SAINT AUGUSTINE OF CANTERBURY, BISHOP (OPTIONAL MEMORIAL)
Father, keep them in your name.
What would you pray for if you were facing a painful death? Strength? Peace? The grace to endure it faithfully? Jesus prayed for his friends. He was concerned for what he had begun in their hearts. He wanted it to continue and bear fruit until the day they were reunited with him.
Guess what? Jesus included us in his prayer. He included you! With love and compassion, he asked his Father, “Keep them in your name. Protect them. Consecrate them.”
Keep them: Jesus asked his Father to hold you securely to himself. He will do it! Your heavenly Father will never turn his back on you. He will never abandon you to whatever may come. No one can take you out of his hand. So talk to him about your hopes and fears, your strengths and weaknesses. Spend time in his presence listening for his voice.
Protect them: Jesus knows what can threaten the good work he has begun in you. And so he prayed particularly that the Father would shield you. Amid trials and illness, setbacks and disappointment, God will not only defend your faith, but he will help it to grow and prosper. That’s because it’s not just “your” faith; it’s his life in you. Whatever you are dealing with, you can walk in the confidence of knowing that the Father is with you at all times. This evening, review today’s events. Ask the Holy Spirit to show how he has protected you and helped you grow.
Consecrate them: To his prayers for our welfare, Jesus added another request. He asked the Father to set us apart as holy and dedicated for a specific purpose. He meant everyone, not just the exceptionally talented, outgoing, and naturally able ones. You have been set apart! Your life here is not an accident. It is not pointless or meaningless. It is ordained by God for something only you can accomplish.
Jesus loves you and cares for you. Reread today’s Gospel (John 17:11 – 19), and insert yourself where Jesus speaks of those whom the Father has given him. Then worship him for loving you so deeply.
“Thank you, Father, for your love and care. Holy Spirit, help me to grow in knowledge of God’s love, protection, and plans for me.”
Psalm 68:29-30, 33-36