Armor

We may not think of ourselves as soldiers in the midst of combat, but who among us does not have to wage war with demons? The word God spoke to Joshua is also a word for us, as we put on our battle gear and enter the fray: “Be strong and courageous, do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Br. James Koester, SSJE
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Demons

We all know firsthand the temptations which draw us away from God. I know what my demons are, and I am sure that you are all too familiar with yours. But these forces need not have the last word. The last word belongs to God, and that word is love.

Br. James Koester, SSJE
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Reach

While it is God’s nature to reach out and touch us, our nature runs in the opposite direction. We choose to reach out our hands to the forbidden fruit, thinking that by eating it, we will become like God. The paradox is that we become like God by choosing to reach them out in humility and loving service, just as Jesus did.

Br. James Koester, SSJE
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Help

The sin of self-reliance sets us up not simply in opposition to God, but to one another. To offer and receive help is not the sign of weakness so many of us think it is. Rather it is a sign of love: our giving, receiving, and needing love.

Br. James Koester, SSJE
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Companion

“I am with you … do not fear.” These simple yet profound words weave themselves throughout every page of Scripture. We hear them in the garden at the beginning of time, and in the garden at the end of time. We see them specifically in the person of Jesus, God dwelling amongst us. “I am with you … do not fear.”

James Koester, SSJE
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Storm

Next time your heart sinks, your stomach flips, you strain at the oars, battling the wind and waves of life, don’t be afraid to cry out, as did the disciples, ‘Teacher, do you not care that [I am] perishing?’ And then open your ears. You might just hear, above the noise of your fear, Jesus speaking words of peace. And you will know that your life is being saved.

Br. James Koester, SSJE
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Worth

The great temptation, even sin, of our age is to find our worth only through what we have accomplished. The great gift and grace we find in the Gospel is that our real worth lies in having been made in the image and likeness of God. It is in that image and likeness of God – being clothed with Christ in baptism – that lies our true worth.

Br. James Koester, SSJE
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Surprise

God works in surprising and almost accidental ways. Yet faith is no accident. It is grace. Grace is found in the manger. Grace raised Jesus from the dead. By grace, bread and wine become Body and Blood and nourish our souls. Grace reveals to us our worth in the eyes of God. Let us reflect not on the accidents of our life, but on the grace of it.

Br. James Koester, SSJE
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Incarnation

The Word became flesh and lived among us. In this act of enfleshment, God did much more than simply take on a human body. He took on our limitations, our finitude, even our disfiguration. God took all this on in the person of Jesus, and that is a thing full of wonder.

Br. James Koester, SSJE
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