Gift: Knowledge

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Reading:  He did not doubt God’s promise in unbelief; rather, he was empowered by faith and gave glory to God and was fully convinced that what he had promised he was also able to do.  (Romans 4:20-21)

Observation:  At first, I read this reading this morning and thought that God was trying to show me that I was wrong to challenge the youth from our youth ministry.  I challenged them by asking them if they don’t have doubt, how can they have faith?  Seeing in the book of Romans this morning that Abraham did not doubt scared me at first.  However, when I went back to read it again, I realized that it said that he did not have doubt in unbelief.  Of course he had doubt, just not an unbelieving doubt.  As the reading goes on this morning, we have an even more empowering reason to have faith, even though we feel like we have just as many reasons to doubt as Abraham did.  We have the word of God, and the word of God that came alive and died for us and willingly gave his body and blood that we are called to partake of, so that we can become more like him every day.

Personification:  Love (Latin: caritas)  Faith can move mountains, but I am hearing this morning that if I can display the fruit of love to everyone I meet, I won’t feel like I need to move the mountain because I will be at peace that God put the mountain exactly where it belongs.  How is it that I can display the fruit of love? Humility that comes from the grace of God will help me show His love to everyone that I come in contact with today and for the rest of my life.

Prayer:  Lord, help me display your love and not my love.  Your love makes me feel secure in the future and I know that my love is only temporal, so I need your grace to be able to be able to display your love especially to my family and friends.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Gift: Understanding

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Reading:  Because of his affliction he shall see the light in fullness of days; Through his suffering, my servant shall justify many, and their guilt he shall bear.  (Isaiah 53:11)

Observation:  This morning at Mass, I heard Father Roy tell us that we will suffer for our faith.  I heard him reinforce what I said in my journal on Friday.  He said that we all have to figure out how we are going to suffer on our own, and it would be great if I could suffer it on my own without having to live up to some ideal version of what others think that I should be suffering.  The reality of my faith walk is that everyone who looks at it from the outside will not see what is really going on inside, and that is for us to work out in our relationship with God.

Personification:  Peace (Latin: pax)  It is up to me to find the fruit of peace in my relationship with God.  Although, it is clear to me that I will suffer for my faith, it is equally as clear to me that I can count on the grace of God to put me at peace with where God has put me in this world.  I feel completely at peace with where God has me, and I hope that I can pass that peace on to other people that I come in contact with.

Prayer:  Lord, help me bring your peace to others today and for the rest of my life.  Please let my life be an example of what a faithful disciple is capable of, both in preaching your word and living out your calling for me.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Can I suffer for him?

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Here’s a link for anyone looking for an alternate translation of the 41st verse of the 5th chapter of Acts…

Scripture:  After recalling the apostles, they had them flogged, ordered them to stop speaking in the name of Jesus, and dismissed them.  So they left the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they had been found worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name.  (Acts 5:40-41)

Observation:  Yesterday morning, I was feeling unworthy to call myself a Christian.  I fall prey to my sinfulness too much to deserve to be called a Christian, or even a follower of Christ.  Yet, given my position in life on this world, maybe the duality of my life is exactly what I am being asked to suffer in order to give glory to God every time I turn back to him.  I suffer the dishonor of my sinfulness because of the fact that I call myself a Christian, and if I chose to not follow Christ, there would be no dishonor in my sin because sin is an accepted part of human nature. 

Application:  I will try and see every temptation to sin in the light of the fact that I am called to be a disciple of Jesus, but I will know that as long as I am plugged into this world, I will have to suffer the dishonor of my sinfulness.  If I can see my sinfulness with a grateful heart, then the dispair and defeat that usually follows sin and comes from the evil one will not be allowed in.

Prayer:  Lord, in order to see my sinful nature as a part of the suffering that I must suffer in order to bring you glory when I turn back to you, please supply me with enough grace to have the faith to know that it will not always be this way and that you have great plans for me.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Gift: Wisdom

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Reading:  What occasion is there then for boasting?  It is ruled out. On what principle, that of works? No, rather on the principle of faith.  (Romans 3:27)

Observation:  I am hearing this morning that I should guard myself against boasting.  The only reason that I, or anyone, has the ability to have faith in God is not due to anything that we have done.  Rather it is the free gift of God that was given to us in the form of faith in him to do good works through us.

Personification:  Gentleness (Latin: mansuetudo)  As I started to journal on this verse from the first reading from the book of Romans this morning, I was sure that I would talk about the fruit of faithfulness.  However, I was given the fruit of gentleness to work on today, because it is a gentle spirit that will allow me to be a better disciple.  It is in the fruit of gentleness that others will be able to see the faith that God has given me.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to show the gentleness that comes from you and to be involved in the lives of those people that have invited me in through your free gift of grace for them.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Gift: Counsel

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Painting by Jusepe de Ribera – Saint Francis of Assisi

Reading:  Yes, affliction and distress will come upon every human being who does evil, Jew first and then Greek.  But there will be glory, honor, and peace for everyone who does good, Jew first and then Greek.  (Romans 2:9-10)

Observation:  I am reading this morning that we are all treated the same by God.  Whether Jew or Gentile, we are receiving grace according to our actions.  When I sin, it is obvious to me that even in this life I receive affliction and distress and it is hard for me to be at peace with anything that I do.  However, the reverse is also true.  I notice that when I reject sin, I have an extreme amount of peace that comes from grace of God.  I don’t know if this was the point of Paul letter here, but it was what I was getting from it this morning.

Personification:  Peace (Latin: pax  I will try to show the fruit of peace to everyone I meet today.  Because the grace of God has saved me from my sinfulness today, I will make every effort to display my gratitude to God by displaying the fruit of peace that He is giving me as a reward for my decision to partner with him to reject sin.  With God, there is an immense peace that I truly feel in my heart, and all glory and honor goes to God who brings me peace.

Prayer: 

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen. 

Gift: Fear of the Lord (Wonder and Awe)

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Look at the video above if you are still looking for a sign, otherwise just read below…

Reading:  “This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it, except the sign of Jonah.  Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation. (Luke 29b-30)

Observation: When I read this Gospel reading for today for the first time this morning, I was putting myself in the place of Jesus when he says that this generation is an evil generation.  However, even though it may be true that this generation is an evil generation, just like the generation in Jesus’ time, it is more important that the Son of Man is taking the place of Jonah to bring the Good News to his generation.  Whereas, we are called to be like Jesus, we should be bringing the Good News to our generation.  Repentance does not need to be seen in the light of the sacrifice, but why not rather the grace of God that comes from Him in response to the repentance.  The Good News is that the Kingdom of God is here, now, and all we need to do is plug in to it by giving ourselves to our Saviour.

Personification: Faithfulness (Latin: fides) This morning I am hearing the call to display the fruit of faithfulness by walking in the light of truth.  In order to display the fruit of faithfulness, I know that I am receiving the grace of God to be able to be faithful to the Word of God and to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, and I am thankful to God for the gift of his grace.

Prayer: Lord, help me to show your gift of faithfulness to everyone I come in contact with today and for the rest of my life.  By setting an example of giving my life to you, let others be able to see your Son through me and listen more intently to what God is calling them to do with their lives.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Gift: Piety (Reverence)

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Reading: Indeed, the word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.  No creature is concealed from him, but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must render an account.  (Hebrews 4:12-13)

Observation: This morning, I am hearing in the second reading from the book of Hebrews that the word of God is able to penetrate through my own ridiculous thought patterns and see what I need to understand in order to keep me directed towards the eternal rather than the temporal.  Since no creature is concealed from him, I would assume that means me as well and I would hope that I could be sure that the account that I must render would be covered by the blood of the one that died for me, Jesus Christ.  He knows that I have fallen short in many ways in my life.

Personification: Love (Latin: caritas) Once again, I am feeling that the fruit of love is what I must be focusing on today.  Not only must I love those who are obviously my responsibility to love, but also those that fall outside of my responsibility as a husband, father and coordinator of youth ministry.  I will try and focus on the others that may not be so willing to be loved by a worthless sinner, such as myself.  It is 8:46am and you are loved…

Prayer: Lord, help me to stay focused on what you are doing in my life and not lose sight of the example that you gave us on how we should love our neighbor.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.