Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Devotion for today: What Child Is This?

What Child is this who, laid to rest
On Mary's lap, is sleeping?
Whom Angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and Angels sing;
Haste, haste, to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

Scripture for today:  Rev. 1:5-6
 To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Christ tells us: John 15:26-27:
But when the Advocate comes, whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he shall give testimony of me.  And you shall give testimony, because you are with me from the beginning.”

Blessed John Paul II, in his encyclical letter Redemptoris Missio states:
On the Permanent Validity of the Church's Missionary Mandate
42. People today put more trust in witnesses than in teachers, in experience than in teaching, and in life and action than in theories. The witness of a Christian life is the first and irreplaceable form of mission: Christ, whose mission we continue, is the "witness" par excellence (Rv 1:5; 3:14) and the model of all Christian witness. The Holy Spirit accompanies the Church along her way and associates her with the witness he gives to Christ (cf. Jn 15:26-27). The first form of witness is the very life of the missionary, of the Christian family, and of the ecclesial community, which reveal a new way of living. The missionary who, despite all his or her human limitations and defects, lives a simple life, taking Christ as the model, is a sign of God and of transcendent realities. But everyone in the Church, striving to imitate the Divine Master, can and must bear this kind of witness; in many cases it is the only possible way of being a missionary. The evangelical witness which the world finds most appealing is that of concern for people, and of charity toward the poor, the weak and those who suffer. The complete generosity underlying this attitude and these actions stands in marked contrast to human selfishness. It raises precise questions which lead to God and to the Gospel. A commitment to peace, justice, human rights and human promotion is also a witness to the Gospel when it is a sign of concern for persons and is directed toward integral human development.

My thoughts: Our Christmas Carol today asks a very important question. “What Child is this?” Many people in our lives can ask us that very question. “Who is this Jesus you believe in? Why do you believe in Him? What is in it for you? Where do you learn about Him? How can I learn more? Why should I even bother; your life seems the same as mine, and I don’t have all those rules to follow!” Today let us ask ourselves these very questions, and ask a few more, “If anyone knows me, do they know Christ? Does my very life itself make me a witness to a life filled with the love and grace of God? Am I someone who brings people closer to God’s love simply by the way I live?” If you can be Christ to others, they will no longer wonder “What Child is this?” They will know.

On the second day of Christmas, let us offer this prayer to God:
For Those Who Do Not Believe in Christ:
Let us pray:
For those who do not believe in Christ, that the light of the Holy Spirit may show them the way to salvation. Almighty and eternal God, enable those who do not acknowledge Christ to find the truth as they walk before you in sincerity of heart. Help us to grow in love for one another, to grasp more fully the mystery of your godhead, and to become more perfect witnesses of your love in the sight of men.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.  Amen.
For Those Who Do Not Believe in God:
Let us pray:
For those who do not believe in God, that they may find Him by sincerely following all that is right.
Almighty and eternal God, you created mankind so that all might long to find you and have peace when you are found, grant that, in a spite of the hurtful things that stand in their way, they may all recognize in the lives of Christians the tokens of your love and mercy, and gladly acknowledge you as the one true God and Father of us all.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen (Good Friday Prayer: intercessory prayer)

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