Faith

500-Year Old Prayers

This is a featured post by Jon Rice.  Jon is the Chi Alpha director at Georgetown Chi Alpha. He enjoys running, coffee and all things Jesuit. You can connect with him on   Twitter  and  Facebook .

This is a featured post by Jon Rice. Jon is the Chi Alpha director at Georgetown Chi Alpha. He enjoys running, coffee and all things Jesuit. You can connect with him on Twitter and Facebook.

I never knew how much my faith would grow because of my time at Georgetown. Before I arrived I knew nothing of the Jesuits and their deep spiritual heritage. Growing up in the Assemblies of God I knew very little of liturgy and even less about liturgical prayers. From an early age I learned to pray to God as if it was simply a conversation with a friend. This is still the way I feel most comfortable in prayer. 

But while making a year long spiritual retreat with the Jesuits on campus, I learned the value and power of prayers written down long ago. One such prayer was the Anima Christi, originally by St. Ignatius of Loyola. Though he lived almost 500 years ago, his words still ring true today So powerful was the effect of this prayer on me, that I began ending every time of prayer with this declaration. It said something that I longed to say to God, but couldn't find the words. 

Now long after the retreat is ended, I still find myself praying the Anima Christi at times when my words fail. Similar to reciting a familiar worship song, this prayer reminds me of my hearts desire and my continued calling. I pray it blesses you as you join in prayer with me. 

Anima Christi (Contemporary Translation)

Jesus, may all that is you flow into me. 

May your body and blood be my food and drink. 

May your passion and death be my strength and life. 

Jesus, with you by my side, enough has been given. 

May the shelter I seek be the shadow your cross.

Let me not run from the love which you offer, But hold me safe from the forces of evil. 

On each my dyings shed your light and your love. 

Keep calling to me until that day comes, when, with your saints, I may praise you forever. Amen. 

Further Resources via Loyola Press »

Orginally published on the DC Chi Alpha blog

Day 23 » The Holy Spirit

This post is written by Jon Rice. 

This post is written by Jon Rice. 

Today's Reading » Acts 1-3

The hard thing about doing a sermon series based on a book of the Bible is that you are forced to talk about things you may not feel like preaching on that week. That, I’m sure from God’s perspective, is the benefit to such a series.

Why, for example was I forced to discuss the miraculous healing of a man the same week that my wife had one of the worst migraines she has had in months? Why that week? I mean, I’m glad the guy was healed in Acts, but what about my wife who wasn’t?  What about all of the people who ask and aren’t healed?

If the book of Acts was made into a movie, it would have to be an action film. On almost every page a person is healed, a miracle takes place, or someone faces persecution for their faith. At times when reading it can seem like a story of a completely different world. From the believers in the upper room speaking in tongues and having fire placed on their heads, to the dramatic story of Saul becoming Paul and sharing the gospel with the known world, the book stands apart as uniquely filled with power. Observing the work of God seemed like an everyday occurrence and it begs the question, why don't we see that now?

Of course I’m not the first to feel this way or ask these questions, and I’m certain I haven’t found the best answers, but I have found some comfort. I realized in these questions I unknowingly revealed my own questions about God and his character. Of course it’s normal to wonder why someone I love is in pain, but the frustration I felt when I read this passage was bigger than that.

Her migraines, along with other suffering I see, forces me to grapple with the idea of a God who is loving, able, and yet sometimes unwilling to remove suffering. Of course on paper I unquestionably trust this God, but my frustration reveals the truth. I either allow myself to believe in an active God who heals, or a passive God who shouldn’t be bothered. Revered yes, but I find myself less and less asking God to heal or do miracles the longer I follow him.

That should be the opposite, and it is embarrassing, but it is true.

My quest for rationale has left me empty, and my attempt to predict God have been a bust. I have realized however, that to trust that he both has the power to heal and simultaneously has the wisdom to know the right moments for such interventions, is a profoundly liberating experience.

A friend of mine told me the Yiddish phrase you’re supposed to say when someone passes away in the Jewish faith. I wouldn’t even try to say the actual phrase, nor to type it out, but the translation revealed something powerful. The phrase is “Blessed is the true judge”. When a person dies, the first thing they affirm is God’s authority and wisdom. What a challenge. When God chooses not to do what we would like, are we willing to believe he knows better?

I’m supposed to trust God with everything, even my own struggles and pain. If I truly trust him, I will start to see over time that he will “work all things together for my good”, even if it’s not what I would like. I’m not saying this type of trust is easy, nor that I have it now even after preaching this sermon, but I do know that it’s what I need.

 

Day 4 » Sacrifice

Today's blog post was written by Karen Keyser. Karen is the campus director for XAi. 

Today's blog post was written by Karen Keyser. Karen is the campus director for XAi. 

Today's Reading » Genesis 22, 25, 27-28

This part of God’s story reveals some of the greatest moments of outstanding faith—and also very low moments of human failure. Let’s focus on Abraham’s test.

So after God provided Abraham with a promised son when he was super old (like 99!), then God asked him to SACRIFICE that son, Isaac.  This was the the son who was supposed to have tons of descendants.  It made no sense.  The part that shocks me is that Abraham got up “early the next morning” to go and sacrifice him.  Wait, what? You might get up early for Christmas presents, but would you really get up early to kill your son that you had been longing for for decades?  That’s not normal. 

It’s that kind of unusual obedient trust that really pleases God.  In fact, Abraham gets mentioned in the Bible for his faith multiple times.  Abraham and his son Isaac were hiking up the hill when his son figured out they were missing a lamb for the sacrifice. I am blown away by Abraham’s answer.  “God will provide.”  That’s it.  And you know what? God did. 

What if we got up early tomorrow and obeyed what God said, disregarding the personal cost, with the settled, confident belief that God would provide?  What if you obediently paid someone’s way to a retreat with the belief that God would provide your own retreat money?  What if you were prompted to stop to pray with a fellow-student when you needed to work on your presentation?  Or what if for some reason he asked you to break up with your boyfriend? Could you trust that God WILL provide?

Years ago, God asked me to give up my stable school counselor paycheck to be a Chi Alpha intern where I raised my own budget through donations of family and friends.  During that year I borrowed my parents’ car while they were serving as missionaries in Africa.  Problem:  They were coming back from Africa mid-year, and I would need to give them their car back. One day, out-of-the-blue, my cousin’s new husband called me.  I barely knew him and he’d never called me before (or since).  He asked me, “Karen, do you need a car?”  He was going into the military and wanted to know if he could GIVE me his car.  Wow.  He gave it to me on the very day I needed to give my parents’ car back.  Without knowing it, he was part of a miracle of God’s provision—which increased my faith for even more!   God will provide.

Abraham passed the test of obedient faith.  If God prompts you to do something difficult today, will you obey?  God WILL provide!