“We have the mind of Christ.” —1 Corinthians 2:16
“The root of all conduct is the mind” (Sir 37:17). Therefore, a great battle rages between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of darkness for control of our minds. Whoever wins the war for our mind will also gain control of our actions, whether for good or for evil (see Sir 37:18). This is why Scripture has so much to say about our mind. We must “be transformed by the renewal of [our] mind,” but this can’t happen until we break away from the influence of the worldly culture around us (Rm 12:2).
The kingdom of darkness cannot coexist with the kingdom of God, as Jesus makes clear in today’s Gospel reading. One kingdom or the other must be driven out (see Lk 4:35). So it is with our minds. We must drive out our sinful and empty thoughts “and acquire a fresh, spiritual way of thinking” (Eph 4:23).
In Baptism, we became children of God and were immersed in the Holy Spirit. When we renewed our Baptism at Easter, we rejected Satan’s empty works and promises, and by implication, empty and sinful thoughts. Immersed in the Holy Spirit, we take control of our thoughts, bringing “every thought into captivity to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Cor 10:5). We empty our minds of bad thoughts and continually replace them with good thoughts.
“Your thoughts should be wholly directed to all that is true, all that deserves respect, all that is honest, pure, admirable, decent, virtuous, or worthy of praise” (Phil 4:8). Love God “with all your mind” (Lk 10:27).
Prayer: Jesus, erase from my mind all thoughts that are not from You and bring to my mind Your thoughts.
Promise: “He commands the unclean spirits with authority and power, and they leave.” —Lk 4:36
Praise: Daily Scripture reading and quiet prayer time help Dorothy keep her focus on Jesus (see Heb 3:1).
The Imitation of Christ
You thunder your judgements upon me, O Lord; you shake all my bones with fear and dread, and my soul becomes severely frightened. I am bewildered when I realise that even the heavens are not pure in your sight.
If you discovered iniquity in the angels and did not spare them, what will become of me? The stars fell from heaven, and I, mere dust, what should I expect? Those whose works seemed praiseworthy fell to the depths, and I have seen those who once were fed with the bread of angels take comfort in the husks of swine.
There is no holiness where you have withdrawn your hand, O Lord; no profitable wisdom if you cease to rule over it; no helpful strength if you cease to preserve it. If you forsake us, we sink and perish; but if you visit us, we rise up and live again. We are unstable, but you make us firm; we grow cool, but you inflame us.
All superficial glory has been swallowed up in the depths of your judgement upon me.
What is all flesh in your sight? Can the clay be glorified in opposition to its Maker?
How can anyone be stirred by empty talk if his heart is subject in the truth to God?
If a man is subject to truth, possession of the whole world cannot swell him with pride; nor will he be swayed by the flattery of his admirers, if he has established all his trust in God.
For those who do nothing but talk amount to nothing; they fail with their din of words, but ‘the truth of the Lord endures for ever’.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me; therefore He has anointed Me.” —Luke 4:18
The Spirit of the Lord is upon Jesus, and He wants to lavish the Spirit on us (Ti 3:6) in an unrationed way (Jn 3:34). However, to receive the Spirit and grow in the Spirit, we must repent. At the first Christian Pentecost, Peter proclaimed: “You must repent and be baptized, each one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, that your sins may be forgiven; then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38, our transl).
The people of Jesus’ home town, Nazareth, missed the opportunity to receive the Spirit by refusing to repent of not accepting Him (see Lk 4:24ff). The Corinthians had received every gift of the Spirit (1 Cor 1:7), but they did not grow in the Spirit because they refused to continue to repent more and more deeply. They remained infants in Christ (1 Cor 3:1). Life in the Spirit, and continued, deeper life in the Spirit are based on deeper repentance.
When preparing for the Great Jubilee of the year 2000, Pope John Paul II proclaimed: “The Church cannot prepare for the new millennium ‘in any other way than in the Holy Spirit’ ” (Towards The New Millennium, 44, emphasis his). Repent and receive the Holy Spirit in a life-changing and world-renewing way. Then let the Holy Spirit convict you of sin (Jn 16:8), lead you to deeper repentance, and fill you as never before.
Prayer: Father, make me a disciple of the Holy Spirit.
Promise: “My message and my preaching had none of the persuasive force of ‘wise’ argumentation, but the convincing power of the Spirit.” —1 Cor 2:4
Praise: Belinda had a tubal ligation. Years later, she repented and expressed it by adopting a baby girl.
The Imitation of Christ
My son, says the Lord, listen to my words, the most delightful of all words, surpassing all the knowledge of the philosophers and wise men of this world. My words are spirit and life and cannot be comprehended by human senses alone. They are not to be interpreted according to the vain pleasure of the listener, but they must be listened to in silence and received with all humility and great affection.
And I said: Blessed is the man whom you teach, Lord, and whom you instruct in your law; for him you soften the blow of the evil day, and you do not desert him on the earth.
The Lord says, I have instructed my prophets from the beginning. Even to the present time I have not stopped speaking to all men, but many are deaf and obstinate in response.
Many hear the world more easily than they hear God; they follow the desires of the flesh more readily than the pleasure of God. The world promises rewards that are temporal and insignificant, and these are pursued with great longing; I promise rewards that are eternal and unsurpassable, yet the hearts of mortals respond sluggishly.
Who serves and obeys me in all matters with as much care as the world and its princes are served?
Blush, then, you lazy, complaining servant, for men are better prepared for the works of death than you are for the works of life. They take more joy in vanity than you in truth.
Yet they are often deceived in their hope, while my promise deceives no one, and leaves empty-handed no one who confides in me. What I have promised I shall give; what I have said I will fulfil for any man who remains faithful in my love unto the very end. I am the rewarder of all good men, the one who rigorously tests the devoted.
Write my words in your heart and study them diligently, for they will be absolutely necessary in the time of temptation. Whatever you fail to understand in reading my words will become clear to you on the day of your visitation.
I visit my elect in a double fashion: that is, with temptation and with consolation. And I read to them two lessons each day: one to rebuke them for their faults; the other to exhort them to increase their virtue.
He who possesses my words, yet spurns them, earns his own judgement on the last day.