That’s what she said…

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Gift:  Piety (Reverence)

Reading:  And Mary said: 16My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior. For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is from age to age to those who fear him. He has shown might with his arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart. He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly. The hungry he has filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped Israel his servant, remembering his mercy, according to his promise to our fathers, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”  (Luke 1:46-55)

Observation:  That’s what she said…The words are printed on the front of a t-shirt that I bought at a youth conference in San Diego last summer.  On the back it says, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord.  My spirit rejoices in God, my savior.”  It is one of the greatest responses to our society that increasingly tries to make us less respectful of our bodies and how our human sexuality can be a gift that we offer to God.  “That’s what she said” is a phrase that is used in popular culture to poke fun at the fact that if we look at things through the perspective of a lust-filled atheist, everything we say can be construed to have some sexual undertones.  Our Mother Mary would not have us speak this way, and I believe we should learn these words that begin the Canticle of Mary and repeat them whenever we hear someone say,  “That’s what she said.”  My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior.

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The Visitation in the Book of Hours of the Duc de Berry

Personification:  Chastity – Able to form loving and caring friendships, which help us to act appropriately with our gift of sexuality.  It is only through the intercession of our Lady that I am saved from my own depravity.  However, I know that with the grace of God that comes to me as a free gift, that I have not done anything to merit, I am saved from myself.  This world would have us believe that it doesn’t matter what you say and they are only words, but the words we use are a window into our soul, I believe that I want my words to be pleasing to God and respectful of the gifts that he has given me.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to guard my speech and continue to supply me with the grace necessary to create right relationships with people that will help me display the fruit of chastity at all times.  Please help me to remember these words attributed to our Mother Mary in the Gospel of Luke…My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior.  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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Do not focus on the sinner…Focus on the sinless one…Be the one…

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Mother Teresa did not say she was sinless, but she was a great example of displaying God's love to others. She said, "Be the one."

Gift:  Piety (Reverence)

Reading:  Jesus answered them, “I told you and you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify to me.

But you do not believe, because you are not among my sheep.

 

 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, and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand.

 

The Father and I are one.”  (John 10:25-30)

 

Observation:  I felt it was necessary to point out this morning that that the truth of life comes from the Word, and I am just hoping to be a vessel of the truth to anyone who reads my journal.  It is not my intention to give my analysis of the Word, but merely explain how I see the Word working in my life.  If I have somehow led someone astray in their faith, by posting this journal, I am sure it will not last long.  As Jesus says here in the Gospel today about his relationship to the Father, if this is the work that God intended for me to be doing, it will continue and the works that I do in Jesus name will testify to me. 

 

Personification:  Love (Charity) – Quick to sense the needs of the people with whom we work and live and respond as Jesus would.  I hope that it is God’s will for me to be able to display his love today and be charitable in all things today and for the rest of my life.  I am not worthy of any good thing and I hope, by the grace of God, I am shown the way to be give freely of myself out of love for Jesus Christ, who died for me, because I am a worthless sinner.

 

Prayer:  Lord, I pray for the needs of everyone in my life today.  Do not provide for my needs today, but allow me in some way to give of myself to provide for others today and 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.

 

See God at work in the Word…

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Gift:  Piety (Reverence)

Reading:   (7a) The Lord hears the cry of the poor.  When the just cry out, the LORD hears them, and from all their distress he rescues them.  Many are the troubles of the just man, but out of them all the LORD delivers him.  (7a) The Lord hears the cry of the poor.  (Psalm 34:18,20)

Observation:  This morning I am seeing the Lord at work in my life in the small changes that are made in the way the Word is phrased in the Mass readings, versus how they read out in the text.  I am seeing that the hand of God is truly working through the church to bring these readings to the body of Christ.  I guess I am a little sad that more people are not staying connected to the daily readings to see it, but I am still very grateful to God that he is working in my life.  Normally, I would post the readings directly from the scripture, but today I posted the verses directly as they read from the Responsorial Psalm from the daily readings because that is how I heard God speaking through them today.

Personification:  Kindness – The strength of Christ’s love which leads us to a greater service.  It is my hope that by seeing the Lord work in me a new creation through the Word of God, I can be a conduit of his grace to others.  I really feel strengthened by the Lord today and I hope that other will see the strength that comes from the Word of God.

Prayer:  Lord, I think I know that it is through the Word of God that your strength comes to me, but it is my hope and prayer for others to somehow be led to your Word through the work that I am doing.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

Can we hear and see our Lord on the road?

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Gift:  Piety (Reverence)

Reading:  5 6Now that very day two of them were going to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus, and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred.  And it happened that while they were conversing and debating, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them, 7 but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him.  Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.  (Luke 24:13-16,35)

Observation:  I didn’t get a chance to journal on this Gospel last Sunday because I was not prepared to present it in a way that the youth would understand it on Sunday night, but here is the same Gospel reading again.  I guess I am hearing that I need to present this to the youth, and I need to take the time necessary to present it to the younger ones tonight, as well as the older youth on Sunday.  I have already been running over in my head different ways that I could tell the story to the Religious Education young people and also the youth that are preparing for Confirmation on Sunday.  I would recommend that you read the story, and even if you have heard it before, read it again as if you are in the story and Jesus is coming to your home and imagine how that would make you feel and how does it make you want to change what you look like for the next time you meet him? 

Personification:  Chastity  I want to focus today on the first part of the explanation of this fruit of the Holy Spirit today.  I need God’s grace to continue to build loving and caring relationships into my life, so that I will always be able to act appropriately with my gift of sexuality.  I have found myself focusing on this fruit in the past when something would catch my eye that probably shouldn’t have and I spent too much time looking at it.  Right now, I find myself wanting to truly set myself in right relationship with God and with the people that he puts in my life, so that I can feel his love from them and hopefully keep myself from acting inappropriately in the future.

Prayer:  Lord, walk with me at all times in my life.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Not all of you are clean…

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Gift:  Piety (Reverence)

Reading:  The devil had already induced 4 Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, to hand him over…For he knew who would betray him; for this reason, he said, “Not all of you are clean.”  (John 13:2a,11)

Observation:  So, I am overcome by the fact that Jesus would know that Judas would soon betray him, yet in between the two verses above he washes the feet of all of his disciples, including Judas.  It is amazing that he would humble himself to wash the feet of the man that would give him over to the Jewish authorities that were planning to kill him? 

Personification:  Humility (Gentleness) – An inner strength that permits us to be aware of our own abilities without having to make a show of them.  I am hoping to be able to use the example of Jesus’ humility in not only washing the feet of his faithful disciples and the one that would betray him as a way of showing me how to serve others without regard to their ability or willingness to pay it forward or even be grateful to me for the gift that I may give them of my service.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to be aware of any opportunity to serve others and build up the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth by serving others.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Surely it is not I, Rabbi?

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Gift:  Piety (Reverence)

Reading:  13 Then Judas, his betrayer, said in reply, “Surely it is not I, Rabbi?” He answered, “You have said so.”  (Matthew 26:25)

Observation:  Today, in the Gospel reading, because of the objection of Judas was so simple and plain, Jesus says he is basically admitting that he is the one who will betray him.  How often do I object to the fact that I am a sinner?  I am hearing today Jesus say to me that it is in that objection to the fact that I am a sinner that I display my need for  the redemption of the Savior saying to me, “You have said so!”  Since, I would rather not hear my Lord say these words to me, I will try and remain fully aware of my sinfulness and ask for Jesus to cleanse me of all my sin and create in me a new spirit of repentance.

Application:  Patience – Enables us to handle frustration and conflict without becoming unduly edgy or annoyed.  It is my desire today and for the rest of my life to display the fruit of patience in all areas of my life.  Today, like always, I believe that unless I am able to be about the work of Jesus Christ with patience, God will have to find new and different ways to build the fruit of patience in me. 

Prayer:  Lord, help me to be patient with my family and their lack of focus on the call to holiness of all the disciples of Jesus Christ.  Please create in me a new spirit of repentance and allow me to see your face in everyone I meet.  I ask this as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

The Lord is near…

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Gift:  Piety (Reverence)

Reading:  You, LORD, are near to all who call upon you, to all who call upon you in truth.  (Psalm 145:18)

Observation:  It may be some time after the youth rally that our youth ministry attended last weekend until I stop focusing on the message that was the central theme of the rally.  This verse from the Responsorial Psalm gives some further clarity to the message, but the challenge is still the same.  In order to be sure that we are living out God’s will for us, we have to abandon our own will in favor of his will for us, because we believe he knows better what is good for us.

Application:  Goodness  It probably stands to reason that I would think of focusing on displaying the fruit of goodness in my life today, since I have just heard an assurance from God that he will always be near me, if I call upon him in truth.  I can think of no better way to ensure that I am calling on him in truth, than to have the focus of my life today and every day be the fruit of goodness that is displayed by keeping his commandments and following his will for my life completely.

Prayer:  Lord, I will need your grace and the strength that comes from heaven to display your goodness in my life.  I know that I am a sinner and it is only by your grace that anything good comes from me.  Amen.