How to Obtain God's Blessings on Us & Our Endeavors
Sermon by Fr. Samuel Waters | The Daily Knight
Everything depends on the blessing of God.
In our Gospel today Peter and his companions had labored all night but caught nothing, they labored in vain. However when they went out at Jesus' bidding they caught a multitude of fish. Their boat was about to sink because of the many fish.
We wish for the blessings of God and all our labors and undertakings.
It is necessary in order to have God's blessing if we are going to have any success. Saint Paul tells us neither he that plants is anything, nor he that water's anything, but God that gives the increase. What is necessary to obtain the blessing of God we need to have:
1) Industry with a good intention
2) Piety and the fear of the Lord.
1) Industry is necessary for obtaining the blessing of God.
The sin of Adam brought a curse upon the Earth and man must now till it in the sweat of his face in order to extract from it the necessary sustenance. To him who is idle the Earth instead of food will yield thistles and thorns. The blessings of God manifestly therefore is attached to an industrious life.
"The slothful hand hath wrought poverty but the hand of the industrious gets riches...he that gathered in the harvest is a wise son but he that is lazy in the summer is the son of confusion." Proverb 10"4-5
Saint Paul writes:
"This we declared to you that if any man will not work neither let him eat for we have heard that there are some among you who walk disorderly working not at all but curiously meddling."
Saint Paul forbids idleness to the Catholics at Thessalonica and exhorts them to work diligently because this is the only way in which you must seek your livelihood in this way and gain the blessing of God.
Secondly, in order that God may accompany our laborers and projects with his blessings they must be done for His honor and with a good intention. We are created to honor and glorify God. "I have created him (man) for my glory," (Isaiah 43:7). "Whenever you eat or drink or whatever else you do all to the glory of God," (I Cor. 10:31).
Now if we perform our laborers and businesses with the intention of glorifying and honoring God, of showing Him our adoration, obedience and love, His blessings will not be wanting to us.
We have an example of God blessings the work of man through His instrument David. A young David undertook the combat for the glory of God. David said to Goliath:
"Thou came to me with a sword, a spear and a shield but I come to thee in the Name of the Lord of Hosts, the God of the armies of Israel which thou Hast defied this day and He will deliver thee into my hands and I will slay thee and take away thy head from thee...that all the Earth may know that there is a God in Israel." (I Kings 17)
How do we look at our actions and figure out that they have been truly done for God?
First: We should remain tranquil when / if they are unsuccessful. When we see that God has not been pleased to Crown our efforts with success we have no reason to be disturbed. We know that God does not demand an account of the success or failure of our undertaking but of the purity of our intention.
Second: We should rejoice at the good others do. We should rejoice as if it had been done by ourselves. If we seek nothing but the Divine Glory we shall not care whether it is promoted by another or ourselves. This will enrich ourselves with their Good Deeds for were we to rejoice in the sins of our neighbors we would share in their sins. God will reward us for rejoicing in the Good Deeds of other.
Third: We are not to seek the praise of other for works nor thanks. We should remain in our usual tranquility
of mind, satisfied at having succeeded in pleasing God. When tempted to seek the praise of others St. Bernard of Clairvaux says: "I have not done this action for you never shall I omit it through fear of you."
2) Piety and the Fear of God
If we are going to seek the blessing of God on our endeavors we must seek to have piety and the fear of the Lord in our lives. What does it mean to be pious? The dictionary tells us that it means being faithful to our obligations and being dutiful in caring out our obligations to God.
Catholics believe piety is one of the gifts of the Holy Ghost as it is mentioned in the prophet Isaiah. The list ends with the gift "fear of the Lord." Having the fear of the Lord enables us to be open and shaped/formed by the other gifts of the Holy Ghost.
Another word for that gives us an understanding of the word pious is reverence. Reverence is standing in awe of something or someone who is above us. As Catholics we are called to stand in awe in our relationship to God.
Embracing the fear of the Lord shows us the gift of piety.
Piety helps us to maintain our needed sense of awe before God. Pious practices help us to develop a heart of reverence in relationship to God. Pius acts help us to understand that we would not exist if it were not for the love of God.
Living a life of piety is to learn from the truth that "I exist because I was loved into existence." This truth of our existence is thus extended to the Church through Christ's Death and Resurrection. It is in the Church that one becomes a member of the body of Christ.
The gift of piety can be used in evil ways.
This is because we are a fallen people and we can become confused about our salvation. Piety does not excuse us from acting in charity when we encounter those in need. Piety and Pious devotions are not magic words and actions that forced God to give us what we want when we want it.
Piety and Pious devotions are about the conversion of our hearts to God so that through reverence our hearts can remain open to His love. Piety is a gift that gives direction to our Catholic lives. The other gifts of the Holy Ghost help us to secure us on the path that the pious heart directs us to.
Piety helps the beauty of God to become present in our heart, it is part of the beauty of God who became Incarnate out of love for us. Pious devotions help the human mind to keep the Splendor of the Incarnation retaining that knowledge so that it remains in the Forefront of our minds.
Thus, it is important for the Catholic to be both industrious with a good intention as well as be pious and have the fear of the Lord, in order to receive the blessings of God from above. Always humbly ask God to bless our endeavors in order that they give Him glory and honor!!!