Sun, 26 September 2021
O blessed help of the poor,
slave to widows and orphans
and all those most outcast
and in need,
the least of Christ’s brothers
you indeed gave your life to serve,
completely spending yourself
in their assistance
and leading your own brother priests
to do the same…
and so Christ Himself you waited upon
day in and day out
upon this earth –
pray that we, too, shall be like Jesus,
filled with compassion
for the needs of our neighbors,
sharing their poverty
as we empty ourselves as the Lord has done.
May all our prayers and desires
lead to such charity for the plight of others,
that we might fulfill with you
our Savior’s call to the Cross
and come, therefore, to the riches of Heaven.
Sun, 26 September 2021
(Zec.8:1-8; Ps.102:16-23,29; Lk.9:46-50)
“The city shall be filled with boys and girls playing in her streets.”
“Even if this should seem impossible in the eyes of the remnant of this people, shall it in those days be impossible in my eyes also, says the Lord of hosts.” Sometimes we lose sight of the kingdom of heaven. Sometimes our faith fails because of the difficult circumstances in which we find ourselves. Or sometimes our pride can be the obstruction, blinding our eyes to the presence of the Lord in our midst, speaking to us in the children who play all around us, who sit at His side… whose angels behold His face always. Sometimes we lose hope and the promise of eternal life escapes us.
But why? Do we not know that the Lord “has regarded the prayer of the destitute, and not despised their prayer”? Have we not experienced His redeeming grace many times in our lives? Do we not believe Him when He tells His chosen ones: “They shall be my people, and I will be their God, with faithfulness and justice”? Why are we so forgetful of His love for us and distracted by our situation? For the Lord does “hear the groaning of the prisoners”; He does “release those doomed to die”; He does look down “from His holy height” and hear the prayers of us His lowly ones, if we but call out to Him.
“I will rescue my people from the land of the rising sun, and from the land of the setting sun.” At the center of the universe shall we dwell, “within Jerusalem,” with the Lord. This is our promise. And this is our call – to bring others within those gates, to invite all His children to enter His holy presence. Not to look past them in blind ambition, but to set our hearts on serving Him by striving always and only to build up His kingdom even here on earth.
Jesus knows our thoughts, brothers and sisters. He knows how vain we can be in our ways. And so He sets a child before us. He shows us the lowliness we must know to enter the kingdom of heaven. And He presents us with a challenge to gather His children there. Indeed, heaven shall be filled with the laughter of children, but will we hear it – and will we find true reward by increasing it always in His Name? Let your heart not fail or despair of any circumstances, for “the children of [His] servants shall abide, and their posterity continue in [His] presence.” Ever maintain hope for the glory of Zion and see it rising in your midst.
O LORD, may we be as children before you
in your heavenly kingdom.
YHWH, gather your children together as one in your holy City of Jerusalem. In the peace of your presence let us dwell all our days. We are greatly troubled here upon this earth. Help us to turn and become as children that in innocence and humility before you we might remain. Hear us as we cry out and look down with pity upon our poor souls.
O LORD, let us be on your side; faithful and just make us, we pray. O let us serve you in holiness that when you appear in glory we may enter your company and not be kept from you by our foolish pride. You are our God; let us not be made blind to your presence.
O LORD, let us hear the sound of children playing in your streets, and let us be among them. If we could but humble ourselves, in your eyes we would find our place secure. Release those who are doomed to die; with you let us dwell forever.