Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner…

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The Lord is my Good Shepherd

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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:  Therefore every loyal person should pray to you in time of distress. Though flood waters* threaten, they will never reach him.d You are my shelter; you guard me from distress; with joyful shouts of deliverance you surround me.  (Psalms 32:6-7)

Observation:  After I woke up this morning already feeling tempted to sin, I read about David‘s sin and my mind started to justify that I am a sinner anyway, so the fact that I fall victim to my sin today would be understandable in the light of David’s sin.  However, as I read the Responsorial Psalm I realized that I should be praying to get rid of the temptation, not succumbing to it.  The fact that the Psalmist here says that the flood waters threaten, but they will never reach us, and the joyful shouts of deliverance surround us.

Personification:  Generosity  In the light of the fact that I am a sinner that has fallen short of the glory of God, I will count on God to show me the way to display the fruit of generosity.  It is clear to me from what others say about me, especially my wife, that I am usually quite generous with my possessions, but I am sure there are ways that God could reveal to me that I could be more giving of my time and talents, as well as my money and possessions.

Prayer:  Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

David carried five smooth stones, but it only took one to kill Goliath…

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English: David and Golias Česky: David a Goliáš

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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:  Then, staff in hand, David selected five smooth stones from the wadi and put them in the pocket of his shepherd’s bag. With his sling in hand, he approached the Philistine. David put his hand into the bag and took out a stone, hurled it with the sling, and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone embedded itself in his brow, and he fell on his face to the ground.  (1 Samuel 17:40,49)

Observation:  It is only after about a six-month absence of this story from my consciousness, that I am able to look at it with a new perspective. I have, however, been able to focus on the five smooth stones as they were presented to our youth during a youth conference in San Diego last summer.  I imagine that although I have not consciously thought about all five of them every day since last summer, they have been in my sub-conscious as I awake every day to live out the faith that has been given to me by God:

1.  Wake up on time.

2.  Focus on Jesus.

3.  Do something for someone without expecting a thank you.

4.  Deny yourself something.

5.  Act with gratitude.

Personification:  Love  In order to be able to love others like yourself, you must first love yourself.  It is only by being disciplined in my devotions in the morning that I can keep myself from becoming the person that I find it difficult to love.  If I find it difficult to love myself, than showing that love to others is going to be impossible, because there isn’t any love to model for me.  It is my understanding that these five stones that David used to fill his shepherd’s bag before battle Goliath can mean different things to different people, but the important part of the story is not that there were five and what do they represent, but that David took the time to select them before battle.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to carefully select my five smooth stones today and allow me the courage to battle whatever adversity that I may face today, with the knowledge that you are with me.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

We receive the Holy Spirit, to lead us, like David, to be kings…

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English: David anointed by Samuel

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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:  Then Samuel, with the horn of oil in hand, anointed him in the midst of his brothers, and from that day on, the spirit of the LORD rushed upon David. Then Samuel set out for Ramah.  (1 Samuel 16:13)

Observation:  As I read this first reading from the readings for Mass today, I was reminded of how our Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation are similar to what Samuel did to David when he anointed him to be King of Israel.  If you read on in the story, he does not immediately take the throne from Saul, but he begins a journey of faith that eventually leads to him becoming King after many hardships and trials that he must face.  It reminds me of the hardships and trials that I face on a daily basis, as a followers of Christ.  However, if I continue to face them with patience and endurance, God has promised to provide everything I need to be a king, like Christ.  I don’t begin to understand what that looks like, or even what that means exactly, but I know that I am called to follow Christ in everything that I do.

Personification:    Self-Control  It is only by the grace of God that I will be able to show the fruit of self-control in my life.  I know that God wants me to follow His Son more closely in my life, and will supply the grace necessary to be able to accomplish it.

Prayer: Lord, help me to be a better disciple today and everyday 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.

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)

When my enemies turn back, they stumble and perish before you. (Psalm 9:4)

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As I  read the Responsorial Psalm this morning, for the second time, I realized that the verse that says because my enemies were turned back right after we say that we give praise and glory to God is hard to hear.  However, when I read the most current translation of that verse, it says what I have posted in my title for my journal today.  So, rather than feel like the because statement is referring to a previous verse, it is more obvious to me that it is a new statement that stands on its own.  I am thankful to God for turning back my enemies, but the praise I give him is because of God is all good and deserving of it, not for anything that was done for me.  Especially, since as the latter verse says in both the responsorial and the new translation, it was their own pit that our enemies dug, that they will fall into.  I must be careful to not fall into my own pit and not concern myself with how worthy I am to be protected.  It goes without saying, that if my worth was the cost of protection from evil, I would be constantly under attack, because I am not worthy of anything but judgment.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.  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.

 

What do you call him?

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Church of the Primacy of St. Peter on the Sea ...

Church of the Primacy of St. Peter

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:  Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter said in reply, “The Messiah of God.”*  (Luke 9:20)

Observation:  I started to journal on this verse over three days ago.  I put it off because I was going to lunch with the group of guys that meet on Fridays to talk about how the Word of God is working in their lives.  The lunch was pretty much the same, except I brought David with me.  However, I knew Jesus was there with us at lunch, but I did not call on him.  I think we prayed, but I cannot remember the prayer.  The point is, if I really know him as Messiah or Savior, shouldn’t I call on him as the one who saves more often?

Personification: Faithfulness  In order to display the fruit of faithfulness in my life, I must not only be seeking him, but willing to call him what he should be to me.  To display faithfulness, I must be willing to give up my selfishness and give God the glory for saving me by sending his Son, Jesus the Christ.

Prayer:  Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner…I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen!