The peace of Christ

Albert, called by God’s favour to be Patriarch of the Church of Jerusalem, bids health in the Lord and the blessing of the Holy Spirit to his beloved sons in Christ, B. and the other hermits under obedience to him, who live near the spring on Mount Carmel.

Rule of St. Albert, No. 1


How would you respond to a person who does not seem to want to receive the peace of Christ?

When I was in one of our mission areas in Bataan, I reminded one of the mothers that her daughter will be receiving for the first time the sacrament of the Eucharist that Sunday. But her response took me by surprise. She said, “I don’t know, brother, if I would let her join.”

How could a mother deny her daughter the very presence of Christ?

When Christ sent his disciples to preach the Good News to the people he reminded them to wish the house peace, but when the house does not deserve the peace, they are to take it back.

But who really deserves the peace of Christ?

Christ instituted the sacraments so that we have something to hold on that would strengthen our faith and deepen our love for Him.

The sacraments allow us to participate in his passion – his life, his suffering, his death, and his resurrection. But we will only take benefit from these wonderful gifts if we are willing to take it, to accept it. The gift is for all, but apparently not all are willing to accept them.

Are we willing to receive the peace of Christ in our lives?

Matthew 10:12-15
As you enter a house, wish it peace. If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; if not, let your peace return to you. Whoever will not receive you or listen to your words—go outside that house or town and shake the dust from your feet. Amen, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.

Prayer
Lord, grant me a heart willing and excited to accept you and to allow you to enter into my life. Let your peace reign in my house. Amen.

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Fasting, an expression of love

You are to fast every day, except Sundays, from the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross until Easter Day, unless bodily sickness or feebleness, or some other good reason, demand a dispensation from the fast; for necessity overrides every law.

Rule of St. Albert, No. 16


“Our teacher said that we are not supposed to eat meat, Brother,” Jessly, a grade five student, once told me when I told him to eat the food prepared by his grandmother.

“Why is that?” I asked.

“Because we just had our forehead marked with ashes,” he innocently said, although deep inside I knew that he just does not want to eat his food.

Fasting is one of the most overused religious practices and many people make it as an excuse for vanity, or worse, when they want something from God. Prayer and fasting, they say, is the surest way for God to listen to our prayer.

Fasting is more than that. It is not a magic formula to get God to answer.

Fasting is an expression of love for our Lord, and as the prophet Isaiah would tell us, what the Lord desires is for us to fast not simply by missing on food but by bringing His justice to the people, by showing everyone His mercy and compassion, by becoming ourselves agents of God’s mercy and compassion.

How?

Isaiah said: “(By) sharing your bread with the hungry and to bring the oppressed and homeless into your own home, in clothing those who are naked without neglecting your own people….”

God does not need us to do sacrifices, but the sacrifice that we do through fasting is but an expression of love, of being one with the passion and the sufferings of Christ. We want to experience the cross in the hope of understanding the love of God.

Fasting should bring us to this understanding and create a conversion in us wherein it becomes much easier for us to be a true neighbor.

How do I express my sacrifice for the Lord?

Isaiah 58:6-7
“Is not this rather the fast which I desire: break unjust fetters, untie the thongs of the yoke, set free the oppressed and break every yoke? Does it not consist perhaps in sharing your bread with the hungry and to bring the oppressed and homeless into your own home, in clothing those who are naked without neglecting your own people?”

Prayer
Dearest Lord, grant me a heart of sacrifice, willing to give myself for the sake of the other. Let me be an instrument of your love, Lord. Amen.