Be a good servant

Posted by on Nov 6, 2018 in Pope Michael, Sanctification | 0 comments

Dear friends,

Father Francis Dominic was inspired this morning:

Paul reveals the secret of being an effective servant to others in these words: “Who comforteth us in all our tribulation; that we also may be able to comfort them who are in all distress, by the exhortation [advise; counsel] wherewith we also are exhorted by God.” (2 Corinthians 1:4). Paul had to go through many afflictions in order to receive a spiritual education. Only in this way could he pass on to others the comfort and the exhortation that he himself had received when he went through trials. Without such an education, no one can be a servant of the new covenant. There is a vast difference between an anointed Samson under the old covenant and an anointed Paul under the new covenant. Samson had the Spirit’s power to overcome external lions. Paul however had the Spirit’s power to overcome the lions that dwelt within his own flesh – which Samson could not overcome.

Under the old covenant, God’s servants stood in God’s presence, heard what God had to say, and then told others what they had heard. But that is not sufficient in the new covenant. Now, God’s servants must go through trials and afflictions and experience God’s grace helping them to overcome in all those trials, and then exhort others to follow their own example. That is how new covenant servitude is far higher than old covenant servitude – and it is far costlier as well.

It is by following Jesus that we become servants of the new covenant. Under the old covenant it was not possible for people to press on to perfection. But in the new covenant we can. “Wherefore leaving the word of the beginning of Christ, let us go on to things more perfect, not laying again the foundation of penance from dead works, and of faith towards God.” (Hebrews 6:1) “For the law brought nothing to perfection, but a bringing in of a better hope [did], by which we draw nigh to God.” (Hebrews 7:19).

But we cannot lead others to perfection if we are not pressing on to perfection ourselves. Only if we are cleansing “OURSELVES from all defilement of the flesh and of the spirit, perfecting sanctification in the fear of God.” (2 Corinthians 7:1), and “sanctifieth HIMSELF [for holiness] , as [Jesus] also is holy.” (1 John 3:3) can we lead others also to such a life. There is no other way. We have to be mini-forerunners for the others. That is one of the reasons why God takes us through varied and trying situations. For only then can we be true servants to each other. Otherwise we will be hirelings, seeking our own gain – either money or man’s honor.

That does not mean that we have to face all the circumstances that others in our Parish face. That would be impossible. Jesus did not become our Forerunner by facing all our circumstances, but by being tempted with all the temptations that we face (Hebrews 4:15). Jesus did not have a drunken father or a nagging wife or disobedient children, as some of us may be having. Yet He was our Forerunner, because He faced all the temptations that we face today, in different circumstances in His day.

God has to take us through all the temptations that our brothers and sisters face. But in all those temptations, we must overcome, if we are to serve them, and lead them to partake of eternal life. That is how we become servants of the new covenant.

We could say much on this, but wish to only make a few points.

Firstly, Saint Paul reminds us of this from Proverbs: “For whom the Lord loveth, he chastiseth; and he scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.” (Hebrews 12:6) God uses our tribulations to train and prepare us for the work He has for us. If we are not receiving tribulations, we should worry that we are displeasing God. He has no use for us, because we are not willing to do His holy will.

Jesus tells us: “Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48) Are we aiming at perfection or satisfied with mediocrity. Apocalypse (21:27) tells us: “There shall not enter into it any thing defiled, or that worketh abomination or maketh a lie, but they that are written in the book of life of the Lamb.” If we are imperfect we may also be defiled. Perfection is required for heaven. Purgatory is for those who are not quite perfect. The mediocre inherit hell.

+Michael pp

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