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WHEN DADDY SINGS
“Sing joyfully.” —Zephaniah 3:14
The Lord, through St. Paul, commands and graces us to rejoice in Him always (Phil 4:4). No matter how many problems we have, no matter how bad we feel — the fact that we are “in the Lord” dwarfs everything else. How can we let a little cloud or two eclipse the Son?
When we fix our eyes on Jesus (Heb 12:2), the Son of God (Mk 1:1), He will reveal to us our heavenly Father (Lk 10:22; Jn 14:6), Who is the Source of our joy. Jesus and the Holy Spirit will show us our Abba (see Gal 4:6) rejoicing over each one of us with gladness and renewing us in His love (Zep 3:17). We will see the reality that God Himself, our Abba, is at this moment singing joyfully because of us, His adopted children (Rm 8:15; Zep 3:17).
Abba’s joyous singing is quite contagious — especially for His children. In the presence of Abba, we find ourselves breaking out into song and singing our parts in the Trinitarian musical. Our everlasting songs of joy drown out our passing sorrows. We “rejoice in the Lord always! I say it again. Rejoice!” (Phil 4:4)
Prayer: Father, may I “rejoice with inexpressible joy touched with glory” (1 Pt 1:8).
Promise: “He will baptize you in the Holy Spirit and in fire.” —Lk 3:16
Praise: “I rejoice heartil…[Read more]
John is the voice, and Christ is the Word
From a sermon
[ 354 – 430 A.D. ]
John is the voice, but the Lord is the Word who was in the beginning. John is the voice that lasts for a time; from the beginning Christ is the Word who lives for ever.
Take away the word, the meaning, and what is the voice? Where there is no understanding, there is only a meaningless sound. The voice without the word strikes the ear but does not build up the heart.
However, let us observe what happens when we first seek to build up our hearts. When I think about what I am going to say, the word or message is already in my heart. When I want to speak to you, I look for a way to share with your heart what is already in mine.
In my search for a way to let this message reach you, so that the word already in my heart may find place also in yours, I use my voice to speak to you. The sound of my voice brings the meaning of the word to you and then passes away. The word which the sound has brought to you is now in your heart, and yet it is still also in mine.
When the word has been conveyed to you, does not the sound seem to say: The word ought to grow, and I should diminish? The sound of the voice has made itself heard in the service of the word, and has gone away, as…[Read more]
FIRST COME, FIRST SERVE
“Why do the scribes claim that Elijah must come first?” —Matthew 17:10
Before the Messiah comes, Elijah must come and restore everything (Mt 17:11). Before Christ’s Christmas coming, people like Elijah and John the Baptizer must come into our lives. Before we will be ready for Christmas, we need to hear prophetic words which will lead us to repentance. We need to hear the two-edged sword of God’s Word so that it will penetrate our hearts and judge our thoughts and reflections (Heb 4:12). We must be immersed in the baptism of repentance (Lk 3:3) before becoming immersed in Christmas festivities. Otherwise, we will not meet Christ in our Christmas activities; rather, we will miss Him amid all our Christmas distractions.
Therefore, don’t even think about Christmas. Think Advent. Don’t act as if Christmas has already come. Focus on John the Baptizer, not Santa. Seek prophecy (1 Cor 14:1), repentance, restoration, and Reconciliation. Christmas will be an obstacle between you and the Lord unless you prepare the way of the Lord (Mt 3:3). We need a holy Advent to have a blessed Christmas.
Prayer: Father, enable me to understand that I need Advent before Christmas as much as a mother needs pregnancy before giving birth.
Promise: “You are d…[Read more]
Mary and the Church
From a sermon
Blessed Isaac of Stella, abbot
[ 1100 – 1169 A.D. ]
The Son of God is the first-born of many brothers. Although by nature he is the only-begotten, by grace he has joined many to himself and made them one with him. For to those who receive him he has given the power to become the sons of God.
He became the Son of man and made many men sons of God, uniting them to himself by his love and power, so that they became as one. In themselves they are many by reason of their human descent, but in him they are one by divine rebirth.
The whole Christ and the unique Christ – the body and the head – are one: one because born of the same God in heaven, and of the same mother on earth. They are many sons, yet one son. Head and members are one son, yet many sons; in the same way, Mary and the Church are one mother, yet more than one mother; one virgin, yet more than one virgin.
Both are mothers, both are virgins. Each conceives of the same Spirit, without concupiscence. Each gives birth to a child of God the Father, without sin. Without any sin, Mary gave birth to Christ the head for the sake of his body. By the forgiveness of every sin, the Church gave birth to the body, for the sake of its head. Each is Christ’s mother, but neither gives…[Read more]
Blessed Mary Frances Schervier
PREGNANT FOR CHRISTMAS
“He is like a tree planted near running water, that yields its fruit in due season.” —Psalm 1:3
The Lord wants to teach us what is good for us. He desires to lead us on the way we should go this Christmas (Is 48:17). If we hearken to His commandments, this Christmas we will be “like a river,…the waves of the sea,” and the sand of the seashore (Is 48:18-19). We will be full of life and extremely fruitful. If we obey the Lord, this Christmas we will fulfill in an exceptional way the Lord’s first recorded words to the newly created human race: “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth” (Gn 1:28, RSV-CE).
This Christmas, the Lord may fulfill as never before in our lives His promise: “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (Jn 10:10, RSV-CE). In our contraceptive, abortifacient culture of death, we will be spiritually pregnant. What better way to enter into the celebration of Christ’s birth! “God is not the God of the dead but of the living” (Lk 20:38). This Christmas, “choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live, by loving the Lord, your God, heeding His voice, and holding fast to Him. For that will mean life for you” (Dt 30:19-20).
Prayer: Father, use my life to build a civilization of love and l…[Read more]
Recognising the mystery hidden within Christ Jesus
From a Spiritual Canticle
St John of the Cross
[ 1542 – 1591 A.D. ]
Though holy doctors have uncovered many mysteries and wonders, and devout souls have understood them in this earthly condition of ours, yet the greater part still remains to be unfolded by them, and even to be understood by them.
We must then dig deeply in Christ. He is like a rich mine with many pockets containing treasures: however deep we dig we will never find their end or their limit. Indeed, in every pocket new seams of fresh riches are discovered on all sides.
For this reason the apostle Paul said of Christ: In him are hidden all the treasures of the wisdom and knowledge of God. The soul cannot enter into these treasures, nor attain them, unless it first crosses into and enters the thicket of suffering, enduring interior and exterior labours, and unless it first receives from God very many blessings in the intellect and in the senses, and has undergone long spiritual training.
All these are lesser things, disposing the soul for the lofty sanctuary of the knowledge of the mysteries of Christ: this is the highest wisdom attainable in this life.
Would that men might come at last to see that it is quite impossible to reach the thicket…[Read more]
Saint John of the Cross
VIOLENCE AND THE KINGDOM
“The kingdom of God has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force.” —Matthew 11:12
Halfway through Advent, the Lord brings up the subject of violence in relation to His kingdom. Jesus tells us that His kingdom has suffered violence, and the violent are taking it by force (Mt 11:12). This could have several meanings.
Satan has forcibly stolen people and resources that rightfully belong to God. We must engage in spiritual warfare using the spiritual weapons of prayer and fasting to bring down Satan, destroy his strongholds, and return the stolen property to God (see 2 Cor 10:3-5; Gospel of Life, 100).
We are “more than conquerors” in Christ (Rm 8:37). The gates of hell cannot prevail against us (Mt 16:18, JB). Such modern-day Goliaths as abortion, secular humanism, pornography, poverty, and racism would have no chance against us in battles if we would only step out in faith and fight them with “the sword of the Spirit, the word of God” (Eph 6:17).
The violent of this world seem to get what they want. This implies that we, the Church, would get Jesus what He wants if we were more militant and less passive. We must do violence to our own fleshly tendency to apathy (Gal 2:19; 6:14). We are the “Church Militant,” not the …[Read more]
You light up your grace of body with the radiance of your mind
A book on virginity,
[ 340 – 397 A.D. ]
You are one of God’s people, of God’s family, a virgin among virgins; you light up your grace of body with your splendour of soul. More than others you can be compared to the Church. When you are in your room, then, at night, think always on Christ, and wait for his coming at every moment.
This is the person Christ has loved in loving you, the person he has chosen in choosing you. He enters by the open door; he has promised to come in, and he cannot deceive. Embrace him, the one you have sought; turn to him, and be enlightened; hold him fast, ask him not to go in haste, beg him not to leave you. The Word of God moves swiftly; he is not won by the lukewarm, nor held fast by the negligent. Let your soul be attentive to his word; follow carefully the path God tells you to take, for he is swift in his passing.
What does his bride say? I sought him, and did not find him; I called him, and he did not hear me. Do not imagine that you are displeasing to him despite having called him, asked him in, and opened the door to him; and that this is the reason why he has gone so quickly – no, for he allows us to be constantly tested. When the crowds pressed him t…[Read more]
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