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Following Jesus

Christmas is an important day to remember the love of God, and the need for us to love him in return

Reflection for the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord

May this glorious Christmas day inspire you to be faithful in the service of the kingdom of God! May your service be guided by the Way of the Christ!

To follow Jesus is not an easy undertaking. We must first discipline the core of our being, and depart from the security of our comfort zones, to venture into the mysteries of our human condition. It will take a while to learn to depend less on ourselves, and more on the graces of the Spirit, but this dependence is made much less difficult through LOVE.

Christmas is an important day to remember the love of God, and the need for us to love him in return. Christmas is an important day to start loving God, and to start persevering in the continuing mission of the Christ of sharing God’s love with others.

May you therefore be guided by these seven principles in following Jesus:

  • Nurture daily the life of being in love with God. Always keep in your heart the hope of any child who has placed total dependence on a loving parent, of being provided all that he or she needs.
  • Continue to detach ourselves from everything that may deter us from loving God first, such as our prestige or reputation, our power and possessions, our well-being, or our family and friends. To be detached does not mean placing much less value on what we need to live a full earthly life, but to be reminded that we have to place greater importance on he who is the giver of life, rather than on the gift of life itself.
  • Pray always, ask for a renewal of your hearts and minds, and strive to help others, but only in SECRET. What and how we act as Christians must be a matter between ourselves and our loving Father alone, a life of service dedicated only to pleasing him, not the opinions of society.
  • Whenever the opportunity presents itself, teach others about God and how to love him in return. This is not an easy task, because a life of selflessness is not agreeable to many people, and there are no “immediate results”; God leads each one of us to himself, in his own time.
  • Instruct and counsel only in SECRET those who do not know and understand God; those who do not love him; those who insist in living without him; those who are compelled to disobey him by offending him and others; and those who dare rebel against him.
  • Have a special spiritual space in intercession for those who cannot or can no longer pray for themselves: those who are physically incapacitated, mentally challenged or emotionally disturbed; those who are doubting, desperate or unloved; those who are half-hearted, indifferent, selfish or greedy; those who are proud and defiant. They are all deserving of God’s love, too.
  • Strive for social peace, which can be undertaken through appropriate action that will ensure a just and equitable distribution of the material goods of God’s creation. It is his holy will, that each person is justly entitled through honest labor, to sufficient resources and opportunities provided by God in nature, in order to assure his or her proper development as a citizen of Church and society. It therefore follows that those who have more should dutifully give from their excess to those who have less, so that no one is seriously lacking the means for self-development.

Brother Jess Matias is a professed brother of the Secular Franciscan Order. He serves as minister of the St. Pio of Pietrelcina Fraternity at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Mandaluyong City, coordinator of the Padre Pio Prayer Groups of the Capuchins in the Philippines and prison counselor and catechist for the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology.

The views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial stance of LiCAS.news.

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