Her response sounds strange, because we are conditioned to take the credit…She didn’t!

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Visitation by Mariotto Albertinelli (1503) Oil...

Visitation by Mariotto Albertinelli (1503) Oil on wood, 232 x 146 cm Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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:  And Mary said:* “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;w my spirit rejoices in God my savior. (Luke 1:46-47)

Observation:  In one of the selections for today’s Gospel reading that ends with the beginning of Mary’s response, called the Canticle of Mary, we hear about her relative, Elizabeth, greeting her by paying her a most amazing compliment about how she is most favored by God.  She could have said, “Oh well, you know, clean living and clean heart leads to Holy favors!”  She didn’t though, she said, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my savior.”  How much more should this be my response when I am paid a compliment?  Not because of my greatness, but because of His grace that has done so much for me.

Personification:  Gentleness.  Since I am programmed, by the society I live in, to learn how to take a compliment, and do it by remembering that I should give thanks to the other people who helped me to be able to do these things, I think I often forget to give praise and glory to God, who is the one who deserves it.  I hope that I can display the fruit of gentleness, like Mary does in her Canticle and in her response to the Archangel Gabriel when he announces that she will be giving birth to our savior.

Prayer:  Lord, unlike Mary, I don’t know what you have planned for me, but I want to answer the way she did when presented with your will for me.  Be it done unto your servant according to your will.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit…Amen!

If we accept forgiveness from God, why are we still waiting?

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English: The healing of the paralytic : wall p...

English: The healing of the paralytic : wall painting in the baptistry of the domus ecclesiae in Dura Europos. (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:  Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’?  (Luke 5:23)

 

Observation:  If we are truly Christian, we should accept that we are forgiven for our sins by the power of God, who sent his Son to suffer and die in place of the punishment that we deserve for the life that we have lived to this point.   So, now are we waiting like the scribes and Pharisees, who Jesus had to perform the healing of the paralytic man for, to prove that He has the power to forgive sins.  Today, I am asking myself about all the things in my life, that are like the paralytic man, that I am waiting to be healed to prove that Jesus has the power to forgive my sin.  I need to accept my paralysis and redeem it with the power of forgiveness that comes from the grace of God.

 

Personification:  Faithfulness.  The fruit of faithfulness is a great fruit for me to display today to prove to God that I am no longer waiting to see miracles to believe.  How do I show faithfulness, but by being present for the work that God is doing in and through me today.

 

Prayer:  Lord, help me recognize your goodness in everyone I meet today and be a vehicle of your grace to all the ones that you would have me embrace with your love.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit…Amen!

 

 

 

Repent…Change your heart!

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Prepare the Way of the Lord

Prepare the Way of the Lord (Photo credit: Fr. Stephen, MSC)

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:  He went throughout [the] whole region of the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.  (Luke 3:3)

Observation:  As I read the gospel reading for Mass today, I was thinking about the way that I would pray for the President to repent of the evil that he has put forth in his HHS mandate that forces men and women of good will, in the United States, to violate their consciences.  At the same time, I was thinking that I should pray that we all repent of the evil in our own sinfulness.  By the grace of God, both of these things will be done for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.

Personification:  Self-Control. Many times when I choose to try to personify the fruit of self-control, I write that I will only be successful if the grace of God saves me from myself.  God’s grace has saved me this morning and I just want to thank Him for it.

Prayer:  Lord Jesus Christ, thank you for saving me from my flesh and preserving me, by your grace, to follow your will and not my own this morning.  Please continue to shine your light in my darkness and allow me to follow you, Jesus, with the continued intercession of Our Mother Mary, even more closely.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit…Amen!

Invitation given, are we making Excuses? or planning to attend the feast!

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Witnessing with Fortitude

Witnessing with Fortitude (Photo credit: Lawrence OP)

 

Gift: Fortitude (Courage) – With the gift of courage, we overcome our fear and are willing to take risk as a follower of Jesus. A person with courage is willing to stand up for what is right in the sight of God, even if it means accepting rejection, verbal abuse, or even physical harm and death.

 

Reading: For, I tell you, none of those men who were invited will taste my dinner. (Luke 14:24)

 

Observation:  Since I chose the whole reading to focus on yesterday, I thought I would be a little more specific about the verse that jumped out at me today from the readings.  In the Gospel reading leading up to this statement from Jesus, the many who were invited made excuses to not attend.  I thought about all the ways that I cling to the things of this world, and not abandon them in favor of accepting the invitation to the feast, without anything holding me back.

 

Personification:. Love. It is only by completely abandoning my vision of worldly love, that I will ever come to know God’s love fully.

 

Prayer:  Lord, help me to follow your will for me more closely, as it is coming clearer day by day by your grace.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit…Amen!

 

Why do you not attend Mass daily?

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Jesus drives out a demon or unclean spirit, fr...

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 the same way, the doctrine of the Christian religion should properly follow these laws of development, that is, by becoming firmer over the years, more ample in the course of time, more exalted as it advances in age.  (from the Second reading of the Office of Readings, From the first instruction by Saint Vincent of Lerins, priest)

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“When an unclean spirit goes out of someone, it roams through arid regions searching for rest but, finding none, it says, ‘I shall return to my home from which I came. ’But upon returning, it finds it swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and brings back seven other spirits more wicked than itself who move in and dwell there, and the last condition of that person is worse than the first.”  ( Luke 11:24-26)

Observation:  As I prepared for leading our communion service this morning, I wondered about the end of the Gospel that had left me once again with a false impression of how grace was given to us through the exorcism of evil from our lives.  I had decided to avoid the subject, except to say that we must choose to not fall into temptation when it is presented to us, by making a conscious decision to place ourselves at the foot of the cross with Jesus in Spirit and kiss his feet in submission to the will of God, and not follow our temptations to their logical conclusion of falling into sin.  Thereby, as Saint Frances de Sales says in his Introduction to the Devout life, causing the Devil to forfeit his bringing the same temptation to us, for fear that it is leading us to be more devoted to God.  Anyway, I didn’t have to lead the communion service because Father Jaspers showed up…Thanks be to God…He shared the story that I was trying to think of from the book that I shared with him about the story of an American Exorcist trained in Rome, called the Rite.  The story was of a man who was exorcised of his demon, only to be possessed by seven more, because he did not fill his life with the visible signs of God’s grace on earth, the Sacraments.  Anyway, good news from our representative of Jesus, here at Saint Alice Church, Father Jaspers and again, all thanks be to God the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Personification:  Faithfulness  It is only by faithfully attending the Mass and receiving the Sacraments that we can be sure of being filled with the God who can keep us from sin.  I don’t mean just our little venial sins, but the evil that we know has taken hold in our lives before, because we have consented to it.  I hope I can align my will with the grace that has been poured out on me from the Sacrament I received today and continue to be made free from all evil tendencies in my life, by continuing to be led to receive the Sacraments that are offered to me in the future.

Prayer:  Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner…Amen!

God is enough…

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Symbol of Christianity, white version.

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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:  Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.”  (Luke 6:38)

Observation:  Although the first reading speaks more to my own experience of faith up to this point in my life, I still felt more called to journal about this verse from the Gospel today.  I attended Mass this morning, and although Father Jaspers gave the homily in Spanish, I heard him re-read this verse, as well as the rest of the Gospel again today, I am pretty sure these verses moved him as well.  It is the simple fact that I am not ashamed of the Gospel that allows me to take this Gospel reading to heart, and I can expect that God will continue to reveal more truth to me, if I continue to proclaim the Good News for his eternal purposes.

Personification:   Generosity  It is difficult to for me to understand other people, and for that reason I think I should not try to understand them and leave that to the God who created them.  My job is to speak the truth in love, and that is what I am going to do.  I don’t know if anyone will understand this as generosity, but I am hearing the call to display the fruit of generosity by being unashamed to deliver the Good News to whoever comes in my path to hear it.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to bring your Good News to more people and especially to my family.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

It’s us, that Jesus came to save…Have you hung out with Him lately?

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Gods ultim will become like Jesus cover

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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:  “Repairer of the breach,” they shall call you, “Restorer of ruined dwellings.”  (Isaiah 58:12b)

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Jesus said to them in reply, “Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do. I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners.”  (Luke 5:31-32)

Observation:   For the last couple of weeks, I have become more aware of the fact that Jesus wants to be directly involved in my salvation.  Not as some distant ideal or moral compass, but as a willing partner who is willing to help me through whatever is holding me back from following God’s will.  The first reading today tells me that I must be willing to share this message with others if the breach of trust in the church is going to be repaired and the dwellings of all believers is going to be restored back to the heavenly dwellings that God wills them to be.  In order to be doing God’s work, I must be willing to go to the place that I could find the most sinners.  I will wait to see what God has in store for me there.

Personification:  Patience  Rather than think of all the places that I could find the most sinners, I will try to display the fruit of patience and wait for the holy Spirit to show me the places that I need to go to encounter those, like me, who are in need of repentance.  The truth is, I can just plan on being truly present for the people I will meet at the church, and share the vision that I have received about the future of our world if we just learn how to accept God’s love and mercy.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to be patient and wait for you to show me the people who will be most affected or are most in need of this message of your love and who, like me, are in need of repentance.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

Jesus says, “And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.”

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English: Statue of St. John of the Cross at Ca...

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In honor of the fact that we remember the life of Saint John of the Cross today, I plan on buying his book called, “Dark Night of the Soul” from the Carmelite Monastery today, and putting it on my list of books to read.  I am throwing out my normal format for journaling for today.  The quote in my title was taking from today’s Gospel reading, which comes from chapter 7 of Luke’s Gospel, the 23rd verse.  I don’t think I have ever understood this quote the same way as I did this morning.  Normally, I look to the historical context and realize that Jesus was telling the people of his time in Israel that they would be blessed if they would forget about what they wanted the Savior to be, and follow him.  However, this morning, I hear him talking directly to me, I need to forget about what I expect Jesus to save me from, and follow him.  It is hard for me, because I am constantly trying to figure everything out, not that I am capable of ever actually figuring anything out, but I seem to be constantly trying.  So, the message for me today is to let go of trying to figure it out and look to Jesus for the way to live my life.  Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

Eternal grace came into the world today!

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Mary, mother of Jesus, as the Immaculate Conce...

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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:  I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; They will strike at your head, while you strike at their heel.*  (Genesis 3:15)

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In him we were also chosen, destined in accord with the purpose of the One who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will,so that we might exist for the praise of his glory, we who first hoped*in Christ.  (Ephesians 1:11-12)

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And coming to her, he said, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you. But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus.  (Luke 1:28-31)

Observation:  As I was reading the readings this morning, I was first moved by the fact that in the story from the book of Genesis, Adam and Eve were trying to be wise, but ended up naked.  It says in the footnotes for the 1st verse of this chapter that there is a clever use of the Hebrew word ‘arum, which means cunning or wise but could also mean naked.  After contemplating this loss of innocence that happens to us today, as we search for wisdom and end up realizing how lacking we are, I realized that their was something in the true nature of how men and women are created that was being revealed here.  It was after reading the second reading that continued to reveal our ancestry as children of God, but this time as children of truth, I realized that God’s work of creation was completed in Mary, both her conception and the conception of Jesus in her.  Finally, in the gospel, I realized that the angel is telling us today that we have hope because God decided to save us through the Son of God, who was conceived in the womb of Mary.  We have hope because of the conception, because of our relationship to God through our hope in Jesus…Her Immaculate Conception and Perpetual Virginity, His Divine Conception and Glorious Resurrection, and ours and our children’s natural conception and natural birth give us hope for a future!

Personification:  Faithfulness  The greatest human thing we can do to honor God is praise him with our entire being.  One of the best ways to praise God is to give up your own selfish will and do the will of the One who gave you life.  It starts by learning to respect your parents and transfers to God through an act of faith that remembers that you are a beautiful creation of God and you were created to bring glory and honor to the One who made you.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to stay faithful to you at all times.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

New format for today…Check it out!

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Breaking of the bread.
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Gospel:  ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’  (Luke 13:35c)

Observation:  During the liturgy of the Eucharist at Mass, we say these words as part of the Holy, Holy, Holy.

Application:  Even though I did not search out the exact meaning of the word “comes” in the verse that I chose from the gospel today.  I believe it means that you are blessed if you carry “Jesus” with you at all times and in all situations.  Regardless of how the world would have me look at a situation, I will try to look at it the way that Jesus would look at it.

Prayer:  Lord, please help me to carry you with me at all times and in all situations.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.