The godly deeds of the Peace Prayer illumine a new portrait of God. In a world made gloomy by the image of a warrior God or a vengeful God or a picayune God, godly deeds are incarnations of "the Father of lights" (James 1:17). Helping the elderly neighbor with grocery shopping, accepting someone despite his or her lifestyle, deciding to recycle, valiantly ministering to the sick during a pandemic, contributing to a charitable organization, encouraging someone with a pat on the back, and refusing to strike back in violence all witness to how God uses his instruments and servants to express and reflect the divine care, concern, and compassion for creation. God is the source of all deeds of light, and his vibrant presence mysteriously glistens behind them. Godly deeds also illumine the familial relationship we share with one another. We are family—brothers and sisters to one another. "But if we walk in the light as [Jesus] is in the light, then we have fellowship with one another…" (1 John 1:7). Following in the footsteps of the Lord and Divine Master is never a solitary affair. In the Peace Prayer, we pray to sow light in the midst of darkness. That light comes from the flame of faith that has illumined our paths since the day of our baptism. The Peace Prayer reminds us to brighten the lives of others with deeds that manifest our familial bonds as children of a loving, forgiving God who, in the words of Francis of Assisi, is reflected in Brother Sun.
—from the book Soul Training with the Peace Prayer of Saint Francis by Albert Haase, OFM
†Saint Quote "The sacred heart of Christ is an inexhaustible fountain, and its sole desire is to pour itself out into the hearts of the humble so as to free them and prepare them to lead lives according to his good pleasure." — St. Margaret Mary
† MEDITATION OF THE DAY "Mary remained with the donkey at the very entrance of the street while Joseph sought a lodging in the nearest houses—in vain, for Bethlehem was full of strangers, all running from place to place. Joseph returned to Mary, saying that as no shelter was to be found there, they would go on farther into the town. He led the donkey on by the bridle, and the Blessed Virgin walked beside him. When they came to the beginning of another street, Mary again stopped by the donkey, and Joseph again went from house to house in vain seeking a lodging, and again came sadly back. This happened several times, and the Blessed Virgin often had long to wait. Everywhere the houses were filled with people, everywhere he was turned away ... Joseph led the Blessed Virgin to [a] tree, and made her a comfortable seat against its trunk with their bundles, so that she might rest while he sought for shelter in the houses near. ... At first Mary stood upright, leaning against the tree. Her ample white woollen dress had no girdle and hung around her in folds: her head was covered with a white veil. Many people passed by and looked at her, not knowing that the Redeemer was so near to them. She was so patient, so humble, so full of hopeful expectation. Ah, she had to wait a long, long time; she sat down at last on the rug, crossing her feet under her. She sat with her head bent and her hands crossed below her breast. Joseph came back to her in great distress; he had found no shelter. His friends, of whom he had spoken to the Blessed Virgin, would hardly recognize him. He was in tears and Mary comforted him." — Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich, p.185 AN EXCERPT FROM The Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary From the Visions of Ven. Anne Catherine Emmerich
†VERSE OF THE DAY "Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful." James 5:16
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ST. ZENO OF NICOMEDIA
St. Zeno of Nicomedia (d. 303 A.D.) was a Roman soldier and commander living in Nicomedia (modern-day Turkey) during the reign of Roman Emperors Diocletian and Maximian. During their fierce persecution of the Church they were condemning many Christians to death, including any soldiers who professed faith in Jesus Christ. In Nicomedia alone, as many as 20,000 Christians were burned alive as they gathered inside a cathedral on Christmas Day. Standing nearby when the Emperor was offering a sacrifice to a Roman deity, St. Zeno, a Christian, mocked his devotion to a soulless god. St. Zeno was immediately seized and put to death, giving him a martyr's crown. St. Zeno's feast day is December 22nd.
Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Advent
Lectionary: 198 Reading 1
1 SM 1:24-28
In those days, Hannah brought Samuel with her, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour, and a skin of wine, and presented him at the temple of the LORD in Shiloh. After the boy's father had sacrificed the young bull, Hannah, his mother, approached Eli and said: "Pardon, my lord! As you live, my lord, I am the woman who stood near you here, praying to the LORD. I prayed for this child, and the LORD granted my request. Now I, in turn, give him to the LORD; as long as he lives, he shall be dedicated to the LORD." She left Samuel there.
1 SAMUEL 2:1, 4-5, 6-7, 8ABCD
R. (see 1a) My heart exults in the Lord, my Savior. "My heart exults in the LORD, my horn is exalted in my God. I have swallowed up my enemies; I rejoice in my victory." R. My heart exults in the Lord, my Savior. "The bows of the mighty are broken, while the tottering gird on strength. The well-fed hire themselves out for bread, while the hungry batten on spoil. The barren wife bears seven sons, while the mother of many languishes." R. My heart exults in the Lord, my Savior. "The LORD puts to death and gives life; he casts down to the nether world; he raises up again. The LORD makes poor and makes rich, he humbles, he also exalts." R. My heart exults in the Lord, my Savior. "He raises the needy from the dust; from the dung heap he lifts up the poor, To seat them with nobles and make a glorious throne their heritage." R. My heart exults in the Lord, my Savior.
Alleluia R. Alleluia, alleluia. O King of all nations and keystone of the Church: come and save man, whom you formed from the dust! R. Alleluia, alleluia.
"My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior. for he has looked upon his lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name. He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation. He has shown the strength of his arm, and has scattered the proud in their conceit. He has cast down the mighty from their thrones and has lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has come to the help of his servant Israel for he remembered his promise of mercy, the promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children for ever."
Mary remained with Elizabeth about three months and then returned to her home.
Daily Meditation: Luke 1:46-56
The Almighty has done great things for me. (Luke 1:49)
Scripture is full of heroes and heroines like Mary who can point to truly great and dramatic ways that God worked in their lives. However, these pinnacle moments were not the sum total of these heroes' existence. They happened in the midst of everyday moments of seeking the Lord and trying to follow him. These heroes reached out for God again and again, in good times and bad.
Take Hannah from our first reading. Her childlessness caused her great upset. But God blessed her and provided people to care for her. Her husband, Elkanah, understood her sadness and tried to comfort her. Surely his decision to bring the family to the Lord's shrine at Shiloh every year strengthened Hannah's faith. She must have come to feel at home in God's house, where she could pour out her heart in prayer.
God even used the way Hannah's rival taunted her about her barrenness. Although this mockery hurt her deeply, it drove Hannah to seek solace in the Lord. All that prayer and Elkanah's loving care helped her to leave her petition at the Lord's feet so that she "no longer appeared downhearted" (1 Samuel 1:18).
Because she developed her friendship with God in everyday ways, Hannah was ready to rejoice when God did perform a miracle for her. Not only did she conceive a son, Samuel, but once she had consecrated him to the Lord, she went on to bear five more children. She also had the satisfaction of seeing Samuel grow up to become a righteous, powerful prophet and leader of the children of Israel.
The same principle applies to us. Faithfulness in the everyday moments of our lives prepares us for the bigger things that God will do in us and through us. So stay close to him throughout your day, whether you are running errands or working at your job or changing yet another diaper. No moment spent in his company is unimportant. No small act of obedience or love is insignificant. Because he does have great things in store for you.
"Lord Almighty, I give you praise for all the great things you have done for me and for the even greater things you have in store for me!"
1 Samuel 1:24-28 (Psalm) 1 Samuel 2:1, 4-8
Augustus was the son of a god and he asked the whole human race to swear loyalty to him as "Father". It's at this moment that God the Father sent the real Son of God into the world... God works His providence even in the midst of human foibles. — Dr. Edmund Mazza from Rediscovering Christmas
my2cents: "Now I, in turn, give him to the LORD; as long as he lives, he shall be dedicated to the LORD." A promise kept. A promise fulfilled. And the world was changed. And God always keeps His promises.
We pray: ""He raises the needy from the dust; from the dung heap he lifts up the poor, To seat them with nobles and make a glorious throne their heritage. My heart exults in the Lord, my Savior."
Mother Mary says: ""My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior. for he has looked upon his lowly servant." This is a song. This is a prayer. This is a position. This is our prayer. This is Mother teaching us how to pray, how to live, how to be in position before our Lord, that is our place before Him.
How great is our God? She proclaims His greatness above all things.
From Bishop Barron: "Friends, in today's Gospel, we hear the Magnificat—Mary's great hymn of praise to Yahweh. The hymn commences with the simple declaration, "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord." Or, as many other translations have it, "My soul magnifies the Lord." Mary announces here that her whole being is ordered to the glorification of God. Her ego wants nothing for itself; it wants only to be an occasion for giving honor to God. But since God needs nothing, whatever glory Mary gives to him returns to her benefit, so that she is magnified in the very act of magnifying him. In giving herself away fully to God, Mary becomes a superabundant source of life; indeed, she becomes pregnant with God. This odd and wonderful rhythm of magnifying and being magnified is the key to understanding everything about Mary, from her divine motherhood, to her Assumption and Immaculate Conception, to her mission in the life of the Church. Reflect: Think about times when you have given yourself away to God and became a source of life for someone. Or, if this hasn't happened to you, how can you submit to God now and trust that his plan will lead to abundant life?"
Mother Mary ends today with: "He has come to the help of his servant Israel for he remembered his promise of mercy, the promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children for ever." The promise. The promise is born on Christmas. The Mass of Christ. The Christ-Mass message. And our Lord reminds us to not be afraid. To trust. The world seems to be falling apart. Do you trust? Can you trust?
Lord, our world does seem to be falling apart, but Your promise had endured much more than this, and for much longer. Help us live on the promise You gave us on the manger, the crib, the feeding trough for all the living....a life with You fully.
Random online bible verse: Ephesians 21 By Grace Through Faith
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body1 and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.2 Footnotes
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