“Installing God as the Lightning Rod in our lives, in our homes, in our communities and in our Church and uniting ourselves, to find strength and meaning in Prayer
(Based on Ezek 9:1-7, 10:18-22 and Mt 18:15-21 – Feast of St Jane de Chantal – Wednesday of the 19th Week of Ordinary Time)
“Where two are three are gathered in my name…there am I in the midst of them.”
This is perhaps one of the common verses that are familiar to many, memorized by many and quoted by many.
We often understand and assume and take for granted this verse to be a sure assurance that the Lord is with us, whenever a few of us, gather together in prayer or worship.
But let’s look at this verse a little more closely…
God, as the Lord of the Universe, is surely present everywhere…
… but to experience His Living Presence, there is a condition required on the part of the ones gathered.
What is that condition?
A unity of hearts!
Every assembly of prayer is not an assurance of spiritual power
… there needs to be a relationship of love!
Every coming together doesn’t assure a default presence of God
… there needs a communion of hearts!
Every gathering together does not mean that the Spirit of God reigns
… there needs a dispersion of hatred!
Every get-together for praise and worship need not grant divine renewal
…there needs a harmony of bonds!
We are familiar with the concept of a Lightning Rod.
A lightning rod is a metallic rod on the top of a building or some elevated structure
… which is used to protect the structure from a lightning strike.
If a lightning strikes, it hits the lightning rod, and the force is conducted to the ground, through a wire.
The structure or the building remains untouched and safe!
A lightning rod takes away all the energy and grounds it so that everything remains safe!
Our relationships need such a lightning rod
… God is to be that Lightning Rod!
When there is anger among us
… we need God, as the lightning rod, to diffuse away the tension!
When there is bitterness among us
… we need God as the lightning rod, to absorb the unpleasantness!
When there is unforgiveness among us
… we need God, as the lightning rod, to take in the ill feelings!
When there is a hateful feeling among us
… we need God, as the lightning rod, to scatter the repulsiveness!
The Gospel of the Day is a challenge to each one of us to examine the quality of our prayer life, especially our praying together in a family, or a community or a Church.
Let us not deceive ourselves or water down this grave matter!
Unless there is a unity of hearts
…there is no real prayer!
Unless there is an accordance of relationships
…there is no real worship of God!
Unless there is mutual unity and friendship
… there is no real Community of Prayer!
The Lord doesn’t demand perfection always, but He certainly does demand an effort towards perfection!
We need to examine…
We need to evaluate our lives…
We need to even fraternally correct others in this!
Let us truly recognize the meaning of Gathering together in the Lord’s name.
There is much meaning in coming together to pray.
There is great power in praying as a family, as a community and as a Church.
St John Marie Vianney would enlighten us – “Individual praying is like straw scattered over a field. If you set a straw alight, the flame is small. But if you gather up all the bits of straw, the flame fills out, rising high up in the sky, and it’s the same with communal prayer.”
The Lord loves to reign in our prayer
The Lord wishes to be enthroned in our praises
The Lord seeks to be crowned as the centre of our worship
May we purify our hearts of all our hatred and ill feelings, to make this happen when we come in prayer!
Let us install God as the Lightning Rod in our lives, in our homes, in our communities and in our Church.
Let us unite ourselves to find strength and meaning in Prayer!
Today we specially seek the intercession of St Jane de Chantal, in order to have greater strength in our personal relationships.
She is the patron saint of forgotten people, in-law problems, loss of parents, parents separated from children and widows.
She is the foundress of the Congregation of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary
… along with St Francis de Sales (the Doctor of Love)
(This is the Congregation to which St Margaret Mary Alacoque who promoted the Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus belonged to
May the words of St Jane de Chantal words inspire us:
“If we truly love our neighbours, we refrain from saying anything prejudicial to them.
We support everyone as we would like to be supported.
We try to give the example that we would like to receive from others.
We excuse and forgive the blunders of others as we would like ours to be forgiven and excused.
We rejoice in the happiness of others and are sorrowful in their pains, just as we would like them to respond to us in ours.
We graciously help others in their needs both by prayer and actual service.
In this way we truly show our good-will and love.”
Happy Feast of St Jane de Chantal!
God Bless! Live Jesus!
Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “To be pleased at correction and reproofs shows…
… that one loves the virtues which are contrary to those faults for which he is corrected and reproved.