Yanke Academy

Lord, You are the way, the truth, and the life. Help me not deny You by careless thoughts, failing to proclaim what is true, and sinful choices. - The Personal Rosary
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Lord, You are the way, the truth, and the life. Help me not deny You by careless thoughts, failing to proclaim what is true, and sinful choices.

Our Lord said He is the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6). How can He make such a claim? Throughout history men have risen to lead people to better paths, share deep philosophy, and found religious communities. Many would show new ways of worship, speak powerful truths, and alter our views on life. They all died. We know some of their names. Their legacies left lasting impacts on the entire planet. Unlike Christ, history didn’t proclaim their coming and they do not continue to lead their people. Also unlike Christ, none of those claimed to be the way or to be the truth or to be life itself! Jesus is either who He claimed to be or He was a madman… there can be no middle ground. His impact on the world is so profound, He split history in two. There is the time before His coming and the time after. Even those who don’t believe in Him count history by this measure—though they may change the words they use to denote the era.

Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important (C.S. Lewis).

God is Spirit (John 4:24) and invisible but Jesus is the invisible God made visible in the flesh (Col 1:15). He is indivisibly united in one God in the Holy Trinity yet also unique in His personhood. He showed us the way of worship in serving the God of truth (Is 65:16) to have life in the Spirit (Rom 8:11). It’s an unfolding trinitarian revelation in Scripture.

Jesus is the Way

The barriers between God and men weren’t erected by God. He is love and in His nature He reaches out to us entreating us to follow Him. We are fearful and distrusting people. We don’t trust it could be that simple and fear what such a communion will cost us. We understand the price of love—a total giving of the self. Just as we struggle with temporary human commitments we resist the eternal divine covenant. We don’t want to put ourselves aside in allowing Him to be our destiny. We pull away. We seek our own warped desires. We sin. He made a way for us to come home to Him. He became that way.

The way is following the commands of God. The first time we encounter “the way” in Scripture, it is following the pronouncement of the Ten Commandments. God led His people through commandments to His children… and He treated them as children. They were given boundaries for their actions and a path they must walk. The way is a set of rules.

Be careful, therefore, to do as the Lord, your God, has commanded you, not turning aside to the right or to the left,but following exactly the way that the Lord, your God, commanded you that you may live and prosper, and may have long life in the land which you are to possess (Deut 5:32-33).

Therefore, keep the commandments of the Lord, your God, by walking in his ways and fearing him (Deut 8:6).

Blessed those whose way is blameless,

    who walk by the law of the Lord (Psalm 119:1).

The first three commandments deal with our relationship with God and are a vertical element. The other seven deal with our relationship with one another and are a horizontal element. Both elements are summarized in love for God and love for our neighbor. The vertical element is the pillar of the cross while the horizontal element is the beam. His commandments are a call to love and love is a call to self-denial—the call to sacrifice—a call to the cross.

Jesus models the way we are called to live—sacrifice and self-denial. If we would follow Him on this way, we must take up our crosses (Matt 16:24) and learn to love. The goal of this life is eternal life in the next. The reward we receive for losing this world is the glory of Heaven and union with our God who is Love-personified.

After our Lord’s Ascension, the way continues in the Church. As the bride of Christ, She is united in one flesh with Him (Eph 5:28-31). Scripture calls the early Church “the Way.” If we would be united with Him through the Church, we must follow Him where He leads.

Now Saul, still breathing murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, that, if he should find any men or women who belonged to the Way, he might bring them back to Jerusalem in chains (Acts 9:1-2).

As we were going to the place of prayer, we met a slave girl with an oracular spirit, who used to bring a large profit to her owners through her fortune-telling. She began to follow Paul and us, shouting, “These people are slaves of the Most High God, who proclaim to you a way of salvation” (Acts 16:16-17).

A Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, an eloquent speaker, arrived in Ephesus. He was an authority on the scriptures. He had been instructed in the Way of the Lord and, with ardent spirit, spoke and taught accurately about Jesus, although he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue; but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the Way [of God] more accurately (Acts 18:24-26).

“But this I do admit to you, that according to the Way, which they call a sect, I worship the God of our ancestors and I believe everything that is in accordance with the law and written in the prophets” (Acts 24:14).

Christ came to give us life. We find this life in following His way.

The way of Christ “leads to life”; a contrary way “leads to destruction.” The Gospel parable of the two ways remains ever present in the catechesis of the Church; it shows the importance of moral decisions for our salvation: “There are two ways, the one of life, the other of death; but between the two, there is a great difference” [Didache 1,1:SCh 248, 140] (CCC1696).

My mind guides my destiny. It teaches my heart to love and my feet to walk. I will guard my thoughts that they will be disciplined to the way of God. I will keep His statutes for love of Him.

Jesus is the Truth of God

We think it’s fairly easy to relate to knowing and speaking truth… but can we be absolutely certain of what we believe to be true? So much in life depends on perception, interpretation, and translation. Two opposing points of view can be simultaneously true. From opposite sides a six also appears to be a nine. Human understanding and human teaching are skewed by experience and perspective. There is so much about which we think we are certain… but also wrong. As human understanding and experience have evolved, old truths have been corrected. Today’s truths may be corrected by tomorrow’s experience.

Truth should be known by an objective measure but is often skewed by subjective perception. Often, we speak what we believe to be the truth only to learn better later. Can we know ultimate truth beyond our immediate experience? Can someone tell us the truth or only what they believe to be true? This is the problem with human knowledge and wisdom—it is finite. We are limited. Pilate asked Jesus an honest question; “What is truth?” (John 18:38). It may seem like sarcasm to our ears but honest people in power who are supposed to have all of the answers know acutely that their wisdom is limited. They can force their will but can they know what is true when surrounded by the intrigues of political scheming?

God is our objective measure of truth. Are His words true because we have been told it is impossible for God to lie (Heb 6:18)? Perhaps it is simply that His every pronouncement is creative… what He says is. When He says, “Let there be light!” there is light. If He were to then say, “There is no light!” there would no longer be light. When Jesus says, “This is my body” it is His body simply because the Lord of creation makes it so by His word! The Bible doesn’t just say God doesn’t lie, it says it is impossible for Him to do so. It is impossible because as the author of creation, His word is the foundation of reality.

Jesus is truth in two ways. First, He is God and the author of all that is. By definition, He can not be false. He speaks truth into being. Second, the Father foretold of His coming. The Old Testament speaks His story before His incarnation. He is the truth of God revealed in His moment of time. In His humanity, He confirms what the Father foretold.

Should you say to yourselves, “How can we recognize that a word is one the Lord has not spoken?”,if a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord but the word does not come true, it is a word the Lord did not speak. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; do not fear him (Deut 18:21-22).

I find joy in the way of your testimonies

    more than in all riches (Psalm 119:14).

For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice” (John 18:37).

If I would walk in the truth, I must learn what is true. I will spend time with God in Scripture, the teachings of the Church, and in contemplation of the words and lives of the saints. May there be no falsehood in me as I seek to live as I learn and proclaim what is true. May I not sin by failing to proclaim the truth.

Jesus is the Life of the Spirit

With Jesus there is life (John 1:4). Apart from Him there is no life. He gave us His flesh and blood that we might have His life within us (John 6:54). In the blood is life (Lev 17:11) and He gave us His divine blood in the Eucharist that we might have divine life in Him. Though He ascended into Heaven, He promised us His Spirit (John 14:16-21) and to remain with us always (Matt 28:18-20). As one reborn in Baptism, I will live each day as the beginning of eternity.

See how I long for your precepts;

    in your righteousness give me life (Psalm 119:40).

“I have come that they may have life, and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).

The first and last point of reference of this catechesis will always be Jesus Christ himself, who is “the way, and the truth, and the life” [Jn 14:6]. It is by looking to him in faith that Christ’s faithful can hope that he himself fulfills his promises in them, and that, by loving him with the same love with which he has loved them, they may perform works in keeping with their dignity:

 

I ask you to consider that our Lord Jesus Christ is your true head, and that you are one of his members. He belongs to you as the head belongs to its members; all that is his is yours: his spirit, his heart, his body and soul, and all his faculties. You must make use of all these as of your own, to serve, praise, love, and glorify God. You belong to him, as members belong to their head. And so he longs for you to use all that is in you, as if it were his own, for the service and glory of the Father [St. John Eudes, Tract. de admirabili corde Jesu, 1,5].

 

   For to me, to live is Christ [Phil 1:21] (CCC 1698).

My Lord laid before my ancestors the choice between the blessing and the curse… a choice between life and death (Deut 30:19). This is a choice I continue to make with every decision. May I choose to follow Him in divine beatitude and receive the blessings of eternal life.

Below, I give you Psalm 119 in full as a wonderful reflection on the way, the truth, and the life.

A Prayer to God, the Lawgiver

 

Aleph

Blessed those whose way is blameless,

who walk by the law of the Lord.

Blessed those who keep his testimonies,

who seek him with all their heart.

They do no wrong;

they walk in his ways.

You have given them the command

to observe your precepts with care.

May my ways be firm

in the observance of your statutes!

6 Then I will not be ashamed

to ponder all your commandments.

I will praise you with sincere heart

as I study your righteous judgments.

I will observe your statutes;

do not leave me all alone.

 

Beth

How can the young keep his way without fault?

Only by observing your words.

10 With all my heart I seek you;

do not let me stray from your commandments.

11 In my heart I treasure your promise,

that I may not sin against you.

12 Blessed are you, O Lord;

teach me your statutes.

13 With my lips I recite

all the judgments you have spoken.

14 I find joy in the way of your testimonies

more than in all riches.

15 I will ponder your precepts

and consider your paths.

16 In your statutes I take delight;

I will never forget your word.

 

Gimel

17 Be kind to your servant that I may live,

that I may keep your word.

18 Open my eyes to see clearly

the wonders of your law.

19 I am a sojourner in the land;

do not hide your commandments from me.

20 At all times my soul is stirred

with longing for your judgments.

21 With a curse you rebuke the proud

who stray from your commandments.

22 Free me from disgrace and contempt,

for I keep your testimonies.

23 Though princes meet and talk against me,

your servant meditates on your statutes.

24 Your testimonies are my delight;

they are my counselors.

 

Daleth

25 My soul clings to the dust;

give me life in accord with your word.

26 I disclosed my ways and you answered me;

teach me your statutes.

27 Make me understand the way of your precepts;

I will ponder your wondrous deeds.

28 My soul is depressed;

lift me up according to your word.

29 Lead me from the way of deceit;

favor me with your law.

30 The way of loyalty I have chosen;

I have kept your judgments.

31 I cling to your testimonies, Lord;

do not let me come to shame.

32 I will run the way of your commandments,

for you will broaden my heart.

 

He

33 Lord, teach me the way of your statutes;

I shall keep them with care.

34 Give me understanding to keep your law,

to observe it with all my heart.

35 Lead me in the path of your commandments,

for that is my delight.

36 Direct my heart toward your testimonies

and away from gain.

37 Avert my eyes from what is worthless;

by your way give me life.

38 For your servant, fulfill your promise

made to those who fear you.

39 Turn away from me the taunts I dread,

for your judgments are good.

40 See how I long for your precepts;

in your righteousness give me life.

 

Waw

41 Let your mercy come to me, Lord,

salvation in accord with your promise.

42 Let me answer my taunters with a word,

for I trust in your word.

43 Do not take the word of truth from my mouth,

for in your judgments is my hope.

44 I will keep your law always,

for all time and forever.

45 I will walk freely in an open space

because I cherish your precepts.

46 I will speak openly of your testimonies

without fear even before kings.

47 I delight in your commandments,

which I dearly love.

48 I lift up my hands to your commandments;

I study your statutes, which I love.

 

Zayin

49 Remember your word to your servant

by which you give me hope.

50 This is my comfort in affliction,

your promise that gives me life.

51 Though the arrogant utterly scorn me,

I do not turn from your law.

52 When I recite your judgments of old

I am comforted, Lord.

53 Rage seizes me because of the wicked;

they forsake your law.

54 Your statutes become my songs

wherever I make my home.

55 Even at night I remember your name

in observance of your law, Lord.

56 This is my good fortune,

for I have kept your precepts.

 

Heth

57 My portion is the Lord;

I promise to observe your words.

58 I entreat you with all my heart:

have mercy on me in accord with your promise.

59 I have examined my ways

and turned my steps to your testimonies.

60 I am prompt, I do not hesitate

in observing your commandments.

61 Though the snares of the wicked surround me,

your law I do not forget.

62 At midnight I rise to praise you

because of your righteous judgments.

63 I am the friend of all who fear you,

of all who observe your precepts.

64 The earth, Lord, is filled with your mercy;

teach me your statutes.

 

Teth

65 You have treated your servant well,

according to your word, O Lord.

66 Teach me wisdom and knowledge,

for in your commandments I trust.

67 Before I was afflicted I went astray,

but now I hold to your promise.

68 You are good and do what is good;

teach me your statutes.

69 The arrogant smear me with lies,

but I keep your precepts with all my heart.

70 Their hearts are gross and fat;

as for me, your law is my delight.

71 It was good for me to be afflicted,

in order to learn your statutes.

72 The law of your mouth is more precious to me

than heaps of silver and gold.

 

Yodh

73 Your hands made me and fashioned me;

give me understanding to learn your commandments.

74 Those who fear you rejoice to see me,

because I hope in your word.

75 I know, Lord, that your judgments are righteous;

though you afflict me, you are faithful.

76 May your mercy comfort me

in accord with your promise to your servant.

77 Show me compassion that I may live,

for your law is my delight.

78 Shame the proud for leading me astray with falsehood,

that I may study your testimonies.

79 Let those who fear you turn to me,

those who acknowledge your testimonies.

80 May I be wholehearted toward your statutes,

that I may not be put to shame.

 

Kaph

81 My soul longs for your salvation;

I put my hope in your word.

82 My eyes long to see your promise.

When will you comfort me?

83 I am like a wineskin shriveled by smoke,

but I have not forgotten your statutes.

84 How long can your servant survive?

When will your judgment doom my foes?

85 The arrogant have dug pits for me;

defying your law.

86 All your commandments are steadfast.

Help me! I am pursued without cause.

87 They have almost put an end to me on earth,

but I do not forsake your precepts.

88 In your mercy give me life,

to observe the testimonies of your mouth.

 

Lamedh

89 Your word, Lord, stands forever;

it is firm as the heavens.

90 Through all generations your truth endures;

fixed to stand firm like the earth.

91 By your judgments they stand firm to this day,

for all things are your servants.

92 Had your law not been my delight,

I would have perished in my affliction.

93 I will never forget your precepts;

through them you give me life.

94 I am yours; save me,

for I cherish your precepts.

95 The wicked hope to destroy me,

but I seek to understand your testimonies.

96 I have seen the limits of all perfection,

but your commandment is without bounds.

 

Mem

97 How I love your law, Lord!

I study it all day long.

98 Your commandment makes me wiser than my foes,

as it is forever with me.

99 I have more insight than all my teachers,

because I ponder your testimonies.

100 I have more understanding than my elders,

because I keep your precepts.

101 I keep my steps from every evil path,

that I may observe your word.

102 From your judgments I do not turn,

for you have instructed me.

103 How sweet to my tongue is your promise,

sweeter than honey to my mouth!

104 Through your precepts I gain understanding;

therefore I hate all false ways.

 

Nun

105 Your word is a lamp for my feet,

a light for my path.

106 I make a solemn vow

to observe your righteous judgments.

107 I am very much afflicted, Lord;

give me life in accord with your word.

108 Accept my freely offered praise;

Lord, teach me your judgments.

109 My life is always at risk,

but I do not forget your law.

110 The wicked have set snares for me,

but from your precepts I do not stray.

111 Your testimonies are my heritage forever;

they are the joy of my heart.

112 My heart is set on fulfilling your statutes;

they are my reward forever.

 

Samekh

113 I hate every hypocrite;

your law I love.

114 You are my refuge and shield;

in your word I hope.

115 Depart from me, you wicked,

that I may keep the commandments of my God.

116 Sustain me by your promise that I may live;

do not disappoint me in my hope.

117 Strengthen me that I may be safe,

ever to contemplate your statutes.

118 You reject all who stray from your statutes,

for vain is their deceit.

119 Like dross you regard all the wicked on earth;

therefore I love your testimonies.

120 My flesh shudders with dread of you;

I fear your judgments.

 

Ayin

121 I have fulfilled your righteous judgment;

do not abandon me to my oppressors.

122 Guarantee your servant’s welfare;

do not let the arrogant oppress me.

123 My eyes long to see your salvation

and the promise of your righteousness.

124 Act with mercy toward your servant;

teach me your statutes.

125 I am your servant; give me discernment

that I may know your testimonies.

126 It is time for the Lord to act;

they have disobeyed your law.

127 Truly I love your commandments

more than gold, more than the finest gold.

128 Thus, I follow all your precepts;

every wrong way I hate.

 

Pe

129 Wonderful are your testimonies;

therefore I keep them.

130 The revelation of your words sheds light,

gives understanding to the simple.

131 I sigh with open mouth,

yearning for your commandments.

132 Turn to me and be gracious,

according to your judgment for those who love your name.

133 Steady my feet in accord with your promise;

do not let iniquity lead me.

134 Free me from human oppression,

that I may observe your precepts.

135 Let your face shine upon your servant;

teach me your statutes.

136 My eyes shed streams of tears

because your law is not observed.

 

Sadhe

137 You are righteous, Lord,

and just are your judgments.

138 You have given your testimonies in righteousness

and in surpassing faithfulness.

139 I am consumed with rage,

because my foes forget your words.

140 Your servant loves your promise;

it has been proved by fire.

141 Though belittled and despised,

I do not forget your precepts.

142 Your justice is forever right,

your law true.

143 Though distress and anguish come upon me,

your commandments are my delight.

144 Your testimonies are forever righteous;

give me understanding that I may live.

145 I call with all my heart, O Lord;

answer me that I may keep your statutes.

146 I call to you to save me

that I may observe your testimonies.

147 I rise before dawn and cry out;

I put my hope in your words.

148 My eyes greet the night watches

as I meditate on your promise.

149 Hear my voice in your mercy, O Lord;

by your judgment give me life.

150 Malicious persecutors draw near me;

they are far from your law.

151 You are near, O Lord;

reliable are all your commandments.

152 Long have I known from your testimonies

that you have established them forever.

 

Resh

153 Look at my affliction and rescue me,

for I have not forgotten your law.

154 Take up my cause and redeem me;

for the sake of your promise give me life.

155 Salvation is far from sinners

because they do not cherish your statutes.

156 Your compassion is great, O Lord;

in accord with your judgments, give me life.

157 Though my persecutors and foes are many,

I do not turn from your testimonies.

158 I view the faithless with loathing

because they do not heed your promise.

159 See how I love your precepts, Lord;

in your mercy give me life.

160 Your every word is enduring;

all your righteous judgments are forever.

 

Shin

161 Princes persecute me without reason,

but my heart reveres only your word.

162 I rejoice at your promise,

as one who has found rich spoil.

163 Falsehood I hate and abhor;

your law I love.

164 Seven times a day I praise you

because your judgments are righteous.

165 Lovers of your law have much peace;

for them there is no stumbling block.

166 I look for your salvation, Lord,

and I fulfill your commandments.

167 I observe your testimonies;

I love them very much.

168 I observe your precepts and testimonies;

all my ways are before you.

 

Taw

169 Let my cry come before you, Lord;

in keeping with your word, give me understanding.

170 Let my prayer come before you;

rescue me according to your promise.

171 May my lips pour forth your praise,

because you teach me your statutes.

172 May my tongue sing of your promise,

for all your commandments are righteous.

173 Keep your hand ready to help me,

for I have chosen your precepts.

174 I long for your salvation, Lord;

your law is my delight.

175 Let my soul live to praise you;

may your judgments give me help.

176 I have wandered like a lost sheep;

seek out your servant,

for I do not forget your commandments.

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Todays Reflection

The Sorrowful mysteries

The Sorrowful Mysteries are the greatest love story ever told. No man has greater love than to die for his friends ( John 15:13 )... how much greater the love when dying for his torturers! What is love if not self-denial for someone else? What is self-denial without sacrifice? Christ was crucified, died, and was buried for us while we were yet sinners. He suffered a death we deserve. Sinless Himself, He took on our shame and bore it in His flesh. We are called to take up our crosses and follow His example of sacrificial love.

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