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New Family in Christ
Memorial of Saint Francis de Sales, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
His mother and his brothers arrived. Standing outside they sent word to him and called him. A crowd seated around him told him, “Your mother and your brothers [and your sisters] are outside asking for you.” But he said to them in reply, “Who are my mother and [my] brothers?” And looking around at those seated in the circle he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. [For] whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”
Opening Prayer: Dear Jesus, send your Holy Spirit to my heart and help me discern God’s will for me today and always.
- Chosen Ones: Could Jesus really mean that his family is not important? Why would he say this? Here Jesus is telling us in a striking way how our fidelity to God’s will is more important than the family we inherited at birth. The Jewish people listening to him had been told that they were God’s chosen people (Deuteronomy 14:2). Many believed they were saved simply because they were Jewish. Jesus breaks down their preconception to show that those who carry out the will of his heavenly Father are his true brothers and sisters, the new chosen ones. As Catholics, we can sometimes fall into a false sense of security ourselves. Our cultural identity as Catholics is not our “ticket to heaven.” As Catholics, we are called to live a personal, authentic love relationship with Jesus through daily prayer and the sacraments.
- Family in Christ: The Church is a family in Christ. “Those who did accept him [Jesus] have been given the power to become children of God” (John 1:12). The grace of our baptism, along with our personal decision to accept Jesus, is what makes us God’s beloved children, “and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ” (Rom 8:12). Do we live out of a deep conviction that we are God’s beloved children, his royal heirs? This should fill us with gratitude, joy, dignity, and a sense of responsibility.
- Renewing Our Mind: As God’s children, we have a great responsibility to carry out his will (Luke 12:48). Staying close to Jesus in prayer and the sacraments is the best way to know the will of God. When the Holy Spirit leads us, our very lives become a type of worship-filled liturgy. “I urge you therefore…offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect” (Romans 12:1-2). Through prayer, God breaks down any misconceptions we have; he “renews our mind” with his own pure thoughts and words.
Conversing with Christ: Jesus, please give me the grace to pray frequently in order to submit myself to God’s will. You know my every thought and action before I do (Psalms 139:1-5). Please help me to notice when my actions are not united to God’s will and grant me the courage to repent of them.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace, I will set aside a time of silence to pray. I will ask God to show me what is “good and pleasing and perfect” in my life and what is not.
For Further Reflection: Read this article about the power of silence to create a sacred space where you can encounter Jesus: The Power of Silent Prayer.
Carey Boyzuck is a wife, mother, freelance writer, and a new lay member of Regnum Christi. She blogs at www.word-life-light.com.