Friday in the Octave of Easter
As we have seen, the Resurrected Jesus doesn’t stop teaching the disciples. The lesson from their failed fishing expedition and their sudden turn of good fortune helped them to solidify in their minds this reality: Without God, you can do nothing. We’ve all experienced how on our own, we toil and spend our time fruitlessly, but the moments of progress and growth are times when we have the opportunity to acknowledge to ourselves and to others that “It is the Lord.” One 19th century statesman, after his experiencing a religious conversion remarked, “Those who pray do more for the world than those who fight, and if the world is going from bad to worse, it is because there are more battles and prayers.” To pause to pray is both to acknowledge the Lord’s presence, to recognize that only through God’s grace will our efforts amount to anything. Truly, “It is the Lord” who gives us strength, inspires us, and animates our entire lives. In our selfishness, we prefer to take credit for our good deeds as coming from ourselves.
True growth in our faith life is when we can testify that it is Jesus Christ working in and through us—“It is the Lord”—not us. Peter and John were quick to witness to the reality of grace at work in their lives—“By what power or by what name having you done this?”—the questions gave them another opportunity to proclaim that the miraculous deed they worked was done, not by their power, but in the name of Jesus Christ.
Being God’s instrument brings us true freedom, where we can set aside the preoccupations of our lives and allow the Risen Lord to animate us by surrendering our desire to try to wrestle away control with our small-minded pursuits. If we are going to glorify Christ and not ourselves, then we must do the necessary preparation, that is to say, remain committed and faithful to daily prayer. This is where our heart is given to God and we give God the permission for His grace to work in us.
Reflection Question: Where have you been trying to live your life on your own and without God?
Reflection by Fr. Paul Sheller, OSB