Christian joy is not simply a superficial feeling of heightened delight or the emotion accompanying extreme pleasure. It does not necessarily depend upon one's immediate circumstances or fortune as taught by Saint Francis's example. It does not ignore or deny the troubling reality of indifference, hopelessness, or disappointment. Christian joy lies beyond the realm of feelings and emotions. It is a fundamental disposition and stance toward life. Descriptive metaphors for it abound: It is the knowledge that having prayed and surrendered, God hears the hopes and desires of my heart and will respond in a timely, appropriate way. God is my shepherd and I must trust God's heart. Joy feeds on the fact that God stands watch over every situation in my life and guides me with rod and staff. My joy sometimes bubbles up, sometimes surges up, from the rock-bottom certainty that the finger of God is somehow present in every tragic or trivial event. Joy is the oasis residing in the confident conviction that the waters of God's loving care and concern never run dry—not even in the desert. The gratuity of grace is always unending and never expiring.
—from the book Soul Training with the Peace Prayer of Saint Francis by Albert Haase, OFM
†Saint Quote "Every pious desire, every good thought, every charitable work inspired by the love of Jesus, contributes to the perfection of the whole body of the faithful. A person who does nothing more than lovingly pray to God for his brethren, participates in the great work of saving souls." — Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich
†MEDITATION OF THE DAY "The life of our flesh is the delight of sensuality; its death is to take from it all sensible delight. The life of our judgment and our will is to dispose of ourselves and what is ours, according to our own views and wishes; their death, then, is to submit ourselves in all things to the judgment and will of others. The life of the desire for esteem and respect is to be well thought of by everyone; its death, therefore, is to hide ourselves so as not to be known, by means of continual acts of humility and self-abasement. Until one succeeds in dying in this manner, he will never be a servant of God, nor will God ever perfectly live in him." —St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi, p. 126 AN EXCERPT FROM Cultivating Virtue: Self-Mastery With the Saints
†VERSE OF THE DAY "Then Jesus approached and said to them, "All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age."" Matthew 28:18-20
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ST. VIRGINIA CENTURIONE BRACELLI
St. Virginia Centurione Bracelli (1587–1651) was born in Genoa, Italy, to an aristocratic family. She was pious and desired the religious life, however, at the age of fifteen she was forced into an arranged marriage. Her husband, a wealthy and illustrious man, lived dissolutely as a drinker and a gambler despite Virginia's good example. After having two daughters, Virginia was widowed at the age of twenty. Refusing another arranged marriage, Virginia took a vow of celibacy and began charitable works in service of the sick and poor while raising her children. Once her daughters were grown, she used her wealth to found a refuge center for the suffering which grew into a large hospital, and soon into two religious congregations: the Sisters of Our Lady of Refuge in Mount Calvary, and the Daughters of Our Lady on Mount Calvary. Virginia was committed not only to serving the poor and destitute—even to the point of seeking them out in the streets—she was also committed to training the underprivileged with skills so that they could attain a better way of life. She also worked as a peacemaker to help settle the frequent bloody rivalries which rose up between noble families. St. Virginia Centurione Bracelli's feast day is December 15.
Wednesday of the Third Week of Advent
Reading 1 IS 45:6C-8, 18, 21C-25
I am the LORD, there is no other; I form the light, and create the darkness, I make well-being and create woe; I, the LORD, do all these things. Let justice descend, O heavens, like dew from above, like gentle rain let the skies drop it down. Let the earth open and salvation bud forth; let justice also spring up! I, the LORD, have created this. For thus says the LORD, The creator of the heavens, who is God, The designer and maker of the earth who established it, Not creating it to be a waste, but designing it be lived in: I am the LORD, and there is no other. Who announced this from the beginning and foretold it from of old? Was it not I, the LORD, besides whom there is no other God? There is no just and saving God but me. Turn to me and be safe, all you ends of the earth, for I am God; there is no other! By myself I swear, uttering my just decree and my unalterable word: To me every knee shall bend; by me every tongue shall swear, Saying, "Only in the LORD are just deeds and power. Before him in shame shall come all who vent their anger against him. In the LORD shall be the vindication and the glory of all the descendants of Israel."
Responsorial Psalm PS 85:9AB AND 10, 11-12, 13-14
R. (Isaiah 45:8) Let the clouds rain down the Just One, and the earth bring forth a Savior. 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. Let the clouds rain down the Just One, and the earth bring forth a Savior. 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. Let the clouds rain down the Just One, and the earth bring forth a Savior. 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. Let the clouds rain down the Just One, and the earth bring forth a Savior.
Alleluia See IS 40:9-10
R. Alleluia, alleluia. Raise your voice and tell the Good News: Behold, the Lord GOD comes with power. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel LK 7:18B-23
At that time, John summoned two of his disciples and sent them to the Lord to ask, "Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?" When the men came to the Lord, they said, "John the Baptist has sent us to you to ask, 'Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?'" At that time Jesus cured many of their diseases, sufferings, and evil spirits; he also granted sight to many who were blind. And Jesus said to them in reply, "Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the good news proclaimed to them. And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me."
Daily Meditation: Luke 7:18-23
Blessed is the one who takes no offense at me. (Luke 7:23)
Admittedly, it can be hard to accept the unexpected. But that's what many in Jesus' time were asked to do. There were differing expectations about what the Messiah would be like. Would he be a military figure? Would he be a benevolent king? But Jesus completely upended these expectations. The Messiah was, in fact, a humble carpenter.
Yet there were people who did accept Jesus as the Messiah. Concerning them, Jesus said, "Blessed is the one who takes no offense at me" (Luke 7:23). So how were some able to receive Jesus without being offended by the manner in which he came? They had to surrender their original expectations for the Messiah. Then they were free to receive the faith that allowed them to see Jesus for who he really is.
We too sometimes have to surrender our expectations in order to find the faith to see Jesus working in our lives. It's the process we engage in when, for example, an adult child has to move back home. We expected that he would be able to live on his own. But when we leave our expectations at the door, we might just be able to recognize Jesus at work drawing us closer to this child. Or maybe we didn't expect to lose our job but saw God providing for our needs through various offers of help we received.
That's not to say that working through such scenarios is a simple process or that it's comfortable. It can get messy at times. Sometimes we don't know we are carrying expectations until they're left unmet, and we discover them as a situation unfolds. Sometimes we experience disappointment or loss. But the Lord is still with us, ready to help us navigate the circumstances and show us how he is extending his love to us.
This Advent, if you find that your expectations are unmet or need a major adjustment, surrender them to the Lord. Ask for the grace to believe that he will be working in every situation, whether it's something you anticipated or not. As you open your heart and mind to see Jesus revealing himself to you, then you will be blessed indeed!
"Jesus, I am so blessed. Help me to be open to all that you are doing in my life."
Isaiah 45:6-8, 18, 21-25 Psalm 85:9-14
That God gives children in order to take them again is something Mary knows not only from her human knowledge but even more from her knowledge of the Son in faith… Thus she gives him, at Christmas, both to the world and to the Father. She gives him to the world created by God that it may be redeemed, and she gives him to the Father that he may redeem the world. — Adrienne von Speyr from Handmaid of the Lord
my2cents: "Let the earth open and salvation bud forth; let justice also spring up! I, the LORD, have created this."
We pray: "Let the clouds rain down the Just One, and the earth bring forth a Savior. 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."
We heard St. John the Baptist: "Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?" St. John was in prison when he had them ask our Lord the question. Was John in need of help? A savior? Why did he send two of his own disciples to our Lord? St. John knew our Lord, they perhaps seen each other, as cousins growing up, a few times or more. He knew WHO Jesus was more than most people walking the earth ever would. So why would He have them ask our Lord?
St. John was handing over his life for the Lord our God. And like Elijah, he was now commending the next prophet through emissaries, two to Jesus, two of the best, new disciples for our Lord...for the truth...for John was about to die for the truth. They say St. Joseph also suffered for our Lord, for he offered all his sufferings and death to and for our Lord. Mother Mary leads the way too, in this way. I've only to step outside my house to see a state of our Mother, with tears that have appeared and will not go away. Sorrowful Mother, pray for us.
""Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the good news proclaimed to them. And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me." Even in the pandemic, we still hear of some that take offense at our only shot at Salvation...Jesus.
Do we not know that this debilitating pandemic is meant to bring us to our knees?
It is a beginning when darkness in unleashed, bats mixed with humans, vampires are dark spirits. The most man loving people (meaning nation) will be bitten by the bat. Evil. Darkness. We need to realize what has caused this pandemic. It is darkness itself. False gods. It is the very technology that has turned against us...in medicine. False gods are false ideals. And for the last several decades, I have witnessed the rise of many false ideals, such as moral relativism, and auto and self sufficiency (no need for God). In a cursillo, a short course in Christianity, we learn what are false ideals and what is a true ideal. But first we must learn what false ideals are there that we follow.
I have seen for decades flourishing communities and a well to do lifestyle, people healthy, happy at bars, going out always, pleasure seeking full time, and bickering and backstabbing at the same time with their mouths. Spiritually, we have been going blind, we have become lame. Lame and blind to Christ and even dead to Christ. Only the poor have good news proclaimed.
Lately, I've run into ex-convicts in my parish, and I have high hopes for them to have a true conversion, why do I bring them up? Because immediately my mind went to the poor. The poor appreciate the Word made Flesh. The poor lay down their lives for Christ. John the Baptist was poor, living off the land, and was preaching full time, wearing animal skins for clothes.
All sorts of people flocked to him in the wilderness, rich and poor, and many came to believe in our Lord Jesus, because he prepared the way of the Lord. These prophetic words have reached you in hopes that they will enter your heart.
Lord, I am not worthy....to untie your sandal, much less for you to come under my roof, but only say the Word, and it shall be done, we shall be healed, and we shall be saved! We flock to you and kneel before your mighty presence!
Random online bible verse: John 6 35 Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.
If one day you don't receive these, just visit Going4th.com God Bless You! Peace
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