Does the idea of the Son of Man with a sickle in his hand scare you? Good!

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“Fruit Basket”, oil on wood

“Fruit Basket”, oil on wood (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

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:  Then I looked and there was a white cloud, and sitting on the cloud one who looked like a son of man, with a gold crown on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand.  (Revelation 14:14)

 

Observation:  After attending our communion service this morning, and hearing how it is difficult to live in fear of the unknown, I was left with the overwhelming need to say that a healthy fear is a good thing.  As I think about Jesus harvesting the world for the fruit that is ready to be harvested, I have to admit I am not sure that I am included in this harvest.  However, this does not strike fear in me that would push me to stop working for the Lord.  On the contrary, it moves me to be more vigilant and make my life more closely resemble Jesus, by repenting of all the things that lead me to know that I am not worthy of being harvested with the first fruits of Jesus’ harvest.

 

Personification:  Love.  I choose to focus on displaying the fruit of love, because I see it as the opposite of the fruit of anger and resentment that comes from evil.  I hope that I can be a person who loves more and resents my past less.

 

Prayer:  Lord, continue to make me into the man who you want me to be and help me to keep my will out of your way.  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!

When you visit your relative, hate what is evil…

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Sandro Botticelli, Magnificat, 1480-81, temper...

Sandro Botticelli, Magnificat, 1480-81, tempera on panel, Uffizi Gallery, Florence (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:  Let love be sincere; hate what is evil, hold on to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; anticipate one another in showing honor. Do not grow slack in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord (Romans 12:9-11)

Observation:  Ok, I took a little poetic license with combining the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the first reading from Mass.  If it causes just one person to click on my blog today and read the readings for today’s Mass, and even more if it causes them to go to Mass, I will feel like God accomplished the objective of my little blog of getting more people to read His Word, and that is awesome.

Personification: Peace   It is my hope that I can display the fruit of peace in my life today and be an instrument of God’s peace to my family and my community today.  It is only be focusing on the truth that comes from God that I can display peace.

Prayer:  Lord, bring me to your peace today and allow me to put Your peace on display to everyone I meet in person, online or on the phone.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit. Amen.

What is holding back our perfection?

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Heart of Jesus

Heart of Jesus

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:  This day the LORD, your God, is commanding you to observe these statutes and ordinances. Be careful, then, to observe them with your whole heart and with your whole being.  (Deuteronomy 26:16)

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You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. So be perfect,* just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”  (Matthew 5:43-45,48)

Observation:  It is not that I feel like I am going to be approaching perfection any time soon, but I am hearing the call to perfection very loud and clear today.  I didn’t get a lot of sleep last night, so it is very hard for me to focus on being good.  I said all of my prayers this morning, as usual, but I should have recognized my need for sleep and just went back to sleep after I said them.  Instead, I let myself be distracted by the things of this world and did not do what I knew my body needed.  From a TV show that my son was watching when I first woke up, to the random websites that I perused to keep my mind occupied, and not let it sleep  I learned that if I am going to be out late again, even for a good reason like a Christian music concert, I need to make sure that I make arrangements to get enough rest and trust that God is with me and wants me to be perfect and not distracted.

Personification:   Faithfulness  I hope that the fruit of faithfulness will show through as I complete this day and make reparations for any damage that I did to my relationships with my family and my God today.  I will lean on God’s mercy to carry me through to completion this day, and know that I am not close to perfect yet, but thankfully God is not finished with me yet.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to follow the path that you have laid out before me this evening and don’t allow my mind to get distracted from your will.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

O God, restore us; light up your face and we shall be saved. (Psalms 80:4)

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English: Scroll of the Psalms

Image via Wikipedia

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 his relatives heard of this they set out to seize him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”  (Mark 3:21)

Observation:  It is hard to believe that Jesus’ relatives would not have believed that He was the Messiah.  They knew His Mother, and they had to know the story of His birth.  I guess it is a testament to how powerful pride can be in the minds of us sinners.  I know that I forget that God has the power to save me sometimes, and I am related to Jesus by my Baptism too.  When I heard the words of the responsorial Psalm this morning at 8:00am Mass at Saint Mary Catholic Church, I realized again that just the appearance of the face of Jesus can save me

Personification:  Joy  Thanks be to God for revealing the truth of His saving power through the responsorial Psalm at Mass today, and in honor of his power and glory, I used the 4th verse of the 80th Psalm as my title for my journal today.  I want to live out the Good News today with joy, because I am secure in the knowledge that God will use whatever means necessary to save us from sin and we only need be open to the prompting of the holy Spirit to act in accordance with His grace.

Prayer:  Lord, help me be joyful today at every move that God makes in my life and realize that it is by the power of the holy Spirit and His grace, that we receive through the sacrifice of Jesus, that we are saved.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

A simple request from a sinner on your way to church today…

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English: Igreja de São Roque: Chapel of Our La...

Image via 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:  Sacrifice and offering you do not want; you opened my ears.  When I sing of your righteousness in a great assembly, See, I do not restrain my lips; as you, LORD, know.  (Psalms 40:7a,10)

Observation:  If you are reading this before you head out for Mass today, I was hoping that the words of the Psalmist would fall on your open ears as they did mine this morning.  The first and second readings, as well as the gospel reading, are beautiful in today’s Mass readings, but I if we do not have open ears to hear them, they will not have any affect.  It is also my hope, for those of us that are seeing this before we go to Mass today, we will read the words of the 10th verse and realize our call to praise God today, and every time we go to Mass with unrestrained lips.

Personification:  Kindness  It is most likely true that some the other fruits of the holy Spirit can flow freely from this one, so I am probably trying to encompass all the others by attempting to display the fruit of kindness.  I do hope that love, joy, peace, patience and gentleness, as well as kindness, can flow through me to everyone that I come in contact with today.

Prayer:  Lord, help this worthless sinner to follow your will for him today.  I know that I have not always followed your will for me, but I want to work only for your grace in my life and the lives of those people who you would use me to bring closer to you.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

Stand in the way of sinners…?

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Jesus H. ChristGift:  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:  Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the way* of sinners, nor sit in company with scoffers.  Rather, the law of the LORD* is his joy; and on his law he meditates day and night.  (Psalms 1:1-2)

Observation:  As I read the readings this morning, I was looking for something to journal on the in the first reading or the gospel, after I had already heard the responsorial psalm screaming at me that it was just what I needed to hear.  It is funny how even when we have the Word of God speaking to us, we can still be looking for something that we want to hear, versus what God is actually revealing.  The explanation of “the way”, as it is used in the 1st verse of the 1st Psalm, is just what I needed to hear.  I can only count on being blessed, if I remember that the things that I take pleasure in, should not be the same things that sinners do.  In other words, even though other people are involved in sinful behavior, it does not give me the right to take part in it.

Personification:  Love  On other occasions when I have read these verses, I have heard the admonition to not keep company with sinners, and then saw Jesus do exactly that, and this was an obstacle to my faith.  Today, I will try to hear more exactly the words of these verses and love the sinners, but do not love the sinful way they behave.  In order to be an example of God’s love to others, I should not shy away from the places that sinners hang out, but remember the disciple that I am, and keep away from the sinful nature that those places may bring out in me.

Prayer:  Lord, help me learn your way more completely, so I can keep away from my old sinful ways.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.