He was born, died, resurrected, and rose to heaven and will come again…Are you afraid?

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Allegory of hope; Oil on canvas, Francesco Gua...

Allegory of hope; Oil on canvas, Francesco Guardi, 1747 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Gift:  WisdomWith 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:  Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down,
with the mountains quaking before you.  (Isaiah 63:19)

 

&

 

In this is love brought to perfection among us, that we have confidence on the day of judgment because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love.  (1 John 4:17-18)

 

Observation:  As I read the Office of Readings, I felt as if the first psalmody was written for me.  As I went back to the page just now to remember what the first psalm reading is called, I found this scripture written under the title for Psalm 39, or the urgent prayer of a sick person.  Creation is made subject to futility…by him who subjected it, but it is not without hope (Romans 8:20).  So, I am getting over a cold/flu, and I hope today marks the end of my suffering any symptoms.  However, it was further down the Office that I came to the line from the First reading that I quoted above.   I couldn’t help feeling joy at reading of the words of Isaiah that were calling on God to come down.  Although, the prophet was speaking before the first coming, I would think he would have yearned for our final salvation as well.

 

Personification:  Joy. Today, I am hoping to display the fruit of joy, not only because I hope to not suffer any more symptoms of a cold, but also because of the hope that I have that our loving God will not want to see us suffer this world’s injustice too much longer.  As it says in the responsory, right after the first reading for today’s Office of Readings:

 

We cry out for justice, but it is not there;

 

for salvation, but it is far from us.  (Isaiah 59:11)

 

It is much easier to see a path to displaying the fruit of joy when we read the first reading for today’s Mass from the first letter of John that I listed in the readings section above.  It is only because we know that God loves us perfectly, that we know that we can be not afraid of his bringing judgment on this world.

 

Prayer:  Lord, in your love let me put real joy on display to see today.  It is my hope that everyone who sees me today, sees you.  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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Who am I?

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Gregory of Nazianzus

Gregory of Nazianzus (Photo credit: Texsain (formerly Nazianzus))

 

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:  Different men have different names, which they owe to their parents or to themselves, that is, to their own pursuits and achievements. But our great pursuit, the great name we wanted, was to be Christians, to be called Christians. (From a sermon by Saint Gregory Nazianzen, bishop)

 

Observation:  I read the readings for Mass first this morning, and the first reading from the Office of Readings probably had some more interesting material to journal on, but when I got to the end of the second reading from the Office of Readings for today, I was blown away by how humble this Saint was.  He could have said that because of their great wisdom, he knew that he and Saint Basil would go on to make great reforms in monastic life because they knew what to do.  He didn’t, he said their great pursuit, would be to be called Christians.

 

Personification:  Peace. Once again, if the fruit of peace is to be put on display in my life, I must learn to be content with where God has called me in every moment today.

 

Prayer:  Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit…Amen

 

I hope my children can hear my heart in this…

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Chad, my oldest son, snapped the picture for me...

Chad, my oldest son, snapped the picture for me…

Gift: Knowledge

Reading: And a voice came from the heavens,
“You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” (Mark 1:11)

Observation: As I read the readings aloud to both of my older sons that we eating breakfast at the table with me this morning, it was reading this verse to my oldest son that really spoke to my heart. I told him that I hope he hears my heart along with God’s Word telling His Son that he is well pleased with him. I think the first reading was for my nine-year old, but I will get back to you later about how it spoke to him. (Pray for us!)

Personification:  Love  It is out of sincere love for both of my children that I have started to read the scriptures to them before they go to school.  It is my hope that the eternal wisdom that comes from the Word of God will be passed on to them from the reading of his Word.  As for my 9-year-old, Kobe, I realized that I must be diligent in calling on the holy Spirit to rest on him and help him to see the truth that comes from God and not the lies that he hears from the world.  I think I got this from the first reading from John, and maybe the story will be completed tomorrow morning at Mass at Saint Mary Catholic Church in Eugene.

Prayer:  Lord, I am thankful for the grace that you are saving me with, and I hope that I will continue to seek out your grace and not my understanding to fulfill 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.

Whoops!

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Folio 18 recto, beginning of the Epistle to Th...

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:  But you, brothers, are not in darkness, for that day to overtake you like a thief. For all of you are children of the light and children of the day. We are not of the night or of darkness. Therefore, let us not sleep as the rest do, but let us stay alert and sober.  (1 Thessalonians 5:4-6)

Observation:  As I read the second part of the second reading for today’s Mass readings out loud to my Mom and my brother whose computer I am borrowing to write this journal entry today, my brother said “Whoops!”  It was immediately funny to both my Mom and I, but as I reflected further on the rest of the reading and the possible reasons why he could say it, I realized that this was a perfect title for my blog post today.  I have read this reading many times before and probably had the same reaction to it that my brother did.  However, this morning as I sit in Las Vegas, I am thankful to God that I was given the grace to make decisions that make me look more like a child of the light.

Personification:  Gentleness  I don’t know if my family will read this before they attend Mass with me this morning, but it is my hope that I will be supplied with enough grace to put the fruit of gentleness on display for them, to not convince them of the glory of God but stay out-of-the-way, so that the work that God is doing in them will not be harmed by my over-zealousness.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to model the behavior of your disciple.  Please keep me grounded and focusing on your will for others and not my will for them.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel. (Romans 1:16)

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Lecrae says it way better than I ever could have…It came from the first reading for the Mass readings today…Anyone who knows Kim Varo and heard my conversation with Hillary and Chris yesterday, should know how perfect it was that this song came to my mind today when I read the first reading for Mass…God bless you!

I can’t wait to seek Him, what if I am unwilling to seek Him tomorrow…

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Photo of the Book of Isaiah page of the Bible

Image via Wikipedia

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:  Seek the LORD while he may be found, call upon him while he is near.  (Isaiah 55:6)

Observation:  After reading the gospel for today, I am certainly not concerned about the abounding mercy of our Lord to accept me when I am willing to turn to him.  However, the first reading and specifically the verse that I chose to journal on above, is a reminder that we may not always be close to the Lord.  So, we must seek him while he is near, so that in the times that we wander from him, we will know the way to get back.

Personification: Generosity  In order to display the fruit of generosity, I must not be selfish today.  I must think of others before myself.  As much as I know that my prayer life must be the central focus of all of my daily activities to stay focused on God, but I must remember that someone who needs my help with something in their world, should always take precedence over my needs.  The truth is, other people don’t make many demands on my time very often, so I should be ready to provide for them out of the store of goodness that flows from God’s grace.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to show your goodness to everyone today, by being willing to help everyone who needs me.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.

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.