Create in me, a clean heart…

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English: Scroll of the Psalms

English: Scroll of the Psalms (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:  My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit;

 

a contrite, humbled heart, O God, you will not scorn.  (Psalm 51:19)

 

Observation:  I was trying to decide whether to post a video or post my regular journal this morning, when I got a tweet from Rick Warren this morning that said that I should not let anyone else make a decision for me.  The truth is, I post the videos because I think that is the way most people might eventually be exposed to the concept of journaling, but for now the focus is on the work that God is doing in me.  The potential for what he could do in others, will have to wait until God has better prepared me to do it.

 

Personification:  Peace.  The journaling that I try to do every morning, gives me such a peace about the work that God is doing in me.  I hope to be able to share that peace with my family today and anyone who I may come in contact with.  I just received another tweet from Rick Warren, exactly two minutes ago that said,  “Personal discipline always yields more freedom.  The fruit of the Spirit is #Self Control.  Gal 5:23…I should be focusing on self control as well today, and the hope is that it will yield more true freedom.

 

Prayer:  Lord, create in me a clean heart, so that my contrition will be a worthy offering to you and your work will be done in and through me today.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit…Amen!

 

 

 

 

Jesus gives us a picture of hell today…Not pretty!

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Hebrew Psalmist from the Brooklyn Museum

Image via Wikipedia

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:  More tortuous than anything is the human heart, beyond remedy; who can understand it?  (Jeremiah 17:9)

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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. (Psalm 1:1-2)

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Abraham replied, ‘My child, remember that you received what was good during your lifetime while Lazarus likewise received what was bad; but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented.”  (Luke 16:25)

Observation:  I wrote the title of my journal early this morning, but after hearing the Gospel read and Father Jaspers homily, I did not think I needed to change it.  His homily was basically that the Gospel reading speaks for itself, and I would recommend that you read the reading, but this verse from the Gospel was what was speaking to me.   After Jeremiah’s recognition of the tortuousness of our human hearts, and the admonition of the Psalmist to stay away from people who mock your faith and not to sin, and meditate on the law of the Lord all day and night, I realize that the complete surrender to the will of God is necessary to ensure that we will spend eternity in heaven.  It is not just some words that we should or could say, but living our life as if it completely depended on God, because it does.  (At least the eternal life does!)

Personification:  Self-Control  I am choosing to focus on my old friend, the fruit of Self-Control.  I will rely on the grace of God to keep me from surrendering any part of my will to anything other than the will of God, and God will protect me from sin.  I know, by the example of many Saints that lived holy lives before us, that we can look to them for an example of what a holy life will gain you in this world, and rejoice in what it will gain us for eternity.

Prayer:  Father, help me to stay humble and no matter how my financial situation changes, allow me to see, that whatever wealth we have, it is only to be used to bring you glory.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

 

I, for one, am sick of making God sorry he made me…

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Reading:  So the LORD said: “I will wipe out from the earth the men whom I have created, and not only the men, but also the beasts and the creeping things and the birds of the air, for I am sorry that I made them.”  (Genesis 6:7)

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They had forgotten to bring bread, and they had only one loaf with them in the boat.  4 He enjoined them, “Watch out, guard against the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.”  (Mark 8:14-15)

Observation:  Today, I am hearing a reminder in the first reading from Genesis and from the gospel reading that evil is all around us and we must make a decision to follow Christ at all times or the evil will creep into our hearts.  He makes this admonition to his disciples as they are traveling with him in person at the onset of his miraculous ministry.  How much more do we have to be watchful against the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod in a world that would like to forget about God?  In that way, we are living more in Noah‘s time of the first reading, than in Christ’s time of the gospel reading. 

Personification:   Self-Control  It is only by the grace of God and my ability to display the fruit of self-control by the power of the holy Spirit that I am not caught up in sin right now.  I must not forget that Christ has the power to work miracles in my life and the lives of those around me to not only to keep me from sin, but provide everything that I need in life to keep bringing his message to his people.

Prayer:  Lord, continue to fill my heart with your holy Spirit and give me the strength to follow your will today and forever.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

Nelson and Michael behind the DJ table...?

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.

Is your faith practical? According to the world or God?

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Antonio Ciseri's Martyrdom of the Seven Maccab...

Image via 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:  One of the brothers, speaking for the others, said: “What do you expect to achieve by questioning us? We are ready to die rather than transgress the laws of our ancestors.”  (2 Maccabees 7:2)

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1 Finally, brothers, pray for us, so that the word of the Lord may speed forward and be glorified, as it did among you, and that we may be delivered from perverse and wicked people, for not all have faith. But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one.  (2 Thessalonians 3:1-3)

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They can no longer die, for they are like angels; and they are the children of God because they are the ones who will rise. 9 (Luke 20:36)

Observation:  I heard in the video reflection for today that the Maccabees were a people who were very aware of a transcendent God.  It is only in the faith that God is with you that you could suffer in the face of such persecution like the brothers did in the first reading.  In the second reading for today, the Thessalonians are reminded by Paul of this transcendent God that will protect them and us from the evil one.  Finally, Jesus tells us in the Gospel that the reward for such faith and living with the knowledge of this transcendent God is that we will spend eternity as children of God, we will be like angels when God raises us as sons of the resurrection.

Personification:  Self-Control  With the knowledge that God is always with me, it should be easy to control what I do with my time.  The fruit of self-control comes from God and if he is in control of my life, than I will spend my time doing his will.  It sounds simple, but it is those times that I try to take control that get in the way of his will.  It is counter-cultural to act this way, I know, but I want to be concerned with what the Lord would have me do, not what some sinner(I) would choose for me.

Prayer:  Lord, make me into the child of God that you would have me be.  Please help me to forget about what I want and focus my attention on 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 live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit…

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Psalm 1, Verse 1 and 2 in Biblia Hebraica Stut...

Psalm 1, Verse 1 and 2 (just in case you were wondering what came before verse 3...lol)

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:  If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit.  (Galatians 5:25)

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They are like a tree planted near streams of water, that yields its fruit in season; Its leaves never wither; whatever they do prospers.  (Psalm 1:3)

Observation:  This morning, I changed my format for journaling page because of what I read in the readings.  It was the reading from Saint Paul’s letter to the Galatians that motivated it, but it was the Spirit moving in me that allowed me to do it.  As the verses say above, I would hope that I would always act in the Spirit and allow the Spirit to lead me at all times in my life.  I know that if it is the Spirit that is moving me, I will not be led into sin.

Personification:  Self-Control  My focus today will be on being able to continue displaying the fruit of self-control.  It was funny that I was not able to make it to Mass this morning on time and I didn’t go in to Mass late, because the small chapel was full this morning.  However, as I sat in my office wondering why I wasn’t able to make it on time again this morning, it hit me.  I hadn’t put Mass on my daily schedule of things to do, therefore it was not a priority for me, at least as far as my schedule goes.  So, I will continue to work tonight to put the things that are a priority for me in order the night before and hopefully be led by the Spirit to do so.

Prayer:  Lord, send down your Spirit to watch over me as I struggle with displaying the fruit of self-control in my life.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

I need to stop wasting my time at night…

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Sheep on a frosty morning. Grateful for a feed...

Sheep on a frosty morning. Grateful for a feed...

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 whole image of God.

Reading:  The Lord said to him, “Oh you Pharisees! Although you cleanse the outside of the cup and the dish, inside you are filled with plunder and evilYou fools! Did not the maker of the outside also make the inside? But as to what is within, give alms, and behold, everything will be clean for you. (Luke 11:39-41)

Observation:  When I read the readings this morning, I found myself searching for more guidance and not just wanting to express what I heard God saying to me.  It is the knowledge of the fact that I am by nature a sinner that was telling me this morning that I am not qualified to interpret the scripture this morning in a way that would be beneficial to anyone other than me.  Now, as I am looking back at my emotions this morning, I realize that this should be a natural reaction to reading the Word of God.  I have decided that what should make up my morning from now on is sharing quality time with my boys before they go off to school and if I am supposed to lead communion service, I may or may not post my reflection before I lead the service.  I will not let my internal activity control what is happening on the outside of my life.  If you look at the Gospel reading this morning, Jesus tells the Pharisees that they should not only be concerned with the cleansing of the outside of the cup and the dish when inside they are filled with plunder and evil.  So, I need to be aware of how God is speaking to me on the outside as well as on the inside, especially since at times I have a tendency to block out the way the spirit is moving in me, in favor of the plunder and evil that I carry with me.  I will continue to journal in the mornings, but with more awareness of the important people who are sharing this time with me.

Personification:  Self-Control – Learning to discipline my time, energy and desires to reflect my spiritual values and priorities.  This is such a difficult fruit to display in my life, because I would rather just let my habitual nature take over.  I am hearing this morning that this is the devil’s playground.  If I want to be rid of the plunder and evil that I was born with, I must act intentionally to make myself ready to do the will of the Father always. 

Prayer:  Lord, help me to use my blackberry to plan my next day on the night before with the intention of making myself aware of all the tasks that you would have me complete in your name.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

The 2nd encyclical of the 1st Pope…

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Saint Peter, holding the keys to the kingdom...

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:  10 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved in flames and the elements melted by fire.  (2 Peter 3:12)

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Fill us at daybreak with your love, that all our days we may sing for joy.  (Psalm 90:14)

Observation:  Today, I realize that Peter was not officially called the Pope, but he was definitely the leader of the church that was left to spread the Good News here on earth.  In much the same way that he felt it was necessary to write down instructions for the people of his time, our Pope writes down the instructions for right living for our day.  These are called encyclicals.  We hear in Peter’s letter in the first reading today that we should be eagerly anticipating the creation of the new Jerusalem.  He did not mean that we should abandon this world in favor of the next.  In my opinion, it is not just a physical reforming of the world as we know it, but also a reformation of our hearts to be aligned with God’s will; right here, right now.  If you know what I mean…

Personification:  Self-Control – Learning to discipline my time, energy and desires to reflect my spiritual values and priorities.  It is only through the exercise of self-control, that comes to me by the grace of God, that I can be sure that I am following the will of the one that supplies the grace.  So, I will once again set out today to discipline the use of my time in a way that is conducive to carrying out everything that the Lord would have me accomplish today.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to be more strong willed when it comes to following your will for me.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.