Monday, February 16, 2015

My Brother's Keeper

 "Imitate me as I imitate Christ." 1 Cor. 11:1 (Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians)
It's hard for me, as a woman to even think of following the example of Saint Paul. I can't see myself in his shoes. He was a tireless traveler, and I just dread packing. He encountered numerous hardships and was imprisoned about 4 times for a total of 5-6 years! He was a resolute man, patient beyond measure, courageous, and I don't think he regretted his decision to follow Christ even once!
But I do like looking to other saints to imitate, to learn from them, to see how they ran the race victoriously. I love Saint Therese of Lisieux for the simple, hidden life she led. She wrote, "What matters in life," she wrote, "is not great deeds, but great love." Like Mother Teresa, she did ordinary things with great love. Even when she was sick in bed, she was able to serve God by interceding. She saw herself as a beautiful flower in God's garden. Then there's Brother Lawrence who said, "The time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer." For those of us who are constantly busy with the things of this world, he is an example of a man who could constantly practice the presence of God, whatever task he was doing, whether it be cleaning the floor or washing dishes in the monastery.

 Then there's one of my favorite stories of Mother Teresa. While on the way to a grand party, she stopped to talk to a beggar. When she was fetched, because she tarried too long, she asked, "Can't you see I am talking to Christ?" She saw the faces of the poor, when most of us just pass them by. Yes, we need constant reminders, and saints with their frames like us, can show us it is impossible to imitate Christ!

 "Am I my brother's keeper?" Genesis 4:9
None of us has perfect families. Just the fact that we belong to it makes it imperfect already!! Although we love each other, try to be kind and generous, something will happen to bring out some thorns. Usually it's not even intentional.
In the story of Cain and Abel, the conflict starts with both of them offering God the fruits of their labor. While God favors the offering of Abel which consists of several choice lambs from the best of his flock, God is not so pleased with what Cain gives him. Reading from the original Hebrew shows that Cain offered the last remnants of his harvest. Leftovers. In Malachi 1:6-14, God is not pleased when we do not offer to Him our best. It is the same as when we give a worthless gift to the President or to an important guest. It is as if we give them an insult instead of a compliment!
But even after Cain insults God, God still teaches Him by saying that Cain should learn to respond in a right way to His teachings because "...if you don't, watch out! Sin is waiting to attack and destroy you!" Sin has a way of escalating. From envy, anger, then hatred, then before Cain knows it, he is the first murderer!!!

 After Cain murders Abel in his rage, God asks him where Abel is. "Am I my brother's keeper?" Cain answers defiantly. In Ezekiel 33:7-9, God makes it clear that we are responsible for our brothers and sisters. We are stewards of our relationships. And that is why God constantly reaches out to us. He takes it upon Himself to reconcile us to Himself.
Thank you Lord for Your loving kindness to us! Thank you for Your perseverance and faithfulness to us! Thank you for Your forgiveness!

 "How many loaves do you have?" Mark 8:5
In the 6th chapter of Mark, Jesus feeds the 5,000 and He tells His disciples to feed them. Of course they were flabbergasted and said, "With what? It would take a small fortune to buy food for this huge a crowd!!!" We would say the same, don't you think? Here in chapter 8, there are less people, 4000. The disciples ask the same thing, but with less incredulity. "How are we supposed to find enough food for them here in the wilderness?"
"How many loaves of bread do YOU have?" Jesus asked.

I like these passages about the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, because it shows that miracles start with what we have in our hand. What we have available. I always remember when our little group giving the Good News in QC Jail was asked by the prison admin to prepare 200 gift bags for the inmates for Christmas. I was just as incredulous as the disciples! How would we do that? But that Christmas we were able to prepare 300 bags! And what a wonderful sight to behold the inmates' faces as they opened their bags to find a pair of shorts, food, shampoo, laundry soap, etc. They told us it was like they received 2 bags! It was more than they expected! And we have been able to do this for 5 years now. I know many of my friends who just give what is in their hand. And God is able to use that and multiply it!
How many loaves do YOU have? Put it in God's hand and see miracles!


  1. Patsy this is so touching. Your art is outstanding and gives glory to God. Thank you for taking time to share your creations with us at Word Art Wednesday in our 170th challenge. Your pages are very beautiful. Many BLESSINGS to you and yours,

  2. I was just listening to someone talking about Brother Lawrence today. Saint Theresa of Liseux was my favourite for many years. I have read her biographies 2-3 times over. Recently I read the autobiography of Saint Teresa of Avila and I have watched the movie made on Mother Theresa's life. All of these ladies inspire me so much; perhaps moreso because I have the same name. I too find it enriching to delve into the lives of godly men and women, both past and present. One woman who inspires me very much goes by the name of Patsy. She inspires me with her words, her art and her devotion to God. I pray that he blesses her very much today.
    Hugs & smiles,
    another Teresa

  3. I'm putting my loaves in His hands today. Thank you for this beautiful encouragement! Following you at Holly's. Blessings!


I am so glad you dropped by! You are a blessing!
:^) Patsy