maryWritten by: Fr. Michael Simoes

I was on retreat during World Youth Day in Brazil, so I missed all of the events and shows that were televised and streamed online. Fortunately for me, many people told me how good it was as a World Youth Day and shared with me some of their moments of grace. One person posted a video of a praise and worship hymn by Matt Mahar that really caught my attention. It was at the Vigil, where our Holy Father Pope Francis and the multitudes were on their knees praying and adoring our Blessed Lord in the Most Holy Eucharist. Matt sang the hymn, “Lord, I need You” from his new album, “And the People Said Amen”.

Perfect song for adoration! The truth he sings of is absolutely vital to our spiritual life. When I was growing up, everyone used to make fun of me because I went to Mass, that I had some sort of a faith life. They made fun of me because I used God as a crutch. They thought they were so strong that they did not need God for anything; they could do everything on their own. Over time, the enemy, through the mockery, wore me down to a point where I was saying that I was not using God as a crutch. This attitude prevails in our society, a neo-Palagian attitude, that I could get into heaven through my own ability, through my talents and gifts, and through my own resolve to avoid sin and worship and serve God. Only after many years of struggle, many years of asking, like St. Paul, that God would remove the thorn from my side, that the words of St. Paul resound: It is when we are weak, that God can find us, love us and be our strength.

Lord, how much we need you, for without you we could do nothing. These words that Jesus speaks to His disciples at the Last Supper in John 15 also gives us the other side to the hymn: that we are to abide in Christ. It is Christ Himself that will make us holy. It is for us to open our eyes, and see Christ in each and every moment of the day. Some spiritual fathers call this the Sacrament of the Present Moment. God’s grace is present in all our activity whether we recognize it or not. When we do recognize it, we allow God to make us more generous and more humble to receive the grace that He is giving so as to accomplish the work that He has given to us as a gift.

Let us then desire to open our eyes and be aware of God present in our daily activities and give thanks for all that He has done for us. Let us acknowledge that He is our strength, that He is our crutch, for we are broken and need Him to lift us up and carry us.

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