With the first Sunday of Advent just over a month ago, the Church began its new year. Now, in January, we begin a new year from a secular framework. In both cases, we have been given a golden opportunity to take a look at our lives and ask ourselves some important and probing questions.
Think of this: We have just celebrated the reality that God loved us so much that he gave us his only Son! His son took on flesh, became like us in all things but sin. He knows our pain, our suffering and our losses. He knows!
He took on flesh and by that act would show us how to live, would actually walk with us on this earth that we might know we have Emmanuel (“God with us”). We are not orphans; we are not alone – ever! By being born on this earth, by living and suffering and dying a horrible death on a cross for us, he broke the power of death so that it would not destroy us forever. God wants us to live with him forever! We are loved beyond price, brothers and sisters. It is because of that love for us we seek to live good lives as our act of thanksgiving! That’s why I offer the questions below. Ask God for the grace to conform our lives more to him. As we do, he actually takes up residence more and more in us – body, mind and spirit.
“Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for the temple of God, which you are, is holy.” (1 Cor 3:16-18)
“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been purchased at a price. Therefore glorify God in your body.” (1 Cor 6:19-20)
“What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, ‘I will live with them and move among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.’” (2 Cor 6:16)
In light of these Scriptures, what does God ask of us? He asks us to take seriously our call. He asks us to revere him by obeying what he asks because it is for our eternal good!
Let’s use this month to examine our lives simply and honestly:
1. Is God at the center (or coming more to the center) of my decisions, priorities and goals in life? How can I call myself a Christian, a Catholic, if he is not at the heart of what I think and say and do? Otherwise I am only paying lip service to my faith.
2. Do I pray daily with the Scriptures? If not, why not? How can I do God’s will, let alone know God’s will, unless I am seeking the truth in his word? One way to get started is to listen to my daily radio program Food for the Journey. It is a 15-minute commentary on the Mass readings for the day. If you don’t have Catholic radio in your area, go to our website – renewalministries.net – and you can listen each day at your convenience. Make sure you have a Bible and make use of it.
3. Am I regularly going to the sacrament of reconciliation? When we are trying to change our lives and priorities, it helps so much to rid ourselves of those sins that inevitably “pepper” our lives. Remember that the more we confess our sins, the more strength we are given to avoid sin. God wants to give us hope and he is providing the means by which real hope can grow. Please take advantage. May God abundantly bless and lead you in these next two months.
May you truly become more and more temples of the living God. It is possible because God has told us so.
Sister Ann Shields is a renowned author and a member of the Servants of God’s Love. Questions can be addressed to Sister Ann Shields, Renewal Ministries, 230 Collingwood, Suite 240, Ann Arbor, MI 48103