Where Do We See Jesus? A girl holds her baby Jesus figurine as Pope Francis leads the Angelus from the window of his apartment overlooking St. Peter'
Where Do We See Jesus?
A girl holds her baby Jesus figurine as Pope Francis leads the Angelus from the window of his apartment overlooking St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Dec. 11. In an annual tradition, Roman children brought their figurines of the baby Jesus to the Angelus. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
We might find it easier to imagine the first coming of Jesus as an infant at Nazareth than his coming to us each and every day. We know through faith his presence in the Eucharist. We may have glimmers of awareness of a divine presence with us as we move through our daily routines. As we recall the event of his birth, we might pray for the grace to see his face more frequently. The Gospels give us some clues where to look: in the poor, the homeless, the naked, the hungry, the imprisoned, the oppressed. And once we see him there, how can we not do whatever we can to serve him there? This is the grace for which we pray when we say, "Come, Lord Jesus."
—from The Joy of Advent: Daily Reflections from Pope Francis by Diane M. Houdek
✞"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 "Learn to be humble by doing all the humble work and doing it for Jesus. You cannot learn humility from books; you learn it by accepting humiliations. Humiliations are not meant to torture us; they are gifts from God. These little humiliations—if we accept them with joy—will help us to be holy, to have a meek and humble heart like Jesus."♥ — St. Teresa of Calcutta, p.43 AN EXCERPT FROM Thirsting for God: Mother Teresa
✞ VERSE OF THE DAY "And Jesus came and said to them, 'All authority 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, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to 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.
Friday of the Second Week of Advent
Reading 1 Is 48:17-19
Thus says the LORD, your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: I, the LORD, your God, teach you what is for your good, and lead you on the way you should go. If you would hearken to my commandments, your prosperity would be like a river, and your vindication like the waves of the sea; Your descendants would be like the sand, and those born of your stock like its grains, Their name never cut off or blotted out from my presence.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 1:1-2, 3, 4 and 6 R. (see John 8:12) Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light 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 follow you, Lord, will have the light 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 follow you, Lord, will have the light 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 follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.
Alleluia R. Alleluia, alleluia. The Lord will come; go out to meet him! He is the prince of peace. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Mt 11:16-19
Jesus said to the crowds: "To what shall I compare this generation? It is like children who sit in marketplaces and call to one another, 'We played the flute for you, but you did not dance, we sang a dirge but you did not mourn.' For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they said, 'He is possessed by a demon.' The Son of Man came eating and drinking and they said, 'Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.' But wisdom is vindicated by her works."
Meditation: Psalm 1:1-4, 6
He is like a tree planted near running water. (Psalm 1:3)
It sounds peaceful: a big tree, planted "near running water," its roots sunk down into the fertile soil (Psalm 1:3). That tree would be guaranteed constant refreshment and nourishment. Wouldn't it be great to have a similar peaceful life? Being tapped into what nourishes us, we would always feel invigorated, cared for, sustained.
The good news is that we do have a constant, streaming source of nourishment: Jesus. How do we "tap into" his refreshing life? If we listen to the saints, one particular way stands out: Eucharistic adoration.
Here's what St. Catherine Labouré has to say:
"Whenever I go to the chapel, I put myself in the presence of our good Lord, and I say to him, 'Lord, I am here. Tell me what you would have me to do.' . . . And then, I tell God everything that is in my heart. I tell him about my pains and my joys, and then I listen. If you listen, God will also speak to you, for with the good Lord, you have to both speak and listen. God always speaks to you when you approach him plainly and simply."
St. Catherine describes spending time relaxed and comfortable in Jesus' presence in the Blessed Sacrament. She brought him her concerns and needs. But she also sat and listened to him. She was a lot like the psalmist's tree, quietly absorbing the constant flow of life. We can do it too. Eucharistic adoration provides a time set apart from our everyday responsibilities. It's a time to listen, learn, and absorb. Beyond pouring out our concerns, we simply sit in his presence. We enjoy him.
Try this the next time you are able to go to adoration: sit with Jesus with no particular agenda. Enjoy his company. Soak in the peace of those moments set apart for him. If you find your mind wandering, you might want to try to imagine that tree near streams of water. The more time you spend with Jesus, the more comfortable you will become, and the easier you'll find it to sense his presence and hear his voice.
So go! Rest by the river and absorb those nourishing, healthy waters.
"Lord, I thank you for the gift of Eucharistic adoration! I love your Presence."
Isaiah 48:17-19 Matthew 11:16-19
Our Lord said to you and me:
"I, the LORD, your God, teach you what is for your good"
We prayed today: "Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light 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." The other day, someone was speaking about having attending a homosexual wedding of a friend. At the long end of the conversation, mostly me speaking about it, about how we are sold on the devil's lies like when it says "don't judge me" and "i've always been this way" and "i was born this way" and "we deserve equal rights". These are counsels of the wicked. Yes Jesus ate with sinners, yes Jesus loves sinners, but He too counseled them...taught them what is good for their eternity...LIFE! Life is precious to Him. Is it to you? This whole thing becomes a Life issue, for babies....HIS baby: you and me.
In the Holy Gospel our Lord said "But wisdom is vindicated by her works." The book of Wisdom (Catholic Bible) is always referring to Wisdom as "Her". He believes this about wisdom, vindication, and vindication by works. Not faith alone. Vindicated by what comes out of it, hereby verifying fruits. Jesus ate at festivals, weddings, religious holy days, and sat surrounded by sinners, and government officials most Jewish people didn't like. Prostitutes lay at His feet. He held them as His precious creatures but more...His children. "Don't you look down on them or lead them astray!". Because when we see someone in the wrong, people look away from them, look down on them, shake their heads, wag their tongues, and lift not one finger to help Lazarus at the doorstep of your life. And so they looked down on Jesus, becoming "holier than thou". Pope Francis when first becoming Pope said "the shepherds, the pastors should smell like the sheep". What does this mean? It means being involved directly with God's flock. Not just preaching, but really teaching with hands on methods. This method is called: amor.
I warned my RCIA students about the nonsense that happens in the church. It is normal because the church is made up of all sorts of people. Everyone with all their funky quirks, gotta love them all. In the coming year, a sense of great weight is felt. Please, we can't predict the future, but a prophecy holds true forever. Jesus said "The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand". And the other day He said "it is being taken by force". Forced to do things it does not want to do. The flutes play, the dirge plays. People are born, people die. I celebrate at more funerals than baptisms.
My child, when is life going to change?
Let me give you an inkling, a morsel from Heaven: There, you will experience a childhood you could only dream about. Boys and girls are just kids. Kids are peculiar people. They laugh alot. Sometimes they cry, but forget why they cried. And they are so happy to see their Father and mother. If Heaven is bliss, it is because of this: someone loves more. Then this race is about that...not about who can love me, but who can I love with God's love. There is someone at work that says they are atheist. I find it hard to believe. Why? Because, they believe in love. They are very generous. God sees this. And says "what else can you give?" People say "joy and peace". St. Francis would greet "Peace and all good" (got it from Franciscanmedia email this morning).
I want you to experience this. It comes by way of grace, holiness, oneness with the Triune God. Why does God want this for the sinner? Because our hearts are restless until they find rest in Him. When you are done being uncomfortable, seek Him. When you are done with living apart, come sit with Him. When the world shows no mercy, come sit at His side. When life seems so short, so baffling, come see Him. When you can't let go of your addictions, speak with Him. When you are afraid, come take His hand. He stretches out on the waters He walks on. "Come my child" You can do it. Have faith.
Faith saves indeed, and taking the first step is work. Cherish every moment you can spend on and with God. This is a gift, His Holy Presence is the ever present.
He is at the Blessed Sacrament. He is in the poor (forgotten, lost, in despair, alone). He is in every soul He desires to live in.
He desires to live inside of you.
We've been rejected for Posada (an inn) for the re-enactment of Joseph and Mary on their way. People don't want us to sing at their doorstep. They love Jesus but reject Mary. People want all the fruit with no labor. All the cream but no pie. It is a humiliation. I've knocked on doors when a house was not signed up for and been rejected when I asked "can we sing at your doorstep" and they say no and close their doors.
My child, if you only knew what you are closing your doors to....salvation.
Let us be people that always say Yes to the Lord. Don't be afraid. You have been feeding on the wrong food for a long time now. That food and drink have hurt you. Feed on this: Jesus.
That is why He was born and lay down on a feeding trough in a stable.
Everyone is afraid to eat the wrong or dangerous food for their bodies, but not for their souls which affects the body 10 times more!