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Da-ddy! The DOLL!

October 11, 2017

JMJ

(my re-telling, since I can’t find the original…)

Two little girls, out shopping with their father, stopped in their tracks.

There, in a shop window, was

THE DOLL!

Her hair was all curls, her cheeks rosy, her smile radiant,
her gown, afloat with ruffles and lace.
Her eyes opened and closed.
She could drink from a bottle.

She was every little girl’s dream.

Suddenly, nothing else mattered.

THE DOLL was EVERYTHING!

Their little noses pressed against the glass of the shop window,
the sisters squealed with delight,
“Daddy! Daddy! THE DOLL!”

Smiling at their excitement, Daddy promised that it would be theirs–
not right away, but when the time was right.

Bursting with joy,
the girls threw their arms around each other
and  bounced up and down.
“THE DOLL!  THE DOLL!”

Days went by.

No doll.

Weeks went by.

No doll.

One day, Daddy came home to find one daughter
huddled in the corner of the couch, dissolved in tears.
Enfolding her in his strong arms, he asked gently,
“What’s the matter, Sweetheart?”

Pulling away, she curled into a ball of misery,
wailing,
“Da-ddy” (*sniff* *gulp* *sobsob*)
“THE DO- (*gulp* *sob*) -OLL!”

Just then, the door burst open as her sister flew into the room,
launched herself into her father’s arms
and began smothering him with kisses.

“Well, well, what’s all this about?!”

Her eyes dancing, she exclaimed,
“Da-ddy! THE DO-OLL!”

Confident in her father’s faithfulness,
she was celebrating his promise
as if its fulfillment was already hers.

My Heavenly Father has made me much more amazing promises than this.

Every day, I have the choice to imitate one of these two girls.
The joy rings through my memory:
“Da-ddy! THE DOLL!”

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Pope Francis’ Prayer Intentions for October, 2017

October 1, 2017

JMJ

Blessed October!

Here are our Holy Father’s prayer intentions (as found here)
for this month dedicated to the Holy Rosary (and, less formally, the Holy Angels):

OCTOBER
Workers and the Unemployed.

That all workers may receive respect
and protection of their rights,
and that the unemployed may receive the opportunity
to contribute to the common good.

May God bless your prayer!

Pope Francis’ Prayer Intentions for September, 2017

September 1, 2017

JMJ

Blessed September!

Here are our Holy Father’s prayer intentions (as found here)
for this month dedicated to the Seven Sorrows of Mary:

SEPTEMBER
Parishes.

That our parishes, animated by a missionary spirit,
may be places where faith is communicated
and charity is seen.

May God bless your prayer!

In Pursuit of Joy

April 9, 2017

JMJ

A friend was recently prompted to pursue joy,
to be intentional about becoming more joyful.

These came to mind as being particularly helpful…

An aspiration to pray often
(memory aid: pray it when you pass by something you see often,
such as a picture of Jesus):

My God, I rejoice that You are infinitely happy.
~St. Alphonsus de Liguori

(I add, “and that You have loved me into being
that I may share in Your infinite happiness”)

Quotes for reflection:

Do not be saddened this day,
for rejoicing in the Lord must be your strength.
-Nehemiah 8:10

This next one is my mainstay–there’s so much in it!
Joy is a choice, and it can be learned.
It requires an act of the will,
discipline of the mind to turn it away from evil and to good,
confidence in God
& dependence on Him (prayer with thanksgiving).

Rejoice in the Lord always;
again I will say Rejoice.
Let all men know your forbearance [gentleness, patience].
The Lord is at hand.
Have no anxiety about anything,
but in everything by prayer and supplication
with thanksgiving [the Greek is “eucharistia”]
let your requests be made known to God.
And the peace of God, which passes all understanding,
will keep [as a guard keeping watch]
your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, my brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable,
whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely,
whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence,
if there is anything worthy of praise,
think about these things.
What you have learned and received
and heard and seen in me,
do;
and the God of peace be with you.

I rejoice in the Lord greatly
that now at length you have revived your concern for me;
you were indeed concerned for me,
but you had no opportunity.
Not that I complain of want;
for I have learned, in whatever state I am,
to be content
.
I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound;
in any and all circumstances I have learned the secret
of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and want.
I can do all things through Him Who strengthens me.
~Philippians 4:4-13

Romans 8:14-39, encouragement about the glory & security
God’s working out for us, starting now. In God, we’re invincible.

True joy, genuine festival,
means the casting out of wickedness.
To achieve this one must live a life of perfect goodness
and, in the serenity of the fear of God,
practise contemplation in one’s heart.
~Athanasius of Alexandria (c.293-373)

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal
which comes upon you to prove you,
as though something strange was happening to you.
But rejoice in so far as you share
in Christ’s sufferings,

that you may also rejoice and be glad
when His glory is revealed.
If you are reproached for the Name of Christ, you are blessed,
because the spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.
~I Peter 4:12-14

In His farewell speech at the Last Supper,
Jesus said twice, “Let not your hearts be troubled” (Jn 14:1, 27).
That’s a command.
He gave us His peace (Jn 14:27) to enable us to obey it.

Thus says the Lord to you,
Fear not, and be not dismayed at this great multitude;
for the battle is not yours but God’s.
~2 Chronicles 20:15

But this is God’s cause
God’s honour, His infinite greatness, and divine dignity
are involved.
It is not becoming that His magnificent plan
should be defeated through the machinations of an adversary
whom He had cast out of Heaven for his crimes.
God created man for His own glory,
and predestined his nature to everlasting union with Himself;
and inasmuch as the malice of Satan
was more aimed at his Creator than at man
,
it became the Infinite Majesty,
and was most worthy the divine goodness,
that He should rescue man from his misery,
and defeat the malignity of Satan.

|
St. Athanasius boldly declares that
it would be unworthy of God’s goodness
to suffer His own work in man to be destroyed
through the devil’s fraud
.
It would be unbecoming that God’s workmanship in man
should become extinct,
whether through his own negligence
or through the devil’s imposition.”
(S. Athanas., De Incarnatione Verbi.)
The devil could not be allowed so to gain his end
as to deprive God of the glory of perfecting His own work.
The great St. Leo has argued the point in these terms:
“Forasmuch as the devil glorified
that man had lost the divine gifts
through his fraud and deception,
and had so been stripped of his immortality,
and placed under the stern sentence of death;
and forasmuch as the same Satan had obtained
a solace to his wickedness
bringing over a companion to his prevarication;
it pleased God to change the first sentence passed on man,
a sentence both just and deservedly severe,
and passed on one whom He had established in honour.
But this demanded the dispensation of God’s secret counsel,
that He who is unchangeable,
and whose will cannot lose its benignity,
may complete His fatherly design in a mystery more hidden;
and that, however driven to crime
by the devil’s craft and wickedness,
man may not perish in opposition
to the whole intention of God.”
(S. Leo, Servi. 2 in Nativitate Domini)
~Archbishop Ullathorne, The Endowments of Man

God bless your meditations on joy 🙂

Wednesday, Fourth Week of Lent

March 29, 2017

JMJ

Blessed Wednesday!

Two lines of thought came for today’s readings
& I’m only using one on Draw Near,
so I thought I’d post the other one here…

Readings:
Isaiah 49:8-15 (God will provide for His people)
Psalm 145:8-18 “The Lord is kind and merciful”
+John 5:17-30 (Jesus only does His Father’s will)

The work
of God the Father,
through the Son,
is One,
a work
to create life,
and give it back again
when once
it has been lost…

but life
must be received
and utilized.

This is
where judgment lies.

Refusing,
or neglecting,
to receive
condemns
to death.

What judgment am I choosing (or neglecting to choose)?
Do I expect life on my own terms?

Son, You Are Loved!

January 25, 2017

My Beloved Son
(I John 3:1),

Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you (Jeremiah 1:5).
I know when you sit and when you stand.
I am familiar with all your ways.
I understand your thoughts–before ever a word is on your tongue,
I know the whole of it (Psalm 139:2-4).

You are a stranger and alien no longer.
No, you are a fellow citizen of the saints
and a member of My household (Ephesians 2:19).

You are precious in My eyes, and I love you (Isaiah 43:4).
I have called you by name:
you are Mine (Isaiah 43:1).
I delight in you! (Isaiah 63:4).
You are truly My handiwork,
created in Christ Jesus to lead the life of good deeds
that I prepared for you in advance. (Ephesians 2:10).

When you call to Me, when you pray to Me,
I will listen to you.
When you look for Me, you will find Me.
Yes, when you seek Me with all your heart,
you will find Me with you (Jeremiah 29:12-13).

Commit your way to Me.
Trust in Me and I will act.
I will make justice dawn for you like the light;
bright as the noonday shall be your vindication (Psalm 37:5-6).
To you I give the wild-ox’s strength.
You will flourish like a palm tree planted in My house,
still full of sap, still green (Psalm 92:11, 13).

Look to Me that you may be radiant with joy,
and your face not blush with shame.
Taste and see how good I Am (Psalm 34:6, 9).
Rejoice in the shadow of My wings (Psalm 63:7).
Rejoice in Me always! (Philippians 4:4)
Rejoicing in Me must be your strength (Nehemiah 8:10),
and when I Am your strength, you have strength for everything
(Philippians 4:13).

I know well the plans I have in mind for you,
plans for your welfare, not for woe!
plans to give you a future full of hope (Jeremiah 29:11).
When you pass through the water, I will be with you;
in the rivers you shall not drown.
When you walk through fire, you shall not be burned;
the flames shall not consume you (Isaiah 43:2-3).
No matter where you go, I Am there.
My hand will always guide you;
My right hand hold you fast (Psalm 139:7-10).
My angel encamps around about you to deliver you (Psalm 34:8).

And if I Am for you, who can be against you?
Be certain that neither death nor life,
neither angels nor principalities,
neither the present nor the future, nor powers,
neither height nor depth nor any other creature
can separate you from My love,
which comes to you through Christ Jesus (Romans 8:31, 38-39),
My beloved Son (Matthew3:17).

Dismiss all anxiety from your mind
and present your needs to Me in every form of prayer
and in petitions full of gratitude.
Set your mind on all that is true, all that deserves respect,
all that is honest, pure, admirable, decent, virtuous and worthy of praise.
Live by what I’ve taught you.
Then My own peace, which is beyond all understanding,
will stand guard over your heart and mind in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-8).

Though you may for a time have to suffer the distress of many trials,
this is so that your faith,
which is more precious than the passing splendor of fire-tried gold,
may by its genuineness lead to praise, glory and honor
when Jesus Christ appears (I Peter 1:6-7).
Hold fast to what you have,
lest someone rob you of your crown (Revelation 3:11).
Draw your strength from Me and My mighty power.
Put on My armor so that you may be able to stand firm
against the tactics of the devil.
Your battle is not against flesh and blood
but against the principalities and powers, the rulers of this world of darkness,
the evil spirits in regions above.

You must put on My whole armor if you are to resist in the evil day;
do all that your duty requires, and hold your ground.
Stand fast, with the truth as a belt around your waist,
justice as your breastplate,
and zeal to spread the Gospel of peace as your footgear.
In all circumstances hold faith up before you as your shield;
it will help you extinguish the fiery darts of the evil one.
Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit, My Word.
At every opportunity, pray in the Spirit,
using prayers and petitions of every sort (Ephesians 6:10-18).
Do not be overcome by evil,
but overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21).

The sufferings of the present are as nothing
compared with the glory to be revealed in you (Romans 8:18).
I will make the victor a pillar in the temple of my God
and he shall never leave it (Revelation 3:11).

My son, give me your heart,
and let your eyes observe My ways
(Proverbs 23:26).

Your loving Father,
God

When I was in college, someone left a letter similar to this in my mailbox
I never did discover the identity of my earthly benefactor,
but I decided to use the idea for our RCIA candidates on retreat,
putting together one for the men & another for the women
(respecting the differences between the masculine & feminine genius),
and personalizing each with the recipients’ name.

They can be found in printable form here

Daughter, You Are Loved!

January 25, 2017

My Beloved Daughter
(I John 3:1),

You are precious in My eyes, and I love you (Isaiah 43:4).
I have called you by name: you are Mine (Isaiah 43:1).
I delight in you! (Isaiah 63:4)

Before I formed you in the womb,
I knew you (Jeremiah 1:5).
I know when you sit and when you stand.
I am familiar with all your ways.
I understand your thoughts–
before ever a word is on your tongue,
I know the whole of it (Psalm 139:2-4).

I rest My hand upon you (Psalm 139:5).
When you call to Me, when you pray to Me, I will listen to you.
When you look for Me, you will find Me.
Yes, when you seek Me with all your heart,
you will find Me with you (Jeremiah 29:12-13).

Look to Me that you may be radiant with joy,
and your face not blush with shame.
Taste and see how good I Am (Psalm 34:6, 9).
Rejoice in the shadow of My wings (Psalm 63:7).
Rejoice in Me always! (Philippians 4:4)
Rejoicing in Me must be your strength (Nehemiah 8:10),
and when I Am your strength,
you have strength for everything (Philippians 4:13).

It is good for you to give thanks to Me, to sing praise to My Name;
to proclaim My kindness at dawn,
and My truth in the watches of the night.
I give you delight in what I do.
My works are great; deep are My thoughts (Psalm 92:2, 3, 5).

Commit your way to Me.
Trust in Me and I will act.
I will make justice dawn for you like the light;
bright as the noonday shall be your vindication (Psalm 37:5-6).
To you I give the wild-ox’s strength.
You will flourish like a palm tree planted in My house,
still full of sap, still green (Psalm 92:11, 13).

You are a stranger and alien no longer.
No, you are a fellow citizen of the saints
and a member of My household.
(Ephesians 2:19)

I know well the plans I have in mind for you,
for your welfare, not for woe!
plans to give you a future full of hope (Jeremiah 29:11).
When you pass through the water, I will be with you;
in the rivers you shall not drown.
When you walk through fire, you shall not be burned;
the flames shall not consume you (Isaiah 43:2-3).
No matter where you go, I Am there.
My hand will always guide you;
My right hand hold you fast (Psalm 139:7-10).
My angel encamps around about you to deliver you (Psalm 34:8).

And if I Am for you, who can be against you?
Be certain that neither death nor life,
neither angels nor principalities,
neither the present nor the future, nor powers,
neither height nor depth nor any other creature
can separate you from My love,
which comes to you through Christ Jesus (Romans 8:31, 38-39),
My beloved Son (Matthew3:17).

Dismiss all anxiety from your mind
and present your needs to Me in every form of prayer
and in petitions full of gratitude.
Set your mind on all that is true, all that deserves respect,
all that is honest, pure, admirable, decent, virtuous
and worthy of praise.
Live by what I’ve taught you.
Then My own peace, which is beyond all understanding,
will stand guard over your heart and mind
in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-8).

Though you may for a time have to suffer the distress of many trials,
this is so that your faith,
which is more precious than the passing splendor of fire-tried gold,
may by its genuineness
lead to praise, glory and honor
when Jesus Christ appears (I Peter 1:6-7).
Do not be overcome by evil,
but overcome evil with good
(Romans 12:21). Hold fast to what you have,
lest someone rob you of your crown (Revelation 3:11).
The sufferings of the present are as nothing
compared with the glory to be revealed in you (Romans 8:18).
I will make the victor a pillar in the temple of my God
and he shall never leave it (Revelation 3:11).

So arise, My beloved, My beautiful one, and come!
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
(Song of Songs 2:10, 14).

Your loving Father,
God

When I was in college, someone left a letter similar to this in my mailbox
I never did discover the identity of my earthly benefactor,
but I decided to use the idea for our RCIA candidates on retreat,
putting together one for the men & another for the women
(respecting the differences between the masculine & feminine genius),
and personalizing each with the recipients’ name.

They can be found in printable form here


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