Are we looking for temporary joy or the joy that surpasses all understanding?

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Christ icon in Taizé

Christ icon in Taizé (Photo credit: lgambett)

 

Gift: Counsel (Right Judgment) – With the gift of right judgment, we know the difference between right and wrong, and we choose to do what is right. A person with right judgment avoids sin and lives out the values taught by Jesus.

 

Reading:  Brothers and sisters:
If there is any encouragement in Christ,
any solace in love,
any participation in the Spirit,
any compassion and mercy,
complete my joy by being of the same mind, with the same love,
united in heart, thinking one thing.
Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory;
rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves,
each looking out not for his own interests,
but also everyone for those of others.  (Phil 2:1-4)

 

Observation:. Yesterday, I talked to the middle school and high school youth groups about how the joy that we get from being with Jesus is so much greater than the temporary happiness from the enjoyment of the things of this world.  It is awesome that the first reading for today’s Mass tells us today that .we can expect our joy to be complete when we are of the same mind, not just with Christ but also with his other children that are in this world with us.

 

Personification:  Joy  I guess it makes sense that I would choose to focus on joy today.  I don’t believe that I am quite ready to be completely of the same mind as Christ, but I can be joyful in those times that I am of the same mind as his other children.

 

Prayer:. Lord, help me to share your truth with others today in the same loving way that you would, always mindful that other people are worthy of being heard as well, so that I can better understand their point of view and we can be of the same mind.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit…Amen!

 

No excuses…

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St Matthew in Ely Place

St Matthew in Ely Place (Photo credit: Lawrence OP)

 

Gift:  Wisdom- With the gift of wisdom, we see God at work in our lives and in the world. For the wise person, the wonders of nature, historical events, and the ups and downs of our lives take on deeper meaning. The matters of judgment about the truth, and being able to see the image of God.

 

Reading:  In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost.  (Matthew 18:14)

 

Observation:  Some people say that we cannot control what path our children take in life, it is usually in defense of a child that has left the church for some reason or another.  This verse from today’s Gospel reading is saying to me that this is a dangerous attitude to have, because although we cannot control the path another human being chooses of their own free will, God is saying here that His will is that none of our children are ever lost, and we should adopt this attitude towards leading our children to the faith.  Never give up and never stop going in search of them and leading them back to the fold, if they should get lost.

 

Personification:  Generosity. If I understand this verse correctly, God will never give up on his lost children, regardless of their past decisions or indecision in their faith.  Therefore, I should be willing to give everything I have, in displaying the fruit of generosity, to win these children back for God.  If God was willing to send His Son to die to redeem me, I should be willing to give anything to help bring someone back to Him.

 

Prayer:  Lord, I know that I don’t have the ability to save anyone, but show me the way to give what I can of myself and my resources to align myself with Your will for them.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit…Amen

 

Like Peter, we become the prophet when we live the Word!

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Generosity

Generosity (Photo credit: Lawrence OP)

 

Gift: Knowledge – With the gift of knowledge, we understand the meaning of God’s Revelation, especially as expressed in the life and words of Jesus Christ. A person with knowledge is always learning more about the scriptures and Tradition

 

Reading:  We* ourselves heard this voice come from heaven while we were with him on the holy mountain.  Moreover, we possess the prophetic message that is altogether reliable. You will do well to be attentive to it, as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.  (2 Peter 1:18-19)

 

Observation:  For those of us that have had a mountaintop experience, it is encouraging to hear these words in scripture telling us that we must be attentive to the prophetic message that we received there.  The message may be as simple as the fact that we know that God exists, but it could be as amazing as the God of the universe wants to have a relationship with us, and He wants to show the power of the Holy Spirit through our hearts, hands and minds.

 

Personification:  Generosity  I used to think of the fruit of generosity only in terms of the amount of money that I was willing to part with, to help someone else live.  Don’t get me wrong, I still think that is an important part of displaying the fruit of generosity in my life.  However, I hear this reading today calling me to display the type of generosity that comes from emptying out your entire will and self for others.

 

Prayer:  Lord, help me to empty myself out for others and be willing to share the mountaintop experiences as well as the difficulties in my life, to help share the prophetic message of Jesus Christ to the world.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit..Amen!

 

 

 

How do I become a new creation?

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Christ in Gethsemane (Christus in Gethsemane),...

Christ in Gethsemane (Christus in Gethsemane), oil painting by Heinrich Ferdinand Hofmann (Heinrich Hofmann). The original is at the Riverside Church (Riverside Church, New York City). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Brothers and sisters: I declare and testify in the Lord that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds; that is not how you learned Christ, assuming that you have heard of him and were taught in him, as truth is in Jesus, that you should put away the old self of your former way of life, corrupted through deceitful desires, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new self, created in God’s way in righteousness and holiness of truth. (Eph 4:17, 20-24)

 

If I didn’t see an answer in the second reading for Mass today, I could read the verses that were not used in this reading between verses 17 and 20 that spell out the path that I would normally take without the grace of God leading to so much more than that.

 

Thank you Jesus for saving me from my own selfish desires and I am truly sorry for my past sins and I hope my life now can be all for your glory.  Please help my family members and friends that struggle with giving up their worldly desires and lead us all to a more authentic and real relationship with you.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit…Amen!

 

 

 

Jesus is our peace?

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English: Stained glass windows at Notre-Dame, ...

English: Stained glass windows at Notre-Dame, Geneva, Switzerland. Top: God the Father; middle: Dove of Holy Spirit in trefoil; lower: Annunciation scene. Français : Vitraux de la basilique Notre-Dame, Genève, Suisse. Deutsch: Fenster in der Liebfrauenbasilika, Genf, Schweiz. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Gift: Understanding – With the gift of understanding, we comprehend how we need to live as a follower of Jesus Christ. A person with understanding is not confused by all the conflicting messages in our culture about the right way to live.

 

Reading:  For he is our peace, he who made both one and broke down the dividing wall of enmity, through his flesh, abolishing the law with its commandments and legal claims, that he might create in himself one new person in place of the two, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile both with God, in one body, through the cross, putting that enmity to death by it. He came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near, for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.  (Ephesians 2:14-18)

 

Observation:  I tried to title my journal entry for today, “If Jesus is our peace, why don’t we rest in Him more often?”  However, I think my title is a little more direct, because it begs the ultimate question, “Is Jesus our peace?”  If we want to have access to the holy Spirit and the Father, we must recognize Jesus as the one who can keep the peace, not just in the world, but in our hearts.  The world is creating turmoil in our hearts, through our families, we must rest in Jesus and tell Him what we need for peace.  If we go on trying to make peace by our actions, we will only create more unrest. (IMO)

 

Personification:  Joy  I have been the embodiment of fatigue lately, rather than joy, especially to my family.  I will focus my attention on displaying the fruit of joy today, with the grace of God making it possible.  I am especially joyful for the birth of my best friend David’s new baby daughter, and can’t wait to see her later this morning.

 

Prayer:  Lord, please give rest to those that need it this morning and help me remember to rest in You today.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit…Amen

 

 

 

 

Go out to all the world and tell the Good News. (Mark 16:15)

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Polski: Witraż piety

Polski: Witraż piety (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Gift: Piety (Reverence) – With the gift of reverence, sometimes called piety, we have a deep sense of respect for God and the Church. A person with reverence recognizes our total reliance on God and comes before God with humility, trust, and love.

Reading:  Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me?  Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”  (John 20:29)

Observation:  My Dad and I were just discussing this verse from today’s Gospel In the midst of a heated discussion about sin and the need for repentance, but I think it relates better to my title today, that comes from the response in the Responsorial Psalm for today’s Mass.  The reason I say that is because after we realize that we have accepted the truth of Jesus as God, what do we do.  Do we spend all day patting ourselves on the back for accepting the truth, or do we, “Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.”

Personification:  Faithfulness  In order to display the fruit of faithfulness, I think it is only necessary to continue to do the work that God has laid out before me today.  Sounds easy, but when I think of the names of the people who will cross my path today, it may be a struggle to always be telling the “Good News”.  However, when I think of the struggle that other people are going to have with me, I remember that it only by His grace that we will be able to withstand anything the enemy may throw at us.

Prayer:  Lord, I know that I can be a stumbling block for others in their faith, help me to stay out of your way today and keep me only using words that build your kingdom.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit…Amen!

Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary…Pray with me?

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Litany of Loreto

V. Lord, have mercy.
R. Christ have mercy.
V. Lord have mercy. Christ hear us.
R. Christ graciously hear us.
God the Father of heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us. 
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.

Holy Marypray for us. 
Holy Mother of God, pray for us. 
Holy Virgin of Virgins, [etc.]
Mother of Christ,
Mother of divine grace,
Mother most pure,
Mother most chaste,
Mother inviolate,
Mother undefiled,
Mother most amiable,
Mother most admirable,
Mother of good Counsel,
Mother of our Creator,
Mother of our Savior,
Virgin most prudent,
Virgin most venerable,
Virgin most renowned,
Virgin most powerful,
Virgin most merciful,
Virgin most faithful,
Mirror of justice,
Seat of wisdom,
Cause of our joy,
Spiritual vessel,
Vessel of honor,
Singular vessel of devotion,
Mystical rose,
Tower of David,
Tower of ivory,
House of gold,
Ark of the covenant,
Gate of heaven,
Morning star,
Health of the sick,
Refuge of sinners,
Comforter of the afflicted,
Help of Christians,
Queen of Angels,
Queen of Patriarchs,
Queen of Prophets,
Queen of Apostles,
Queen of Martyrs,
Queen of Confessors,
Queen of Virgins,
Queen of all Saints,
Queen conceived without original sin,
Queen assumed into heaven,
Queen of the most holy Rosary,
Queen of families,
Queen of peace,

V. Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world,
R. Spare us, O Lord. 
V. Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world,
R. Graciously hear us, O Lord. 
V. Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world,
Have mercy on us.

V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray. Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord God, that we thy servants may enjoy perpetual health of mind and body, and by the glorious intercession of blessed Mary, ever Virgin, may we be freed from present sorrow, and rejoice in eternal happiness. Through Christ our Lord. R. Amen.

How could they doubt after the resurrection?

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Text of "Our Father" prayer with Tri...

Text of “Our Father” prayer with Trinity in central column (God the Father, dove of the Holy Spirit, Jesus) and Biblical and symbolic scenes in left and right columns. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Gift:  Understanding – With the gift of understanding, we comprehend how we need to live as a follower of Jesus Christ. A person with understanding is not confused by all the conflicting messages in our culture about the right way to live.

Reading:  * When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted.  (Matthew 28:17)

Observation:  If I analyze this verse it can tell me a lot about my ability to accept the truth, even when it is slapping me in the face.  The apostles saw him and worshipped him, but they doubted.  The apostles just witnessed the resurrection and were witness to the miracles that Jesus performed, but still they doubted.  We are witnesses To all the things that are written about Jesus and all the Saints that came before us, and all the miracles that have been performed in their lives and ours, yet we still have doubts.  I guess the good news is that we are in good company.

Personification:  Joy  So many times in my life, I have heard the Good News and not reacted to it.  I want to put the fruit of joy on full display in my life, to show everyone that the truth of Jesus in our midst, along with the Father and the Holy Spirit, rallying us to live holy lives, can only be true if we allow God to work through us and show the joy that compliance with God’s will, will give us.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to stay joyful in all things that you have created me to do and remember to hate evil.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit…Amen!

The church is born today…What does that mean to me?

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English: child Jesus with the virgin Mary, wit...

English: child Jesus with the virgin Mary, with the Holy Spirit (represented as a dove) and God the Father, with child john the Baptist and saint Elizabeth on the right (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Gift:  Fear of the Lord (Wonder and Awe) – With the gift of wonder and awe (fear of the lord), we are aware of the glory and majesty of God. A person with wonder and awe knows that God is the perfection of all we desire: perfect knowledge, perfect goodness, perfect power, and perfect love.

Reading: “I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.* But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth. He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming. He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you. Everything that the Father has is mine; for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine and declare it to you. (John 16:12-15)

Observation:  I went back and read the Office of Readings for yesterday, since it was the feast day of Saint Phillip Neri, it just felt like I couldn’t miss out on them.  I will try to catch up with today’s Office of Readings before youth group later today.  I mention the reading that I did in addition to the regular reading of the readings for Mass, to explain that the  choice of this Gospel reading today was borne out of the process of a lot of reading this morning and not just my normal perusal of the daily Mass readings.  It is not that my normal perusal of the readings is not sufficient for my journaling, but since we are celebrating the birthday of the church today, I felt that extra attention was due God for sending this amazing gift to lead us to faith almost two thousand years ago.

Personification:  Joy  It is my hope that I know today that God is revealing the true joy to me today that comes from trusting God to be with me at all times through the holy Spirit and physically through the body and blood of His Son, and someday my joy will be complete when I am with the Father in Heaven, by His grace.

Prayer:  Lord, give me a joyful heart like Saint Phillip Neri and help me to repent of my will in favor of yours.  Saint Phillip Neri, pray for us.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit. Amen.

What does eternal vision look like?

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Fear The Lord The left hand of the two similar...

Fear The Lord The left hand of the two similarly carved stones either side of the west entrance to St Leonard’s Church. 32432 “Fear the Lord your God and serve Him. Hold fast to Him and take your oaths in His name.” Deuteronomy 10:20 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Gift:Fear of the Lord (Wonder and Awe) – With the gift of wonder and awe (fear of the lord), we are aware of the glory and majesty of God. A person with wonder and awe knows that God is the perfection of all we desire: perfect knowledge, perfect goodness, perfect power, and perfect love.

Reading:  Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.  (John 16:20)

Observation:  Last night, in a discussion that I was having with some young adults at our church, I mentioned that if we are focused on the things that God wants for us, we may not necessarily be happy, by the world’s standard of happiness.  However, since we know that eternity is forever and this life is only but a minute of time, happiness in this world is only temporary.  Eternal joy last forever.  Jesus is saying that we will have grief while the world rejoices, but our grief will become joy in our everlasting home with God and all the saints that have gone before us.

Personification:  Joy  Someone could come back at me with a quote from a recent Gospel message that we heard from Jesus that he came that we could have joy, and that our joy would be complete.  I hope that with my reflection today, it is eternal joy that he is talking about and the moments of joy when we see God working in our lives and the lives of others around us, and I think this is the type of complete joy that Jesus is talking about.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to experience real joy in my life and make that joy completely focused on you and the work that you would have me do today.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit…Amen!