Father Edward McIlmail, LC
Jesus said to his disciples:
"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in
sheep´s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves. By their
fruits you will know them. Do people pick grapes from
thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Just so, every
good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree
bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit,
nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit. Every
tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut
down and thrown into the fire. So by their
fruits you will know them."
Introductory Prayer: Lord, before
I can produce anything lasting in my life, I
need to be united to you in prayer. Aware of
my weakness and inclination to sin, I trust all
the more in your forgiveness and mercy. I believe
in your presence in the Eucharist. It gives me the
assurances that you really are with your Church until
the end of time.
Petition: Lord, help me
to see more easily the goodness in people around
1. Wolves in Sheepskins: Today we abound with information,
but are short on guidance. The media tell us that
abortion is OK, that stem-cell research on human embryos
is compassionate, that same-sex marriage equals tolerance. Wayward faithful
ignore or insult papal teachings. "The time will come
when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following
their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers and
will stop listening to the truth and will be
diverted to myths" (2 Timothy 4:3-4). How do I
judge what I hear day by day? How do I
gauge what the media tell me? Do I absorb
everything I hear like a sponge? Or do I try
to find out what the Church says on issues?
Am I aware of how much the media can steal
my interior peace? That it can leave me thinking
in a very worldly way?
2. See The Fruits: Our Lord
gives us a good criterion for gauging the work of
other people: We are to look at what they
produce. The people we see daily on television --
do their lives seem peaceful and happy? Are their families
stable? Often, the most stable among us are those
who live low-key lives. God often chooses to work
outside of the spotlight. He works in those families that
quietly raise their children in the faith. What lasting
fruits am I producing for God? If married, have
I been open to new life? If single, do I
dedicate a fair amount of time to serving others?
Do I help my friends learn about Christ? Do I
help worthwhile charities?
3. Misjudging: The problem of judging can
go the other direction. We might think that someone
isn´t a good person, or that he isn´t very
talented. Yet we are surprised, sometimes years later, to find
that same person living in a near-perfect marriage, raising
a happy family, or producing a thriving work of
charity. Was our initial judgment faulty? If so, why?
Do we recognize and appreciate virtue in others? Or are
we fixated on the externals: Their looks? Their wealth?
Their bubbly personality? What does that say about my
hierarchy of values?
Conversation with Christ: Lord, I
am surrounded by views of the world -- so
many opinions, so much information. I sometimes feel overwhelmed. Let
me see in your vicar on earth, the Pope,
the safe and sure path to follow in the
midst of confusion.
Resolution: I will compliment
someone for the hidden, but lasting, work they are
doing for the Kingdom.