Gift: Counsel (Right Judgment)

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Reading:  Your kindness should be known to all. The Lord is near.  Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.  (Phillipians 4:5-6)

Observation:  I am hearing this morning an admonition to not have anxiety.  In Paul’s letter in the the Second reading from the daily Mass readings today, he is exhorting the Phillipians to acts as if the Lord is near.  I don’t know if they had instituted the Sacrament of the Eucharist at that time, but it seems to me that we should be clear on the fact that he is near since we have the ability to visit him in the tabernacle or on display in the Monstrance at Eucharistic Adoration.

Personification:  Self-Control  It will be my focus today and for the rest of my life to be in communion with Jesus and show the fruit of kindness to everyone I meet, including my kids.  It is sometimes hard for me to discipline them and still show the kindness that I know God is calling me to show. 

Prayer:  Lord, thank you for everything that I have been given in my life and I’m sorry for not being the perfect example of your kindness and love that you have called me to before.  Please supply me with the grace necessary to show your kindness and love to everyone I meet today and for the rest of my life…I ask this, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Remember Jesus, in times of temptation…He’s been there…

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Scripture:  Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.  (Hebrews 2:18)

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Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.  (Hebrews 4:14-16)

Observation:  When I look back on my last sin, I am left wondering why I didn’t remember Jesus before I sinned.  It seems to me that the readings are telling me today that I still have maturing to do in my faith, if I do not remember Jesus in my time of weakness.  I certainly see now after reading these readings from the book of Hebrews again today, why there is so much power in the name of Jesus.  I have gone through my whole life listening to others or even myself cheapen the name of Jesus by using it in vain.  When was the last time I called on Jesus in my time of weakness? 

Application:  It will be my focus to call on the name of Jesus when I need to be brought through any time of weakness in terms of temptation.  It has been easy for me to focus on him when I am strong lately, but this reading today has helped me to remember to specifically call on him when I am weak.

Prayer:  Jesus, thank you for bringing me through my sinfulness to your grace.  I am sorry for not always remembering to call on you when I needed you, and I am sorry for not completely trusting you.  Jesus, I will trust in you now and forever.  Jesus, please save me from myself, in all times and in all situations keep my focus on you…In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Gift: Understanding

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Reading:  They that hope in the LORD will renew their strength, they will soar as with eagles’ wings; They will run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint.  ( Isaiah 40:31)

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Who pardons all your sins, heals all your ills,

Delivers your life from the pit, surrounds you with love and compassion,

Fills your days with good things; your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.  (Psalm 103:3-5)

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Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,  and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your selves.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”  (Matthew 11:28-30)

Observation:  It has been a while since I have seen three readings that so perfectly weave together a perfect message like today’s first reading, the responsorial psalm and the Gospel.  Isaiah, the prophet, does such an amazing job painting a picture of what renewal comes to those that hope in the Lord.  In the responsorial Psalm, I heard a continuation of the message about how the Lord is going to deliver us from our sins and surround us with love and compassion.  I took a little poetic license and added the fifth verse from the 103rd Psalm, which wasn’t actually a part of the reading for today, because the imagery of the renewal like the eagle, I thought, continue the message from the first reading.  Of course, the words of Jesus that were chosen from the author of Matthew’s Gospel, whether they were taken from the book of Sirach or were the actual words of Jesus at this moment is not important, rather when seen together with the first reading and the responsorial for today, it creates such a beautiful message of hope.

Personification:  Joy  I will try and focus on displaying the fruit of joy to everyone that I meet today.  Joy in the hope that we have in the Lord’s renewal of all that we see around us, and joy that Jesus loved me enough to give himself to be punished and humiliated for my sins.  I know that doesn’t sound like a cause for joy, but since Jesus’ suffering happened in the past, I believe it should be cause for joy that we do not have to suffer for eternity for our sins and that the Lord wants to renew us daily in the gift of the Eucharist.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to be joyful today in the face of the realities that comes at me in this world.  Please supply me with the grace necessary to continue to give the good news to everyone that I meet today and for the rest of my life.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Gift: Counsel (Right Judgment)

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An example of the work still being done in the name of the Immaculate Conception…

Monastery Immaculate Conception – Indiana, USA

Reading:  Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.  (Luke 1:38)

Observation:  Today, I am hearing in the Gospel reading the perfect example of obedience from our holy Mother.  Even when confronted with every obstacle imaginable to a young Jewish woman, she accepts the will of the Father completely.  I think it is important to note that she doesn’t say that I guess I will try to make the best of this bad situation, but rather accepts the will of the Father and states her position according to the Lord who is calling her to this great duty of acceptance of bearing a son who will be the Redeemer of the whole world.

Personification:  Modesty  I am hearing the call to display the fruit of modesty from the example that was set by the Virgin Mary.  In order to be modest, I am thankful that the grace of God to help focus my will on his rather than my own.  In order to keep me humble in doing his work and understanding, it is by no means my works that determine my direction in life, rather the will of the Father that determines the path that I take.  It is my job to be submissive, like the Virgin Mary, to his will.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to stay focused on your will today and for the rest of my life.  Please direct my attention to the example of the Our Mother today on the occasion of the celebration of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Gift: Knowledge

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I didn’t see Vol. I & II, but if this picture is any indication, I would love to see them…You can order the book by clicking the link that is attached to the image…No, I am not trying to profit from it, I just love this picture…

(I think this picture perfectly shows the face of the Redeemer that I vision in my mind.)

Reading:  But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”–he said to the man who was paralyzed, “I say to you, rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.   (Luke 5:24)

Observation:  This morning, I am reassured that the idea that I relayed to the youth that are preparing for the Sacrament of Confirmation last night is the truth.  It is a very powerful thing to say to someone or a group of people that the Son of God revealed the true nature of who he was while he was walking on the earth.  I guess it is not so much the fact that he did it, but rather the vision that I have of our Redeemer is that he was very humble, so it is hard to envision someone with so much humility revealing the truth of who he was in such a bold way.  The reality is that in the Gospel reading today, as it is with most of the scripture text, although it is the divinely inspired Word of God, it is also written by men who had an evangelistic goal to accomplish in their own time.  So, the boldness that I perceive may just be a message to those people that the authors of the different Gospels were trying to get across to the human authority of their time. 

Personification:  Humility (Gentleness) It is my intention to model my own behavior on Jesus.  In order to display the fruit of humility and gentleness, I will need the grace of God today and for the rest of my life.  I guess I have written that so much, it would be easy to think that I am just writing it as an exercise in futility.  However, the amazing thing is that the more I write it, the clearer the path becomes to receiving his grace.  I know that by participating in the Sacrament of the Eucharist daily that I do receive his grace.  Also, by staying true to the Word of God becomes easier with the grace that I am given as a free gift by just showing up and participating in the Mass, Communion Service or just in my daily prayers.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to stay not only in your Word but to make every one of your Words come alive in my life and in the lives of those around me.  Please supply me with the grace necessary to show true humility and gentleness to my family first and then to our parish community and anyone that I come in contact with today.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Gift: Knowledge

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The new Jerusalem?

Reading:  Up, Jerusalem! stand upon the heights; look to the east and see your children Gathered from the east and the west at the word of the Holy One, rejoicing that they are remembered by God.  (Baruch 5:5)

Observation:  Reading this verse from the first reading this morning,  I couldn’t help but think about the new Jerusalem.  My first thought was a fleshly thought.  I wonder if all humanity that is called to share in the new Jerusalem will want to live in Jerusalem.  In my feeble attempt to contemplate the vision of our Father, I realize that the new Jerusalem will be such a perfect temple in which to adore God, how could a believer not feel comfortable there.  I see it like a constant vacation, where God is at the center of everything that we do.  I see the new Jerusalum as a place where everyone sings in glorious fashion to adore God, and no one has reason to feel embarrassed for their adoration of our loving God.

Personification:  Long-suffering (Positive Attitude) This may be a continuation from yesterday, but I feel like I am being called in a real way today and for the rest of my life to display the fruit of long-suffering.  As the parenthetical words say above, this long-suffering does not mean that I plan on walking around with a forlorn look on my face.  Rather, it means that I should, with the help of the many graces that God has given me and hopefully will continue to provide, keep a positive attitude about the things that happen in this world because I know that no matter how long it takes to bring about the new Jerusalem that it will happen in God’s time, and it will be perfect, just as He is perfect.

Prayer:  Lord, please supply me with the grace necessary to sustain a positive attitude with whatever comes my way today and for the rest of my life, so that I may start to live out the eternal life that you have planned for me from this moment forward.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Gift: Fear of the Lord (Wonder and Awe)

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This song goes out to my son Chad…

Reading:  O people of Zion, who dwell in Jerusalem, no more will you weep; He will be gracious to you when you cry out, as soon as he hears he will answer you.  The Lord will give you the bread you need and the water for which you thirst. No longer will your Teacher hide himself, but with your own eyes you shall see your Teacher, While from behind, a voice shall sound in your ears: “This is the way; walk in it,” when you would turn to the right or to the left.  (Isaiah 30:19-21)

Observation:  Today, I am getting an overwhelming sense of relief from both the first reading and the Gospel.  Jesus cames to not only bring salvation to the world, but also healing.  I should not be focusing on the temporary problems of this world, but rather the eternal plan of God. 

Personification:  Patience  I will try and focus my attention on the will of the Father in all that I do today.  I will see the fact that other people, including my brother in law, are in disagreement with the vision that I have recieved as a gift from my Father as further reinforcement of the fact that I am on the right path.  It will definitely take plenty of grace from God to patiently wait for his will to be done in this world, while I guess my calling is to bring his Word to as many people that are willing to listen.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to stay strong in your faith and allow your will to be done in your time.  Please give me the grace necessary to patiently wait on your will to be done.  In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.