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  My Witness

Vol. 12, No. 2, April, 2007

Before You Are Life and Death: Choose! Part 1
by Sr. Brigid Meierotto, S.N.C.

Sister Brigid In this teaching, we will accept the word of God, the Scriptures into our hearts and minds, letting them be light to us. The Scriptures are the inspired word of God which has the power to accomplish what it says, for us. Yes, for us, right here. Right now!

The Scripture we are reflecting upon is: Sirach 15:15-20; Psalm 98; 1 Corinthians 2:9-16; Matthew 5. Read these passages slowly, prayerfully.

As you read the Scripture, in your heart ask the Holy Spirit to explain to you the message that the Lord has for you personally. Do not doubt that the Lord Jesus will do this for you, because that is why he came, so that you can get to know and to love Jesus. "These things I have spoken to you, while I am still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you" (John 14:25f). Ask the Holy Spirit what you desire from him...something like this: "O Holy Spirit, Jesus said that you would teach me all things and I believe him. Teach me the meaning of the Beatitudes so that I can understand Jesus' way of life! Teach me what I must do in order to live out the Beatitudes! in order to save me from sin and death ! Teach me how to love Jesus with my whole heart, trusting him, giving him praise and adoration with every breath! Thank you, O Holy Spirit."

What a reassuring word the Lord gives to us in Sirach, chapter 15, verse 15:

"If you will, you can keep the commandments, and to act faithfully is a matter of your own choice."

Did we really hear this right? The Holy Spirit is instructing us about the power of our own will -- that is, our own will power! The Lord is telling us that if we want to, we can keep the commandments. Right now let's just think about one commandment, the new commandment that Jesus gave to us at the Last Supper:

"This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you" (John 15:12).

Now, just recall the number of times that each of us has "given in" to anger; been "overwhelmed" by impatience; couldn't resist the urge to "get even" with unkind, uncharitable, violent words or actions.

So, what do you think about what the Holy Spirit is telling us here in the book of Sirach 15:15?

"If you will, you can keep the commandments, and to act faithfully is a matter of your own choice."

Verse sixteen continues to tell us that it is possible for us to choose the right way, to choose the way of the Lord! Life and death are before us, we can make the decision which one to choose.

"He has placed before you fire and water; stretch out your hand for whichever you wish. Before a man are life and death, and whichever he chooses will be given to him. For great is the wisdom of the Lord; he is mighty in power and sees everything; his eyes are on those who fear him, and he knows every deed of man. He has not commanded any one to be ungodly, and he has not given any one permission to sin."

At the Last Supper, John writes these words of Jesus in chapter 15, verses 16 and 17:

"You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide; so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. This I command you, to love one another."

Jesus has chosen us, miracle of miracles. The power and the love of his choice for us enables us to live out his choice, obeying his commandment, choosing life, abiding in Jesus

Closing prayer: "Thank you, Spirit of love, Thank you for teaching me that if I want to, I can keep the commandments, especially the new commandment that Jesus has strengthened us with -- the commandment of love! Thank you for teaching me what Jesus has done in order to save me from sin and death! Thank you for teaching me to love Jesus with my whole heart, trusting him, giving him praise and adoration with every breath! Thank you for teaching me to love every person he has made! Thank you, O Holy Spirit." Now the prayer to Mary:

"Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus! Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen!"

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