|Oh Jesus, help me overcome any fear I have of you or of being in silence. Help me remember how much you love me, how much you desire this time together, and how close you are to me in this sacrament. You are my Emmanuel, God with me. Thank you for coming so close to me.
Blessed Anthony Grassi
Anthony's father died when his son was only 10 years old, but the young lad inherited his father's devotion to Our Lady of Loreto. As a schoolboy he frequented the local church of the Oratorian Fathers, joining the religious order when he was 17.
Already a fine student, he soon gained a reputation in his religious community as a "walking dictionary" who quickly grasped Scripture and theology. For some time he was tormented by scruples, but they reportedly left him at the very hour he celebrated his first Mass. From that day, serenity penetrated his very being.
In 1621, at age 29, Anthony was struck by lightning while praying in the church of the Holy House at Loreto. He was carried paralyzed from the church, expecting to die. When he recovered in a few days he realized that he had been cured of acute indigestion. His scorched clothes were donated to the Loreto church as an offering of thanks for his new gift of life.
More important, Anthony now felt that his life belonged entirely to God. Each year thereafter he made a pilgrimage to Loreto to express his thanks.
He also began hearing confessions, and came to be regarded as an outstanding confessor. Simple and direct, he listened carefully to penitents, said a few words and gave a penance and absolution, frequently drawing on his gift of reading consciences.
In 1635 he was elected superior of the Fermo Oratory. He was so well regarded that he was reelected every three years until his death. He was a quiet person and a gentle superior who did not know how to be severe. At the same time he kept the Oratorian constitutions literally, encouraging the community to do likewise.
He refused social or civic commitments and instead would go out day or night to visit the sick or dying or anyone else needing his services. As he grew older, he had a God-given awareness of the future, a gift which he frequently used to warn or to console.
But age brought its challenges as well. He suffered the humility of having to give up his physical faculties one by one. First was his preaching, necessitated after he lost his teeth. Then he could no longer hear confessions. Finally, after a fall, he was confined to his room. The archbishop himself came each day to give him holy Communion. One of Anthony's final acts was to reconcile two fiercely quarreling brothers.
Nothing provides a better reason for reassessing a life than a brush with death. Anthony's life already seemed to be on track when he was struck by lightning; he was a brilliant priest blessed, at last, with serenity. But his experience softened him. He became a loving counselor and a wise mediator. The same might be said of us if we put our hearts to it. We needn't wait to be struck by lightning.
Daily Prayer - 2015-12-18
Dear Lord help me to be open to you
for this time as I put aside the cares of this world.
Fill my thoughts with your peace, your love.
By God's grace I was born to live in freedom.
Free to enjoy the pleasures He created for me.
Dear Lord, grant that I may live as You intended,
with complete confidence in Your Loving care.
Help me Lord to be more conscious of your presence.
Teach me to recognise your presence in others.
Fill my heart with gratitude for the times Your love has been shown to me through the care of others.
The Word of God
Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD,
when I will raise up a righteous shoot to David;
As king he shall reign and govern wisely,
he shall do what is just and right in the land.
In his days Judah shall be saved,
Israel shall dwell in security.
This is the name they give him:
"The LORD our justice."
Therefore, the days will come, says the LORD,
when they shall no longer say, "As the LORD lives,
who brought the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt";
but rather, "As the LORD lives,
who brought the descendants of the house of Israel
up from the land of the north"--
and from all the lands to which I banished them;
they shall again live on their own land.
R. (see 7) Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
O God, with your judgment endow the king,
and with your justice, the king's son;
He shall govern your people with justice
and your afflicted ones with judgment.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
For he shall rescue the poor when he cries out,
and the afflicted when he has no one to help him.
He shall have pity for the lowly and the poor;
the lives of the poor he shall save.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel,
who alone does wondrous deeds.
And blessed forever be his glorious name;
may the whole earth be filled with his glory.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of
peace for ever.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
O Leader of the House of Israel,
giver of the Law to Moses on Sinai:
come to rescue us with your mighty power!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.
- - -
When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph,
but before they lived together,
she was found with child through the Holy Spirit.
Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man,
yet unwilling to expose her to shame,
decided to divorce her quietly.
Such was his intention when, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,
"Joseph, son of David,
do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.
For it is through the Holy Spirit
that this child has been conceived in her.
She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sins."
All this took place to fulfill
what the Lord had said through the prophet:
Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son,
and they shall
name him Emmanuel,
which means "God is with us."
When Joseph awoke,
he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him
and took his wife into his home.
He had no relations with her until she bore a son,
and he named him Jesus.
Some thoughts on today's scripture
- Joseph occupies a central place in this gospel. His decision is made. He will be kind and sensitive towards Mary, and divorce her in secret. A dream upturns his original decision. God intervenes, more is asked of Joseph. He is called to revisit and revise his original intentions.
- Lord, I thank you for Joseph's generous, courageous risk-taking. He trusted completely in your words "do not be afraid" and allowed his carefully made plans to be unravelled. May I too be open when you invite me to risk.
Jesus you speak to me through the words of the gospels.
May I respond to your call today.
Teach me to recognise your hand at work in my daily living.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
As it was in the beginning,
is now and ever shall be,
world without end.
3rd Week of Advent
The angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. (Matthew 1:20)
We all dream at night, but we usually forget our dreams as soon as we wake up. But have you ever had a dream that stayed with you for a long time—possibly for years? When he was nine years old, John Bosco had one of these dreams, and it led him to minister to poor and neglected boys of Turin, Italy, and launch an international order of priests. Bosco continued to have prophetic dreams throughout his life, prompting Pope Pius IX to insist that he write them down to inspire and encourage others.
As we see in today's Gospel, Joseph also felt God directing him through a dream. We don't know exactly what this dream was like. Perhaps he was already wavering toward accepting Mary, and God just gave him a reassuring sense that things would work out. Perhaps he saw a bright light or heard an angelic choir or an audible voice. It really doesn't matter. Scripture tells us that God intervened while Joseph slept, and that's all we need to know.
Rather than assuming that only "special" people have dreams like this, we should consider the possibility that God wants to speak to us this way as well. After all, he's not one to play favorites. Instead, we should "test the spirits" (1 John 4:1). For instance, if we dream about indulging the flesh—by eating ten large pizzas or by getting revenge on a nasty co-worker—we can probably dismiss it. Dreams can lead us astray if we aren't careful (Sirach 34:7), but like anything else God has created, they can also help us.
If you've had a memorable dream recently, what is it telling you? Check the sense you have against your knowledge of God, the direction your life is going, and simple common sense. For instance, if you dream about a past hurt that needs forgiving or an old friend with whom you might want to reconnect, don't dismiss it. The Holy Spirit may be prompting you to do something that can change your life or profoundly bless someone else. God wants to direct our steps, and sometimes he chooses very creative ways to do it!
"Father, how blessed I am that you guide me! Help me to hear your voice and to follow you."
Psalm 72:1-2, 12-13, 18-19
Into His Home
The 5minutos ends today with:
"...Let us learn from Joseph, we should come close to the mystery with enormous respect and we shall embrace it knowing that it is not our work, but of God. What Mary carries in her womb is the fruit of the Holy Spirit. On doing this, there is opened up to us a horizon of fruitfulness, we enter a current of a major paternity, of God the Father. What is given to us is a great work."
Jeremiah prophecied a son of David and said Judah would be saved, the people of God. They waited until it would happen. But the word "until" doesn't mean things will change as if things will flip. We do things until, but they can
remain so forever. I will write to you until tomorrow, and after that again. The praise we give to God until He returns doesn't mean praises will end.
We prayed today "He shall have pity for the lowly and the poor; the lives of the poor he shall save." Therefore, if you are suffering, you are poor, poor in spirit. He has pity on you. If you are lowly, then all the more...humility. THese are the people He comes to. These are the ones that need Him and will receive Him, especially if they call out to Him. Until they see the light, as if the light wasn't there before, or would ever stop shining after they meet Him.
Let us come to Jesus and accept our Lord Jesus into our lives, and realize how Joseph accepted Jesus...an angel of the Lord said to accept Mary. Today, many will not accept Mary, therefore rejecting a great
part of the life of Jesus, because she was with Him until He began His ministry...and every day after that she was with Him. You may be wondering why I keep saying "until", and for good reason, because Jospeh was said to have not had relations with Mary "until" she bore a son. This does not mean things changed after that. Until means onward to in a preposition. In a sex crazed world, we want to hear and bring down people to our level, and knock down Joseph and Mary's holiness. This is not what the Church teaches. I am going to give praise to God until the day I die...and then? Does that mean things will change? No. It simply means "up to". I say this so that you might accept Mary, because here we have an angel asking Joseph to accept her. Perhaps this holy man God chose to be His stepfather on earth, perhaps he was
dumbfounded and didn't know what to do but to shy away from the awesomeness of what Mary said to him "Joseph, an angel of God said I was to become pregnant with His Son, and I have to name Him Jesus, because He comes to save His people". Joseph's thoughts could've read "Oh Lord, who am I then, I was promised this young woman of 15 years of age to marry me, but you want her for yourself. I shall not disgrace her. I am not worthy to be called..." and then he fell asleep and the angel of the Lord appeared and spoke in the dream to his soul. Accept the mother of Jesus, for he is Emmanuel. Here's my 2 cents. All this sounds wonderful or not. But it is coming perhaps from the Holy Spirit, no? I grew up praying the rosary, not frequent, but more and more as I grew up. I've noticed something. I was on my knees real sick one time, and I really
REALLY prayed for the mother, our Mother to help. I had a fever for days, and I prayed the rosary. I began to sweat and my heart began to pound, I was being revitalized. I knew then that it was our Mother that helped. The context here being, the acceptance. When I need a secret weapon, a special person to ask help from, I have a Mother in Heaven. She was a virgin then, and is still called the virgin today. Nevermind what the world says, this mother of GOD was the Holy Ark of the Covenant, she held within her womb something that we can not imagine...God himself. Therefore, the greater the holiness of the Ark, the greater the actual contents of the womb. And it is of the Holy Spirit we are speaking. What we have clearly here are many things, but the most important can be this: Joseph was called. Joseph answered.
Joseph, obeyed. Joseph was never to be heard from again. And this is our job of humility. To never be heard from again. To serve the Lord and no one to take notice. To love the Lord and that's all that mattered. Yesterday, an orphanage I keep in contact with in Mexico for a few years, the lady that runs the place said something unusual, "I'm going to send you some pictures of some of the children so you can adopt". How in the world should I accept this call/invitation/provoking idea? Me and my wife are expecting child number 7 in about a month, please pray for us, especially her. How in the world can this be? When work is super slow, the future is so unsure. I've already added two little rooms to my house and still is not enough for every child. There is no room...at the in, of the heart? You see, everything
is so superficial. If there is room in the heart, there is room for Jesus. So pray for me and my wife, but know, I pray for you as well. I pray many things. Let yourself become enveloped like the kids around the Christmas tree in the house right now. "I wonder what's in the gift for me?" Under our tree this year, the first thing before any presents were placed, i placed the nativity scene and explained every single figurine to the kids. "what's that king bringing to Jesus?" and "What's that donkey doing there?" and I keep asking the kids, "what's Christmas about?" And the right answer comes "it's the birthday of Jesus". That's right. The greatest gift of all, and thank you great humble St. Joseph for raising him for as long as you did, showing Him how to be a man of faith and humility, and self giving and obedient. Thank
you Holy Mary our Mother, because you gave your entire life for Him and to Him and He did it in return on the cross, whereupon right before dying said to the beloved disciple..."behold your mother"
Will you accept this great gift?
Because what she will demand of you in your life is tremendous LOVE for Jesus, so much that you will leave everything in your life and give your life to HIM
my eyes are watering with love for God
I hope yours do too
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