If today was your funeral, would you attend the service?

Standard
English: Atlantic Ocean (Feb. 6, 2008) Electro...

English: Atlantic Ocean (Feb. 6, 2008) Electronics Technician 3rd Class Leila Tardieu receives the sacramental ashes during an Ash Wednesday celebration aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1). U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brian May (Released) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

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:  For our sake he made him to be sin who did not know sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God in him. Working together, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain.
For he says:  “In an acceptable time I heard you, and on the day of salvation I helped you.”
Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. (2 Cor 5:21-6-2)

 

Observation:  Today, we celebrate the beginning of Lent.  It even feels weird to write that we are celebrating the beginning of forty days of fasting, almsgiving and deepening our prayer life, as we prepare for Easter.  However, as I grow in my faith, I am realizing that this season that precedes Easter, reminds us of the suffering that will always come before the party.  Of course, if the party is a Jesus party.  My title today is basically pointing out that we remind ourselves of our human frailty on Ash Wednesday, and as we do so it can feel like we are celebrating the fact that we will die someday.   I am just wondering, in our busy lives, would we find time to celebrate our own passing from this world to the next, or would be too busy?

 

Personification:  Faithfulness. Maybe I have started focusing too much on the fruit of faithfulness lately, but it seems to me that it is only when God graces me with it, I am targeting my efforts of evangelization and prayer quite effectively.

 

Prayer:  Lord, continue to challenge me with your will for me and never let me be complacent with the gift you grace my life with daily.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit…Amen!

 

Who am I?

Standard
Gregory of Nazianzus

Gregory of Nazianzus (Photo credit: Texsain (formerly Nazianzus))

 

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:  Different men have different names, which they owe to their parents or to themselves, that is, to their own pursuits and achievements. But our great pursuit, the great name we wanted, was to be Christians, to be called Christians. (From a sermon by Saint Gregory Nazianzen, bishop)

 

Observation:  I read the readings for Mass first this morning, and the first reading from the Office of Readings probably had some more interesting material to journal on, but when I got to the end of the second reading from the Office of Readings for today, I was blown away by how humble this Saint was.  He could have said that because of their great wisdom, he knew that he and Saint Basil would go on to make great reforms in monastic life because they knew what to do.  He didn’t, he said their great pursuit, would be to be called Christians.

 

Personification:  Peace. Once again, if the fruit of peace is to be put on display in my life, I must learn to be content with where God has called me in every moment today.

 

Prayer:  Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit…Amen

 

Is John saying we have to put the genie back in the bottle?

Standard
Lamb

Lamb (Photo credit: GrahamPics1)

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:  These are they who were not defiled with women; they are virgins* and these are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They have been ransomed as the firstfruits of the human race for God and the Lamb.  (Revelations 14:4)

Observation:  It is not only the fact that we are told that the use of virgins is metaphorical, but also the use of symbolic numerology that tells us that those that are called are not going to just be virgins and number a great many more than 144,000.  It is also common sense that tells us that God is calling all of us to be with him in heaven and the New Jerusalem.  However, we must take these admonitions seriously.  Are we complicit in allowing people to think that regardless of what sins we take an active role in, we can be accepted in as God’s chosen ones?  Do we help people realize that by a sincere confession and contrition for past sinfulness, we can be healed and then counted among the elect.  It is not for any other reason except the grace of God that saves us, and hopefully we can comply with this grace by converting our lives to conform to His will and not the world.

Personification:  Joy.   I love to focus on displaying the fruit of joy, because I believe this fruit most exemplifies what God is calling me to, not what I am most often displaying internally but I try to display it externally.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to experience joy in my heart as I try to display it to others today.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit…Amen!

Where are we being called to preach?

Standard
View of Jerusalem from southeast, showing city...

View of Jerusalem from southeast, showing city walls, the Dome of the Rock, and al-Aqsa mosque. 1 photographic print : gelatin silver ; 21 x 56 cm. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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:   The following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Take courage. For just as you have borne witness to my cause in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness in Rome.”  (Acts 23:11)

Observation:  I don’t know why, but this verse was especially meaningful to me today as I read it.  I almost journaled on a continuation of my pastor’s homily from yesterday’s Mass and the Gospel reading for today, but I remembered reading this verse and feeling drawn to write about it.  The truth is for me, I should be able to see the Lord standing by my side now, saying that I should take courage…I have borne witness to His cause in Springfield, so I must take it to the world.

Personification:  Faithfulness  In order to display the fruit of faithfulness, I must listen to the message that I am receiving from the Word of God today and begin to act on it.  My wife is telling me to do something about furthering my education, and I believe she is right to admonish me to take that first step and God knows what will come next.

Prayer:  Lord, show me the way to become everything that you have created me to be and continue to give me the grace necessary to avoid the evils of this world.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit…Amen!

Saint Frances of Rome, pray for us…

Standard
Frances of Rome

Image via Wikipedia

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:  Who can find* a woman of worth? Far beyond jewels is her value. Her husband trusts her judgment; he does not lack income. She brings him profit, not loss,* all the days of her life.  (Proverbs 31:10-12)

Observation:  I read the standard readings for Mass this morning, I was left with the hope that Father Jaspers would shed some light on what I was supposed to hear from the Word of God.  However, after his homily consisted of an explanation of how a Bishop is chosen, since a local Pastor was just selected as the new Bishop of Baker Diocese.  So, I was left with the idea that nothing from the standard readings was speaking to him either.  Now, when I finally got to pray the Office in the church after Mass, I realized that the alternate readings for Saint Frances of Rome were probably where it was at today, and once I got home this afternoon and found the readings, that was it.  It is the general idea that I must learn to see my wife as the jewel that she is, and realize that I can trust her judgement and know that she will bring me profit, not loss.

Personification:   Patience  It is only by displaying the fruit of patience and being obedient to the will of God, that I can be able to value my wife for the beautiful creation of God that she is.  I hope that I can bear the things that I see as injustice in my life, as Saint Frances of Rome did, that I can be sure that the things that give glory to God will be able to be accomplished through me.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to be a better husband to my wife and walk in your ways and not in mine.  Saint Frances of Rome, pray for us.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

Be kind to me, Lord, and I shall live. (From the Responsorial Psalm today)

Standard
English: Stained glass window in the nave of S...

Image via Wikipedia

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:   Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials,* for you know that the testing* of your faith produces perseverance. But if any of you lacks wisdom,* he should ask God who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and he will be given it.  (James 1:2-3,5)

Observation:  It is in the moment that I feel like God is granting me wisdom, that I must guard for a fall.  So, my title for today’s post, that I got from the Mass readings for today, is more a plea for Jesus to stay with me even when I know I was tested and seem to be realizing a path to avoid evil and follow him.  As it says in the footnotes for these two verses that I chose to journal on, it is only in the perseverance in faith that brings about the wisdom to see the truth.  In those times that I lack wisdom, I must remember to seek it from the Lord and not the world.  God will grant it to me, but the world will hide true wisdom from me.

Personification:  Joy  Since the verse from the reading from the letter of Saint James says that I should consider it all joy when suffering various trials in life, it would be important to try to display the fruit of joy in a real way in my life today.  It is not as if I have suffered in any way like Jesus had to suffer to offer himself as a sacrifice to save me, so whatever trials that I must persevere through, I can do so with joy clearly on display.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to display the joy that comes from the knowledge and wisdom that you give your people as a free gift.  I hope that I can bring that joy to others today, especially my family.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

To continue yesterday’s theme, our hope in the Lord should bring peace…

Standard
Isaiah stained glass window at St. Matthew's L...
Image via Wikipedia

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:  They shall not harm or destroy on all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the LORD, as water covers the sea.  (Isaiah 11:9)

Observation:  I read the readings at home this morning before I came to our communion service and I really didn’t have any particular verses that were speaking to me.  However, when I was sitting in our chapel this morning, listening to the lector read the first reading, I couldn’t get the picture of the earth filled with knowledge of the Lord, and that looking like the waters that covers the sea, out of my head.  It reminded me of yesterday’s focus of my journal that had to do with hoping in the Lord and thereby not allowing conflict to appear in our relationships.  Today, I am left with a picture of what this peace looks like, and not a practical application of how we could make it happen.

Personification:  Peace  I don’t remember if I focused on peace yesterday, but I will try to keep the idea of knowledge of the Lord covering the earth in my head, so that I can display the peace that comes from the grace of God.

Prayer:  Lord, allow me to display the fruit of peace in my life and supply me with the grace necessary to display it to everyone that I come in contact with today.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.