Tell my people their wickedness…Really?

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The front side (recto) of Papyrus 1, a New Tes...

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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:  Cry out full-throated and unsparingly, lift up your voice like a trumpet blast; Proclaim to my people their transgression, to the house of Jacob their sins.  (Isaiah 58:1)

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Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.*  (Matthew 9:15)

Observation:  My pastor has a phrase that he says often, and I have heard before, it is “Tell the truth in love.”  As I ponder this verse from the first reading that I posted above, I must remember the words of my pastor, but not be stopped from telling the truth as it has been revealed to me.  The truth is that the people of this world and of our church are suffering under the yoke of sexual sin, because there are not enough people telling the truth in love about what God has revealed to us through his Gospel and through our bodies.

Personification:   Kindness  It is out of kindness that I will refuse to hold my tongue today.  I will attempt to display the joy that comes from the knowledge of the bridegroom as a mentor and a friend, and especially as my first spouse.  Before I could ever learn to love others the way that God loves me, I must be fully committed to his love by accepting the fact that he wants to be joined to me forever.  Once I have accepted this love, I will share it with others and explain what it means to be fully joined in marriage to God.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to share your good news today and help you transform our world into a place that you have waited to return to.  Come Lord Jesus, Come.   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.

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.

I love it when you call Him, “Big Poppa” or “Grandes Poppa”…

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Moses and the Burning Bush

Moses and the Burning Bush

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:  2 There an angel of the LORD appeared to him in fire flaming out of a bush. As he looked on, he was surprised to see that the bush, though on fire, was not consumed. God said, “Come no nearer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground3 I am the God of your father,” he continued, “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob.” Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.  (Exodus 3:2,5-6)

Observation:  Yesterday at our Camp Saint Alice, our technical director and video production man played a video that he created that showed the name of God, who is called by many names.  In this particular video, he thought it would be funny to show a picture of a burning bush, as he played the part of the song by the late Notorious B.I.G. that said, “I love it when they call me Big Poppa”.  Of course, the song was about the original artist, but I quite enjoyed the idea of switching it up and making it about another name that we could call Our Father in heaven.  At the time, I didn’t know why David chose to put a picture of the burning bush in the video, because there are so many other visual representations of God.  However, looking back on it now, it was the best visual representation to catch the attention of the kids.  Although, I think most of them missed it.

Personification: Kindness  I know that I referenced kindness in my journal yesterday because it is so easy to put gentleness and kindness in to the same prayer.  To me, the fruit of kindness comes from gentleness and the fruit of gentleness comes from kindness.  I hope that I can receive the necessary grace to display both fruits of the holy Spirit in my life today.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to display the fruit of kindness and allow me to share this fruit with everyone I meet with all the gentleness that you have shown me.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

Do what is holy and you will be rewarded…

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Prophet Isaiah, Russian icon from first quarte...

Prophet Isaiah

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:  Isaiah 58:9b-14

Thus says the LORD:
If you remove from your midst oppression,
false accusation and malicious speech;
If you bestow your bread on the hungry
and satisfy the afflicted;
Then light shall rise for you in the darkness,
and the gloom shall become for you like midday;
Then the LORD will guide you always
and give you plenty even on the parched land.
He will renew your strength,
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring whose water never fails.
The ancient ruins shall be rebuilt for your sake,
and the foundations from ages past you shall raise up;
“Repairer of the breach,” they shall call you,
“Restorer of ruined homesteads.”

If you hold back your foot on the sabbath
from following your own pursuits on my holy day;
If you call the sabbath a delight,
and the LORD’s holy day honorable;
If you honor it by not following your ways,
seeking your own interests, or speaking with malice
Then you shall delight in the LORD,
and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth;
I will nourish you with the heritage of Jacob, your father,
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

Observation:  Some mornings as I try to take one or two verses and single them out, I find that it is the whole reading that was really speaking to me.  This is one such morning.  This reading follows yesterday’s first reading from Mass that ended with the verse that said “Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer, you shall cry for help, and he will say: Here I am!”  It is my hope that my decisions today to follow his will, will act on my behalf to cry out to Him to say that I need to see him working in my life today.

Personification:  Self-Control  I believe I focus on the fruit of self-control the most in my journaling.  It is because it is the fruit that I struggle with displaying the most.  When you spent the first nineteen years of your life doing the things that you wanted first and those around you suffered the consequences, it has taken 20 years of effort and grace to get me to the spot where I can trust the Lord enough to give up my will in favor of his.

Prayer:  Lord, give me the strength today to not only follow your will but to see your work that is being done in the people I meet today.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.