Monday, December 31, 2012

All is Well

The Word was made flesh, he lived among us, and we saw his glory, the glory that is his as the only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth.

Saint John starts his gospel with a prologue on the mystery of the incarnation, God became man in Jesus Christ and lived among us.

On this last day of the year the Church has us look at the beginnings of our salvation, "In the beginning was the Word: the Word was with God and the Word was God." Jn1:1.  New Year's Eve is a time of looking back and then looking forward.  Mother Church places Jesus as the touch-stone for this exercise.  All things are to be measured against Him.

I have regrets and joys from 2012.  2013 holds for me hope.  I surrender all these to Jesus, the regret, the joy and the hope.  These are all emotions He is familiar within His human nature.  He stops them from controlling me obsessively.  With Christ at my side, all is well...

Lord Jesus, I give my life again to You; my strengths, my weaknesses. I place my trust in You.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Same Kind

We can be sure that we are in God only when the one who claims to be living in him is living the same kind of life as Christ lived.

Saint John writes to impress upon us a living faith in Jesus Christ since this faith is life eternal.  He sets a high bar to aim at, Christ Himself.

Live the same kind of life as Christ lived.  Wow!  A tough call, yet there it is.  If I claim to be living in Christ then my life needs to reflect that.  Sometimes, no... often I don't feel like I'm living that kind of life.

But there's Good News, as we heard in yesterday's epistle... "but if we acknowledge our sins, then God who is faithful and just will forgive our sins" 1Jn.1:9.  Jesus sets the bar high and then provides the way for a stumbling follower to attain it.

Thank you Jesus for being the perfect role model and for helping me become what You model.
Saint John, please pray for me.

Friday, December 28, 2012

So Joseph Got Up

Feast of The Holy Innocents, Martyrs.

So Joseph got up and, taking the child and his mother with him, left that night for Egypt, where he stayed until Herod was dead.

Joseph is told by the Lord in a dream to take Mary and Jesus from Bethlehem to Egypt, so escaping the murderous rage of Herod.  Jewish male babies are slaughtered by Herod in his fear to eliminate the rumoured child-king.  The first martyrs of the Church are the Holy Innocents of Israel.

So Joseph got up...  Not much is said directly in scripture about Joseph, but much can be read about him from his recorded actions.  As carefully as God chose Mary, Joseph was no random selection.  He was to be the provider, protector and cherisher of Mary and the baby Jesus.  To travel those distances over the rough terrain from Palestine to Egypt and back through hostile country would take the energy and strength of a man in his prime.

Not only physical strength was required of Joseph, but also spiritual strength.  Joseph heard God and immediately acted, on more than one occasion.  He recognised God's voice, had faith in Him and was obedient to Him. What a great role-model for any man who is a husband and father.

Father, you have made me a husband and father.  Help me press into You for strength and guidance in cherishing  protecting and providing for my wife and children.
Saint Joseph, please pray for me.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Saint Francis at the first Christmas crib

Thomas of Celano (c.1190-c.1260), biographer of Saint Francis and Saint Clare
The First Life of Saint Francis, §84-86

Saint Francis at the first Christmas crib
About two weeks before Christmas, Francis said...: “I want to call to mind the Child who was born at Bethlehem and all the sufferings he endured from his childhood on. I want to see him with the eyes of my flesh just as he was, laid in a manger and sleeping on the hay between an ox and an ass”...

The joyful day arrived... The friars from several convents thereabouts were gathered together. In festive spirit the people round about, both men and women, all according to their means, made torches and candles ready with which to illuminate the night that saw the bright star arise to light up all the ages. When he arrived the saint saw that all was ready and rejoiced greatly. A manger and some straw had been brought; an ass and an ox had been led along. Truly, simplicity held the place of honor there; it was the triumph of poverty and best lesson in humility. Greccio had become a new Bethlehem! Night had been rendered as bright as day and as delightful for the animals as for the people. Crowds had hastened along and this re-enactment of the mystery reanimated their joy. The woods resounded with songs and the mountains threw back their echoes. The brethren sang the Lord's praises and the whole night was spent in rejoicing. The saint passed the night watch standing before the crib, broken with compassion, filled with inexpressible happiness. Finally, mass was celebrated on the manger as on an altar and the priest experienced fervor of a kind he had never felt before.

Francis had put on his dalmatic, for he was a deacon, and he sang the Gospel with resonant voice... Then he preached to the people, finding words as sweet as honey to speak of the birth of the poor King and the little town of Bethlehem.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Prepare Ye the Way

Jesus spoke to the crowds: ‘I tell you solemnly, of all the children born of women, a greater than John the Baptist has never been seen; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he is'.

Jesus is speaking to the crowds about John the Baptist.  He clearly identifies John as the prophet foretold who is to prepare the way for the coming Messiah.  John's message continues to be the clarion call of Advent, "Prepare the way.  Repent, turn from sin and turn to God, for the Kingdom of God is near".

How's my preparation going for the coming Messiah?  Advent is not just about Mary on a donkey two thousand years ago.  It's also about preparing the way for Jesus' second and final coming.   I am going to face Him one day, maybe one day soon.  How's my preparation?  How straight is my path?

Lord Jesus, Your Kingdom is nearer than I imagine.  Give me a spirit of urgency in my preparation to receive You.
Mary, Mother of Jesus, pray for me.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


Then turning to his disciples Jesus spoke to them in private, ‘Happy the eyes that see what you see, for I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see, and never saw it; to hear what you hear, and never heard it.’
Luke 10:23,24

The seventy-two have returned from their first missionary outreach and report great victories in Jesus' name for God's Kingdom.  Jesus is filled with "joy by the Holy Spirit", giving thanks to God .

This is a favourite passage of mine as it depicts Jesus on a joyful high.  I can imagine His elation that must have put broad smiles on all the seventy-two as they gathered around Him.  This joy can't be contained as Jesus tells His followers also to be happy.  "Happy the eyes that see what you see... ears that hear what you hear".  So what was it that the disciples were seeing and hearing?  Jesus.  They were seeing and hearing Jesus.

Here is a key to my happiness.  To see and hear Jesus.  To keep Him before me in my day.  Oh, happy am I ...

Lord Jesus, You are the source of my joy.  Holy Spirit, fill me with the joy of knowing Jesus today.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Slow down and Ponder

Lord, make me know your ways.
  Lord, teach me your paths.
Make me walk in your truth, and teach me:
  for you are God my saviour.
Psalm 24:4,5

Happy New Year!  Today is the first day of the Church's year and the first day of Advent.  It's a day of new beginnings, new-year resolutions.  Advent is a wonderful four-week season to help me start anew.  It's the best antidote to the orgy of "Xmas" that the world now rushes into.  It's a time of expectancy, waiting, preparing the way. It's a time to be humble and teachable. It's a time to focus on Mary who embodies all these virtues.

Today I slow down and ponder the mysteries of God's ways.

Lord, make me know your ways.
  Lord, teach me your paths.
Make me walk in your truth, and teach me:
  for you are God my saviour.

Mary, Mother of God, please pray for me.