Words on the Word

Sts Philip and James

1 Corinthians 15:1-8: The Gospel will save you if you keep believing.
John 14:6-14: Do you still not know me, Philip?

‘Philip said: Lord, show us the Father, and we shall be satisfied.’ How often we think like this! We’re always conscious of all we haven’t got, and tell ourselves: Ah! If only I had this one thing, I’d be satisfied. Though of course we wouldn’t. Satisfaction never lasts. The hunger for more comes back. We meet this tendency in material terms every day. It is the backbone of advertising. We can also encounter it in spiritual life. We suppose that precisely the spiritual gift I’d need to get anywhere is one I haven’t got.

When Philip made his request, he was sure he would be stuck without a new gift from God. Remember: it was night; the last supper had just happened. There had been talk of leave-taking, suffering, the cross. Philip was afraid. Fear blinds us. He didn’t see that all he needed had been given him. The Father’s epiphany stood next to him. A moment ago, he had received the Lord’s mystical presence as nourishment. 

If ever we think that God seems deaf to our prayer, let us open our eyes and ears, our heart as well, and draw strength, first, from what we have already received. By God’s care, each of us has a treasury from which to draw forth things both old and new, great graces. A splendid collect assures us that God’s providence is unfailing: providentia non fallitur. That was true for the apostles. It is true for us. If we live according to this insight, holiness is possible. That, after all, is the purpose for which God made us. 

‘Lord, show us your path!’ Photograph by Alexandra Viana Lopes

Collect for the 9th Week of Ordinary Time

Deus, cuius providentia in sui dispositione non fallitur, te supplices exoramus, ut noxia cuncta submoveas, et omnia nobis profutura concedas.

O God, whose providence never fails in its design, keep from us, we humbly beseech you, all that might harm us and grant all that works for our good.