This Week's Reflection

Oratory of Divine Love Reflection 527: Using the Fruits of the Spirit: A Reflection on Acts 9:17-19

 

“So Ananias went and entered the house; laying his hands on him, he said, “Saul, my brother, the Lord has sent me, Jesus who appeared to you on the way by which you came, that you may regain your sight and be filled with the holy Spirit.”

Immediately things like scales fell from his eyes and he regained his sight. He got up and was baptized,

and when he had eaten, he recovered his strength.” -Acts 9:17-19

 

Saul, my brother, the Lord has sent me, Jesus who appeared to you on the way by which you came, that you may regain your sight and be filled with the holy Spirit. WOW! What a greeting! What if a perfect stranger walked up to you and greeted you like that? You’d probably think he was crazy! I wouldn’t advise you to just greet strangers this way. The reason why Ananias can say this is because God had prepared Saul to HEAR Ananias. Saul was persecuting Christians. Christ appeared to Saul and struck him blind. But as always with God, the punishment is medicinal. Saul is struck blind because he has failed to see. He has failed to see that Christ and his Church are one. He has failed to see that these Christians are no threat to him or Judaism. He has failed to see that this new way is the will of God. And so, because he has failed to see all these things, God deprived Saul of his physical sight as well, but only as a means to an end, so his physical AND his spiritual sight might be healed.

 

God goes to Ananias to be his instrument, and note, Ananias initially protests. “Lord, I’ve HEARD of this guy! He’s bad news! You SURELY don’t want HIM!” “Yeah. I surely do. In fact, I’ve got big plans for him.” And Ananias submits.

 

Now I can only imagine that Ananias had mixed feelings about this job. He MUST have been bitter towards Saul! He’s heard of the martyrdom of Steven. He probably KNEW Steven. Christianity was NOT that big at this time in history. It’s a strong possibility that most of the Christians of this time were friends or at least acquainted with one another, especially Steven as he was a deacon. And now God wants Ananias to go and help his friend’s murderer. YEAH…I think it’s safe to say that Ananias had some mixed feelings. And yet, he greets Saul by saying, “Saul, my brother, the Lord has sent me”

 

Now, what if Ananias had greeted Saul with, “Oh, so you’re the Christian-killer huh? Don’t look so tough now, do you? Guess what? For reasons I can’t figure, God sent me to bring you to Damascus, because he has a way for you to redeem yourself. Personally, if it were up to me, I’d leave you out here for the wolves to eat you. That’s what you deserve after all. Steven was a friend of mine.” If Ananias had said something like THAT, do you think Christian history would have turned out the same? Do you think Saul would have made that transformation to Saint Paul and spread Christianity all throughout the Roman Empire? You know my brothers and sisters, there’s a difference between rote obedience to God’s commandments and being Christlike. Obedience isn’t enough. Rote obedience MIGHT get us to purgatory, but it’s NOT going to build the kingdom of God.

 

I’ve had many experiences praying the rosary in front of abortion clinics, and (not always, but often) you get that one zealot who is dressed up like the grim reaper, or that person who’s holding a sign that says, “Your soul is going to boil for eternity in the blood of your baby!” That’s not helping! I realize they mean well, but they’re NOT helping! The fruits of the Holy Spirit are gentleness, kindness, compassion, mildness. We have to USE these things when dealing with other people, EVEN if our anger is justified, because we have no hope of saving their souls otherwise. My brothers and sisters, I pray we treat others, the way Ananias treated Saul. -Fr. Michael Anthony Sisco

 

Quote from a Saint”

“We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.” -St. Mother Teresa

 

Prayer

O MOST blessed Virgin Immaculate, the beauty and splendour of Carmel, thou who regardest with eyes of special love those who wear thy blessed habit, look kindly upon me and spread over me the mantle of thy maternal protection. Strengthen my weakness with thy power, illuminate the darkness of my mind with thy wisdom, increase in me the virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity. Adorn my soul with such graces and virtues that it may be ever dear to thy divine Son and to thee. Assist me in life, console me in death, with thy dear presence, and present me to the Holy Trinity as thy child and devoted servant, eternally to praise and bless thee in Paradise. Amen. -Raccolta

 

Questions for Reflection

 

  1. Why is kindness important?

  2. Why is severity not helpful in spreading the Gospel? Are there times when it is appropriate to be severe?

  3. Consider a time when you were corrected. Was it kind or severe? How did this affect your reaction?

  4. What is the right way to handle righteous anger? Give examples.

  5. How does Mary treat us similarly to how Ananias treats St. Paul?

  6. When has someone’s smile helped you? Or when has your smile helped someone?

  7. What does Jesus have to say about cheerfulness in the Gospels?

  8. What is the difference between rote obedience and being Christlike?

  9. Why is rote obedience not enough to build the Kingdom of God?

  10. How can Mary help us to be Christlike?

  11. How did God prepare Saul to hear Ananias? -Erin Wells