Father Edward McIlmail, LC
Jesus said to his disciples: “Not everyone who says to
me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of heaven,
but only the one who does the will of
my Father in heaven. Everyone who listens to these words
of mine and acts on them will be like
a wise man who built his house on rock. The
rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew
and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse;
it had been set solidly on rock. And everyone who
listens to these words of mine but does not
act on them will be like a fool who built
his house on sand. The rain fell, the floods
came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house.
And it collapsed and was completely ruined.”
Introductory Prayer: Lord,
I come before you in humility and with a
spirit of hope. You no doubt have something to tell
me. I approach you in prayer, confident of your
love and trustful of your grace to enable me
to carry out whatever you ask. I offer this prayer
for those in my family who might be far
away from you.
Petition: Lord, help me deepen my
life of faith and charity, to better prepare for
the trials ahead.
1. The Façade: It is easy to
address Jesus as "Lord, Lord." After all, we know by
faith that he is the Son of God. His
miracles and the endurance of his Church attest to his
divine nature. Yet, our recognition of his divinity isn’t
enough. Our admission that "Jesus is my savior" won’t
guarantee us a place in heaven. Faith in Christ
can’t just remain on our lips; it must penetrate our
hearts and minds as well. Faith, then, implies doing
the will of God the Father – in thoughts,
words and deeds. How does my faith in Christ translate
into acts? Am I satisfied with saying a few
prayers, and little else?
2. Out of Sight: Christ exhorts
his disciples to build their faith on rock, not
on sentimentality. To dig a solid foundation of faith
takes hard work. It demands constancy in prayer, charity
and generosity. It also requires humility and purity of intention,
since the work of preparing a foundation is not
glamorous. There’s nothing particularly beautiful about a big hole
in the ground at a construction site. So it is
in the spiritual life, too; digging a foundation forces
us to go deep, to remove our worst faults.
The process isn’t pretty. It forces us to face our
vices honestly and to rip away the mask we
might wear in front of others. Without this step we
risk building our lives on sand. How well am
I digging my foundation?
3. Too Late: Foundations seem firm
when all is calm. Fair weather doesn’t test the strength
of a building. The real test comes when the
climate turns nasty. The same occurs in the spiritual
life. When serenity reigns around us, peace blossoms effortlessly.
But when a crisis befalls us – a rejection, an
illness, a bit of opposition over a moral matter
– that’s when we learn the sturdiness of our faith.
Peter, who boasted that he would stand by Our
Lord "though all may have their faith in you
shaken" (Matthew 26:33), learned the hard way that his
courage wasn’t what he thought it was. He abandoned Christ
in the garden of Gethsemane, as did all the
apostles. How well do I face ordinary temptations and
setbacks? How well could I face a serious crisis?
with Christ: Lord, I fear sometimes that I’m not
much better than Peter, who bragged that he would stand
by you, but then fled when the guards arrested
you on Holy Thursday night. I want to be
a true Christian witness in the world, but I need
your help to overcome my human respect and laziness.
Resolution: I will do one external act of witness
to the faith.