Growing in Faith October 2022
Jesus didn’t evaluate people the way others did.
Instead of calling the best of society to follow Him, He included people others often excluded. Consider Zacchaeus, the tax collector. We know he was unpopular, small, in stature, dishonestly wealthy, and he really wanted to see Jesus.
As the chief tax collector in Jericho, Zacchaeus was rich but unpopular. Tax collectors often overcharged and kept the extra money. Something about Jesus must have intrigued Zacchaeus, who climbed a tree to see Him. Imagine his shock when Jesus called him down and invited Himself over for dinner. Deeply moved, Zacchaeus was shocked into repenting, promising to generously reimburse the people robbed—and donating half of his wealth to the poor. Jesus saw Zacchaeus as a child of God. In return, Zacchaeus’ eagerness for Jesus’ friendship changed his life forever, beginning with generous restitution. As followers of Jesus, we are called to be open, forgiving, and accepting of others. We never know their full story. Look past the gossip and adopt Jesus’ habit of forgiving quickly and being welcoming in your relationships.
Why do Catholics honor the saints?
Non-Catholics often wonder at the hundreds of calendar days, prayers, and statues devoted to the saints. The Church recognizes and celebrates men and women of extraordinary holiness who we realize are in heaven. We look to them as examples to follow and what we can become when we cooperate fully with God’s grace. God’s goodness, beauty, and love is reflected in the saints’ lives. Just as complimenting an artwork is honoring the artist, so by honoring the saints, we glorify God.
What gifts did God gift just to you?
God gave us each a distinctive set of talents and gifts that make us unique and special. He intends us to use those gifts to bring others to Him and encourage us to grow in love and knowledge of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Here are some practical tips for discerning your spiritual gifts and how to use them:
Take a clue from what you enjoy. How do you like to spend your time? Do you enjoy teaching, creating, singing, reading, constructing, instructing, socializing? We often enjoy doing what we do best. God often wants us to use those competencies to share His love with others.
Tap into your personality. God loves and delights in each of us. He will purify our sinfulness, but what is essential to us, He wants to develop and strengthen. If God made you humorous, artistic, pragmatic, or athletic, for your best qualities for His use.
How are you living your vocation? Whether we are married, single, or consecrated religious, it’s the “role” in which we serve God best. All priorities should be ordered around that vocation.
Make your gift a gift to others. Our gifts are meant to be given away in service of the Kingdom. We give away and God gives us more. Ask God where your gifts can do the most good.
Why are we asked to pray the Rosary?
When our Lady appeared at Fatima, Portugal, she asked that the Rosary be prayed for peace. As an immensely powerful prayer, the Rosary also has benefits for our:
Minds: Even on our busiest days, we need to spend time reflecting on Jesus. A whole rosary takes a mere 20 minutes. The Rosary should be part of every day. Take breaks, pray for souls, receive graces.
Hearts: The Rosary is a Christ-centered, deeply Scriptural prayer. By meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary— important events in the life of Christ—we recall evidence of God’s love in history. We can ask for the graces to imitate the virtues of Jesus and Mary. Gradually, our hearts will be conformed to Jesus’ heart.
Souls: The Rosary prepares us for deeper prayer. Switching from “active working mode” to “contemplative prayer mode” may not happen right away. The repetition of the Our Father and Hail Mary prayers creates a space in our minds and hearts, so we can enter into deep, intimate prayer with God.
Growing in Faith, Oct. 2022