active

A tractate by St Baldwin of Canterbury

The word of God is something alive and active: it cuts like any double-edged sword but more finely. These words tell us how much power and wisdom there is in the word of God for those who seek Christ, who is the word and the power and the wisdom of God. This word, with the Father from the beginning and co-eternal with him, came at its own chosen time, was revealed to them, was proclaimed by them, and was humbly received in faith by its believers. A word, therefore, in the Father; a word in the mouth; and a word in the heart.
This word of God is alive. The Father gave it life coming from itself just as the Father’s own life comes from himself. The word is not just alive, therefore, it is life, as it said itself: I am the way, the truth, and the life. Since the word is life, the word is alive to give life. For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so the Son gives life to anyone he chooses. He gives life, as when he calls the dead man out of the tomb, saying Lazarus, come forth.
When this word is preached, the voice of its preaching which is heard outwardly calls forth a voice of power that is heard inwardly, that voice by which the dead are restored to life and their praise raises up sons for Abraham. So this word is alive in the heart of the Father, alive in the mouth of the preacher, and alive in the hearts of those who believe and love. If a word is alive in this way, how can it not also be active?
The word is active in creating, active in guiding the world, active in redeeming the world. What could be more active? What could be more powerful? Who shall tell of his powerful deeds? Who shall proclaim the praises of the Lord? It is active when it works, it is active when it is preached. For it does not come back empty-handed: wherever it is sent, it prospers.
It is active and cuts finer than a double-edged sword when it is believed and loved. For what is impossible to the believer? What is hard for the lover? When this word speaks, its words transfix the heart like a flight of sharp arrows, like nails hammered deep into its very essence. This word is sharper than a double-edged sword in that it cuts deeper than any strength or power, it is finer than anything made by human ingenuity, sharper than any human wisdom or learned speech.

I have always laboured out of love

From a letter by Saint John Bosco, [ 1815 - 1888 A.D. ] priest
First of all, if we wish to appear concerned about the true happiness of our foster children and if we would move them to fulfil their duties, you must never forget that you are taking the place of the parents of these beloved young people. I have always laboured lovingly for them, and carried out my priestly duties with zeal. And the whole Salesian society has done this with me.
  My sons, in my long experience very often I had to be convinced of this great truth. It is easier to become angry than to restrain oneself, and to threaten a boy than to persuade him. Yes, indeed, it is more fitting to be persistent in punishing our own impatience and pride than to correct the boys. We must be firm but kind, and be patient with them.
  I give you as a model the charity of Paul which he showed to his new converts. They often reduced him to tears and entreaties when he found them lacking docility and even opposing his loving efforts.
  See that no one finds you motivated by impetuosity or wilfulness. It is difficult to keep calm when administering punishment, but this must be done if we are to keep ourselves from showing off our authority or spilling out our anger.
  Let us regard those boys over whom we have some authority as our own sons. Let us place ourselves in their service. Let us be ashamed to assume an attitude of superiority. Let us not rule over them except for the purpose of serving them better.
  This was the method that Jesus used with the apostles. He put up with their ignorance and roughness and even their infidelity. He treated sinners with a kindness and affection that caused some to be shocked, others to be scandalised, and still others to hope for God’s mercy. And so he bade us to be gentle and humble of heart.
  They are our sons, and so in correcting their mistakes we must lay aside all anger and restrain it so firmly that it is extinguished entirely.
  There must be no hostility in our minds, no contempt in our eyes, no insult on our lips. We must use mercy for the present and have hope for the future, as is fitting for true fathers who are eager for real correction and improvement.
  In serious matters it is better to beg God humbly than to send forth a flood of words that will only offend the listeners and have no effect on those who are guilty.

ARMED AND DANGEROUS

“Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, the word of God.” —Ephesians 6:17

Life is a wrestling match against demons (Eph 6:12). Our offensive weapon in this battle is the Holy Spirit working through His Word and in prayer (Eph 6:17-18).
To defeat the devil, we need to do what Jesus did when He was tempted (Mt 4:4, 7, 10) — we must wield the sword of God’s Word (see Rv 1:16) in the power of the Spirit. “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God” (Rm 10:17, our transl.). Therefore, the Word of God is the basis for faith. Moreover, we must grow strong in our “holy faith through prayer in the Holy Spirit” (Jude 20). Both proclaiming God’s Word in the Spirit and praying in the Spirit strengthens our faith. By such faith, we conquer the world (1 Jn 5:5) and claim Jesus’ victory over Satan, the prince of the world. The Spirit gives us the gift of faith (1 Cor 12:9) and the fruit of faith (Gal 5:22). Moreover, faith is how we move mountains (Mt 17:20) and destroy the strongholds of the evil one (2 Cor 10:4).
Consequently, Satan repeatedly tempts us to sin and thereby stifle the Spirit (1 Thes 5:19). This is his attempt to disarm us. We must resist his temptations and thus live the life in the Spirit, the life of faith and victory.

Prayer: Father, may I be armed and Satan disarmed (Lk 11:22), and not vice versa.
Promise: “Pray that I may have courage to proclaim it as I ought.” —Eph 6:20
Praise: Jim’s wife felt her parish was dead and wanted to leave the Catholic Church. Jim refused to allow her to leave. Years later, the two are major leaders in several Catholic ministries.