Every change of mind is first of all a change of heart, and if the heart does not change, new ideas do not last long. We all "know the mystery of salvation by the forgiveness of sin," as Saint Luke said (1:77), because forgiveness is not something God does, it is who God is. There is probably no other way to understand God's nature except to daily stand under the waterfall of divine mercy and then become conduits of the same flow. —from the book Preparing for Christmas: Daily Meditations for Advent by Richard Rohr
✞ "To fall in love with God is the greatest romance; to seek Him the greatest adventure; to find Him, the greatest human achievement." — St. Augustine of Hippo
✞ MEDITATION OF THE DAY "They who are bent on sensible sweetness, labor also under another very great imperfection: excessive weakness and remissness on the rugged road of the cross; for the soul that is given to sweetness naturally sets its face against all the pain of self-denial. They labor under many other imperfections, which have their origin here, of which our Lord will heal them in due time, through temptations, aridities and trials, elements of the dark night." — St. John of the Cross, p. 28 AN EXCERPT FROM Dark Night of the Soul
✞ VERSE OF THE DAY "He said to him, 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." Matthew 22:37-40
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Saint of the Day for December 5
(439 – December 5, 532)
Born in Cappadocia, Sabas is one of the most highly regarded patriarchs among the monks of Palestine, and is considered one of the founders of Eastern monasticism.
After an unhappy childhood in which he was abused and ran away several times, Sabas finally sought refuge in a monastery. While family members tried to persuade him to return home, the young boy felt drawn to monastic life. Although the youngest monk in the house, he excelled in virtue.
At age 18 he traveled to Jerusalem, seeking to learn more about living in solitude. Soon he asked to be accepted as a disciple of a well-known local solitary, though initially he was regarded as too young to live completely as a hermit. Initially, Sabas lived in a monastery, where he worked during the day and spent much of the night in prayer. At the age of 30 he was given permission to spend five days each week in a nearby remote cave, engaging in prayer and manual labor in the form of weaving baskets. Following the death of his mentor, Saint Euthymius, Sabas moved farther into the desert near Jericho. There he lived for several years in a cave near the brook Cedron. A rope was his means of access. Wild herbs among the rocks were his food. Occasionally men brought him other food and items, while he had to go a distance for his water.
Some of these men came to him desiring to join him in his solitude. At first he refused. But not long after relenting, his followers swelled to more than 150, all of them living in individual huts grouped around a church, called a laura.
The bishop persuaded a reluctant Sabas, then in his early 50s, to prepare for the priesthood so that he could better serve his monastic community in leadership. While functioning as abbot among a large community of monks, he felt ever called to live the life of a hermit. Throughout each year—consistently in Lent—he left his monks for long periods of time, often to their distress. A group of 60 men left the monastery, settling at a nearby ruined facility. When Sabas learned of the difficulties they were facing, he generously gave them supplies and assisted in the repair of their church.
Over the years Sabas traveled throughout Palestine, preaching the true faith and successfully bringing back many to the Church. At the age of 91, in response to a plea from the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Sabas undertook a journey to Constantinople in conjunction with the Samaritan revolt and its violent repression. He fell ill and soon after his return, died at the monastery at Mar Saba. Today the monastery is still inhabited by monks of the Eastern Orthodox Church, and Saint Sabas is regarded as one of the most noteworthy figures of early monasticism.
Few of us share Sabas' yearning for a cave in the desert, but most of us sometimes resent the demands others place on our time. Sabas understands that. When at last he gained the solitude for which he yearned, a community immediately began to gather around him, and he was forced into a leadership role. He stands as a model of patient generosity for anyone whose time and energy are required by others—that is, for all of us.
Tuesday of the First Week of Advent
Reading 1 Is 11:1-10
On that day, A shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom. The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him: a Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, A Spirit of counsel and of strength, a Spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD, and his delight shall be the fear of the LORD. Not by appearance shall he judge, nor by hearsay shall he decide, But he shall judge the poor with justice, and decide aright for the land's afflicted. He shall strike the ruthless with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked. Justice shall be the band around his waist, and faithfulness a belt upon his hips.
Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; The calf and the young lion shall browse together, with a little child to guide them. The cow and the bear shall be neighbors, together their young shall rest; the lion shall eat hay like the ox. The baby shall play by the cobra's den, and the child lay his hand on the adder's lair. There shall be no harm or ruin on all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the LORD, as water covers the sea.
On that day, The root of Jesse, set up as a signal for the nations, The Gentiles shall seek out, for his dwelling shall be glorious.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 72:1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17 R. (see 7) Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever. O God, with your judgment endow the king, and with your justice, the king's son; He shall govern your people with justice and your afflicted ones with judgment. R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever. Justice shall flower in his days, and profound peace, till the moon be no more. May he rule from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth. R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever. He shall rescue the poor when he cries out, and the afflicted when he has no one to help him. He shall have pity for the lowly and the poor; the lives of the poor he shall save. R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever. May his name be blessed forever; as long as the sun his name shall remain. In him shall all the tribes of the earth be blessed; all the nations shall proclaim his happiness. R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
Alleluia R. Alleluia, alleluia. Behold, our Lord shall come with power; he will enlighten the eyes of his servants. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Lk 10:21-24
Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, "I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him."
Turning to the disciples in private he said, "Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I say to you, many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it."
Meditation: Isaiah 11:1-10 1st Week of Advent
The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him. (Isaiah 11:2)
Wisdom, understanding, counsel, strength, knowledge, fear of the Lord: the list probably sounds familiar. You likely memorized it at your Confirmation. But these gifts are more than abstract virtues that you hope will materialize in your life. They are practical tools that God has given you to help you live a Spirit-filled, victorious life. He has placed them in your spiritual tool belt, hoping that you will take them out and learn how to use them.
One thing you'll discover is that as you take out a tool or try to exercise a spiritual gift, God will come alongside and help you. He will give you the strength to turn from temptation. He will bring to your mind a "word of wisdom" to use when a friend or loved one is anxious and doesn't know what to do next. He will give you the courage to say no to temptation.
Far from being abstractions, the gifts of the Holy Spirit are meant to be very practical. Try dusting them off and experimenting with different ways you can use them in your everyday life.
Here's one way: let's say your child is going through a rebellious or anxious phase in life, and it's making you feel like tearing your hair out. Take out the tool of understanding. Pray about what life is like for that child right now. Try to anticipate a situation that may be difficult for the two of you and decide ahead of time how to approach it. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you find the right balance between correction and encouragement. At the end of the day, look back at that situation, and see how God helped you use this gift. Perhaps you surprised your child by connecting in a new way. Perhaps you need to ask your child's forgiveness for something you said or failed to do. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you what to build on or work on tomorrow.
The more you practice, the more you'll find the giver of these good gifts working right with you.
"Thank you, Holy Spirit, for the gifts you have given me. Help me learn how to put them to better use in building your kingdom."
Psalm 72:1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17 Luke 10:21-24
The first holy Scripture ends: "On that day, The root of Jesse, set up as a signal for the nations, The Gentiles shall seek out, for his dwelling shall be glorious." Jesus sets up the signal, it is Jesus because in Revelation He says ""I, Jesus, sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the root and offspring of David,* the bright morning star." The Morning Star, no, the BRIGHT morning star. He is not a light like any other. He is what outshines, just like when His clothes got "brighter than the sun" when He was transfigured on the mountain. They say if you stare at the sun you will go blind, but if you stare at the Son of God, you will see. There is a world of a difference with the bright of God's light. His light radiates into the heart.
We pray today with our Lord: " Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever. May his name be blessed forever; as long as the sun his name shall remain. In him shall all the tribes of the earth be blessed; all the nations shall proclaim his happiness." In Him all tribes are to be blessed. And your tribe? Yes. All tribes. Nations shall recognize the majesty of Jesus. Recognize what love is. And for this we have our Lord in our lives.
Our Lord and King says "i give you praise...you have revealed them to the childlike. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will." What is He talking about, some "things"?
Bishop Barren said "Nothing other than the mystery of Jesus' relationship to his Father, the love that obtains between Father and Son, the inner life of God. From the beginning, this is what God wanted to give us." A revelation occurs. Jesus is talking about a revelation. What is revealed is reserved for the "childlike" not the wise and learned. People today are losing the revelation by "knowing". "Knowing" was what knocked down the "morning star" Lucifer, the prince of lights in Heaven. Knowing it all knocks you down. Like someone who gets too comfortable in their line of work, and suddenly, they slip up, over-confident, "nothing will happen to me", and BAM!, it happens. What happens? The fall from Eve. The apple fell from the tree. And the temptation won. And we get blinded by the sin. All these things are depicted in the "revelation" of God to the world. Only, the childlike see, they will not sin, they may trip, but they get back up. They may cry, but they are consoled. Jesus is a loving figure of our Father. The Father chose the look. And the glance of Christ is mere mercy itself. A look of faith "una mirada de fe es la que puede salvar al pecador" it is what can save a sinner.
My child, do you have "the look"?
Or do you look like the world? Are you a bright star, or a mere morning star that can not be seen in the heavens?
Randomly opening the book Imitation of Christ by Kempis it says: "Why are you easily upset just because things do not go your way? Who is there that gets his or her own way all the time?...there is no one in the world without troubles or difficulties whether that person is a king or the Pope. Who is best off? only the one who is willing to suffer something for the love of God."