Lord Jesus, as we get ready to celebrate Christmas, the moment you appeared as a tiny, helpless infant, help us to experience a renewed sense of wonder and joy in this season, and to rediscover innocence.
† "You never go away from us, yet we have difficulty in returning to You. Come, Lord, stir us up and call us back. Kindle and seize us. Be our fire and our sweetness. Let us love. Let us run." — St. Augustine
✞MEDITATION OF THE DAY✞
"Much that is true of human relationships is also true of our relationship with God. Human relationships of friendship or marriage need time, attention, and care for them to continue and to grow. The same is true of our relationship with God. We have been called to union but we need to respond. As we turn to God in conversion or in a deeper awakening, besides turning away from deliberate sin—which deforms the soul, blocks the relationship and offends the Person who has sacrificed His life for us—we need to positively build the relationship by paying attention to the One who loves us. Prayer is at root simply paying attention to God." — Ralph Martin, p. 121 AN EXCERPT FROM Fulfillment of all Desire
click to go there
Saint Gertrude the Great Saint of the Day for November 14 (January 6, 1256 – November 17, 1302)
Saint Gertrude the Great's Story
Gertrude, a Benedictine nun in Helfta, Saxony, was one of the great mystics of the 13th century. Together with her friend and teacher Saint Mechtild, she practiced a spirituality called "nuptial mysticism," that is, she came to see herself as the bride of Christ. Her spiritual life was a deeply personal union with Jesus and his Sacred Heart, leading her into the very life of the Trinity.
But this was no individualistic piety. Gertrude lived the rhythm of the liturgy, where she found Christ. In the liturgy and in Scripture she found the themes and images to enrich and express her piety. There was no clash between her personal prayer life and the liturgy.
Saint Gertrude's life is another reminder that the heart of the Christian life is prayer: private and liturgical, ordinary or mystical, but always personal. The Liturgical Feast of Saint Gertrude the Great is November 16.
God is with me, but more, God is within me, giving me existence. Let me dwell for a moment on God's life-giving presence in my body, my mind, my heart and in the whole of my life.
Lord, you granted me the great gift of freedom. In these times, O Lord, grant that I may be free From any form of racism or intolerance. Remind me, Lord, that we are all equal in your Loving eyes.
Where do I sense hope, encouragement, and growth areas in my life? By looking back over the last few months, I may be able to see which activities and occasions have produced rich fruit. If I do notice such areas, I will determine to give those areas both time and space in the future.
The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to him, to show his servants what must happen soon. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who gives witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ by reporting what he saw. Blessed is the one who reads aloud and blessed are those who listen to this prophetic message and heed what is written in it, for the appointed time is near.
John, to the seven churches in Asia: grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne.
I heard the Lord saying to me: "To the angel of the Church in Ephesus, write this:
"'The one who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks in the midst of the seven gold lampstands says this: "I know your works, your labor, and your endurance, and that you cannot tolerate the wicked; you have tested those who call themselves Apostles but are not, and discovered that they are impostors. Moreover, you have endurance and have suffered for my name, and you have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: you have lost the love you had at first. Realize how far you have fallen. Repent, and do the works you did at first. Otherwise, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent."'"
Responsorial Psalm Ps 1:1-2, 3, 4 and 6 R. (Rev. 2:17) Those who are victorious I will feed from the tree of life. Blessed the man who follows not the counsel of the wicked Nor walks in the way of sinners, nor sits in the company of the insolent, But delights in the law of the LORD and meditates on his law day and night.
R. Those who are victorious I will feed from the tree of life. He is like a tree planted near running water, That yields its fruit in due season, and whose leaves never fade. Whatever he does, prospers.
R. Those who are victorious I will feed from the tree of life. Not so the wicked, not so; they are like chaff which the wind drives away. For the LORD watches over the way of the just, but the way of the wicked vanishes.
R. Those who are victorious I will feed from the tree of life.
Alleluia Jn 8:12 R. Alleluia, alleluia. I am the light of the world, says the Lord; whoever follows me will have the light of life. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Lk 18:35-43
As Jesus approached Jericho a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging, and hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what was happening. They told him, "Jesus of Nazareth is passing by." He shouted, "Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!" The people walking in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent, but he kept calling out all the more, "Son of David, have pity on me!" Then Jesus stopped and ordered that he be brought to him; and when he came near, Jesus asked him, "What do you want me to do for you?" He replied, "Lord, please let me see." Jesus told him, "Have sight; your faith has saved you." He immediately received his sight and followed him, giving glory to God. When they saw this, all the people gave praise to God.
Some thoughts on today's scripture
▪ This is the lovely story of a blind man who had lost his sight and was forced to live as a beggar. His insistence to call on Jesus despite the crowd's opposition is a big act of faith. He must have been very happy with what happened to him.
▪ How is life going for you? Did you ever feel that you have lost something that once was precious to you? Often we are afraid to turn to the Lord to ask him to restore or compensate us in some way that would give us life again. To turn to God when we are suffering loss is a great act of faith and trust.
Dear Jesus, I can open up my heart to you. I can tell you everything that troubles me. I know you care about all the concerns in my life. Teach me to live in the knowledge that you who care for me today, will care for me tomorrow and all the days of my life.
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.
You have lost the love you had at first. (Revelation 2:4)
Ephesus. AD 90. The tiny Christian community in this fourth largest city in the Roman Empire has gathered in a church member's home for the weekly celebration of the Lord's Supper. A ripple of excitement goes around the room as a lector begins to read out a long pastoral letter that has just arrived—a letter that we now call the Book of Revelation. Coming from a revered leader named John, the "prophetic message" opens with specific words of knowledge for seven churches in Asia Minor. Ears prick up as the group hears "the church in Ephesus" addressed first (Revelation 2:1).
It's painful to picture the Ephesian believers listening to the assessment of their weaknesses that follows. Maybe they expected nothing but praise. For forty years, they had labored patiently. They had suffered hostility from citizens who worshiped false gods and took pride in the city's temple to Artemis. They had stayed on guard against the false teachers. They had opposed heretics and preserved doctrinal truth. John's letter commends them for these accomplishments. But then, unexpectedly, there comes a sobering reproach: "You have lost the love you had at first. . . . Repent, and do the works you did at first" (Revelation 2:4, 5).
What went wrong? Apparently, the Ephesians' zeal for orthodoxy came at the expense of love. In a subtle shift of focus, correcting false beliefs became their chief concern. Vigilant against doctrinal deviations, the Ephesians seemed to have slipped into a harsh, fault-finding spirit that created distrust and division.
Scripture doesn't say how the Ephesians responded. But their story invites us to consider whether we are keeping love at the forefront while also preserving the truth. Our emphasis on love can protect our unity and our peace—both in our families and in the Church. Our love can cover "a multitude of sins" among us (1 Peter 4:8). It can keep us from sounding like "a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal" when we talk about the truths of our faith (1 Corinthians 13:1). Ultimately, our love for each other will convince the world about the truth of Jesus (John 13:35).
May we all learn how to live "the truth in love" (Ephesians 4:15)!
"Come, Holy Spirit! Lead me in the way of love and truth."
The Word of our Lord: "Yet I hold this against you: you have lost the love you had at first. Realize how far you have fallen. Repent, and do the works you did at first." How many of us have fallen in love with God and then fallen away from Him? We ask our Lord for a true Spirit of conversion. What does this mean? A true love, not a selfish love. The kind of love that stands out and shines in the darkness, the kind of prayer God hears...that of a pure heart... We prayed today "Those who are victorious I will feed from the tree of life" and in the end, Christ is Victory. We will feed from the source of life...Jesus. If in Heaven we eat, then we will eat of Christ the Life, the source of eternal light, and that what sparks our heart at every moment it beats. This is why every life is precious since the spark of life begins, from conception to natural death, and let ourselves die to ourselves before ourselves dies.
In comes the Lord of LIFE: "What do you want me to do for you?" The blind man did many amazing things. 1st: He would not be silenced by those around him...he had faith that is read and spoken aloud, that is...lived out loud. 2nd: He approached God, and pleaded for mercy...something many of us do only from the mouth out, and not from the heart. God hears the heart, and if it is silent, He can not hear us. 3rd: Jesus asks what he wants, and the blind man wants to see...JESUS. He wants to see what all the fuss is about, because not only was he an outcast to the world, a needy person in the world, a poor and marginalized man, a voice that always was shut up, like the unborn who don't get a voice, and the blind man says "I want to SEE!!". As if to say "I want to see for myself with my own eyes, I want to be one with the community, I want to be able to help the community, I want to be free from what they have called a punishment for sin, and I want MERCY! This is why I shout to the Lord with all my heart ""Son of David, have pity on me!" Please! Have Mercy!" And God hears, And God has compassion, and God grants Him Mercy which is turned into sight. And the next event is an amazing feat of love, for we hear "He immediately received his sight and followed him, giving glory to God." His life became a living testimony of God's glory. He became a witness because he saw when he was blind that he needed Jesus, and His mercy. He saw what all the people could not see...he needed to repent.
I am blinded sometimes. I fall into temptations to sin. And I don't repent of temptations, and I don't repent of sins I do. Sure I say "sorry", but inside, it's like I don't want to let go, and I want to do it again. I would be so honored as to have the heart of this blind man, to desire true repentance, to desire true love and to desire truly to see what God has to offer. But we live not desiring to be free. I was in the living room last night on one couch, my mother in law in the other. Seeing her suffer from hives for months, I said "I better try to help" and researched liver problems and so forth. Long story short, I found out that all 4 different medications she has been taken all can produce hives. I told her to see her doctor, because I couldn't tell her how to stop or change the pills. The point of the story is, someone has to stop settling for the life we live in, this mediocrity, and just living with sin, living with pain, living...in darkness. Jesus is there, the answer, the salvation of our lives for an eternity. And for you, and for me, I believe we can have the heart, a true, a pure, and a more greater heart if united with Christ, to feed off Him and of Him, to truly accept what He offers, if only we truly repent and desire more of Him. For this reason, His Word has reached your eyes.