United with Christ Traditional Catholic prayer is fundamentally oriented to Christ and his body, the Church, and its sacraments. It recognizes that C
United with Christ
Traditional Catholic prayer is fundamentally oriented to Christ and his body, the Church, and its sacraments. It recognizes that Christ continues to live out his paschal mystery in the lives of the faithful and understands that prayer is the key to remaining united to him at all times.
-from Prayer in the Catholic Tradition
† "Christ made my soul beautiful with the jewels of grace and virtue. I belong to Him whom the angels serve." – St. Agnes
✞MEDITATION OF THE DAY✞
"With creation, God does not abandon his creatures to themselves. He not only gives them being and existence, but also, and at every moment, upholds and sustains them in being, enables them to act and brings them to their final end. Recognizing this utter dependence with respect to the Creator is a source of wisdom and freedom, of joy and confidence: 'For you love all things that exist, and detest none of the things that you have made; for you would not have made anything if you had hated it. How would anything have endured, if you had not willed it? Or how would anything not called forth by you have been preserved? You spare all things for they are yours, O Lord, you who love the living' (Wisdom 11:24-26)." — (CCC, 301) AN EXCERPT FROM Catechism of the Catholic Church
Saint Adrian of Canterbury
Saint of the Day for January 9 (d. January 9, 710)
Saint Adrian of Canterbury's Story
Though Saint Adrian turned down a papal request to become Archbishop of Canterbury, England, Pope Saint Vitalian accepted the rejection on the condition that Adrian serve as the Holy Father's assistant and adviser. Adrian accepted, but ended up spending most of his life and doing most of his work in Canterbury.
Born in Africa, Adrian was serving as an abbot in Italy when the new Archbishop of Canterbury appointed him abbot of the monastery of Saints Peter and Paul in Canterbury. Thanks to his leadership skills, the facility became one of the most important centers of learning. The school attracted many outstanding scholars from far and wide and produced numerous future bishops and archbishops. Students reportedly learned Greek and Latin and spoke Latin as well as their own native languages.
Adrian taught at the school for 40 years. He died there, probably in the year 710, and was buried in the monastery. Several hundred years later, when reconstruction was being done, Adrian's body was discovered in an incorrupt state. As word spread, people flocked to his tomb, which became famous for miracles. Rumor had it that young schoolboys in trouble with their masters made regular visits there. Reflection
Saint Adrian spent most of his time in Canterbury not as bishop, but as abbot and teacher. Often the Lord has plans for us that are obvious only on hindsight. How often have we said no to something or someone only to end up in much the same place anyway. The Lord knows what's good for us. Can we trust Him?
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The Baptism of the Lord
Today is the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, when through the descent of a dove, God made manifest that Jesus was his beloved Son, sent for the salvation of the world.
Quote for the day: "…he was not baptized because he needed to be purified, but so that he might bring sanctity to the waters themselves." ---St. Gregory Nazianus, Oration 29, 19-20
Do you know the date of your own baptism? If not, call the parish where you were welcomed into the Church to find out. Celebrate the baptisms of your children by framing and hanging their baptismal certificates. Spend some time appreciating the voice Jesus heard from the heavens. Understand that the same message is directed to you: "with you I am well pleased." (Mk 1:11)*
On this Sunday we end our journey of revelation and the Christmas season. We have seen the Messiah. We know He came for all people. We are beginning to understand that, as members of His Body, we have a duty to carry on His work. Reflect on the effects of our Baptism and how it calls us to "engage in love-inspired action in the world."*
Lord, when I am feeling lonely, remind me of your promise, "You are never alone, I am with you always, Yes, to the end of time".
Everything has the potential to draw forth from me a fuller love and life. Yet my desires are often fixed, caught, on illusions of fulfillment. I ask that God, through my freedom may orchestrate my desires in a vibrant loving melody rich in harmony.
Help me Lord to be more conscious of your presence. Teach me to recognise your presence in others. Fill my heart with gratitude for the times Your love has been shown to me through the care of others.
Thus says the LORD: Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one with whom I am pleased, upon whom I have put my spirit; he shall bring forth justice to the nations, not crying out, not shouting, not making his voice heard in the street. a bruised reed he shall not break, and a smoldering wick he shall not quench, until he establishes justice on the earth; the coastlands will wait for his teaching.
I, the LORD, have called you for the victory of justice, I have grasped you by the hand; I formed you, and set you as a covenant of the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes of the blind, to bring out prisoners from confinement, and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.
Or: Acts 10:34-38 Peter proceeded to speak to those gathered in the house of Cornelius, saying: "In truth, I see that God shows no partiality. Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly is acceptable to him. You know the word that he sent to the Israelites as he proclaimed peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all, what has happened all over Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached, how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power. He went about doing good and healing all those oppressed by the devil, for God was with him."
Responsorial Psalm Ps 29:1-2, 3-4, 3, 9-10 R. (11b) The Lord will bless his people with peace. Give to the LORD, you sons of God, give to the LORD glory and praise, Give to the LORD the glory due his name; adore the LORD in holy attire.
R. The Lord will bless his people with peace. The voice of the LORD is over the waters, the LORD, over vast waters. The voice of the LORD is mighty; the voice of the LORD is majestic.
R. The Lord will bless his people with peace. The God of glory thunders, and in his temple all say, "Glory!" The LORD is enthroned above the flood; the LORD is enthroned as king forever.
R. The Lord will bless his people with peace.
Alleluia Mk 9:7 R. Alleluia, alleluia. The heavens were opened and the voice of the Father thundered: This is my beloved Son, listen to him. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mt 3:13-17
Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. John tried to prevent him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and yet you are coming to me?" Jesus said to him in reply, "Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Then he allowed him. After Jesus was baptized, he came up from the water and behold, the heavens were opened for him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, saying, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased."
Some thoughts on today's scripture
▪ Two things make it difficult to hear how Jesus invites each of us to be with him as his companions and to share in his work. One is our limitations and consequent feeling of insignificance. The second is how exalted Jesus is as God, even though the same Jesus walked our earth.
▪ If you wish to pray with this reality, be with Jesus in a quiet place and let him call you by name. Let him first call you to be with him as his friend and then to share in his work.
I begin to talk to Jesus about the piece of scripture I have just read. What part of it strikes a chord in me? Perhaps the words of a friend - or some story I have heard recently - will slowly rise to the surface in my consciousness. If so, does the story throw light on what the scripture passage may be trying to say to me?
I thank God for these few moments we have spent alone together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.
wau.org Catholic Meditations Meditation: Matthew 3:13-17
The Baptism of the Lord (Feast)
The heavens were opened for him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove. (Matthew 3:16)
A young man stands outside an apartment building ready to begin his new job in a city far from his family. His father is next to him. "I know you can do this," he says. "You're my son, and I'm proud of you. I'll be available any time you need me. Keep in touch, and don't forget who you are."
Did you know that Jesus had a similar experience? When he began his public life at his baptism, his Father opened the heavens and spoke words of encouragement to him: Jesus was his beloved Son, and he was both proud and well pleased to be his Father!
Today as you celebrate Jesus' baptism, know that God wants to open heaven for you just as he did for Jesus. He wants to speak encouragement to you when you take a new step in your life, just as he did for Jesus. Just as he sent the Spirit to his Son, so he gives the Spirit to you. Just as he proclaimed Jesus as his beloved Son, he tells you that you are his beloved as well. Just as he affirmed and encouraged Jesus at the start of his ministry, he has special blessings stored up for you when you approach a new chapter in your life.
These new beginnings can be as big as taking religious vows or as small as starting another year as a catechist in your parish. Maybe you're preparing for the birth of your first child or going back to work after decades of raising children. You may be moving or starting a new job. No matter what, God has words of encouragement for you. He wants you to know he is your Father, and he loves you. He wants you to be convinced that he is blessing you and has great things in store for you. He tells you that he is ready to help you in any way you need it.
So let the Father open heaven for you today!
"Thank you, Father, for reminding me how precious I am to you and how much you have in store for me!"
Isaiah 42:1-4, 6-7 Psalm 29:1-4, 9-10
About 700 years Before Christ, B.C., the prophet Isaiah said in the Word of God to be recorded forever "Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one with whom I am pleased, upon whom I have put my spirit". And those words came to be fulfilled when Jesus our Lord and our God was baptized. The Spirit comes, and God says this is My Chosen One. The Lord didn't need baptism, but He came to reveal what baptism is, a gift of God. We don't decide to get the gift, but God gives it. This is why infants presented to Baptism is important, to receive the Spirit of God. And so, the priest is called "Father". The one who gives life in the Spirit, an instrument of God our Father, an instrument to turn the Body of Christ into reality in the Holy Eucharist, the one who is there doing the forgiving through God in the confessional. And the baptism is the fire starter, an ember, a smoldering wick that God wants to set ablaze as we progress in our faith.
"The Lord will bless his people with peace. The voice of the LORD is over the waters, the LORD, over vast waters." we prayed today these words. Before the world was created, Jesus existed. The Holy Spirit existed. And over the waters they existed. Through water we are saved, and so three things give witness and are up for salvation, the spirit, the water, and the blood. Mind, body, and soul perhaps? Of course they are, the Spirit, given to the soul, and that lives in the body.
The Truth lives inside and the Truth lives forever, take heart you baptized in the Lord, take it to heart, the world loves to hear the Truth and are gravitated to the Truth, this is why everywhere Jesus went, the houses were packed, the Church wanted to hear, see, touch, and TASTE the truth. So God speaks, manifests Himself, and becomes the Holy Eucharist so that righteousness may be manifested...holiness, the light of the world. You can do it, shine bright and brighter to inflame the world around you. Engage. Engage yourself, be found pouring yourself out as the Lord. When you think you have no more strength, when you think your cup is empty, simply turn to the Lord for more. This is how God made it to the cross...the baptism He would endure. No human could have done what He did that day. I find myself today, amazed by the Lord. As I read various reflections, something came inside and said "look at how small and how great God is". If you look at the smaller and smaller, He is there, if you look at the greater and greater beyond, He is there. God can do anything and be anything. And look at me, here for a mere while on earth as He was and my loved ones that have passed. Suddenly, I have traveled from other realms to this world, only to realize, life is precious in every human being, including the unborn, and the life that follows this one is beyond comprehension. I want you to love forever, that means, be love forever, because God is burning Love forever. Time is ticking, and your candle from your baptism has been lit. If it needs oil, get some from Him, ask for oil to remain. God speaks and wants to find us ready at any time as an acceptable offering.