Thanks be to God, who holds the structure together…

Standard
Fear of the Lord

Image by Lawrence OP via Flickr

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:  Through him the whole structure is held together and grows into a temple sacred in the Lord;in him you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.  (Ephesians 2:21-22)

Observation:  If the structure of the church was held together by us, it would have fallen before it was even established in the early church.  However, because of the fact that Jesus is the cornerstone and the foundation is the apostles and prophets who were chosen by Him, we have a structure that will last.  I am thankful today, for the structure of the church not being founded on me, because the walls would have fallen down a long time ago.  I am thankful that the church I belong to is made sacred by the growing together of believers who, hopefully including me, have been made into dwelling places for God in the Spirit.

Personification:  Peace  On this day that we celebrate the lives of two Saints, who were not the most well-known members of the apostles, I hope that I can display the peace that comes from following the will of God in my life.  Even though, I have made mistakes in the past, my hope is that God will continue the work he began in me and see it through to completion by ridding my life of all my past sinfulness.

Prayer:  (Saint Francis Prayer)  Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love. Where there is injury, pardon. Where there is doubt, faith. Where there is despair, hope. Where there is darkness, light. Where there is sadness, joy. O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console; to be understood, as to understand; to be loved, as to love. For it is in giving that we receive. It is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

Advertisements

For when you were slaves of sin, you were free from righteousness.* (Romans 6:20)

Standard
Saint George Preca has been likened as a succe...

Image via 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:  But now that you have been freed from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit that you have leads to sanctification,* and its end is eternal life.  (Romans 6:22)

Observation:  I have struggled this week with the way that sin is related to death and that we are sinners as long as we are in the flesh.  I like the irony of the verse that I used for my title today, as the footnotes say that freedom from righteousness would really be tyranny.  To me, freedom from righteousness would really feel like an evil possession.  I have read forward in the readings for the next two days and I am hopeful that the message of this particular section of the letter to the Romans will make more sense to me by Saturday.

Personification:  Peace  It is my hope that I can display the fruit of peace in my life.  I am seeing with the readings today and the experience of my life that real peace only comes with the knowledge that is completed in the Word of God.  I don’t know if this is true in all cases, but I am sure that the mystery of God’s presence in the Word will prove this to be true.  If ever I feel like I am lost in my life, I need only escape this world into the world of God’s Word.

Prayer:  Lord, please help me to stay focused on you by staying in your Word and never feel too far away from you by focusing on what you are saying to me.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

The Cross has power…Look to it for guidance…Be the Cross for those who haven’t seen it…

Standard
Fountain of Eternal Life

Image via Wikipedia

Gift:  Knowledge – With the gift of knowledge, we understand the meaning of God’s Revelation, especially as expressed in the life and words of Jesus Christ. A person with knowledge is always learning more about the scriptures and Tradition.

Reading:  And just as Moses lifted up* the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up,* so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”  (John 3:14-15)

Observation:  When I first read this gospel reading this morning, I saw it as justifying my argument that I gave to one of the young adults about eternal life that is a quality of life, and not a certain period of time.  However, after going to communion service this morning, I was reminded that today is the Feast of the Exultation of the Holy Cross, and the idea of what Jesus’ crucifixion means to our daily lives, as well as our eternal salvation, really hit home for me.  I feel like I should see the cross as a reminder to conform myself to Him, as well as see the power that comes from the cross to keep me from evil.

Personification:  Love  There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for his friends.  I will display the fruit of love that pours out from the grace of God because of the sacrifice of His Son.  This love will manifest itself in different ways for different people, but they will hopefully be able to see Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross through my sacrifices for them.

Prayer:  Lord, guide me in your ways everlasting, and keep me from leaning on my understanding.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

 

I set out to make it about me, but it is not about me…It’s about them!

Standard

Infant Jesus and John the Baptist, Museo del Prado

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:  I have told you this so that when their hour comes you may remember that I told you.  (John 16:4)

Observation:  As I read the gospel reading this morning, I was hearing the story as if it were being said about me.  However, the truth is that I post about my faith to the world and I am not harmed at all.  So, my hour has certainly not come, but the Christians that John was writing about, who were listening to the words of Jesus that day, their hour has come.  This revelation that I had about this scripture is leading me to realize that HIS mission is still not done, there is still work to be done.

Personification:  Love  This is a kind of softball for me to hit today.  I mean no disrespect to softball players, but the ball is bigger and a little easier to make contact with.  I am focusing on the fruit of love to display today, because Jesus told us yesterday in the gospel reading to love one another.  It is my intention to not just talk about it, but take some action that displays that love to others today.

Prayer:  (Saint Francis Prayer)

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.
 

I want to be one of his sheep…

Standard
The Flagellation of Our Lord Jesus Christ (1880)

Image via Wikipedia

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:  My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, 13 and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand.  (John 10:27-29)

Observation:  As I chose these three verses to journal on this morning, I thought about all the ways the world talks about being like sheep and the negative connotations that the world says about being a follower, especially a sheep-like follower.  However, the words that Jesus uses to show the protection that he is willing to afford his sheep, should make anyone willing to be called one of his sheep. 

Personification: Self-Control  I will choose to focus on displaying the fruit of self-control today, with the grace that comes to me freely from the Sacrament that I will receive this morning.  It is only by the grace of God that I am not following my own selfishness into sin right now, so I will try to show my gratitude for this grace by continuing to display this fruit of self-control for the rest of this day and for the rest of my life.

Prayer:  Lord Jesus Christ, I desire nothing more than to spend the rest of my life under the protection that you promised to your sheep.  Please help me to always hear your voice and to follow the will of the Father for my life, just like you did.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

Go out to all the world and tell the Good News. (Mark 16:15)

Standard
Jesus is considered by scholars such as Weber ...

Image via Wikipedia

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:  Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within youWhoever eats 19my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last dayFor my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.”  (John 6:53-58)

Observation:  It is interesting to me that on this Friday of the third week of Easter, we end the churches week-long reminder of the bread of life discourse from the gospel of John.  It is interesting because the discourse has gotten progressively more challenging as the week went on.  The church could choose to deny the challenge and let it go without saying that it is difficult to follow the words of Jesus.  God ends the discussion with me this week, saying that not only is it difficult, but so much so, many that would be disciples will not follow him in this challenge to accept the fact that we must eat his flesh and drink his blood.

Personification: Love  At Mass at Saint Mary Catholic Church yesterday, Father Mark challenged us to love each other as Christ loved us.  For me, the challenge today will be to live out the good news in my life by being an instrument of that love to everyone that I meet today.  I will be nourished by the food that I will eat at Mass at noon today, and I will hopefully be inebriated by the blood of Christ that I will drink to be empowered to share the love that Christ shared with us by dying on the cross and offering himself in this way for us.

Prayer:  Lord, let the central focus of my day be always on the gift that you give us in the Eucharist.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

Follow up from yesterday…What is this food that endures for eternal life?

Standard
Starbucksguadalajara

Starbucks Guadalajara

Gift: Knowledge – With the gift of knowledge, we understand the meaning of God’s Revelation, especially as expressed in the life and words of Jesus Christ. A person with knowledge is always learning more about the scriptures and Tradition.

Reading:  17 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.  (John 6:35)

Observation:  If it is not an external distraction, it is an internal distraction.  Yesterday, I was bothered by all of the distractions inside of Starbucks, so I subconsciously did not want to repeat that performance this morning.  So, I made sure that I was without distraction at the house.  However, my mind is not without distraction on its own.  I took a call from my sister as I was finishing my journal and realized that even in the midst of whatever is distracting from what I think I should be focusing on, God is going to redirect my thoughts to what I should be thinking, and I need only give myself to following his will.

Personification:  Self-Control   I believe that I have journaled on the fact that without the grace of God directing my steps, I would be falling into sin at every moment in my life.  The challenge for me today is to live out the fruit of self-control in my life by coming to the realization that I am powerless against my sinful nature without the grace that comes from following the Word of God in my life.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to give up my selfishness in favor of following your will for my life.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.