He was born, died, resurrected, and rose to heaven and will come again…Are you afraid?

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Allegory of hope; Oil on canvas, Francesco Gua...

Allegory of hope; Oil on canvas, Francesco Guardi, 1747 (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:  Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down,
with the mountains quaking before you.  (Isaiah 63:19)

 

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In this is love brought to perfection among us, that we have confidence on the day of judgment because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love.  (1 John 4:17-18)

 

Observation:  As I read the Office of Readings, I felt as if the first psalmody was written for me.  As I went back to the page just now to remember what the first psalm reading is called, I found this scripture written under the title for Psalm 39, or the urgent prayer of a sick person.  Creation is made subject to futility…by him who subjected it, but it is not without hope (Romans 8:20).  So, I am getting over a cold/flu, and I hope today marks the end of my suffering any symptoms.  However, it was further down the Office that I came to the line from the First reading that I quoted above.   I couldn’t help feeling joy at reading of the words of Isaiah that were calling on God to come down.  Although, the prophet was speaking before the first coming, I would think he would have yearned for our final salvation as well.

 

Personification:  Joy. Today, I am hoping to display the fruit of joy, not only because I hope to not suffer any more symptoms of a cold, but also because of the hope that I have that our loving God will not want to see us suffer this world’s injustice too much longer.  As it says in the responsory, right after the first reading for today’s Office of Readings:

 

We cry out for justice, but it is not there;

 

for salvation, but it is far from us.  (Isaiah 59:11)

 

It is much easier to see a path to displaying the fruit of joy when we read the first reading for today’s Mass from the first letter of John that I listed in the readings section above.  It is only because we know that God loves us perfectly, that we know that we can be not afraid of his bringing judgment on this world.

 

Prayer:  Lord, in your love let me put real joy on display to see today.  It is my hope that everyone who sees me today, sees you.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit…Amen!

 

If we are the City of God, we need to drive out the murderers!!!

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Gift: the Spirit of Knowledge that I may know God and know myself and grow perfect in the science of the Saints.

Reading:  He made a whip out of cords and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and oxen, and spilled the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables, and to those who sold doves he said, “Take these out of here, and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.  (John 2:15-16)

Observation:  Sometime back, they completed construction of a new 40,000 square ft Planned Parenthood facility in our town of Springfield, Oregon.  Shortly after that, one of our local churches put up a new electronic banner on our major highway that says, “Springfield – City of God”.  The first time I saw the sign, I thought about the fact that if we are the City of God, shouldn’t we be acting like it.  I mean, we should be standing up and protesting this facility that plans to kill babies, once the surgery rooms are completed.

Personification:  Peace.  When I tell you what I am planning, you may wonder how I can plan on displaying the fruit of peace when I am planning on holding a sign that says, “MURDERERS” outside of the new facility.  It is my hope that more people will know what they are planning on doing there.  However, I need to focus on peace to keep myself from being like Jesus and turning over the tables, and do whatever I need to do to restrain myself and keep my protest peaceful.

Prayer:  Lord, make me bold enough to do your work in our small town, but diligent enough to continue to focus on peace.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit…Amen!

Release me, a prisoner doomed to die…

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Stained glass window of the sacred Heart of Je...

Stained glass window of the sacred Heart of Jesus Christ in the former Mosque (Cathedral) of Cordoba, Spain (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:  Let this be written for the next generation,

for a people not yet born,

that they may praise the LORD:

*“The LORD looked down from the holy heights,

viewed the earth from heaven,

To attend to the groaning of the prisoners,

to release those doomed to die.”  (Psalm 102:19-21)

Observation:  I recognize that the Psalmist is talking about all of us who are doomed to die here on earth, to continue groaning to God because we know that he will hear our groaning and answer us.  It is only through the recognition that it is not after death that God will save us, but rather during our life that we can be saved, if we only remember that we are doomed to die and keep trusting in God’s grace to bring us to eternal life.

Personification:  Love  It is the fruit of love that I hope to display.  The fruit of love that brings with it truth of God’s grace to everyone that I meet today.  It is only possible for me to display this fruit because of the grace that comes from the church and my willingness to take part in the activities in the church to bring God’s grace to me.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to stay faithful to you, no matter how unwilling my flesh may be at times.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

Let me be righteous, by the grace of God…

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Our Lord Jesus Christ

Our Lord Jesus Christ (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:  The LORD’s face is against evildoers to wipe out their memory from the earth. The righteous cry out, the LORD hears and he rescues them from all their afflictions.  (Psalm 34:17-18)

Observation:  I hope the Lord’s face is never against me.  In other words, I do not want to be an evildoer.  I hope that my cries to the Lord are deemed worthy to rescue me from my afflictions.  This reading was such a blessing to me today.

Personification:  Gentleness  I hope to display the fruit of gentleness today, by paying attention to the needs of all of my family that is around me now.  I want to be attentive to everyone, but not neglect anyone in the process.

Prayer:  Lord Jesus Christ, I have redemption by your blood, and forgiveness of our sins, in accord with the riches of your grace.  Please help me to share this redemption in the ways that your will show to me today.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

Save me, O Lord, in your kindness…

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Matthew

Matthew

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:  But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave.  (Matthew 20:25-27)

Observation:  I have heard many times about people who have servant hearts, and I know a few of them pretty well, I think.  The message I am hearing today, from the Gospel verse I chose both today and yesterday, is that the only way to be truly fulfilling God’s mission for us in this life, is to become a servant.  If we truly wish to be joyful in this life, we must be a slave to other people’s needs and not to our own.

Personification:  Kindness  In my life, I know that when I have embraced this practice of being a servant, I have been the most fulfilled and full of life.  It is only when I am trying to make a point or more directly my point, that I feel troubled or at odds with what God is calling me to.  I will focus today on displaying the fruit of kindness to everyone that I meet today, and hopefully they will ask me for something and allow me to fulfill God’s mission for me.

Prayer:  Lord, give me a servant’s heart and remind me that I am the full of joy when I am serving others.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

(My original title for this journal entry was, “What makes me feel fulfilled?”  I got a tweet from the USCCB about the daily readings, that started with the response from the Responsorial Psalm for today, as I was finishing my prayer…God is enough!

A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn. (Psalms 51:19b)

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"Son of man" appears 25 times in Luk...

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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:  When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way, he repented of the evil he had threatened to do to them; he did not carry it out.  (Jonah 3:10)

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Have mercy on me, God, in accord with your merciful love; in your abundant compassion blot out my transgressions. Thoroughly wash away my guilt; and from my sin cleanse me.  (Psalms 51:3-4)

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While still more people gathered in the crowd, he said to them,“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 11:29-30)

Observation:  From the title for my journal today, you can see that I believe today’s message begins for me as a call to have a contrite heart.  I am hearing that I must be willing to be humble enough to recognize my tendency toward sinfulness, to see a call to repentance.  Jesus is saying that just as the Ninevites accepted Jonah’s call to repentance for the evil that was being done in their day, we must accept Jesus’ call to repentance for the evil that is being done in our day, if we are to expect any salvation at all.  I see this as not just pertaining to the punishment that may come to us in our world today, like was promised to Ninevah if they didn’t repent, but an eternal punishment for not listening to the Son of Man’s call to repentance.

Personification:   Self-Control  It is my belief that God would rather have me in complete control of my desires, but I realize that I am not there yet.  I hope that with more prayer and fasting, I will be able to let God orient my desires to those that are in line with his will and not the earthly desires that I would want.

Prayer:  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.

 

 

The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart. (Psalm 19:9a)

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3rd quarter of 16th century

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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:  * He said to them, “This kind can only come out through prayer.”  (Mark 9:29)

Observation:  It is by God’s grace that I made it to Mass this morning.  I assumed that since there is a holiday at the office, there would be no Mass this morning, but I was pleasantly surprised to be called to let some people into the chapel, and once I got there, Father was in the chapel and they were singing the opening hymn in Spanish.  I don’t understand all the prayers and readings in Spanish yet, but it is still Jesus present in the Eucharist and I still love to be in his presence while there is a room full of people praising him.  It is the prayer that comes from Mass and a life focused on God that will save us from evil.  This may not be exactly what Jesus is talking about in the Gospel today, but it is what I am hearing.

Personification:  Joy  I can think of no better way to personify the fruit of joy, than to smile.  As now, Cardinal Dolan, the Archbishop of New York,  said in his address to the Consistory on the day before he was appointed Cardinal with the other 21 other Cardinals, that he heard when he was in the seminary, a homily that consisted of a call to smile when they were walking around Rome, to show the joy that comes from their experience of faith in Jesus.

Prayer:  Lord, I hope that the joy that comes from your sacrifice on the cross will be ever-present in my face and my demeanor, so that everyone who meets me will know that I have faith in you.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

God, send your cloud to cast a shadow over me…

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English: West Window depicting the Transfigura...

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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:   Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them;* then from the cloud came a voice, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.”  (Mark 9:7)

Observation:  I understand that the proper reaction to the presence of God would be one of wonder and awe, otherwise known as Fear of the Lord, but it is the voice that came from the cloud that reassured the disciples that were with God’s Son.  I am comforted by scripture daily that God is present in the church, but it would be something special to have God reveal himself in a cloud, like during the dedication of the temple in Jerusalem or here at the Transfiguration of our Lord.

Personification:    Patience  I may never see on earth the cloud of God casting a shadow over me, but I am confident that if I display the fruit of patience, along with the other fruits of the holy Spirit, that I will eventually know the peace that comes from being in the presence of the Almighty God when I am called up to heaven.

Prayer:  Lord, help me remember that you are always close to me, as long as you keep me in your grace and I remember to love my neighbor as you love me.  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)

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

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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.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner…

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The Lord is my Good Shepherd

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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:  Therefore every loyal person should pray to you in time of distress. Though flood waters* threaten, they will never reach him.d You are my shelter; you guard me from distress; with joyful shouts of deliverance you surround me.  (Psalms 32:6-7)

Observation:  After I woke up this morning already feeling tempted to sin, I read about David‘s sin and my mind started to justify that I am a sinner anyway, so the fact that I fall victim to my sin today would be understandable in the light of David’s sin.  However, as I read the Responsorial Psalm I realized that I should be praying to get rid of the temptation, not succumbing to it.  The fact that the Psalmist here says that the flood waters threaten, but they will never reach us, and the joyful shouts of deliverance surround us.

Personification:  Generosity  In the light of the fact that I am a sinner that has fallen short of the glory of God, I will count on God to show me the way to display the fruit of generosity.  It is clear to me from what others say about me, especially my wife, that I am usually quite generous with my possessions, but I am sure there are ways that God could reveal to me that I could be more giving of my time and talents, as well as my money and possessions.

Prayer:  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.