So, you say you know it all…Really?

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Saint Teresa of Avila, pray for us!

I am sorry for not posting this yesterday.  I felt an overwhelming urge to post this, as we celebrated the life of this great Saint yesterday.  I am posting it today, but first, I am feeling called to share the first reading from the Mass readings yesterday.

Brothers and sisters:
I am not ashamed of the Gospel.
It is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes:
for Jew first, and then Greek.
For in it is revealed the righteousness of God from faith to faith;
as it is written, “The one who is righteous by faith will live.”

The wrath of God is indeed being revealed from heaven
against every impiety and wickedness
of those who suppress the truth by their wickedness.
For what can be known about God is evident to them,
because God made it evident to them.
Ever since the creation of the world,
his invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity
have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made.
As a result, they have no excuse;
for although they knew God
they did not accord him glory as God or give him thanks.
Instead, they became vain in their reasoning,
and their senseless minds were darkened.
While claiming to be wise, they became fools
and exchanged the glory of the immortal God
for the likeness of an image of mortal man
or of birds or of four-legged animals or of snakes.

Therefore, God handed them over to impurity
through the lusts of their hearts
for the mutual degradation of their bodies.
They exchanged the truth of God for a lie
and revered and worshiped the creature rather than the creator,
who is blessed forever. Amen.   (Romans 1:16-25)

Now, with the added perspective of today’s first reading from the Mass readings, I am left with an even more powerful urge to share this reflection that I received, as I read this reading yesterday.  It was the sincere act of loving God with our whole heart that will allow us to be filled with exactly what we need to understand in order to live our lives in accordance with His will.  It is not the amount of book knowledge we have learned or are learning that allows us to understand God, it is His grace that has allowed us to open up to the knowledge and we should receive it as a gift and not a kind of exclusive right that only comes to the intelligent or one who is able to comprehend complex thoughts or ideas.  Here is the reading from today that God provided for my perspective…

You, O man, are without excuse, every one of you who passes judgment.
For by the standard by which you judge another you condemn yourself,
since you, the judge, do the very same things.
We know that the judgment of God on those who do such things is true.
Do you suppose, then, you who judge those who engage in such things
and yet do them yourself,
that you will escape the judgment of God?
Or do you hold his priceless kindness, forbearance, and patience
in low esteem, unaware that the kindness of God
would lead you to repentance?
By your stubbornness and impenitent heart,
you are storing up wrath for yourself
for the day of wrath and revelation
of the just judgment of God,
who will repay everyone according to his works,
eternal life to those who seek glory, honor, and immortality
through perseverance in good works,
but wrath and fury to those who selfishly disobey the truth
and obey wickedness.
Yes, affliction and distress will come upon everyone
who does evil, Jew first and then Greek.
But there will be glory, honor, and peace for everyone
who does good, Jew first and then Greek.
There is no partiality with God.  (Romans 2:1-11)

It is important for me to hear that I cannot be proud of the things that God has revealed to me through scripture or through a spiritual book I read, I should look for ways to impart the knowledge I have been given to the child of God that is sitting in front of me right now.  The ability to be a messenger of God comes from grace as well, so it is important for me to not take that for granted either.  OK, what is the point of this post…Please go back and read the quote from Saint Teresa of Avila on the picture above…Enough said, for now…God bless you!

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If He has raised us from the dead, what do we do now?

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Gift:  Piety (Reverence) – With the gift of reverence, sometimes called piety, we have a deep sense of respect for God and the Church. A person with reverence recognizes our total reliance on God and comes before God with humility, trust, and love.

Reading:  and the LORD said to him:  * Pass through the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and mark an X on the foreheads of those who grieve and lament over all the abominations practiced within it.  (Ezekiel 9:4)

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He stepped forward and touched the coffin; at this the bearers halted, and he said, “Young man, I tell you, arise!” The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother.  (Luke 7:14-15)

Observation:  I feel like my soul was awakened this morning during my reading of the Office of Readings that included that verse from the book of Ezekiel.  After hearing the reading of the Gospel at our communion service this morning, I realized that dead man in Luke’s Gospel is me.  Jesus saved me from being buried in my sin, and how am I going to repay that gift.  My hope is that the vision that I have of the young man, that Jesus awakens in the Gospel, where he is  running around telling how great Jesus is, will be my reaction too.

Personification:  Joy  It is with great joy that I thank God for revealing the truth to me through His Word today.  I hope that I will continue to share this Good News with everyone that I meet today.  Although the reading of Ezekiel’s book could be seen as bad news, it is not bad news for those who are calling out the abominations that exist in our society, just as they did in Jerusalem during Ezekiel’s time.  The last line of the Gospel verse that I selected today says that Jesus gave the boy to his mother, and it is with great joy that I hope my mother on earth and His Holy Mother in Heaven receives me and they continue to pray and intercede for my immortal soul.

Prayer:  Hail Mary, full of grace.  The Lord is with you.  Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.  Amen.

The Word says that we are reborn as servants…Rejoice!

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Gift:  Knowledge

Reading:  You have been born anew, not from perishable but from imperishable seed, through the living and abiding word of God, 11  (1 Peter 1:23)

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Brought peace to your borders, and filled you with finest wheat.

4 The LORD sends a command to earth; his word runs swiftly!  (Psalm 147:14-15)

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6 Jesus summoned them and said to them, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones make their authority over them felt.  But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all.  For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  (Mark 10:42-45)

Observation:  I am hearing this morning in the beautiful words that come to me from the first reading of Saint Peter, the Responsorial Psalm and the Gospel of Mark that I am born anew, a new creation that is allowed to serve others, rather than focus on my own selfish interests.

Personification:  Joy – The ability to celebrate life even in the midst of pain and confusion.  I do not believe there is a greater joy on this earth than to serve others.  At least as far as I know, I haven’t seen a greater joy than the one that comes from serving others.  When Jesus says that if we wish to be great we should be a servant, I believe that greatness can be achieved on earth, in the form of great joy.

Prayer:  Lord, help me display the fruit of joy at all times by allowing me to find new and different ways to serve my brothers and sisters in Christ, as well as serving those who have not accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

Can you imagine being acknowledged in heaven?

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Gift:  Wisdom

Reading:  Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father.  (Matthew 10:32)

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

Observation:  I love it when I get an affirmation that what I am doing in the name of Jesus Christ is what he wants me to be doing.  Don’t get me wrong, I am constantly being reminded of the fact that I am on the right track, but this morning I am being told in scripture to preach the Good News to all the world, and if I do so, I will be acknowledged in heaven.  Now, that last part is quite exciting and, as interesting as life is down here on earth, I can’t wait to see what that acknowledgement looks like.  Maybe that is a little selfish, but I am being honest about my anticipation of what that would look like and how incredible it would feel to have Jesus acknowledge you for the work you did in sharing the Gospel.

Personification:  Joy – The ability to celebrate life even in the midst of pain and confusion.  These verses that I journaled on today, gives me a glimpse of why it could be easy to display the fruit of joy amidst whatever pain and confusion that I may be experiencing.  I am saying that if I know that the work that I am doing right now will be acknowledged in heaven, how big should the perma-smile be on my face regardless of the current situation that I may find myself in here on earth.

Prayer:  Lord, help me remember at all times that I am about the work that you gave me to do of spreading the Gospel throughout the world and keep the joy of your acknowledgment in my heart at all times.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

O come, O come, Emmanuel, who ransomed captive Israel…

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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:  7 Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.  (Isaiah 7:14)

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And coming to her, he said, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.”  (Luke 1:28)

Observation:  The following is the footnote from the New American Bible for the first verse that I chose to journal on from the first reading for today’s Mass readings.  [14] The sign proposed by Isaiah was concerned with the preservation of Judah in the midst of distress (cf Isaiah 7:15, 17), but more especially with the fulfillment of God’s earlier promise to David (2 Sam 7:12-16) in the coming of Immanuel (meaning, “With us is God”) as the ideal king (cf Isaiah 9:5-6; 11:1-5). The Church has always followed St. Matthew in seeing the transcendent fulfillment of this verse in Christ and his Virgin Mother. The prophet need not have known the full force latent in his own words; and some Catholic writers have sought a preliminary and partial fulfillment in the conception and birth of the future King Hezekiah, whose mother, at the time Isaiah spoke, would have been a young, unmarried woman (Hebrew, almah). The Holy Spirit was preparing, however, for another Nativity which alone could fulfill the divinely given terms of Immanuel’s mission, and in which the perpetual virginity of the Mother of God was to fulfill also the words of this prophecy in the integral sense intended by the divine Wisdom.  The second verse that I chose from the Gospel reading from Luke today pretty much speaks for itself, and in my opinion spells out the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy.

Application:  Joy – The ability to celebrate life even in the midst of pain and confusion.  The reason I chose to focus on the fruit of joy today is because we are in the season of Lent and even though the people of the Church are in this season of preparation and repentance, we can still be full of joy in our hearts that Jesus has saved us from our sinfulness and will continue to do so to everyone who comes to him in faith.

Prayer:  Virgin Mother of our Lord Jesus, pray that I will stay true to our Lord and keep me forever faithful to his Word.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Rejoice in the great light…

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Gift: Understanding

Scripture: He was a burning and shining lamp, 13 and for a while you were content to rejoice in his light.  (John 5:35)

Observation: Today, I am hearing Jesus say that John the Baptist was the lamp that was telling of the coming of the great one.  Although, the Jews were content to rejoice in his light, Jesus is calling me to even greater rejoicing because the one that John was talking about has come and is still here today.  God has brought down his kingdom to all of those who willingly participate in his celebration by the power of his grace as a free gift to us all.

Application:  Joy This fruit is explained as the ability to celebrate life in the midst of pain and confusion.  The truth is that the pain and confusion are temporary, but the kingdom of heaven is eternal.  It is time to party and I am not going to wait another day to start showing my willingness to participate in the celebration that God has given us in the sacrifice of his son to redeem us for our sins and bring about the kingdom right now.

Prayer: Lord, help me to celebrate that you have redeemed me for my sins and allow me the grace to display the joy that comes from that mystery.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

To you, Oh Lord, I lift up my soul…

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Googled, "Gladden the soul of your servant"

Gift:  Wisdom

Reading:  Gladden the soul of your servant; to you, Lord, I lift up my soul.  (Psalm 86:4)

Observation:  I chose the verse from the responsorial psalm for today’s Mass, because I am hoping that I can remember that it is not the things of this world that truly bring me joy, but the Lord that supplies me with the grace necessary to experience real joy in my soul.

Personification:  Joy  I guess it wasn’t a surprise that I would choose the fruit of joy to focus on today, because of the verse that I selected.  I really hope that God does supply me with the grace necessary to display this fruit to everyone I meet today and for the rest of my life.

Prayer:  To you, Lord, I lift up my soul and I am asking that you continue to gladden my soul with the fruit of joy that comes from your Spirit.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.