In case our relationship with him is based on what he has done for us?

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English: Jesus of patience, the work of Pablo ...

English: Jesus of patience, the work of Pablo de Rojas (XVI) Español: Jesús de la Paciencia, obra de Pablo de Rojas (Siglo XVI) (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:  Now since the children share in blood and flesh, he likewise shared in them, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,j and free those who through fear of death had been subject to slavery all their life. Surely he did not help angels but rather the descendants of Abraham; therefore, he had to become like his brothers in every way, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest before God to expiate the sins of the people.k Because he himself was tested through what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested. (Hebrews 2:14-18)

 

Observation:  Death has no power, except if it eternally separates us from God.  The devil had that power to have people remain in their sin, and be lost forever, but we were made free from death by the power of Jesus.  If you read the gospel for today’s Mass, you will hear about his power while he still walked the earth.  His greater power is only fulfilled through his faithful followers, whom he called brothers, who can see in his willingness to suffer death, that he has transferred his power to them to carry out his mission of saving sinners from death.

 

Personification:  Patience. It is important that I remember to have patience with others, the way that God has had patience with me.  If I can display the fruit of patience today, by not blowing anyone up, especially my children, with my words, than I will be well on my way to being able to be patient with anyone.

 

Prayer:  Lord, please show me the way to display the fruit of patience with my children.  You know how they get under my skin and I know it is your power to make them listen the first time.  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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No justification for sin…

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child Jesus with the virgin Mary, with the Hol...

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:  Jesus answered them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin.A slave does not remain in a household forever, but a son*always remains.So if a son frees you, then you will truly be free. I know that you are descendants of Abraham. But you are trying to kill me, because my word has no room among you. * I tell you what I have seen in the Father’s presence; then do what you have heard from the Father.”   (John 8:34-38)

Observation:  It is this reading this morning that tells me that God has provided the means to avoid sin.  I need only lean on the grace of God to save me, and I will know that it will save me.  The truth is that I will always be a slave to sin, so I better remember what happens when I forget to be a slave to God as well.  It is not a conscience act of the will that allows me to be a slave to sin, but it is a conscience act of the will to be a slave to God.

Personification:  Faithfulness  In order to display the fruit of faithfulness in my life, I must make a deliberate decision to obey the will of God in my life.  If I act as if God is going to do it for me, I will fall prey to my sinfulness.  Exactly what that looks like is explained by Saint Paul in his letter to the Thessalonians, I think….Pray without ceasing!  (2 Thessalonians 5:17)

Prayer:  Lord, strengthen your servant to follow your will more closely and supply me with the grace necessary to resist temptation.  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

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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.

 

Choose life…Don’t blame the pro-life movement for this one!

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English: Abraham embraces his son Isaac after ...

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Gift:  Understanding – With the gift of understanding, we comprehend how we need to live as a follower of Jesus Christ. A person with understanding is not confused by all the conflicting messages in our culture about the right way to live.

Reading:  I call heaven and earth today to witness against you:I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live, by loving the LORD, your God, obeying his voice, and holding fast to him. For that will mean life for you, a long life for you to live on the land which the LORD swore to your ancestors, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give to them.  (Deuteronomy 30:19-20)

Observation:  After taking the day to think about this reading and the implications to my life. as well as the lives of those people who make decisions in this country about whether we will support life or support killing, I have come to the same place that I think I was this morning.  I prayed in front of an abortion clinic that they are building in our community and left there thinking about what an ominous structure it was.  I talked to a woman named Joyce, who will join me to pray there again tomorrow, and I stared at the look on my daughter’s face that seemed to say, they are not going to listen.

Personification:  Peace  I feel like I must be at peace with the decisions that have already been made in this country that go against every thing that I believe, and know that if it is God’s will that the facility won’t be completed, than it won’t be completed.  All of my fears would have been for nothing, and I will be overjoyed because I will know what a great miracle it was to not have this gigantic facility of death, never have gone into operation.

Prayer:  Lord, please let me see that it is your work that is being done in this world, even though it may seem that evil is getting the upper hand in this world.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

Benedictus, Song of Zechariah

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Zechariah the priest, father of John the Bapti...

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Sometimes, I think it is just appropriate to change the background on my page and post the Gospel reading to share with everyone.  It doesn’t happen often, but today is just one of those days.  As we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus tonight and tomorrow, I think this canticle of Zechariah is perfectly fitting for what our response to God’s call should be, which is why it has made it’s way into my normal morning prayers:

Gospel reading for today’s Mass:

Zechariah his father, filled with the Holy Spirit, prophesied, saying:
“Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; for he has come to his people and set them free. He has raised up for us a mighty Savior, born of the house of his servant David. Through his prophets he promised of old that he would save us from our enemies, from the hands of all who hate us. He promised to show mercy to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant. This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham: to set us free from the hand of our enemies, free to worship him without fear, holy and righteous in his sight all the days of our life. You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way, to give his people knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins. In the tender compassion of our God the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace.”  (Luke 1:67-79)

If our hope was in the Lord, there would be no war…

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Photo of the Book of Isaiah page of the Bible

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Gift: Understanding – With the gift of understanding, we comprehend how we need to live as a follower of Jesus Christ. A person with understanding is not confused by all the conflicting messages in our culture about the right way to live.

Reading:  One nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again.  (Isaiah 2:4c)

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I say to you,* many will come from the east and the west, and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the banquet in the kingdom of heaven.  (Matthew 8:11)

Observation:  In the words of the book of Isaiah, we see that God’s eternal plan for the world is that we have a place to decide our differences, and that place is Jerusalem.  If the world could only see what the prophets predicted even before God came down from heaven in the form of Jesus Christ and showed us the way to love each other.  In the gospel reading for today’s Mass, Jesus says that many will come from the east and the west to share in the kingdom with the ancient fathers of the Jewish people, not for anything that they have done but for the  fact that they believe in the fact that Jesus Christ came down from heaven to save them.  Since the gospel reading ends there today, I won’t comment on what happens to those who don’t believe.

Personification:  Faithfulness  It is my hope that in light of today’s readings and the grace that comes from the past few years of faith in our Redeemer, I can be faithful to the will of the Father by following the example of the Son, and thereby be counted as one of the many who will share in the inheritance of the kingdom with our ancient fathers.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to stay faithful to you and ignore the world when it calls me to stray from the path that you have laid before me.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

Abraham believed, so we could too…Are we fully convinced?

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Some sources which? claim that it was Metatron...

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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:  He (Abraham) did not doubt God’s promise in unbelief;* rather, he was empowered by faith and gave glory to God and was fully convinced that what he had promised he was also able to do.  (Romans 4:20:21)

Observation:  I was listening to a song by Chris Tomlin about David, but I think it relates to this verse about Abraham’s belief that was written in the book of Romans and taken from our first reading for today’s Mass.  How much different would our lives be if we just believed that God was in charge.  I am not talking about just saying it, but think of the kind of faith it would take to be 100 years old and told that you are going to have a son, and then to take that son and offering him as a sacrifice, only to have him saved at the last-minute.  Do I have that kind of faith?  I hope so…because I want the great things that God has planned for my life to be done through me.

Personification:  Faithfulness  It is only by faith that I can be truly free of this world.  It is my hope that God will build faith in me, so I can put it on display for the world to see.  I know that I believe, but I need to have the faith that can lead to righteousness and give all the glory to God.  So that people can look at me and say that they want their heart to look like my heart, because my heart looks like Jesus.

Prayer:  Lord, create in me a new faith, a renewal of strength of will that can only come from your grace.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.