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.

Gift: Fortitude (Courage)

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Reading:  “Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.  The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock.  And everyone who listens to these words of mine but does not act on them will be like a fool who built his house on sand.  The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. And it collapsed and was completely ruined.”  (Matthew 7:24-27)

Observation:  I am hearing this morning a call to be even more connected to the Word of God.  In this Gospel reading from the book of Matthew this morning, Jesus is saying that listening to the words is not enough.  Rather, I must be willing to act on every Word that I hear.  In a way, it is like listening to someone telling you a moving story about a person in need and then saying, “Isn’t that nice?”  and not doing anything about it. 

Personification:  Faith/Fidelity  It will be my focus today and for the rest of my life to display the fruit of faith and fidelity to the Word of God.  Every word that I hear speaking to me from the Word of God I will work tirelessly to try and apply it to my life.  If I want to be like the house built on rock, this is what I must do.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to stay faithful to your Word every day of my life and show you fidelity to the call that you gave me.  Please continue to grant me the grace necessary to follow through with my commitment to be faithful to your Word.  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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I wanted to post the message from the Holy Father…

Reading:  On that day it will be said: “Behold our God, to whom we looked to save us! This is the LORD for whom we looked; let us rejoice and be glad that he has saved us!”  (Isaiah 25:9)

Observation:  In the Gospel reading from the book of Matthew for today, Jesus is performing great miracles of healing and providing for the needs of the many.  I have heard the story many times before, but this morning I am struck by the fact that not only did Isaiah and other prophets tell the Israelites that it was going to happen, Isaiah is telling us today that we should be rejoicing because he has saved us.  Where would I be right now without the Lord in my life?  He has saved me from the selfishness and greed that make this world go around.

Personification:  Humility (Gentleness)  It will be my focus today and for the rest of my life on the fact that God has saved me from myself.  Hopefully, with the grace of God, I will be able to display the fruit of humility and gentleness by constantly recognizing that the life that I would have without Jesus would be one of want and need, hunger and greed.  With Jesus in my life, I hope that the life I have will be surrounded by good friends and a community that supports each other in their time of need and comes together to celebrate the good news whenever possible.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to stay humble and always remember that it is God that gave me the free gift of salvation and not anything that I did to be worthy of being saved.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Gift: Wisdom

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Reading: The spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, A spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD, and his delight shall be the fear of the LORD.  (Isaiah 1:2-3a)

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At that very moment he rejoiced (in) the holy Spirit and said, “I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike.  Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.  All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”  (Luke 21-22)

Observation: In the first reading today from the book of Isaiah, God reveals that he is going to give the free gift of the Holy Spirit to all of us in the form of the seven gifts.  In the notes online, it states that one of the translations has the first reading of the fear of the Lord as piety.  Hence, we have the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit (Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude/Strength, Knowledge, Piety and Fear of the Lord).  In the Gospel from Luke today, Jesus reveals that we must be childlike in order to receive the gifts from the Father.  It is my understanding that we must go to the Son in order to have him reveal the gifts that we are to receive from the Father through the Holy Spirit.

Prayer: Lord, make me like a child on Christmas morning when it comes to receiving the gifts of  the Holy Spirit.  Help me to stay focused on you at all times, so that you can reveal to me only what you know I am ready to understand.  In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Gift: Knowledge

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Happy St Andrew’s Day…

Reading:  At once they left their nets and followed him.  (Matthew 4:20)

Observation:  It is the intention of the author of the Gospel of Matthew to illustrate the mysterious power behind the call of Jesus to his followers.  Although, in Luke’s Gospel he makes it very clear that there was a great miracle that happened to them which drew them to Jesus.  Personally, like most people that have been called into ministry, I feel like I can map out the path that eventually drew me to be a follower of Jesus, but I think it is important to note that, like the account of the call in the Gospel of Matthew, it is still quite a mystery how I was able to respond to the call that originally set me on my current path.  The fishermen had lives that they had to leave behind to follow Jesus, and I had no formal training in the faith to accept any of what I was hearing.  It is still a mystery, but also quite clear that God has a purpose for everyone.

Personification:  Chastity  I always find it strange when God is calling me to focus on the fruit of chastity.  I guess I find it hard to believe that He would want me to share with the world how the fruit of chastity looks in my life.  However, just like all of the rest of the fruits of the Holy Spirit, I am being asked to put them on display in order that Jesus can be visible through me.  I do not feel as inclined to implore God for the grace necessary to display this fruit today and for the rest of my life, because I know that He is already giving me the grace necessary.  I guess more that any other fruit of the Holy Spirit for me and for a few of my friends from my scripture lunch on Fridays, chastity is one that is hard to display completely in our mind.  It is only by the grace of God that I am not allowed to let my mind wander in places that I know that it should not go.

Prayer:  Lord, continue to supply me with the grace necessary to keep my mind and body under your control and allow my thoughts to stay pure today.  I know that it is only by your grace that I am healed from all of my past offenses and would ask that you continue to guide me in your ways to keep me pure in regards to chastity.  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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Reading:  May the Lord make you increase and abound in love
for one another and for all,
just as we have for you,
so as to strengthen your hearts,
to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father
at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones.  Amen.  (1 Thessalonians 3:12)

Observation:  I did a search for abounding in love this morning because my son was sitting on my lap while the in laws were leaving.  He loves to watch the videos that I find for opening prayers at Religious Education and Youth Ministry meetings with the kids.  We also just look at random videos of kitties or dogs that he loves as well.  I guess the message that I am receiving this morning is the way to be abounding in love is to give the people around me what God is calling me to give them.  The increase that I believe Paul is talking about in his letter to the Thessalonians is the joy that comes from following the Lord.

Personification:  Joy  Now that the extended family is out of my house, I feel like I am being called to share the fruit of joy with my family in a real way this morning and for the rest of my life.  I guess I realize how good I have it to be surrounded by a family that shares my faith that we serve an awesome God.  Don’t get me wrong, I know that we give each other reasons to have our doubts sometimes, but I believe that is not only a part of our humanity, it is also essential for faith to have those doubts.

 

Gift: Understanding

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Reading:  “Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise like a trap. For that day will assault everyone who lives on the face of the earth.  Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.”  (Luke 21:34-36)

Observation:  I am very happy that I found this video reflection today from Father David at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.  (Here is the video…)  He does a great job explaining the fact that we should be looking at today like it is New Year’s Eve, because on the liturgical calendar today marks the end of the year.  Since Jesus is talking about in this Gospel reading what we should not be doing in order that we would not be prepared for the end day, I am going to focus my attention today on where God would expect his Son’s disciple to be on the last day.

Personification:    Love (Charity)  In order to display the fruit of love and charity to everyone today, I would need God’s grace in a very real way.  Since I have the in-laws over today and it never seems to go according to plan, what I am feeling called to today is to love them all regardless of their circumstance and maybe God will reward me by allowing to have some quiet time with Him tonight.  We have already opened up our home to them, my challenge now is to continue to make them feel welcome and loved, even their dog.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to show your love and charity to everyone that I come in contact with today.  Please allow me to show the fruit of love in a real way to my wife’s family.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.