Lenten Meditation: Kingdom Come


From The Word Among Us, today’s Lenten meditation reflects upon Matthew 6:10:

Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. (Matthew 6:10)

When you were young, did you enjoy hearing firsthand accounts of where your parents or grandparents grew up? Didn’t it feel as if you could picture their homes because of the vivid way they described their younger years? Well, Jesus also had a firsthand account of the place where he came from—heaven.

When Jesus spoke about heaven, he wasn’t talking about a distant reality but a real place that is his home. He was talking about a reality that was as near to him as our world is to us. Jesus knew heaven as a place free from pain, weeping, and death (Revelation 21:4) He knew it as a place of everlasting joy and peace. He often spoke of the rewards stored in heaven for the righteous (Matthew 5:12; 6:20; 19:21). The very reason he became man was to testify to the reality of heaven and to make a way for everyone to join him there.

In all his preaching, as well as in his miracles and acts of forgiveness, Jesus sought to give the people a sense of hope: heaven had broken into earth, and everlasting life was now on the horizon! Through his death and resurrection, Jesus overcame the sin that had separated us from God. He brought us close to our heavenly Father and made it possible for us to become citizens of his heavenly kingdom. What’s more, by the gift of his Holy Spirit, he has made heaven a present reality for us. Each and every day, we can experience a touch of heaven as the Spirit pours God’s love into our hearts (Romans 5:5).

So what does this mean as we pray, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven?” Good news, that’s what! It means that as we try our best to do God’s will every day, we are aligning ourselves with heaven. It means that the reality and the rewards of heaven will flow into our lives. It means that we can experience all the blessings, gifts, and grace that God has stored up for us in heaven—right here, right now!

“Father, teach me to love heaven as my new and eternal home.”

Isaiah 55:10-11; Psalm 34:4-7, 16-19

Speaking from personal experience, the “thy will be done” part can be very challenging, especially when the guidance sought and followed through prayer and reflection puts you at odds with others who may not understand or accept your choices. They may even see you as “selfish” or uncaring as you pursue the path set forth for your life from God — a path that may or may not meet with their approval. But the fact remains, we are all here on this earth to fulfill our own unique, God-given purpose; the challenge then is to complete that mission to the very best of our ability in spite of the obstacles we’ll surely face and/or the disapproval we might encounter along the way. It’s definitely easier said than done, which is why remaining focused on God and taking time for prayer every single day is so critical.

I’ve found that the life of a freelance writer/blogger/social media marketer — even in an age of advanced technology, which has opened up endless opportunities — is still highly suspect, particularly among the “9-to-5”, “jobs with benefits” crowd. Actually, in all of my years of corporate life, it was more like 8:00 a.m – 5:30 p.m., but the point is there are many people out there who don’t consider it “work” unless you are someone else’s employee, driving to an office Monday through Friday, collecting a regular, predictable paycheck, and earning whatever bonus your company might be offering that year.

If you desire something else, something more and are willing to live with the consequences and challenges of a non-corporate, somewhat unpredictable but always interesting career path?

Well to quote Albert Einstein: “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.”

In the case of new media, it’s not so much opposition from “mediocre” minds as it is from intelligent minds that are engaged in traditional lines of work which rarely if ever, involve the use of social media platforms or the internet. Having always wanted a career as an author/writer/journalist, I am eternally grateful to be living in an era of the “democratization” of writing,wherein I can self-publish a novel (instead of deal with endless rejection letters), write content for a variety of sites and blogs (including my own — and get paid for it), and use social media to build and engage an audience. This has led to several content writing, editing and ghostwriting projects, including the one in which I am presently engaged.

So what does any of this have to do with today’s reading?

My point is that following God’s will for our individual lives requires strength, commitment, endurance and the ability to live with disapproval. On the other hand, God will always put people around you who do support your efforts, and I’ve been blessed that these greatly outnumber the naysayers. And even the ones who disapprove are coming from a good place. The best way to reassure them?

Stay focused, produce excellent work and prove them wrong. And always remember that you answer to a Higher Power who loves you unconditionally.

Have a great Tuesday!


Lenten Meditation: Friday after Ash Wednesday

Today’s Lenten meditation from The Word Among Us is taken from Isaiah 58:6:

This, rather, is the fasting that I wish. (Isaiah 58:6)


Of the three practices that we focus on in Lent—prayer, fasting, and almsgiving—it’s the latter that we can find the most challenging. While many of us do give to the needy during Lent, it can be harder to find opportunities to serve the poor in person.

Often we begin Lent with a sincere desire to help the poor, but somehow the whole season gets away from us before we are able to find a way to serve. With today being just the third day of Lent, we still have plenty of time to make a concrete decision about what we will do!

Are you not sure where to start? Maybe a call to your parish office would be a good first step. Ask about opportunities to help with a parish clothing drive, a food pantry, or the local St. Vincent de Paul Society. More than simply giving a donation—which is always good—look for opportunities that bring you into direct contact with those less fortunate than you. That’s when your heart changes—when you look into the eyes of those you are serving and recognize them as your brothers and sisters.

If you don’t find something at first, keep looking. Check your diocesan newspaper or visit the local charities in your area. Catholic newspapers often have listings of area charities that are looking for volunteers. Who knows? Maybe you can even turn this into a permanent thing once Lent is over. After all, Jesus reminds us that the poor we will always have with us, not just during Lent!

Today’s passage from Isaiah is a dramatic reminder that Jesus is looking at the motives of our hearts more than just our outward actions. As much as he loves it when we fast, he is also looking for people who are seeking to set the oppressed free, share their bread with the hungry, shelter the homeless, and clothe the naked (Isaiah 58:6-7). What’s more, if we do this, God promises: “Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your wound shall be quickly healed… . You shall cry for help, and he will say: Here I am!” (58:8-9).

“Jesus, I want to serve you in the poor and needy this Lent. Help me find a practical way to meet you as I reach out to those less fortunate in my community.”

Psalm 51:3-6, 18-19; Matthew 9:14-15


Sunday Inspiration: Bearing Fruit

Today’s meditation from the Word Among Us:

“Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit.” (John 15:5)

How comforting it is to know that we do not walk alone through this life! No matter how isolated or weak we may feel, the truth is that Jesus is with us and will never abandon us. With Jesus as “the vine,” we can be assured that we will receive every­thing we need to nourish and sustain us. With the Father as the “vine grower,” all the circumstances of our lives—both pleasant and difficult— become his instruments as he prunes us and molds us into his image.

As an example of the effect that abiding in Christ can have, con­sider the early church as St. Luke describes it in today’s first reading. Where did Saul receive the courage not only to forego his former perse­cution of the church but to become one of its foremost apostles? His personal encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus changed him radically, but there were still layers of pride, prejudice, and fear that God had to strip away so that he could become more and more effective. More than likely, this pruning pro­cess was difficult, but Saul embraced it because the treasure of intimacy with Christ was so precious to him.

Think also of the disciples in Jerusalem when Saul attempted to join them. How did they overcome their fear and mistrust of their one­time persecutor? Again, they let the Lord lead them, guide them, and prune them where necessary. Certainly this was not an easy thing to do, but they came to trust that God could bring life from death, and so they were able to take the risk.

God is deeply committed to us, just as he was to those first believers. If we try our best to stay connected with him during our days, he will prune us as well. It won’t always be enjoyable, but it will be fruitful! Our lives will never be the same; they will keep getting better and better and better.

“Heavenly Father, make my heart one with you and your Son, so that I may bear fruit that brings you glory and honor.”