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Walking in the Footsteps of Christ – Day 18

Walking in the Footsteps of Christ – Day 18

Tuesday after 3rd Sunday of Lent

A Lenten Journey with the Rule of the Third Order of the Society of St Francis

These Reflections which take the Rule of the Third Order as their springboard, were originally published in Lent 2012 are being republished during Easter 2020 as a way of deepening our faith during the Covid19 pandemic which is affecting the whole world.

 

To Read:

From the Principles:

The First Way of Service – Prayer (continued)
An ever-deepening devotion to the indwelling Christ is a source of strength and joy. It is Christ’s love that inspires us to service, and strengthens us for sacrifice.

From St Francis:

The Grace of Prayer
St Francis used to state firmly that we should desire the grace of prayer above everything else, and in every way possible he would encourage his brothers to the zealous practice of prayer.  It was his conviction that no one could make progress in the service of God without it.     (St Bonaventure, Major Life, 10:1)

seven days without prayer makes one weak

To Reflect: 

Remember the old aphorism about the need to be diligent in our personal devotion?

‘Seven days without prayer makes one weak’

We are fools when we think we can get by without a daily encounter with the One who Loves us Best.  My experience is that the less time I spend listening to God’s voice then the more time I will spend listening to my voice.  If I am really unlucky I will not only listen to my voice but also to all the other voices which surround me and make shipwreck of my life and my faith.

Not being diligent in prayer leads us into more danger than just the confusion brought about by a cacophony of divergent voices.

When I do not persevere in prayer
I do not know which way I should travel.

When I do not persevere in prayer
I do not have any support for the difficult days of the journey.

When I do not persevere in prayer
I have nowhere to go to find healing from the wounds of the world.

When we choose to spend time strengthening our devotion to Christ then we find that he does indeed ‘inspire us to service and strengthen us for sacrifice.’  An ever-deepening devotion to Christ is the bunker fuel of the life of faith.

Luke 22v27

As we learn to love Him we learn to imitate Him and find, wonderfully, that Christian service is not a duty but a joy and sacrifice, instead of being a reluctant persecution, becomes a fragrant offering.

If we can but get the prayer right all the other acts of service assume their proper place and we begin to be submerged in that Christian joy which, for me, is the key Franciscan charism and our special gift to the church and the world.

 

To Pray:

Lord,
this moment is yours;
mine for you,
and yours for me. 
I need you,
I cannot survive without you;
and yet I go on rushing through life
as if I could do everything in my own strength. 
Forgive me. 

I know
that you care for me at all times,
and that I am always in your hands;
but I still need to pause
and let my heart and spirit
be loved by you
into loving you again.

(Angela Ashwin)

 

To Do:

List no more than three acts of service and personal sacrifice which no longer bring you joy.

Spend time showing them to Jesus in contemplative prayer.

Be prepared to be asked to let go of some things.

Be prepared to be asked to take on some new tasks.

When did you last laugh out loud during your prayer?

What is to stop you telling God the things which make you laugh the next time you pray?

99 Words to Breathe:

D H Lawrence wrote: ‘I am part of the Sun as my eye is part of me.  That I am part of the Earth my feet know perfectly, and my blood is part of the sea.’  This poetic vision of nature’s unity resonates well with modern science.  We share common ancestry with every creature on Earth.  Our constituent atoms were forged in ancient stars.  We live – transiting briefly from dust to dust – on a ‘pale blue dust’ in a vast Galaxy.  But we’re linked into a ‘cosmic web’.  In Charles Darwin’s words, ‘There is grandeur in this view of life’.

(Martin Rees – cosmologist and astrophysicist, Astronomer Royal)

absence of evidence is not evidence of absence-martin-rees-261572

Acknowledgements:

‘The Principles’ are from the Rule of the Third Order of the Society of St Francis – this version amended for corporate reading by Andrew Dotchin
‘The Words of Francis’ are from ‘Through the Year with Francis of Assisi’ selected and translated by Murray Bodo – copyright © Collins Fount 1988
Prayers are from ‘The Book of a Thousand Prayers’ compiled by Angela Ashwin – copyright © Zondervan 1996
‘You have breath for no more than 99 Words.  What would they be?’ were collected by Liz Gray – copyright © DLT 2011
These Reflections, ‘Walking in the Footsteps of Christ’ are copyright © Andrew Dotchin 2020 and may be reproduced without charge on condition that the source is acknowledged

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