Saturday, November 19, 2011

Devotion for Saturday/Sunday: The King of Glory Comes

The King of Glory Comes

The King of glory comes,
the nation rejoices.
Open the gates before him,
lift up your voices.

 Who is the King of glory;
how shall we call him?
He is Emmanuel,
the promised of ages.

 In all of Galilee,
in city or village,
He goes among his people
curing their illness.

 Sing then of David’s Son,
our Savior and brother;
In all of Galilee
was never another.

 He gave his life for us,
the pledge of salvation,
He took upon himself
the sins of the nation.

 He conquered sin and death;
he truly has risen,
And he will share with us
his heavenly vision.

Text © 1966, Willard F. Jabusch.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Devotion for today: Christ is King

Sunday the Church celebrates the Feast of Christ the King. It is the last Sunday of this liturgical year.

Scripture for meditation: Philippian 2:10-11
That at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth and under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father.

Christ tells us: John 18:36-39
"My Kingdom is not of this world.” At this Pilate said to Him, “So, then, You are a king?” Jesus replied: “You are right in saying I am a King. The reason I was born, the reason why I came into the world, is to testify to the truth."

Pope Pius XI explains, in his Encyclical Letter Quas Primas #11-12:
Christ Himself speaks of His Own kingly authority: in His last discourse, speaking of the rewards and punishments that will be the eternal lot of the just and the damned; in His reply to the Roman magistrate, who asked Him publicly whether He were a king or not; after His resurrection, when giving to His Apostles the mission of teaching and Baptizing all nations, He took the opportunity to call Himself king, confirming the title publicly, and solemnly proclaimed that all power was given Him in Heaven and on earth. These words can only be taken to indicate the greatness of his power, the infinite extent of His kingdom. What wonder, then, that He Whom St. John calls the "prince of the kings of the earth" appears in the Apostle's vision of the future as He Who "hath on His garment and on His thigh written 'King of kings and Lord of lords!'." It is Christ Whom the Father "hath appointed heir of all things"; "for He must reign until at the end of the world He hath put all his enemies under the feet of God and the Father." It was surely right, then, in view of the common teaching of the sacred books, that the Catholic Church, which is the kingdom of Christ on earth, destined to be spread among all men and all nations, should with every token of veneration salute her Author and Founder in her annual liturgy as King and Lord, and as King of Kings. And, in fact, she used these titles, giving expression with wonderful variety of language to one and the same concept, both in ancient psalmody and in the Sacramentaries.
Consecration CHRIST, Jesus, I acknowledge Thee as King of the universe. All that has been made has been created for Thee. Make full use of Thy rights over me. I renew the promises I made in Baptism when I renounced Satan and all his pomps and works. I promise to live a good Christian life. Especially, I undertake to help, to the extent of my means, to secure the triumph of the rights of God and of Thy Church. Divine Heart of Jesus, I offer Thee my poor efforts so that all hearts may acknowledge Thy sacred Royalty and the Kingdom of Thy peace may be established throughout the entire universe. Amen.

My thoughts: Let us take time to ask ourselves these questions: Is Christ my King? Does He reign over my heart? Have I chosen to prepare my heart and soul for Him, as I would prepare my home for a visit from a King? Do I live in obedience to His laws, accepting His will for my life? Christ is King, He will come in glory at the end of time to judge the living and the dead, and His kingdom will have no end. Let us share in that kingdom now by turning our lives over to Him.

Your prayer to God:  Our King is a King of Peace. His reign is inside of us, not in this world. He suffered and died so that we may live forever. All the gifts He has, He has shared with us. It is time to offer Him thanks and praise. The King of Glory is here! Lift up your voices! Holy, holy, holy Lord! God of power and might! Heaven and earth are full of Your glory!  Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Devotion for today: Praise for those who relieve suffering

Scripture for meditation: Romans 12:7-8
If a man's gift is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously.

Christ tells us in Matthew 25:31-36, 40
When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was a stranger and you clothed me. I was ill and you comforted me, in prison and you came to visit me.” “I assure you as often as you did it for one of my least brothers, you did it for me.”

Padre Pio tells us:
“We must, at least, give our entire being to Love, to charity…He who would carry out this ideal of Our Lord must be self-forgetful, and rising above his selfishness, bow down to the sufferings and the wounds of his fellowman, as to a brother. He makes them his own, knowing how to suffer with his brother for the love of God.  He must know how to instill hope into his heart and bring back a smile on his lips, because he has restored a ray of light into his soul. Such a man offers up to God the most beautiful, the most noble of prayers, because such a prayer springs from sacrifice. It is the essence of love, of the unselfish gift of oneself, body and soul! In every sick man there is Jesus in Person who is suffering, in every poor man it is Jesus Himself who in languishing; in every sick and poor, Jesus is doubly visible.” Padre Pio, the Stigmatist by Rev. Charles Mortimer Carty, Tan Books and Publishers, 1973.

Prayer: A Caregiver’s Prayer
Lord, bless me this morning, and each one I rise,
With a wealth of strength, please bring hope to my eyes.
Be sure I’m well-grounded for those in my care
Even if the challenge becomes much to bear
Should this day bring hardship, please help me to find
A beautiful memory for some peace of mind
Please shower my life with compassion and love
As I take my cues from your guidance above.
Jill Eisnaugle

My thoughts:  I have been in the roles of care receiver and care giver in my life. I have felt the inexplicable comfort of selfless hands and warm smiles, of generous hearts and loving eyes. As we go about caring for others, be they babies or the elderly, sick or troubled, let us never forget to see Christ in their suffering eyes, to feel His pain in theirs, and to be honored that we were chosen to care for Christ in “the least of His people”.

Your prayer to God: It is not easy to constantly care for another person, especially someone who is suffering in any way. Patience is thin, understanding is at a minimum, and the continual needs that must be met are, at times, overwhelming. Let us pray to God for the love to serve with a noble heart open to sacrifice, a wise mind open to help from others, and a compassionate soul which acknowledges its need of God’s grace. Dear God, I cannot do this alone. I want to be a good caregiver, yet at times I am so tired and frustrated. Please give me the strength to carry on in a loving manner, to seek rest when I need it, and to ask for help when the time comes. Jesus, I place all my trust in you. Amen.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Devotion for today: a time to every purpose under heaven

 Scripture for meditation: Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8, 15
There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens. A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to uproot the plant; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to tear down and a time to build; a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance; a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them; a time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces; a time to seek and a time to lose; a time to keep and a time to cast away; a time to rend and a time to sew; a time to be silent and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. What now is, has already been; what is to be, already is; and God restores what would otherwise be displaced.

Christ tells us: Matthew 25:13
“The moral is: keep your eyes open, for you know not the day or the hour.”
St. Thomas a Kempis gives us a beautiful dialogue in The Imitation of Christ which will also serve as our prayer today: That All Our Cares Must Be Placed in God:

Christ: My child, permit Me to do with you what I will, for I know what is best for you. You think as a human being, and judge things according to human reason; but you are often swayed by your feelings and worldly attitudes, so that you can easily be deceived and make mistakes.  Disciple: Lord, everything You say is true. Your providence is far better for me than any care I can take of myself Those who do not put all their trust in You run a great risk of falling. Therefore, Lord, if only my will remain firmly fixed in You, do with me as You please, for whatever You do with me can only be good. If it is Your will that I be in light, may You be blessed, Lord; but if it is Your will that I be in darkness, may You also be blessed. If, in Your mercy, You comfort me, be You blessed; but if it is Your will that I be afflicted, still be You always blessed. Christ: My child, this is how you must stand if you want to walk beside Me: you must be as ready to suffer as to rejoice, as willing to be needy and poor as to be rich and have abundance. Disciple: Lord, I willingly bear for You whatever You are pleased to give me. With indifference I will take from Your hand good and bad, bitter and sweet, joy and sorrow; and for all these things that may happen to me, I thank You with all my heart. Keep me from sin, Lord, and I will fear neither death nor hell. Do not blot my name out of the book of life, and then whatever trouble befalls me will not disturb me.

My thoughts:
Change is inevitable. We find ourselves facing a new job, a move that takes us from family and friends, the end of our careers to stay home and care for children or elderly parents, or a switch from the caregiver to the care receiver. Whatever it is, it brings a certain sense of loss. We are told in Ecclesiastes, however, that this is all part of God’s plan for us. Our lives are made of seasons, and just as we cannot hold onto autumn and spring, we cannot hold onto the times that give us comfort and security. Winter comes and we must get through it, but Spring is always a promise. Summer can get unbearable, but autumn returns to cool our fevered brows and fill our lives with beauty. Remember Jesus’ words, that we do not know the day or the hour for anything from God, and live with one foot planted firmly in on the ground, to responsibly do God’s work, and one foot in the air, to leap when He calls.  There is a time to every purpose under heaven, and in our lives. As St. Thomas a Kempis reminds us, only God knows what is best for us.

Your prayer to God:

Today we face many changes in our lives, some small and some great. Let us go before our Lord and hand him the greatest fears we have about these changes. Let us ask Him to make us wise and brave, so that in all these new stages of our lives, we can be free from anxiety and filled with His power and grace. Mary, our Mother, protect us from all fear, sadness, and anxiety as we face your Son’s will for our lives. Give us the grace to say as you did, “Let it be done unto me according to Your will.” Amen.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Devotion for today: Oh Lord, I am sick!

Scripture for meditation: Jeremiah 17:14
Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for You are the one I praise.

Christ prayed: Luke 22:42-44
“Father, if it is Your will, take this cup from Me; yet not My will but Yours be done.” An angel then appeared to Him from heaven to strengthen Him. In His anguish He prayed with all the greater intensity, and His sweat became like drops of blood falling to the ground.

Pope Benedict XVI stated on May 26, 2008 in Poland:
“Dear friends who are sick, who are marked by suffering in body and soul, you are most closely united to the Cross of Christ, and at the same time you are the most eloquent witnesses of God’s mercy. Through you and through your suffering, He bows down to humanity with love. You who say in silence: “Jesus, I trust in You,” teach us that there is no faith more profound, no hope more alive, and no love more ardent than the faith, hope, and love of a person who, in the midst of suffering, places himself squarely in God’s hands. May the human hands of those who care for you in the name of mercy be an extension of the open hands of God.

Prayer: Prayer for the Restoration of Health
O Sacred Heart of Jesus, I come to ask You for the gift of restored health that I may serve You more faithfully and love You more sincerely. I want to be well if it is Your will and rebounds to your glory. If on the other hand it is Your will that my sickness continue, I want to bear it with patience. If in your divine wisdom I am to be restored to health and strength, I will strive to show my gratitude by a constant and faithful service rendered to You, my loving Savior and Redeemer and my God. My Catholic Prayer Book, 1990

My thoughts: Suffering through a prolonged illness, recovering from a serious accident or  being homebound by an infirmity can drain us of our joy and faith. Pope Benedict XVI reminds us that this is a wonderful opportunity to be witnesses of hope and trust in God if we bear our suffering with patience, offer it up for the intentions of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and utter a thousand times a day, “Jesus I trust in You.” Christ does not ask us to be thrilled with the situation, but He does ask us to abandon ourselves to His Father’s will, as He did.  Just as an angel ministered to Him, so will they help us through this difficult time. We have the promise – the Lord will take care of us. Just believe it.

Your prayer to God: We all suffer physical illness from time to time, and can get depressed in its length and severity.  Let us look to the cross, and unite our suffering with Christ crucified. May we pray daily the words Jesus offered to His Father the night before He died: “Not my will, but Yours be done.”

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Devotion for today: live in the light

Today we conclude our study of the seven deadly sins as we examine: lust

Scripture for meditation: Job 24:13, 15, 17
"There are those who rebel against the light, who do not know its ways or stay in its paths... The eye of the adulterer watches for dusk; he thinks, 'No eye will see me,' and he keeps his face concealed... For all of them, deep darkness is their morning; they make friends with the terrors of darkness."

Christ tells us: Matthew 26:41
"Be on Guard, and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing, but nature is weak."

St. Francis de Sales offers this advice in An Introduction to the Devout Life:  Whenever you feel the approach of temptation, imitate a little child who sees a wolf or bear in the plain. He instantly flies into his father's or mother's arms, or at all events calls on them for help. Do you in like manner fly to God, seeking His mercy and help. If, nevertheless, the temptation continues or increases, hasten in spirit to embrace the Holy Cross, as though you beheld Jesus Christ crucified before you; then promise not to yield, and ask His aid to preserve you, and continue so to do while the temptation lasts.

Prayer: The Act of Contrition
Oh my God! I am heartily sorry for having offended you
And I detest all my sins because of your just punishments
But most of all because they offended you, my God
Who are all good and deserving of all my love.
I firmly resolve, with the help of your grace,
to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin. Amen.

My thoughts:  This sin is destroying our world and harming us all. Human trafficking has become a profitable industry, seeking to satisfy those who can never be satisfied. Lives are destroyed; marriages are ruined; institutions are forever disgraced, and human beings are turned into objects. It operates in darkness, seeking to fool God. Rest assured, God is watching, and all that is done in darkness will come to light. The time to rid ourselves of this sin is right now. Seek help, confess, make amends and resolve to start again, as a child of the light. We will all face God some day, and nothing will be hidden. As the song says, " Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wondrous face, and the things of this earth, will go strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace." He loves your very much. Love Him, and give up anything separating you from Him.

Your prayer to God: Now is the time to be brave and bold. Let us claim for Christ all victims of this sin: those who are sinking in it, those who are harmed by it, and those who are fighting it every day of their lives. Pray to Mary to wrap them in her mantle of love and give them courage, strength, and a new beginning in her Son. If you are struggling with this addiction, place yourself at the foot of the cross, confess any type of addiction to this sin, leave it there. and never take it back. Never.