Forgiveness is not a feeling. It is a decision, an act of the will, a resolution, a firm choice to free ourselves from the continued influence and control of the adversary. As we deliberately and intentionally walk the footpath beyond the ego's injury, we find ourselves being blessed with spiritual maturity: Wounds are often the womb of wisdom. Because forgiveness is a process and our hearts are finicky, we might be tempted to revisit the scene of the crime and throw another log on the fires of fury. When that occurs, we remind ourselves that we have made the rational decision to pardon and get on with life. We recommit to the decision. With every recommitment to forgiveness, we take another step forward in the footsteps of the Lord and Divine Master and becoming his instrument. We pray to be instruments of peace in the Peace Prayer. That transformation occurs as we serve the Lord and Divine Master and train our souls in forgiveness. When we commit and recommit to the process of sowing pardon amid an injury, we witness to the gratuity of grace that moves us from selfishness to selflessness.
—from the book Soul Training with the Peace Prayer of Saint Francis by Albert Haase, OFM
†Saint Quote "Health is God's great gift, and we must spend it entirely for Him. Our eyes should see only for God, our feet walk only for Him, our hands labor for Him alone; in short, our entire body should serve God while we still have the time. Then, when He shall take our health and we shall near our last day, our conscience will not reproach us for having misused it." — St. John Bosco
†MEDITATION OF THE DAY "Praying fervently for the coming of the Kingdom also means being constantly alert for the signs of its presence, and working for its growth in every sector of society. It means facing the challenges of present and future with confidence in Christ's victory and a commitment to extending his reign. It means not losing heart in the face of resistance, adversity, and scandal. It means overcoming every separation between faith and life, and countering false gospels of freedom and happiness. It also means rejecting a false dichotomy between faith and political life, since, as the Second Vatican Council put it, 'there is no human activity—even in secular affairs—which can be withdrawn from God's dominion'. It means working to enrich . . . society and culture with the beauty and truth of the Gospel, and never losing sight of that great hope which gives meaning and value to all the other hopes which inspire our lives." — Pope Benedict XVI AN EXCERPT FROM Pope Benedict XVI
† VERSE OF THE DAY "...it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all. For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many." Mark 10:43b-45
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St. Ambrose of Milan (c. 340–397 A.D.) was born in Gaul (modern France) and became a successful lawyer and governor in Milan, Italy. When the bishop of Milan died in 374 A.D., a movement arose among the people to demand that Ambrose take his place. At the time Ambrose was only a catechumen preparing for baptism; he was not yet a Christian. He went into hiding in an attempt to escape the ecclesiastical appointment. His attempts to hide were unsuccessful; the emperor forbade anyone to gave him shelter, which forced him to give himself up and submit to the will of the people to be their bishop. Ambrose quickly received the sacraments, including Holy Orders, and was ordained the Bishop of Milan a week later. He became a very holy leader, giving his property to the poor and his land to the Church, and making himself directly available to the needs of all people. He also worked tirelessly to defend orthodox doctrine, especially against the pervasive Arian heresy which denied the divinity of Christ. St. Ambrose was the saint who introduced lectio divina, the practice of prayerfully meditating on the Sacred Scriptures, into the Latin Church. This informed his eloquent writing, preaching, and teaching, earning him the nickname "honey-tongued doctor." Ambrose was the bishop who converted and baptized St. Augustine of Hippo. He is one of the four original Doctors of the Church, and his statue is one of four that upholds the Chair of St. Peter inside St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. St. Ambrose's feast day is December 7th.
Memorial of Saint Ambrose, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
Readings for the Memorial of Saint Ambrose, bishop and doctor of the Church
Reading 1 IS 35:1-10
The desert and the parched land will exult; the steppe will rejoice and bloom. They will bloom with abundant flowers, and rejoice with joyful song. The glory of Lebanon will be given to them, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; They will see the glory of the LORD, the splendor of our God. Strengthen the hands that are feeble, make firm the knees that are weak, Say to those whose hearts are frightened: Be strong, fear not! Here is your God, he comes with vindication; With divine recompense he comes to save you. Then will the eyes of the blind be opened, the ears of the deaf be cleared; Then will the lame leap like a stag, then the tongue of the mute will sing. Streams will burst forth in the desert, and rivers in the steppe. The burning sands will become pools, and the thirsty ground, springs of water; The abode where jackals lurk will be a marsh for the reed and papyrus. A highway will be there, called the holy way; No one unclean may pass over it, nor fools go astray on it. No lion will be there, nor beast of prey go up to be met upon it. It is for those with a journey to make, and on it the redeemed will walk. Those whom the LORD has ransomed will return and enter Zion singing, crowned with everlasting joy; They will meet with joy and gladness, sorrow and mourning will flee.
Responsorial Psalm PS 85:9AB AND 10, 11-12, 13-14
R. (Isaiah 35:4f) Our God will come to save us! I will hear what God proclaims; the LORD –for he proclaims peace to his people. Near indeed is his salvation to those who fear him, glory dwelling in our land. R. Our God will come to save us! Kindness and truth shall meet; justice and peace shall kiss. Truth shall spring out of the earth, and justice shall look down from heaven. R. Our God will come to save us! The LORD himself will give his benefits; our land shall yield its increase. Justice shall walk before him, and salvation, along the way of his steps. R. Our God will come to save us!
R. Alleluia, alleluia. Behold the king will come, the Lord of the earth, and he himself will lift the yoke of our capacity. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel LK 5:17-26
One day as Jesus was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem, were sitting there, and the power of the Lord was with him for healing. And some men brought on a stretcher a man who was paralyzed; they were trying to bring him in and set him in his presence. But not finding a way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on the stretcher through the tiles into the middle in front of Jesus. When Jesus saw their faith, he said, "As for you, your sins are forgiven." Then the scribes and Pharisees began to ask themselves, "Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who but God alone can forgive sins?" Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them in reply, "What are you thinking in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Rise and walk'? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins"– he said to the one who was paralyzed, "I say to you, rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home." He stood up immediately before them, picked up what he had been lying on, and went home, glorifying God. Then astonishment seized them all and they glorified God, and, struck with awe, they said, "We have seen incredible things today."
Daily Meditation: Luke 5:17-26
He . . . went home, glorifying God. (Luke 5:25)
In a way, Advent puts us in the same spiritual position as the paralyzed man and his friends in today's Gospel reading.
Consider what was going through their minds. When they heard that Jesus was nearby, they must have had a great longing to see him. Why else would they take such an extreme action as ripping apart a roof? They surely had faith that Jesus could heal, and so they put forth a great effort to bring their friend to him. Then, when they finally encountered Jesus and his power to heal, they all left with resounding joy in their hearts.
Longing. Faith. Effort. Joy. Doesn't this make for a promising pattern for us this Advent? Like the men in this story, we all long to see Jesus. We long to experience his presence and receive his healing. Everyone has this longing, even those who can't quite put words to their desires. That's because we were made for Christ, and, as St. Augustine says, our hearts will be restless until they rest in Jesus.
When that longing arises in us, our best answer is to meet it with the faith that these men had. It's the faith that believes that Jesus really does love us and wants nothing but good for us. It's the faith that believes that Jesus can even bend the laws of nature to bring his healing love to our hearts.
Hearing that the Lord is near to us during Advent can stir up our longing for Jesus, and that can spur us to take action. The effort these men took to bring their friend to Jesus can inspire us to go out of our way to look for Jesus: through extra prayer, perhaps, or by spending a little more time pondering the Scriptures.
But it's not all about our longing and our action. Remember, the main goal of all of this is to come to Jesus. And Scripture shows us that all who come to Jesus with the faith of these men leave filled with joy. Their lives are changed because they have met the Son of God, whose love brought him to earth as our Savior.
So feel that longing. Acknowledge your faith. Make an extra effort to come to Jesus. Do this, and your heart will rejoice!
"Jesus, help me 'break open the roof' of my heart this Advent so that I can meet you."
Isaiah 35:1-10 Psalm 85:9-14
The happiness you are seeking, the happiness you have a right to enjoy, has a name and a face: it is Jesus of Nazareth. — Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, August 18th 2005
my2cents: "Be strong, fear not! Here is your God, he comes with vindication; With divine recompense he comes to save you." When praying with some, or teaching some, or both, I often get vibes, the feelings in the room. But our feelings can be deceiving. And so, much of what I do, sweating bullets, and praying and admonishing sins, there is a point in where I just have to trust the people with the message. And then I leave. I teach them to be strong, to not live in fear, and then I have to do it myself. And there is hope in the message as the message is left with hope, and in your hands my child.
We pray: "I will hear what God proclaims; the LORD –for he proclaims peace to his people. Near indeed is his salvation to those who fear him, glory dwelling in our land. Our God will come to save us!" What is the message for us in advent? In Lent? And in this terrible pandemic? Repent. Fear God. I made a video last night, perhaps you may choose to view it, https://youtu.be/defhOBd2UvY. In the video, we are asked to consider obedience, and we are asked to wait in silence. "We have said too much". We have to calm our souls and soothe the soul, with how we choose to receive the message. More on that.
In the Holy Gospel, some men take a paralyzed man up a roof, open the roof, and lower the man before Jesus. Our Lord says ""As for you, your sins are forgiven." Two ways we can take things as in the Gospel, for the good or the bad. For the good, people were amazed and believed. For the bad, some took offense at what He said.
The pandemic can be seen as a curse, from the serpent, or it can be seen as loving reproof from our God. That was the purpose of the video I made. It is a call to repentance. In the end, we can see who can intercede for us, as we hold dear to hope, the message from Heaven.
From Bishop Barron on today's Gospel: "Friends, our Gospel for today tells that wonderful story of the healing of the paralytic. People gather by the dozens to hear Jesus, crowding around the doorway of the house. They bring him a paralyzed man, and because there is no way to get him through the door, they climb up on the roof and open a space to lower him down. Can I suggest a connection between this wonderful narrative and our present evangelical situation? There are an awful lot of Catholics who are paralyzed, unable to move, frozen in regard to Christ and the Church. This might be from doubt, from fear, from anger, from old resentment, from ignorance, or from self-reproach. Some of these reasons might be good; some might be bad. Your job, as a believer, is to bring others to Christ. How? A word of encouragement, a challenge, an explanation, a word of forgiveness, a note, a phone call. We notice the wonderful urgency of these people as they bring the sick man to Jesus. Do we feel the same urgency within his Mystical Body today? Reflect: Who in your own circle of Catholic family and friends needs you to reach out to them with the hope and love of Christ? Will you reach out? How and when?"
When I look to the crowds of the flock of our Lord, what do I see most often? Take for instance, the rioters, the pandemic lovers, and the despondent, those who have grown even more bland by the depression of the news, what do I see? A flock in need of Jesus our Lord. How can we disseminate the message? How can the seed be spread throughout the land? You make it happen. You don't worry about how. Just make it happen. Our Lord, before ascending into Heaven, didn't say "HOW' but "WHAT" to do.
And so, the courageous men that ripped open the roof of the house new WHAT they needed to do, they had a clear objective.
And so the directive is handed to you today.
Rest assure, our Lord will be with us.
Lord, your will is my command, and I seek your will always. Send your Holy Spirit to enkindle the love and the light that we so much need in our lives today.
Random Bible verse from online generator
Deuteronomy 7:9 Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations,
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