“…I hold you in my heart, you who are all partners with me in grace…how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. And this is my prayer: that your love may increase ever more and more in knowledge and every kind of perception, to discern what is of value, so that you may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God”. Phil 1:7, 8-11
This excerpt from the First Reading has been on my mind (and in my heart) for a very long time. I have shared with many that I hold them in the community of my heart. It’s a phrase a spiritual director shared with me during one of our first meetings. It has become part of my prayer life, to intentionally pray for those in the community of my heart. This community includes and is not limited to: family, friends, mentors, teachers, all those who have had direct contact with me throughout my life, including those who have been part of daily life encounters, work projects, prayer lists, the situations and underlying issues for which I have said I would think and pray.
I do not take things off my prayer list. My list becomes part of the community of my heart which encompasses all of His creation. This is echoed in the Psalm Response, “How great are the works of the Lord.” It’s a natural segue into the Gospel Reading from Luke in which Jesus, again, asks the Pharisees and those dining with him, “….Is it lawful to cure on the Sabbath… who among you, if your son or ox falls in a cistern would not immediately pull him out on the Sabbath day?”
Who among you would not reach out to a brother, sister, or any member of the human family, to give food, clothing, shelter, healthcare, whatever assistance that is needed? We are all related. We are called to increase in love and in knowledge of every kind of perception to discern what is of value in our life, our world, for all our sisters and brothers.
Pray with me as St. John Paul II did with these words:
Oh God, You are our Creator. You are good and Your mercy knows no bounds. To You arises the praise of every creature.
Oh God, You have given us an inner law by which we must live. To do Your will is our task. To follow Your ways is to know peace of heart. To You we offer our homage.
Guide us on all the paths we travel upon this earth. Free us from all the evil tendencies which lead our hearts away from Your will. Never allow us to stray from You.
Oh God, judge of all humanity, help us to be included among Your chosen ones on the last day.
Oh God, Author of peace and justice, give us true joy and authentic love, and a lasting solidarity among peoples.
Give us Your everlasting gifts. Amen.
Beth Price is part of the customer care team at Diocesan. She brings a unique depth of experience to the group due to her time spent in education, parish ministries, sales and the service industry over the last 25 yrs. She is a practicing spiritual director as well as a Secular Franciscan (OFS). Beth is quick to offer a laugh, a prayer or smile to all she comes in contact with. Reach her here email@example.com.