|Power of Three
|As we prepare for Christmas we are asked to reflect on the three comings of Christ: his birth in Bethlehem, his coming at the end of time, and his coming in the present time through the gift of Holy Communion, the Body and Blood of Christ. In each of these comings we prepare to receive our royal guest with a blameless heart.
Servant of God Bernard of Quintavalle
Bernard was a wealthy man of Assisi, known and esteemed for his virtue and his wisdom. He was also the first follower of St. Francis, and would ultimately prove to be first in the order of sanctity.
Moved by the poverty and humility of Francis, Bernard invited him to stay at his house one night. There Bernard observed that Francis forsook a full night's sleep and instead spent the hours in prayer. By the following morning Bernard was convinced that Francis was indeed motivated by sincere love of God and, so, Bernard asked to become a disciple. Francis joyfully took him to the church where they attended Mass and then asked the priest to open the Bible three times.
Three passages appeared: "If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor" (Matthew 19:21). "Take nothing for the way" (Mark 6:8). "If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me" (Matthew 16:24).
Francis said: "This will be the rule of life which we and all those who will join us shall follow." At that, Bernard sold all his possessions and divided the money among the poor.
Francis admired much in Bernard because he was older and because he was so holy. He sent his new follower and a companion to Florence and then to Bologna. In both places they were made sport of because of their poor clothing and the manner of their life. But Bernard was only upset when the townspeople of Bologna began to recognize his holiness. He asked Francis to bring him back.
Later Francis took Bernard with him as he headed out for Africa to preach to the Muslims. But along the way they met a poor sick man and Francis left the ever-joyful Bernard to care for the man until he himself would return.
Before his death Francis gave Bernard a special blessing and asked all of the brothers to have respect for this holy man.
Bernard is buried in Assisi near his holy founder in the Basilica of St. Francis.
Opening the Bible at random doesn't often give us practical advice on how to live. The pages might fall open to God commanding Abraham to sacrifice his only son or to St. Paul urging the Galatians not to submit to circumcision. Maybe it would help to have someone like Francis standing beside us. Better yet, we might focus on the Bible's general thrust, which Jesus summed up as love for God and neighbor. That alone would send us on the path to sanctity Bernard traveled and fill us with the joy that always filled this follower of Francis.
Daily Prayer - 2015-12-10
"Be still and know that I am God."
Lord, Your words lead us to the
calmness and greatness of Your Presence.
Thank you for the gift of freedom, Lord.
Grant that I may always choose to follow You.
Keep me ever mindful of your ways.
Of your love and concern for all people.
Where do I sense hope, encouragement, and growth areas in my life? By looking back over the last few months, I may be able to see which activities and occasions have produced rich fruit. If I do notice such areas, I will determine to give those areas both time and space in the future.
The Word of God
I am the LORD, your God,
who grasp your right hand;
It is I who say to you, "Fear not,
I will help you."
Fear not, O worm Jacob,
O maggot Israel;
I will help you, says the LORD;
your redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.
I will make of you a threshing sledge,
sharp, new, and double-edged,
To thresh the mountains and crush them,
to make the hills like chaff.
When you winnow them, the wind shall carry them off
and the storm shall scatter them.
But you shall rejoice in the LORD,
and glory in the Holy One of Israel.
The afflicted and the needy seek water in vain,
their tongues are parched with thirst.
I, the LORD, will answer them;
I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.
I will open up rivers on the bare heights,
and fountains in the broad valleys;
I will turn the desert into a marshland,
and the dry ground into springs of water.
I will plant in the desert the cedar,
acacia, myrtle, and olive;
I will set in the wasteland the cypress,
together with the plane tree and the pine,
That all may see and know,
observe and understand,
That the hand of the LORD has done this,
the Holy One of Israel has created it.
R. (8) The Lord is gracious and merciful; slow to anger, and of great kindness.
I will extol you, O my God and King,
and I will bless your name forever and ever.
The LORD is good to all
and compassionate toward all his works.
R. The Lord is gracious and merciful; slow to anger, and of great kindness.
Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your Kingdom
and speak of your might.
R. The Lord is gracious and merciful; slow to anger, and of great kindness.
Let them make known to men your might
and the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.
Your Kingdom is a Kingdom for all ages,
and your dominion endures through all generations.
R. The Lord is gracious and merciful; slow to anger, and of great
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Let the clouds rain down the Just One,
and the earth bring forth a Savior.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus said to the crowds:
- - -
"Amen, I say to you,
among those born of women
there has been none greater than John the Baptist;
yet the least in the Kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
From the days of John the Baptist until now,
the Kingdom of heaven suffers violence,
and the violent are taking it by force.
All the prophets and the law prophesied up to the time of John.
And if you are willing to accept it,
he is Elijah, the one who is to come.
Whoever has ears ought to hear."
Some thoughts on today's scripture
- This text seems confusing. Jesus on the one hand compliments John. There was no one greater than he. But almost in the same breath, he seems to reduce him to size. The least of the disciples is greater than John! In the words of an Irish poet: Jesus "had the knack of making people feel how small they really were; which meant as great as God had made them"!
- Lord, like you, my life is intertwined with people from all walks of life. As I move through today, let me hear your voice through the prophets of our time and welcome them into my life.
Dear Jesus, I can open up my heart to you.
I can tell you everything that troubles me.
I know you care about all the concerns in my life.
Teach me to live in the knowledge
that you who care for me today,
will care for me tomorrow and all the days of my life.
I thank God for these few moments we have spent alone together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.
2nd Week of Advent
... that all may see and know, observe and understand, that the hand of the Lord has done this. (Isaiah 41:20)
Imagine going to a museum filled with paintings and sculptures from well-known artists. Would you hear those around you marveling at the companies that provided the paint to the artists? Would they be examining the pedestal holding that statue with great interest? Not likely. Usually, we pay much more attention to the artist who produced the work than the tools they used. In a similar way, as we contemplate the canvas of the day before us, let's make sure we focus on God's handiwork right before our eyes.
Throughout their history, the people of Israel had become a portrait of God's power, compassion, and dedication. God had promised that if they followed his laws, they would become a living testimony to the nations around them that he was mighty and had authority to do great things. Even these foreign people would come to recognize God and want to join the Israelites in worshipping and obeying him. Now, it didn't always happen that way, but this was God's plan, and he never stopped helping his people embrace it!
Just the same, God has worked in countless ways in our lives, and he wants us to respond by following him and becoming our own portrait of his goodness. It can be hard sometimes to recognize—or remember—his work, but it's there. Perhaps he has whispered words of affirmation in the middle of Mass. Maybe a fortunate coincidence really was a God-incidence. Even a stern word of rebuke from a friend can be God's voice turning us from a destructive path!
Sometimes we can be so caught up in the moment that we lose sight of this bigger picture. But Advent can be an especially good time to look back over our lives to see where "the hand of the Lord" has been at work (Isaiah 41:20). He is a master painter, and we ought to be in awe of the work he is doing in us. Even if we can't see it fully right now, we can still trust that he is transforming us into a masterpiece of his grace and mercy.
"Father, I give you permission to keep working in me. I want to be a testimony to your love!"
Psalm 145:1, 9-13
Who is to come
The 5minutos ends today with "Let us ask the Lord that He grant us the desire to be small. Nobody is afraid of the simple and humble, but on the contrary, they will be found comfortable with us".
Isaiah says in the first Holy Scripture with the Word of the Lord "FEAR NOT", and calls Jacob a worm and Israel a maggot. As if we were so great just because we came into existence? As if we were so great that everyone should bow down to us? Your recompense is a cross. Your payment is suffering. And from it, we are made strong. From it you can level out the world. If I am in the understandment of grace, this level plane is highly
spiritual and to be highly sought out for, because the plane is truth and it gives you true freedom. I told the brothers in co-worker scripture study last night "we wear the same name, and what you do puts us in shame". They think they are all big men, puffy chest, big mouths, and in truth are nothing but an insult to the truth. Bring yourself down to the truth and you will find Christ. I told them that appreciation is key, thanksgiving, all what it means in the Eucharist.
The Psalms pray with us "The Lord is gracious and merciful" and what about us? Are we gracious? Are we merciful? What is gracious? It is to show divine grace, are you in it? Are you seeking it? Because if we are true followers of the Lord, then we are to be gracious and merciful, so that people may see we truly follow the way. And what
is just as attractive? Mercy. Because it is easier to push people away than to attract, we must learn what it means to be small. The reason your ministry is not growing is because you haven't left any room for anyone else than yourself, and it's a lonely place to be...at the top. Level the plane and seek the truth, learn from MOther Teresa and St. Francis, because their encounter of the Lord wasn't on lofty mountains but in the lowest of the low, after giving everything they in return found something. This message is for you to give up trying...the wrong way. We prayed "Let them discourse of the glory of your Kingdom and speak of your might." And St. John the baptist did just that, became low for the Lord, leveling the plane, announcing the coming of the Lord, exhorting repentance and be made anew for the blood that was to come. And the
bloodshed ensued, his head would be cut off and handed on a silver platter to an unbelieving king who chose his word over the Word of God. I told another co-worker "I'm inviting you to come to Christ tonight, come to our scripture reunion, what else are you making more important?" and he drove off, didn't come to where the brothers where waiting making themselves lower than him to ask for forgiveness, yet he made himself a god above. This is what happens when you do not live a life of grace, a life of truly knowing the truth...Christ our Lord.
Mercy comes running into our lives today, Glory be to You Oh Lord. Jesus speaks about the Kingdom being taken by the violent and by force. They say that the last century has been the worst in human history for the persecutions of the faithful. We don't hear about every martyr in the news because the news is bought for
by the greedy led by the devil. You only get to hear a half truth. The onslaught ensues to this day and in the last generation, we have lived in the killing of an entire generation...gone, thanks to abortions across the world. The devil sings "we need less people", yeah, less people for it to worry about having to convince of the lies. The Pope keeps asking for a climate change and the change begins in the heart of man. That what the Pope is asking for, because only then.. only then can we begin to save the world. What is leading to the pollution in the world? It's those times you think you can get away with it. It's those times you don't think it matters. It's those times where you'll save some money by dumping here and there your trash, your filth. It's those times when you will waste when you should be saving. And I'm
talking about your sins. I'm talking about the waste of lives. I'm talking about you not caring as you ought, and why? Pride. Greed. The worker that drove off I had asked for peace and he said "I have no problem with the co-workers, if they don't talk to me, I won't talk to them". I said "giving is one way if you forgive" and when you give don't ask for anything back or expect anything in return. St. John the Baptist gave his life this way...for Jesus. We are preparing our lives in the same way. Make room for the coming of the Lord. Let the end of the world as you know it come to be. Let it be true when we pray the Word "It is no longer I that lives...but CHRIST!"
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