Daily Reflection
of Creighton University's Online Ministries
August 7, 2009

Susan Tinley

School of Nursing
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Friday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Deuteronomy 4:32-40
Psalm 77:12-13, 14-15, 16 and 21
Matthew 16:24-28

Two of our grandsons spent the night last night.  It was a great time of fun and laughter,  but their parents have picked them up and the house  is so quiet again.  Even the dogs who jumped and chased after the boys are now napping in the sun.  I have been drawn outside by the most unusual weather.  The norm for us at this time of year is hot and humid but instead it is cool and dry.  The blue of the sky is broken occasionally by white fluffy clouds and a myriad of birds each singing its own song.  In the woods behind our house the sunshine that  filters through the leaves is dancing with the breeze. It all prompts strong feelings of peace and gratitude for all that God has created and I marvel at these fortunes with which I have been blessed. 

As I start to reflect on the  gospel for August 7, I wonder how willing I would be to deny myself and take up my cross to follow Jesus.  Does he really want me to give up the pleasures of this day or the pleasures of any other day?  It does not seem like that would make much sense since it is his work of creation that is the source of my pleasures.  Rather, I think He has given me life’s pleasures for my happiness and as a reminder of his love.  In a few days, the weather will return to the usual normal hot muggy pattern of late July, and the comforts and pleasures of this day will be replaced with other reminders of God’ love as long as I am open to them.

I think Jesus is reminding us that God is the source of all that we have, whether that be a share in his beautiful creation, material possessions, talents, physical attractiveness, relationships with family and friends,etc.  We have done nothing to earn God’s gifts, they are given to us to draw us closer to Him.  It is in acknowledging their source and using the gifts in ways that give praise to God, that we deny our egos of the self-centered belief that we have done something to earn them or have a right to them. It is in that kind of self-denial that we open ourselves to God’s love as said in the prayer from St. Ignatius of Loyola:

Take, O Lord, and receive my entire liberty, my memory, my understanding and my whole will. All that I am and all that I possess You have given me: I surrender it all to You to be disposed of according to Your will. Give me only Your love and Your grace; with these I will be rich enough, and will desire nothing more.

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