Thank you for joining me as we Lectio the Liturgy with the Collect for the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time.
Show favor, O Lord, to your servants and mercifully increase the gifts of your grace, that, made fervent in hope, faith and charity, they may be ever watchful in keeping your commands. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.
This week we ask God to show favor, or satisfy our longing, by increasing the gifts of his grace. Actually, we want him to mercifully increase them. We ask God for mercy for a lot of things, especially if we sin, but today we ask for his mercy to increase his gifts in us.
With this increase, we are fervent, or - I love this - we are boiling hot, in his gifts of hope, faith, and charity. We need to ask for hope, faith, and charity because we can’t get them on our own. They are theological virtues, they relate directly to God. They are infused by God into the souls of the faithful to make them capable as acting as his children. (CCC 1812-1813)
Hope is the desire of the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness. We have hope for what lies ahead and place our trust in Christ's promises. We rely only on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit. (CCC 1817) <br> With faith we believe in God and we believe all that he has said and revealed to us. We believe because he is truth itself. (CCC 1814)
Charity isn’t like plain ol’ love. Love is an act of the will, to love is a choice we make. The theological virtue of charity helps us to love, but it is a gift given by God. This virtue allows us to love God and others in the way that he loves us. (CCC1822)
Now that we’re on fire with hope, faith and charity, we do we do with them? We have the ability to be ever watchful in keeping God’s commands. Jesus tells us in John 14:15 that if we love him we will keep his commandments. Obeying God’s commands is a way of worshipping him. It is a true test of our faith in God.
Obeying God’s commands also brings blessing. David, like his ancestors, Moses, Abraham, Isaac, Noah, (the list could go on) have learned a valuable lesson of obeying God’s commands. When we obey, we bring blessings, not just to ourselves but to those around us. The Israelites were not happy campers, but it was the obedience of Moses that brought them to the Promised Land. When we are blessed we are a blessing.
This week as I’ve meditated on this Collect, I’ve been asking God for more hope, faith, and charity and I’ve learned something about an increase in these virtues. They bring shalom peace.
Shalom is not a peace that means absence of war. Shalom means completeness, wholeness, tranquility. The root verb means to be complete, perfect and full.
I learned this discovery in a painful way - I had a run-in with a wind-whipped door. It closed quickly and broke a bone in my foot - two days before we leave for a 20-hour drive to attend a family wedding. The very first thing I noticed was that I felt peace. And then the pain set in.
I know that my foot is not broken to teach me a lesson, however, I do believe that God is using the opportunity to teach me about being aware of the gifts of hope, faith, and charity that he wants to give us. We have hope because we know that God has a plan, faith from knowing that God is true to his word, and charity, because he gives us an opportunity to slow down and remember to rely on him. I can’t think anything else that can make this time of healing complete.
Thanks for praying with me,