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.

Obey the truth and you will learn to love…

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English: Gian Lorenzo Bernini - Dove of the Ho...

English: Gian Lorenzo Bernini – Dove of the Holy Spirit (ca. 1660, stained glass, Throne of St. Peter, St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican) (Photo credit: 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:  Since you have purified yourselves by obedience to the truth for sincere mutual love, love one another intensely from a [pure] heart. You have been born anew, not from perishable but from imperishable seed, through the living and abiding word of God,* for:

“All flesh is like grass,

and all its glory like the flower of the field;

the grass withers,

and the flower wilts;

but the word of the Lord remains forever.”

This is the word that has been proclaimed to you.  (1 Peter 1:22-25)

Observation:  When the Holy Spirit is moving in your heart and compelling you to do certain things that seem out of character for you, that is an opportunity to be obedient to the truth and begin to learn how to react out of love to all situations.  This is what I heard from the first reading today, and I hope I can remember that the word of God is the thing that lasts and not my emotion.

Personification:  Love  It only makes sense to focus on the fruit of love, since obedience is teaching me how to love.  It is funny how our understanding of love in this world is so foreign to the next world’s love.  God’s love is not interested in reciprocation, if we could all learn to love each other this way, we would be on our way to understanding the kind of love that Saint Peter is talking about here.

Prayer:  Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury,pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit. Amen

Sobriety leads to holiness…Did Saint Peter say that? Indirectly, I think he did…He may not have meant what you were thinking…

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English: Saint Peter Church, Ecatepec de Morel...

English: Saint Peter Church, Ecatepec de Morelos, Estado de México, México : Statue of Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ. (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:  Beloved:
Concerning the salvation of your souls
the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours
searched and investigated it
investigating the time and circumstances
that the Spirit of Christ within them indicated
when it testified in advance
to the sufferings destined for Christ
and the glories to follow them.
It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you
with regard to the things that have now been announced to you
by those who preached the Good News to you
through the Holy Spirit sent from heaven,
things into which angels longed to look.

Therefore, gird up the loins of your mind, live soberly,
and set your hopes completely on the grace to be brought to you
at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Like obedient children,
do not act in compliance with the desires of your former ignorance
but, as he who called you is holy,
be holy yourselves in every aspect of your conduct,
for it is written, Be holy because I am holy.  (1 Peter 1:10-16)

Observation:  I thought I took the gift that I chose from the Gospel reading for today’s Mass but it actually came from the Responsorial Psalm.  However, my journal today is on the First Reading.  I tried to narrow it down to one or two verses, but the fact that Saint Peter started out in this letter talking about the prophets foretelling of the glory to come through Jesus, but they were not serving themselves, but those of us who have knowledge of him because of their fidelity to the truth that came to them and now comes to us, from the Holy Spirit.  If we reflect on this at all, it should cause us to pause and realize how awesome it is, that the plan of salvation up to this point, was leading to us.  As the reading says, it should be cause for us to act soberly and increase our knowledge of how this plan of salvation is playing out in our lives, and that with the grace of God, will lead us to holiness.

Personification:  Generosity  Since our second reading last Sunday was from the letter to the Ephesians that mentioned the fruits of the holy Spirit, Father Jaspers focused his homily on how he has struggled with displaying some of the fruits at times, at least he thought he had.  I would hope that the fruit of generosity is something I am displaying by sharing my feelings on the Word of God every day.  I hope that someone gets something out of it, and God is using me and my ability to put myself out there to bring greater glory to Him.

Prayer:  Lord, use me up as you see fit, so that my life can be about nothing but bringing you the glory that belongs to only you.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit. Amen

Am I still jealous of the rich man? Yes, but not why you may think!

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The Promulgation of the Law at Mount Sinai, by...

The Promulgation of the Law at Mount Sinai, by the illustrators of the Figures de la Bible, 1728 (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:  As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up, knelt down before him, and asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus answered him, “Why do you call me good?* No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; you shall not defraud; honor your father and your mother.’” He replied and said to him, “Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth.”  (Mark 10:17-20)

Observation:  In reading the Gospel this morning, I initially focused on the fact that Jesus said that only God should be called good.  This is great because He is God, but was showing us that to be equal to God is not something to be boasted about, which Jesus most certainly could have done.  Anyway, I was reminded in the next two verses that I am still jealous of the fact that the rich man says that he has observed all the commandments from his youth.  Since I was not raised in the church and my childhood home was not a Christian home, I am still jealous of those people who can say that they have followed the commandments from their youth.  It is not to say that I would have followed them, had I been raised in a home that was focused on Christian values, but I guess I am jealous of those that were given that chance.

Personification:  Self-Control  Regardless of whether I was raised in home that was conducive to following the commandments of God, I am still hopeful that after over 20 years of focusing on the will of God in my life, I can begin to show the fruit of self-control in my life.  It is also my hope that I can pass on these fruits to my own children and give them the opportunity to live out the commandments of God in a way that I never could have at their age.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to display the fruits of the Holy Spirit in my life, so more people who see my life will follow the will of God in their own life.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen

The church is born today…What does that mean to me?

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English: child Jesus with the virgin Mary, wit...

English: child Jesus with the virgin Mary, with the Holy Spirit (represented as a dove) and God the Father, with child john the Baptist and saint Elizabeth on the right (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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: “I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.* But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth. He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming. He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you. Everything that the Father has is mine; for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine and declare it to you. (John 16:12-15)

Observation:  I went back and read the Office of Readings for yesterday, since it was the feast day of Saint Phillip Neri, it just felt like I couldn’t miss out on them.  I will try to catch up with today’s Office of Readings before youth group later today.  I mention the reading that I did in addition to the regular reading of the readings for Mass, to explain that the  choice of this Gospel reading today was borne out of the process of a lot of reading this morning and not just my normal perusal of the daily Mass readings.  It is not that my normal perusal of the readings is not sufficient for my journaling, but since we are celebrating the birthday of the church today, I felt that extra attention was due God for sending this amazing gift to lead us to faith almost two thousand years ago.

Personification:  Joy  It is my hope that I know today that God is revealing the true joy to me today that comes from trusting God to be with me at all times through the holy Spirit and physically through the body and blood of His Son, and someday my joy will be complete when I am with the Father in Heaven, by His grace.

Prayer:  Lord, give me a joyful heart like Saint Phillip Neri and help me to repent of my will in favor of yours.  Saint Phillip Neri, pray for us.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit. Amen.

Imagine Paul’s teaching from Rome…It might look like this…

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Of course, this is what our imagination is fed by today…At least, I am willing to admit mine is…

Or maybe like this…This is more directly from the first reading for Today’s Mass Readings!

Prayer:  Lord, help me to see the fruit that comes from Paul’s teaching in Rome both historical and what his death is saying to us today.  Saint Paul, pray for us.  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?

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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!