From the 8 December reading, by David McCasland, in Our Daily Bread:
"Above all, [take] the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one." -- Ephesians 6:16
While visiting a museum, I was intrigued by a small inscription describing a class of Roman gladiators -- the Retiarii -- who fought using only a net and a trident. Of all the fearsome and lethal weapons available to those warriors, who often battled to the death, these men were given two items -- a piece of webbing and a three-pronged spear. When they entered the arena, their survival depended on how ell they used their weapons.
In the spiritual battle we face as Christians, God has chosen our weapons: "Though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds" (2 Corinthians 10 3-4).
It's worth pausing to look at ourselves in the mirror of Ephesians 6:10-18 to see if we are properly equipped with "the whole armor of God." From the helmet of salvation to the shoes of the gospel of peace, we are to be protected and armed for a conflict that depends not on human strength but on the power of God.
When we realize the nature of warfare and the forces against us, it's foolish to enter the fray with anything except our God-given weapons.
"Does all the world seem against you, and you're in the battle alone? It's often when you are most helpless that God's mighty power is known." -- Anon.
YESTERDAY was like "my day". Many of my favorite readings in the bible. (Isaiah 40:31: "Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength. They will rise on wings like eagles; they will run and not get weary; they will walk and not grow weak." Psalm 103:1: "Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all my being, bless his holy name." Matthew 11:28: "Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest...") Many inspiring readings in the prayer books such as Fr Mark Link's Mission 2000, Living Faith and Our Daily Bread.
And I fought a spirited and triumphant "battle" in the face of a great challenge. Actually, it wasn't exactly a "Us vs. Them" situation, but a truly difficult situation because of issues beyond the control of either "us" or "them". Yet, suddenly it almost became "our fault". Then, slowly, it dawns on all what the root cause of the problem was.
In light of all these, Steve Givens' reflection on Luke 1:35 in Living Faith today are powerful to me: "The words spoken by the angel to Mary are a forceful reminder to me today that I may be relying too heavily upon my own "spirit" and not enough upon the Holy Spirit. We are called as Catholics to bring ourselves in worship so filled with the Spirit that our own lives and worries are overshadowed. The questions I ask myself today are: Do I allow the Spirit to intrude in my life? Am I willing to give up some control over my life? ... That's what I want. But I can't do it alone. Overshadow me, Holy Spirit."
Praise be to God! Thank you, Lord -- for giving me such sweet inspiration and for being my rock!