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Thursday, June 8, 2000

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Pentecost Novena — Day 7

Acts 22:30; 23:6-11
Psalm 16
John 17:20-26

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the best laid plans of men

"Paul, it should be noted, was aware that some of them were Sadducees and some Pharisees." —Acts 23:6

Paul's trial before the Sanhedrin was not going well. The high priest had already "ordered his attendants to strike Paul on the mouth" (Acts 23:2). Paul's audience was obviously not receptive. Paul had a great idea on how to get out of the mess he was in. Paul turned the Sadducees of the Sanhedrin against the Pharisees of the Sanhedrin. His trick seemed to work at first, as the Pharisees and the Sadducees started fighting each other (Acts 23:9). However, Paul's trick soon backfired, and he was almost torn to pieces in the ensuing riot (Acts 23:10). Paul subsequently was left in prison for two years (Acts 24:27), almost drowned in a shipwreck (Acts 27:14ff), and kept under house arrest in Rome for two more years (Acts 28:30).

The "morals of the story" are:

  • Human ingenuity can backfire on you.
  • You can lose four years by taking short cuts to save time.
  • The Lord is merciful and is willing to work all things together for His good and the good of those who love Him (Rm 8:28).

"Flesh begets flesh, spirit begets spirit" (Jn 3:6). Don't do your thing. Follow the lead of the Spirit (Gal 5:25). Our best laid plans fail. The Lord's plans always succeed.

Prayer:  Father, I will crucify my flesh (Gal 5:24) and live by the Spirit.

Promise:  "I do not pray for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in Me through their word, that all may be one as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; I pray that they may be [one] in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me." —Jn 17:20-21

Praise:  Repenting of taking fertility problems in their own hands, the Smiths gave up all artificial means. The Lord entrusted them with two foster children whom they were eventually able to adopt.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, December 16, 1999

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 18, 1999