Overwhelmed by my sinful nature…

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The video reflection from today’s readings can be found by:  Clicking Here!

Gift:  Fear of the Lord (Wonder and Awe)

Reading:  Jesus rebuked him and said, “Quiet! Come out of him!”  (Mark 1:25)

Observation:  This morning I was feeling overwhelmed by my sinful nature as I read this verse from the Gospel reading for today.  The thought came over me after listening to the video reflection from Father John Durbin of the Diocese of Raleigh, that any time I feel overwhelmed by my sinful nature, I need only remember the words of Jesus.  It may help if I can close my eyes and envision Jesus actually saying the words in red above.  The reflection deals with using our gift that we receive from God in order to be the authority like Jesus and Pope John XXIII and Mother Teresa were in their own time and place, and I recommend taking the three minutes to watch it.

Personification:  Long-suffering (Positive Attitude)  I have been told before that I have the uncanny ability to look into the face of adversity and laugh.  Actually, I am hoping that my own adversity in life can be a source of healing for others that see what I have been through and recognize that complete reliance on God will get them through anything.  This Sunday’s Mass readings are looking like they have the ability to shake me from my sleep as far as utilizing my gifts go, but I thank God that he is doing a work in me now and not waiting until this weekend.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to see the gift that you have given me and allow me to follow your will more closely by sharing this gift with everyone I meet 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.

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Repent, and believe in the Gospel…

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Gift:  Knowledge

Reading:  “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”  (Mark 1:15)

Observation:  If I hadn’t put the reference to the book, chapter and verse above, you may think these were words from the early church in the book of Acts.  It is actually the author of the Gospel of Mark speaking about Jesus when he first started his active ministry in Galilee.  I was saying a couple of days ago, how I sometimes find it hard to see Jesus as a prophet, it shouldn’t be hard anymore, since these are some pretty true, but also very prophetic words from Jesus before he has even called his apostles to follow him.

Personification:  Goodness  If I am going to display goodness, I will more than ever need the grace that comes from the sacramental life in order to accomplish this task.  However, if I am going to take a cue from Jesus words today from the Gospel of Mark, I should be able to act as if the Kingdom of God is at hand if I am living in a state of repentance and I believe in the Gospel.

Prayer:  Lord, grant me the strength to live like you are with me at all times, because I know you are.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

The Baptism of our Lord…

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http://vimeo.com/5903511

This video was done from the Gospel of Matthew’s account of Jesus’ Baptism…

Gift:  Wisdom

Reading:  After all the people had been baptized and Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, heaven was opened and the holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”  (Luke 3:21-22)

Observation:  I read all of the readings this morning and if you look at the USCCB website for the daily readings there were two options for both the first and second readings for Mass today, but when I read the Gospel, these two verses above really spoke to me.  It wasn’t because of the fact that God spoke the amazing words that I put in bold letters above, but because the voice that came from Heaven, God, spoke these words after Jesus did something that seemed very beneath him to do.  Why should the Messiah have been baptized by John, and why did Luke explain it as if it was just something he did along with everyone else as well as the fact that he had joined everyone in prayer?

Personification:  Humility (Gentleness) & Modesty  I think this morning, God is calling me to look at the example of Jesus’ Baptism and realize that in order to truly follow the will of God, I must join the others in their prayer and not try to set myself apart from them in any way.  I must look for ways to make myself smaller and let God do the work in proclaiming what I am trying to do.  I think that is Luke’s message for me today, that I should remember that if the Savior of the world found a way to join the others in ordinary prayer, I should too.

Prayer:  Lord, I know that you did not need to be cleansed from any sin when you allowed John to Baptize you, but I thank you for giving me the example of service to others by allowing yourself to be used in a way that shows me the example for how to be in communion with others.  Please help me to find ways, with the help of your grace, to be more like you in my everyday life and join our brothers and sisters in ordinary prayer.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Reminder to ask for what we need…

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Gift:  Piety (Reverence)

Reading:  And we have this confidence in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in regard to whatever we ask, we know that what we have asked him for is ours.  (1 John 5:14-15)

Observation:  As I heard this reading this morning at Mass, I was reminded of the fact that I should not feel anxiety about the things that I need to take care of my family.  If I ever need anything, I need only remember that if I ask according to his will, he will hear me.  If I know he hears me, I should act as if it is already done and therefore there is no reason to have anxiety.

Personification:  Peace  In order to display the fruit of peace in my life, I must act with confidence in the knowledge that God will provide for all of the needs of my family.  This doesn’t mean that I can slow down in my ambition to work hard and contribute to the welfare of our family with what God has gifted me with the ability to do, but I can’t be worried about anything that I feel like I need to provide for my family because it is God again that will provide it.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to lay down my will to be a provider for my family, since I know that I would have nothing without you.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Who Am I?

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What a great example of perseverance in faith…Even in the face of such a terrible loss, he still gives glory to God…He said he never questions why things happen the way that they do, because he knows that God is in control…

Luke 8:15

Scripture:  But as for the seed that fell on rich soil, they are the ones who, when they have heard the word, embrace it with a generous heart, and bear fruit through perseverance.

Observation:  The question I am left with after reading this verse from the eigth chapter of Luke’s Gospel from the daily readings for our journaling group is, am I a person who embraces the Word with a generous and good heart.

Application:  Even though I feel like there has been fruit that has come from my perseverance in the past.  I can’t help thinking that the fruit may have come in spite of me, rather than because of me.  I guess this is what waiting one the Lord or perseverance means…

Prayer:  Lord, help me persevere in the faith every day and every minute of every day for the rest of my life.  In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Jesus, the Prophet?

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The song says what we do when we don’t recognize all that God does for us…

Gift:  Fortitude

Reading:  “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, 9 because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.”  (Luke 4:18-19)

Observation:  Whenever I remember reading this passage before, I remember hearing Jesus read something that says that he is the Son of God.  It strikes me this morning that I am hearing for the first time that Jesus was prophetically speaking about his ministry in the manner of Elijah and Elisha as prophet.  It is easy to see Jesus as a Messiah or Savior, but much more difficult to see that he was a prophet to his own people.  I guess in light of the fact that the Israelites had eventually rejected all of their prophets too, it should be easier to see Jesus as a prophet.

Personification:  Love (Charity)  The definition of love (charity) from the format for journaling has provided the context for displaying this fruit today and for the rest of my life.  If I can continue to sense the needs of others around me, and this need overwhelms my will to act on my own behalf, than I can be assured of the fact that I am acting in God’s will and not my own. 

Prayer:  Lord, help me to understand the real needs of others around me and allow me to see that I can act out of love for them by providing for their needs with the grace provided by God for all the strength I will need to accomplish any task.  I ask this, as always,  in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Obser

Why is my heart still hardened?

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God is good…All the time…(This is the video I found when I searched, “hardening of hearts” – great message…)

Gift:  Fear of the Lord

Reading:  They had not understood the incident of the loaves. 24 On the contrary, their hearts were hardened.  (Mark 6:52)

Observation:  This incident in the Marcan account of the Gospel story always leads me first to ask how could the disciples hearts still be hardened after watching the miracle of the loaves and fish and then the walking on the water.  This morning, after reading this verse again in the Gospel reading for today’s Mass, I am reminded of the fact that I still do not completely trust that Jesus Christ is the Son of God either.  If I did, I would seek him out in all things, rather than seek out my own interest in all things.

Personification:  Self-Control  I will need the grace of God to take the next step in my spiritual journey into displaying the fruit of Self-Control in my life.  If I am going to learn to discipline my time, energy and desires to reflect my spiritual values and priorities, I will have to take my daily planning much more seriously.  It sounds like a simple thing, but it can bring order to my life, if I can do it with the grace of God.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to find the time today and for the rest of my life to prioritize the things that I have to do in order to bring focus to my following of your call more specifically in every aspect of my life.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.