Posted tagged ‘faith’

Saturday, Third week of Advent

December 21, 2013

JMJ

Blessed St. Peter Canisius’ Day!
(and Ember Saturday)

You can find his story here.

O Rising Dawn,
Splendor of eternal light
And Sun of justice
Come to give light to those sitting in darkness
And in the shadow of death

“I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things concerning the churches.
I am the root and the offspring of David, the bright morning star.”
~Revelation 22:16

(see also Isaiah 9:1, John 8:12 & 12:46, Psalm 19:6-7)

Entrance Antiphon:
The Lord and Ruler will be coming soon,
and His Name will be called Emmanuel,
because He will be God-with-us.

Collect:
Hear in kindness, O Lord,
the prayers of Your people,
that those who rejoice
at the coming of Your Only Begotten Son in our flesh
may, when at last He comes in glory,
gain the reward of eternal life.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Readings:
Song of Songs: 2:8-14 (Hark! my Beloved comes, springing across the mountains)
or Zephaniah 3:14-18 (The King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst.)
Psalm 33:2-3, 11-12, 20-21 “Exult, you just, in the Lord! Sing to Him a new song”
+ Luke 1:39-45 (And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?)

Our faith is not a dull, dry thing.

There’s no more vibrant life
than that which springs
to action
imitating God,
Who leaps the hills
in eager joy
to win
His cherished Bride!

This is the life of faith,
the confidence
of being loved
that draws us out
to shout His praise,
to live for Him,
as Mary did,
so others
may be blessed.

Would people watching me think faith is a dull, dry thing
or can they see the joy of the Lord in me?
How can I become more aware of how deeply I’m loved?

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From Thy Bounty…

October 19, 2011

When my prince & I dine together, we begin with a spontaneous prayer (which usually ends up being mostly the same each time anyway ;)), but lately I’ve begun using the standard Catholic meal prayer when I eat alone (breakfast & lunch).

Bless us O Lord,
and these Thy gifts
which we are about to receive
from Thy bounty
through Christ, our Lord.
Amen

One line has been standing out to me: “from Thy bounty.”

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had the underlying instinct that “there’s not enough for me” (I’m sure the “reduce your carbon footprint” campaign didn’t help). Mom still recalls how mortified she was when the school informed her that I was writing with a little piece of pencil lead, insinuating that she was depriving me of necessary school supplies. It wasn’t that I needed a new pencil–stray pencils were easy enough to find (hallways, playground, school bus, etc.). But this stub of lead was still usable. I couldn’t bear to part with it. Waste not, want not, you know…

That has other ramifications, of course, (being a packrat is just one) which have followed me into adulthood.

Preparing (and listening to) RCIA presentations has introduced me to the truth at God created the world for man–for me–to provide the things I need. He created enough for me.

Logically I can grasp that. Changing my underlying instinct is quite another matter. I’ve been bringing this to prayer for quite a while.

Well, this week the farm where I usually get eggs (via a friend who’s their neighbor) was low…and so were we. Comparing the upcoming cooking projects with the number of eggs we had left & was not exactly reassuring (and with our dietary restrictions, adapting the menu isn’t trivial!). Should I make the deviled eggs I normally take for snacks at adult ed (which we host)? I was inclined to conserve (hoard).

…from Thy bounty

I stopped.

“Well, Lord, You own the chickens on a thousand hills!
(apologies to Psalm 50:10!)
I’m going to take a chance and be generous.”

I put an egg on to boil (I know, that doesn’t sound very generous,
but when I made more I always had leftovers).

Within hours my friend called. Her neighbor has three dozen eggs today. Would I like her to bring some when she brought her daughters for crochet advice?

Would I?!

…from Thy bounty…


Thank You, God, for eggs
from Thy bounty!

Grumbling Versus Lamenting

September 16, 2011

I’ve gotten to Ezekiel in my Genesis-to-Revelation trek through the Haydock Bible, and these last several books have been full of descriptions of just how awful things had become (and how much worse they were going to be once the full consequences of the nations’ sin came to bear).

Maybe it’s just me, but I’d gotten the idea that when things were bad there were basically two verbal responses: grumble or shut up. Reading the story of the Exodus didn’t make the first option look so good–every time they grumbled they got clobbered!

…but David didn’t shut up. The Psalms are full of expressions of pain, fear and sorrow. Neither did Jeremiah–just read Lamentations! And God called David a man after His own heart (Acts 13:22), nor was He displeased with Jeremiah.

There must be a third option, a way of expressing suffering
without grumbling.

So what’s the difference?

What I’m coming up with is that grumbling turns away from God in distrust, while lamentation turns toward Him in confidence. When the Israelites grumbled, they threatened. If God didn’t solve their problems they were going to get Moses out of the way and high-tail it back to Egypt. They didn’t trust God to care for them–it was Adam’s sin all over again:

Man, tempted by the devil,
let his trust in his Creator die in his heart and,
abusing his freedom, disobeyed God’s command.
This is what man’s first sin consisted of
(Cf. Gen 3:1-11; Rom 5:19).
All subsequent sin would be disobedience toward God
and lack of trust in his goodness.
-Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 397

When David and Jeremiah (and others) lamented, they mixed their plaint with praise, reminding God of His promises, His covenants, His mighty deeds in the past. They expressed certainty in His ability and desire to rescue them when the time was right. Sometimes the laments get confusing–there’s so much praise mixed in that it’s hard to keep track of the fact that enemy armies are at the gate!

That seems to be what God wants from us. Give full expression to fear, sorrow and pain, but saturate that expression with confidence in God’s intention and ability to rescue and redeem.

Now we know that for those who love God
all things work together unto good,
for those who, according to His purpose,
are saints through His call.
-Romans 8:28

Dismiss all anxiety from your minds.
Present your needs to God in every form of prayer
and in petitions full of gratitude.
Then God’s own peace,
which is beyond all understanding,
will stand guard over your hearts and minds,
in Christ Jesus.
-Philippians 4:6-7

Praiseworthy Faith

September 15, 2011

When we ask the saints’ intercession, we are following the Roman centurion’s example.

He didn’t go “straight to Jesus.”
A foreigner himself, he sent a delegation of Jesus’ own countrymen
to put in a good word for him.

“He deserves this favor from you,” they said,
“because he loves our people,
and even built our synagogue for us”
-Luke 7:5

Then, as Jesus approached his house,
the centurion sent friends to tell Jesus
He needn’t trouble Himself to come further–just speak the word.

I am not worthy to have You enter my house.
That is why I did not presume to come myself
-Luke 7:6-7

He did not presume…
he sent others who were more worthy to approach Jesus than he…

Listen to Jesus’ response:

I tell you, I have never seen such faith
among the Israelites
-Luke 7:9

High praise from God Himself!

When we pray to the saints, we are asking for their intercession.
We are sending Jesus’ own countrymen
(Heaven is now their home forever!)
to put in a good word for us;
sending friends–His friends and ours–
to express to Him our faith that they will bring our needs before Him
and that He will respond.
We are sending those who are worthy of Him,
perfected now in Heaven.

And Jesus is pleased :).


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