Memorial of Saints Cyril, Monk and Methodius, Bishop
Mark 8: 14-21
Now the disciples had forgotten to bring any bread; and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. And he cautioned them, saying, "Watch out--beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod." They said to one another, "It is because we have no bread." And becoming aware of it, Jesus said to them, "Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes, and fail to see? Do you have ears, and fail to hear? And do you not remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you collect?" They said to him, "Twelve." "And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you collect?" And they said to him, "Seven." Then he said to them, "Do you not yet understand?"
Introductory Prayer: Lord, I know you have worked in my life, and yet I take so little account of it. Just knowing the truth of your presence in my past would be enough to convert my heart totally to a future of commitment to you. Knowing your history will make me long for you. I hunger for goodness that will make this day fruitful in ways that will last, that will not deceive me. I intend to not let my mundane passions leave me blind and crippled before the opportunity to be your apostle today.
Petition: Lord, grant me the grace to commit myself more to your will through a deeper trust in you.
1. Missing the Foundation: "Is it because we have no bread?" We can see how easy it is to miss the messages God wishes to send us in prayer, because we are preoccupied only with what is immediate. We can be hungry for success, want a friend or family member to make peace with us, or we become obsessed over the finances. The insecure heart is pulled away from a healthy vision of life because it is not founded on rock. The soul that lives from the true foundation knows that as long as it has Christ and is doing his will, all is well.
2. Remembering the Works of God: And do you not remember?" One of the worst sins of the people of Israel was to have forgotten God's great works on their behalf. It is important to reflect often and with gratitude on the many benefits we have received from Our Lord. Each of us should remember: It is God who created us and who has begun the work of our holiness. If he has brought us this far with only a modest amount of cooperation on our part, how much further could we go if we were to give him our total dedication? How much more good would flourish in our lives? How many problems would find God's hand shaping them for our benefit?
3. Wishing to See Again: On any given day, every follower of Christ should have a healthy mistrust of what he thinks is the absolute need for his life. Oftentimes, a spiritual "detox" is in order to free us from becoming obsessed over secondary goals. This detox is found in the school of prayer. St. Augustine notes prayer is where we exercise desire, where we let our heart purify itself from its distractions, and where we let affection and devotion for the Beloved expand. The fire of divine love can heal many divisions and complexes in our psychology, if we consistently open ourselves up to it.
Conversation with Christ: Lord, keep me from that spiritual anorexia that makes me lose the hunger for your presence in my life. I can let daily pressures and disordered passions block my ability to love you as I should. How I endanger myself; how I destroy my happiness in this world of illusion. Free me, Jesus, from my own folly! Give me back the hunger to love you again, as I promise never again to let myself be carried away by activism and pride.
Resolution: Today I will write down the things I have been seeking that could take me away from Christ. I will honestly renounce them in an attitude of holy indifference, wanting them only in as much as Jesus wants them in my life.