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  My Witness

Vol. 5, No. 2, April, 2000

Letting Jesus Be Lord!
by Sr. Brigid Meierotto, S.N.C.

Sister Brigid This is the twelfth in a series of articles entitled: "You Are Invited to a Profound Interior Renewal." We repeat the quote from the Vatican II Decree on the Church's Missionary Activity:

"Since the whole Church is missionary, and the work of evangelization the fundamental task of the people of God, this Sacred Synod invites all to undertake a profound interior renewal so that being vitally conscious of their responsibility for the spread of the Gospel they might play their part in missionary work among the nations" (*35, Decree on the Church's Missionary Activity)

In the summer issue of MY WITNESSES, we looked at the source of our having hope in daily life. This source is our Father who creates each of us out of love, His Son Jesus sho saves us in mercy, and their Holy Spirit, the Counselor, who sanctifies and consoles us. This is cause for joyful hope.

It is the beginning of a new year, a special grace given each of us to accept with fresh zeal the invitation to a "profound interior renewal" of ourselves. It is my prayer that this article will spark a light within you that will move you to embrace, with hope, a renewed effort to let Jesus be Lord of you life.

In Phillippians 4:8 Paul tells us: "Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."

What is Paul talking about? What is the point? This one sentence does not tell us to think specifically about God. God is certainly included in the "whatever", but it is the rest of "whatever" that we want to take note of here.

Think obout "whatever is true" - don't waste your mind on hearsay, idle speculation, vague opinions or vain chatter, and least of all upon gossip and slander. Rather, think on this - life is a free gift from God to each living creature.

Think about "whatever is honorable," whatever is worthy of your respect - beware of infecting your mind and heart by dwelling on the sins and failings of others. Sin has no honor. And don't linger on your own sins; acknowledge them, repent, ask forgiveness, make a firm resolve to be obedient to the Lord, and take the necessary concrete action. Think about this - the faithfulness to commitment that you see in marriages and vocations that endure. They are worthy of honor.

Think about "whatever is just," whatever is in right relationship, whatever is as it should be - don't allow your mind to be twisted into thinking a mother has the right to kill her unborn child or that it is all right to be dishonest in order to help one's job. These thoughts lead to unjust acts. Rather, reflect on those things that are in right order - a mother's sacrificial love, an obedient child, and honest salesperson.

Think about "whatever is pure," - don't allow your mind to become entrapped in duplicity, ulterior motives, and superficial living. Rather, ask rourself this question. What place will this have in my eternity? "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God" (Matthew 5:8).

Think about "whatever is lovely," - don't sicken your mind by feeding it on grotesque films, violence, or horror entertainment. Rather, think of this - the humble devotion and care of one person for another; the soil of the earth allowing itself to be used by a plant to grow, bloom and bear fruit.

Think about "excellence," - don't narrow your mind by being satisfied with sloppy, careless, slipshod or incompetent workmanship. Rather, think on this - the blessing of abundant fruit from disciplined labor.

Think about "anything that is worthy of praise," - don't kill your mind by poisoning it with the desires of the flesh: "fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, envy, drunkenness, carousing and the like" (Galatians 5:22-23). This will fill your mind and heart with praise of God.

Now, you ask, what has this to do with hope? Everything! Hope is a gift, but like every gift of God, it must be nurtured. A necessary aspect of our interior renewal is the renewal of our mind (Ephesians 4:22-24). As my mind dwells on whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, gracious, excellent, worthy of praise - my hope increases, my heart is lighter, my mind clears. I am filled with thanksgiving and praise and trust in God. But if I allow my mind to be deadened, twisted, poisoned by sin, darkness, trivia and selfishness - I lose heart, and hope slips away.

The verses just before Phillipians 4:8 express this fruit of hope borne by a renewed mind. Make this powerful word of God a motto by which you live: "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let all men know your forbearance. The Lord is at hand. Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:4-7).

For Effective Evangelization:

Train your mind to think about whatever is true, just, lovely, gracious.... As your hope in the Lord Jesus grows and is strengthened you will step forth with a renewed confidence to proclaim that Jesus is truly the Answer!

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