|Divine Flesh and Blood
Oh Jesus, present in the Blessed Sacrament, I believe in you; help my faith to grow stronger. Help me to appreciate the importance of this revelation, that your flesh is really my food and that your blood is really my drink. In these last few days before Christmas, help me to appreciate more than ever the fact of your presence near us.
St. Peter Canisius
The energetic life of Peter Canisius should demolish any stereotypes we may have of the life of a saint as dull or routine. Peter lived his 76 years at a pace which must be considered heroic, even in our time of rapid change. A man blessed with many talents, Peter is an excellent example of the scriptural man who develops his talents for the sake of the Lord's work.
He was one of the most important figures in the Catholic Reformation in Germany. His was such a key role that he has often been called the "second apostle of Germany" in that his life parallels the earlier work of Boniface (June 5).
Although Peter once accused himself of idleness in his youth, he could not have been idle too long, for at the age of 19 he received a master's degree from the university at Cologne. Soon afterwards he met Peter Faber, the first disciple of Ignatius Loyola (July 31), who influenced Peter so much that he joined the recently formed Society of Jesus.
At this early age Peter had already taken up a practice he continued throughout his life—a process of study, reflection, prayer and writing. After his ordination in 1546, he became widely known for his editions of the writings of St. Cyril of Alexandria and St. Leo the Great. Besides this reflective literary bent, Peter had a zeal for the apostolate. He could often be found visiting the sick or prisoners, even when his assigned duties in other areas were more than enough to keep most people fully occupied.
In 1547 Peter attended several sessions of the Council of Trent, whose decrees he was later assigned to implement. After a brief teaching assignment at the Jesuit college at Messina, Peter was entrusted with the mission to Germany—from that point on his life's work. He taught in several universities and was instrumental in establishing many colleges and seminaries. He wrote a catechism that explained the Catholic faith in a way which common people could understand—a great need of that age.
Renowned as a popular preacher, Peter packed churches with those eager to hear his eloquent proclamation of the gospel. He had great diplomatic ability, often serving as a reconciler between disputing factions. In his letters (filling eight volumes) one finds words of wisdom and counsel to people in all walks of life. At times he wrote unprecedented letters of criticism to leaders of the Church—yet always in the context of a loving, sympathetic concern.
At 70 Peter suffered a paralytic seizure, but he continued to preach and write with the aid of a secretary until his death in his hometown (Nijmegen, Netherlands) on December 21, 1597.
When asked if he felt overworked, Peter replied, "If you have too much to do, with God's help you will find time to do it all."
Daily Prayer - 2015-12-21
The more we call on God
the more we can feel God's presence.
Day by day we are drawn closer
to the loving heart of God.
God is not foreign to my freedom.
Instead the Spirit breathes life into my most intimate desires,
gently nudging me towards all that is good.
I ask for the grace to let myself be enfolded by the Spirit.
Knowing that God loves me unconditionally,
I can afford to be honest about how I am.
How has the last day been, and how do I feel now?
I share my feelings openly with the Lord.
The Word of God
Hark! my lover--here he comes
springing across the mountains,
leaping across the hills.
My lover is like a gazelle
or a young stag.
Here he stands behind our wall,
gazing through the windows,
peering through the lattices.
My lover speaks; he says to me,
"Arise, my beloved, my dove, my beautiful one,
"For see, the winter is past,
the rains are over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth,
the time of pruning the vines has come,
and the song of the dove is heard in our land.
The fig tree puts forth its figs,
and the vines, in bloom, give forth fragrance.
Arise, my beloved, my beautiful one,
"O my dove in the clefts of the rock,
in the secret recesses of the cliff,
Let me see you,
let me hear your voice,
For your voice is sweet,
and you are lovely."
Shout for joy, O daughter Zion!
Sing joyfully, O Israel!
Be glad and exult with all your heart,
O daughter Jerusalem!
The LORD has removed the judgment against you,
he has turned away your enemies;
The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst,
you have no further misfortune to fear.
On that day, it shall be said to Jerusalem:
Fear not, O Zion, be not discouraged!
The LORD, your God, is in your midst,
a mighty savior;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
and renew you in his love,
He will sing joyfully because of you,
as one sings at festivals.
R. (1a; 3a) Exult, you just, in the Lord! Sing to him a new song.
Give thanks to the LORD on the harp;
with the ten-stringed lyre chant his praises.
Sing to him a new song;
pluck the strings skillfully, with shouts of gladness.
R. Exult, you just, in the Lord! Sing to him a new song.
But the plan of the LORD stands forever;
the design of his heart, through all generations.
Blessed the nation whose God is the LORD,
the people he has chosen for his own inheritance.
R. Exult, you just, in the Lord! Sing to him a new song.
Our soul waits for the LORD,
who is our help and our shield,
For in him our hearts rejoice;
in his holy name we trust.
R. Exult, you just, in the Lord! Sing to him a new song.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
O Emmanuel, our King and Giver of Law:
come to save us, Lord our God!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Mary set out in those days
- - -
and traveled to the hill country in haste
to a town of Judah,
where she entered the house of Zechariah
and greeted Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting,
the infant leaped in her womb,
and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit,
cried out in a loud voice and said,
"Most blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
And how does this happen to me,
that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears,
the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
Blessed are you who believed
that what was spoken to you by the Lord
would be fulfilled."
Some thoughts on today's scripture
- Luke records one of the many journeys Mary will make. It was a journey of service and support. Two mothers are brought together. One can only imagine the amount of chat that was exchanged over those months as Elizabeth awaited the birth of John. What a precious gift it must have been to have such a supportive female presence.
- Lord, let me go out to others with a generous, open heart and with a readiness to listen to the story of their lives -- their hopes and fears and joys. May I be aware that I am a conduit of your Holy Spirit.
Jesus, you always welcomed little children when you walked on this earth.
Teach me to have a childlike trust in you.
To live in the knowledge that you will never abandon me.
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.
Meditation: Psalm 33:2-3, 11-12, 20-21
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4th Week of Advent
The plan of the Lord stands forever. (Psalm 33:11)
Are you the type of person who sets goals? Maybe you keep a list of them in your memory, or maybe you have gone so far as to write out a one-, two-, five-, and ten-year plan for yourself or your family. Or maybe you don't have any specific plans, but you definitely have some dreams.
Well, did you know that God has his own plans and dreams? He wants every single one of his children—including you!—to be with him in heaven. That's his dream, and it's what inspired his plan of salvation in Christ.
In order to make this dream come true, God sent his beloved Son to be born as a man—to suffer, die, and rise again. And on the night of his Son's birth, he really pulled out all the stops to let people know about this special occasion! Think of the lengths he went to: he sent a choir of angels to shepherds in a field and a star to guide foreign dignitaries.
For those of us who believe, joy is a completely appropriate response to all this good news—especially these last few days before Christmas. It's no wonder some of our most beloved hymns are Christmas carols: we simply have to sing along with the angels!
But not everyone has this joy, even though it's God's dream that we all do. That's where we come in. Heralding the good news of Jesus' birth and the salvation he has won for us isn't just for angels. It's for us. If God's plan is ever going to be fulfilled, it's going to happen through us.
So be open today. Join the prophet Isaiah in telling the Lord, "Here I am . . . send me" (Isaiah 6:8). This is a time of special grace, so don't be surprised if new opportunities to share your faith present themselves. People are hungry for the Lord. They're longing for the assurance that comes from knowing Jesus and his salvation. God has a marvelous plan for each of these people—just as he has for you. Can you help them embrace it?
"Father, thank you for your great love for me and for the world! Give me courage, creativity, and compassion to share about your Son with others."
Song of Songs 2:8-14
You who believed
"The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst, you have no further misfortune to fear." Reading the 1st Holy Scripture, and thinking about the Gospel for today, where Elizabeth says to her young cousin, Mary, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb". She exclaims these words after "the infant leaped in her womb". All pro-abortion candidates and believers take note, babies are alive in the womb and the spirit is within alive from the moment of conception. Babies can feel joy, and more imortantly, they can sense the prescense of God. This leaping led me to recall the moment King David was jumping around and dancing
practically "naked" as Micah put it. What we have to notice is that King David dances in the prescense of the Lord in the Ark of the Covenant. And today the exact same is happening. A new dance and a new song is being sung in the presence of the Lord, and this time the unborn baby St. John who is leaping for the Ark who is Mary carrying the new Covenant Jesus in her womb, the very presence of God. This is why Elizabeth says "how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?" I am not worthy is the sense, but God says we are, and is calling us to a new conversion in Advent, an entire redirecting of life to Him. Every night since the 16th of December, I have been singing with my guitar in the Posadas. One of the nights we read these scriptures, where the infant leaps, and I brought it up as a teaching point on how we are
supposed to protect and love the unborn children. This has been in my intentions voiced aloud for the last several years in Holy Mass. And for good reason, the world needs more children to love God...beginning with you.
The Psalms pray today "Sing to him a new song" turn your life anew, with this warmth of birth to cherish forever.
"Blessed the nation whose God is the LORD" and blessed indeed are the greatest nations on earth, now, to remain fervent, to grow in love, a new song is needed, and that song is stirring in your heart. I declare, let it ring, begin to sing...and begin to give fruit.
"For in him our hearts rejoice; in his holy name we trust." They say that 2 out of 5 feel joy in their lives and say they could use more joy. To you I say, let this joy of love for the Lord overpower anything negative occurring in your life right now. Do
not say "I can't" because God is with you. Do not say "I won't" because He will allow only as much as you will. The Joy of the Lord is a life of a living grace, where nothing else matters so much as to let the world know you truly care and are taking every step towards Him. Then, this is a holy time for a holy family, and because we need to see it in living reality, it is being brought up before your eyes, a gift from God.
In comes Jesus in the Holy Gospel, and how? As an unborn child of Mary, the firstborn, of the priestly and bloodline lineage of the descendants of Abraham, to King David, to today. Jesus has no children but the ones born through baptism into Him. "But wait mr. adrian, what about those that are not baptized?" That is up to the Lord. For now, we know that the baptized are His children, and you are reading this for
the right reason, to be a light, to spread the good news and what is that? The Truth. And what is truth? asks Pontious PIlate. The Truth is Jesus. Right before your eyes to accept or miss according to your spirit of willingness to accept. Therefore we can acclaim with St. Elizabeth today "Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord
would be fulfilled." Blessed are the believers in hope. Blessed are the poor. Blessed are they who receive the word and let the seed grow. Because as you know, we grow to Heaven, you don't just go to Heaven. One of the most impacting images in my life are that of a mother and child, especially the representation of Mary and our Lord. And what a threat to the world. So twisted in darkness to desire to kill an unborn child, to the tune of 1 million babies
per year. What King Herod did to try to kill our Lord as a toddler was nothing, killing a few thousand toddlers...or is it? What makes for such a twisted and dark and perverse thought in the world? It is twisted sexual intercourses, desired to appease the god of self instead of giving children to God. This identifies with the human sacrifices of ripping out hearts on top of pyramids, the equivalent, because even today, baby hearts are thrown in dumpsters. Why do I say atrocious things on what should be the most joyous moments in Advent? Because, we are speaking of an unborn Jesus. We are speaking of the unborn St. John the Baptist. We are speaking of a light unto the darkness. We are speaking about generations that understand, or are beginning to understand the severity of our neglect. We can begin to not just reflect on a new
song, but start warming up our throats to let the truth be exclaimed from the Heart. Do not be embarassed any more. Leap for the Lord from hilltop to hilltop and the Lord is watching you and chasing you. We sang a song in Mass yesterday "Only a Shadow" by Carey Landry. And it sings ""The love we have for you, O Lord, is only a shadow of your love for us" , we can only begin to get a glimpse of how much He cares when we begin to care. There are forces clutching for your soul as we meander through life. And the most constant is the one we can more easily give into, not harder...the love of God.
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