The Peace Prayer indicates that if we spend a lot of time in front of the mirror staring at ourselves, we will never enjoy peace. We will continue to be chained to our fears, attachments, control issues, and sense of entitlement. Or we will go through each day seething with resentment. Or, even worse, we will constantly be throwing a pity party and feeling very much alone and isolated. Following the example of the Lord and Divine Master, like Saint Francis, we too must clear an interior space and empty ourselves for peace to blossom within our lives and the lives of others.
The Peace Prayer envisions us as farmers in the world. Like our Divine Master, we create an interior space by emptying ourselves of fears, attachments, control issues, and the sense of entitlement. We look beyond the pain others inflict upon us and refuse to strike back in violence. Indeed, we beat the swords of our hearts into plowshares and the spears of our souls into pruning hooks (see Isaiah 2:4). As instruments, we then ask for the grace to actively till the earth and sow the seeds of peace while waiting with great anticipation for the harvest of justice.
—from the book Soul Training with the Peace Prayer of Saint Francis by Albert Haase, OFM
†"Be patient, because the †weaknesses of the body are given to us in this world by God for the salvation of the soul. So they are of great merit when they are borne patiently." — St. Francis of Assisi
† MEDITATION OF THE DAY "Your Lord is seated at the Father's right hand in heaven. How then is the bread His body? And the chalice, or rather its content, how is it His Blood? These elements are called Sacraments, because in them one thing is perceived by the sense and another thing by the mind. What is seen has a bodily appearance; what the mind perceives produces spiritual fruit. You hear the words, 'The Body of Christ', and you answer 'Amen.'" — Saint Augustine, p. 91 AN EXCERPT FROM Augustine Day by Day
† VERSE OF THE DAY "This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you." John 15:12-14
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St. Barbara (3rd c.) was born in Nicomedia in modern day Turkey. According to tradition, after the death of her mother she was raised by her rich and tyrannical pagan father who, because of her beauty and intelligence, guarded her closely, keeping her locked away in a tower to protect her from the outside world. She was educated by tutors and came to reject the false gods she was taught to worship in favor of the true God for whom she yearned and wished to discover, dedicating her life and virginity to this purpose. She developed a prayer life and resisted her father's attempts to have her marry. Believing Barbara to be negatively affected by the seclusion, her father allowed her more freedom to associate with the world. She soon discovered Christians, and, recognizing the Creator she sought, and was baptized in secret. After informing her father that she was a Christian, he denounced her to the authorities under the persecution of Roman Emperor Maximian. She was imprisoned and cruelly tortured, but remained steadfast in her faith. During the night she would pray fervently, and her wounds would miraculously heal. This only subjected her to greater torments, followed by more miraculous interventions. She was finally beheaded by her own father, and afterward he was struck and killed by lightening as punishment. St. Barbara is the patron saint of firemen, armorers, artillerymen, military engineers, miners, and others who work with explosives. She is also the patron against storms, lightning, and fire, to name a few. St. Barbara's feast day is December 4th.
Friday of the First Week of Advent
Lectionary: 179 Reading 1
Thus says the Lord GOD: But a very little while, and Lebanon shall be changed into an orchard, and the orchard be regarded as a forest! On that day the deaf shall hear the words of a book; And out of gloom and darkness, the eyes of the blind shall see. The lowly will ever find joy in the LORD, and the poor rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. For the tyrant will be no more and the arrogant will have gone; All who are alert to do evil will be cut off, those whose mere word condemns a man, Who ensnare his defender at the gate, and leave the just man with an empty claim. Therefore thus says the LORD, the God of the house of Jacob, who redeemed Abraham: Now Jacob shall have nothing to be ashamed of, nor shall his face grow pale. When his children see the work of my hands in his midst, They shall keep my name holy; they shall reverence the Holy One of Jacob, and be in awe of the God of Israel. Those who err in spirit shall acquire understanding, and those who find fault shall receive instruction.
PS 27:1, 4, 13-14
R. (1a) The Lord is my light and my salvation. The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear? The LORD is my life's refuge;
of whom should I be afraid? R. The Lord is my light and my salvation. One thing I ask of the LORD; this I seek: To dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, That I may gaze on the loveliness of the LORD and contemplate his temple. R. The Lord is my light and my salvation. I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD with courage; be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD. R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
Alleluia R. Alleluia, alleluia. Behold, our Lord shall come with power; he will enlighten the eyes of his servants. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
As Jesus passed by, two blind men followed him, crying out, "Son of David, have pity on us!" When he entered the house, the blind men approached him and Jesus said to them, "Do you believe that I can do this?" "Yes, Lord," they said to him. Then he touched their eyes and said, "Let it be done for you according to your faith." And their eyes were opened. Jesus warned them sternly, "See that no one knows about this." But they went out and spread word of him through all that land.
Daily Meditation: Matthew 9:27-31
Son of David, have pity on us! (Matthew 9:27)
Can you imagine being blind and then suddenly being able to see? What a stupendous miracle it was for Jesus to restore the sight of these two men! And yet consider the other miracle—that two blind men called out to Jesus because they had the faith to believe that he could heal them.
Invoking Jesus for help is the first part of any healing miracle. That's why this verse has been used for centuries by the Eastern churches as the basis for prayer. Since at least the sixth century, both religious and laypeople have gone through their days reciting the "Jesus Prayer": "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, have mercy on me, a sinner."
Because the Jesus Prayer, like the Rosary, is both simple and repetitive, it helps us to cry out continually to the Lord. In this prayer, the mercy we are asking for certainly includes physical healing, which was the request of the two blind men. But it also includes any other kind of healing we may need Jesus to do in us—spiritual, emotional, or relational.
To better prepare for the grace God has in store for you this Christmas, you might try praying the Jesus Prayer yourself. But before you begin, imagine you are one of these blind men. You can't see Jesus either, but you know he is there. As you say the words "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God," visualize him standing before you. Think of how amazing it is that the Lord of the universe came down from heaven so that you could speak to him personally.
Then, as you pray, "Have mercy on me, a sinner," focus on the word "mercy." When you encounter Jesus, you can't help but encounter his mercy. His mercy encompasses everything he is—his unfailing love, his forgiveness, his kindness, and his goodness. As you repeat the words of the prayer, receive the Lord's mercy. Remember, he came not to condemn you but to heal and deliver you. He came to help you "see" the truth that he is all you need. And knowing that is a miracle in itself.
"Lord Jesus, open my heart to know you in a deeper way."
Isaiah 29:17-24 Psalm 27:1, 4, 13-14
Though Moses was not permitted to enter the land of promise, he was vouchsafed a sight of it from a distance. We too, though as yet we are not admitted to heavenly glory, yet are given to see much, in preparation for seeing more. — St. John Henry Newman from an Advent sermon in Parochial and Plain Sermons
my2cents: Have faith to receive. It takes two parts. Yours, and His is already there. I'm on my way to help at funerals today. May the Spirit of our Lord keep you in tighter union to His grace.
We pray: The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear? The LORD is my life's refuge;
of whom should I be afraid?
We heard in the Gospel: "Do you believe that I can do this?" "Yes, Lord," they said to him.
From Bishop Barron: "Friends, today's Gospel passage celebrates the faith of two blind men. To have faith is—to use the current jargon—to live outside the box, risking, venturing, believing the impossible. When we remain in the narrow confines of our perceptions, our thoughts, or our hopes, we live in a very cramped way. We become closed off to the possibility that sometimes the power of faith is manifested in spectacular and immediately obvious ways. When someone consciously and confidently opens himself to God, acting as a kind of conduit, the divine energy can flow.
Faith allows someone to live in detachment from all of the ups and downs of life. In the language of St. Ignatius of Loyola: "As far as we are concerned, we should not prefer health to sickness, riches to poverty, honor to dishonor, a long life to a short life." Someone that lives in that kind of detachment is free, and because they are free, they are powerful. They are beyond the threats that arise in the context of this world. This is the source of dynamis, of real power.
Reflect: How free are you from attachments to people and things of this world? Is there anyone or anything you believe you couldn't "live" without?
Random Bible verse from online generator James 3:7–9
For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.
If one day you don't receive these, just visit Going4th.com God Bless You! Peace
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