God loves us as individuals... that shows us some of the power of God. He knows us each by name! In Holy Scripture, we read: " Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him, he will bring forth justice to the nations." We are His chosen, and His soul delights in us! [Isa 42:1]
And also: "The LORD said to Moses, "This request, too, which you have just made, I will carry out, because you have found favor with me and you are my intimate friend." [Exodus 33:17]
In the New Testament, we find the following words: "And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother." [Mat 12:49-50]
The relationship of those who do the will of the Lord's Heavenly Father, is an intimate relationship. Moses was favored by the Lord, so the Lord deemed him an intimate friend, and similarly, people who really try to observe God's law, are intimate friends.
People say that they are all sinners, and there is no question that all of us are. Original sin took care of that burden. But if we are sorry for our misdeeds, God will forgive us. In frequent reconciliation, we gain in holiness along the way of life, and we too, will become intimate friends with Him. God is all-powerful, and there is no limit to his mercy and forgiveness. If we continue to strive to improve, to sin less and less as time goes on, we too will grow in intimacy with Jesus.
There are definite advantages to becoming a friend of Jesus. One of those is a certain inner peace which follows us around. That is not to say that we won't be tempted and attacked by the Evil one to do something that offends God, but at some point if we continue to persevere, we will overcome these temptations and continue to grow in love with God. The great classics in spirituality, such as Teresa of Avila's "Ascend to Mount Carmel", and, texts by St. John of the Cross, invite us constantly to practice daily conversion and thus grown steadily in our relationship with God.
If we falter once in a while, that is OK - our Lord will give us the grace to get up and continue on our journey. We are so special to Him that He does not want to lose us and thus will protect us and the friendship and brotherhood we share with Him and through Him with each other.
If we fail Him daily and we are not careful in our relationship with Him, or perhaps even seek to stray away from Him, then we can damage our friendship. He will still love us, but we will not love Him. And so, when we come to the end of our days, if we do not reach that time in a State of Grace, and we fail to do something about that, then we are in danger of losing our immortal soul. It must not come to that. Our Lord forgave us for crucifying Him, or for being a part of that action, and in order to redeem us, He died for us. For each one of us. Do not let Him down. Repent. There is less time than you think. Repent, and sin no more.
We hope that we will continually grow in our relationship with God and with the Father, and we will grow as long as we remain an intensely loyal Eucharistic people. The strength of the Catholic Church is Jesus Himself, and people who believe and act accordingly - we have Jesus in our midst, in Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. Make Him welcome in our Heart and Soul. Make sure He has a place there, forever.
F. Schaeffer, ofs 7/9/2009 rev. 2018
Secular Franciscan Order
Ordo Franciscanus Sæcularis
Divine Mercy Fraternity
Vero Beach, FL
Term expires: 2/10/2022
Fred Schaeffer, OFS
Helen Caldarone, OFS
Mary "Jean" McGovern, OFS
Jack Reddy, OFS
Donna Haro, OFS
Joanne Giordano, OFS
Fred Schaeffer, OFS
Five Franciscan Martyrs