Friday, November 25, 2011

Devotion for Saturday/Sunday: Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord!

The season of Advent begins Sunday. To live in anticipation of Christ’s coming, both at His birth and at the end of time, let us take a look at the readings and prayers from the Liturgy of the Hours for the First Sunday in Advent.
Saturday Evening Prayer1
Reading:  1 Thessalonians 5:19-24
Do not stifle the Spirit. Do not despise prophesies. Test everything: retain what is good. Avoid any semblance of evil. May the God of peace make you perfect in holiness. May He preserve you whole and entire, spirit, soul, and body, irreproachable at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls us is trustworthy, therefore He will do it.
Prayer:  Father in heaven, our hearts desire the warmth of your love and our minds are searching for the light of your Word. Increase our longing for Christ our Savior and give us the strength to grow in love, that the dawn of His coming may find us rejoicing in His presence and welcoming the light of His truth. We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord.
Sunday Morning Prayer
Romans 13-11-14
It is now the hour for you to wake from sleep, for our salvation is closer than when we first accepted the faith. The night is far spent; the day draws near. Let us cast off deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us live honorably as in daylight; not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual excess and lust, not in quarreling and jealousy. Rather, put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the desires of the flesh.
Prayer: Father in heaven, our hearts desire the warmth of your love and our minds are searching for the light of our Word. Increase our longing for Christ our Savior and give us the strength to grow in love, that the dawn of His coming may find us rejoining in His presence and welcoming the light of His truth. We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord.
Evening Prayer II
Reading: Philippians 4:4-7
Rejoice in the Lord always! I say it again. Rejoice! Everyone should see how unselfish you are. The Lord is near. Dismiss all anxiety from your minds. Present your needs to God in every form of Prayer and in petitions full of gratitude. Then God’s own peace, which is beyond all understanding, will stand guard over your hearts and minds, in Christ Jesus.
Prayer: All-powerful God, increase our strength of will for doing good that Christ may find an eager welcome at His coming and call us to His side in the kingdom of heaven, where he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.

Praise be my Lord

Today I will let St. Francis of Assisi write my blog ....too much turkey for me yesterday!

Canticle of the Sun
Oh, Most High, Almighty, Good Lord God, to Thee belong praise, glory, honor and all blessing.
Praised be my Lord God, with all His creatures, and especially our brother the Sun, who brings us the day and who brings us the light; Fair is he, and he shines with a very great splendor. O Lord, he signifies us to thee!

Praised be my Lord for our sister the Moon, and for the stars, the which He has set clear and lovely in the heaven.

Praised be my Lord for our brother the wind, and for air and clouds, calms and all weather, by which Thou upholdest life and all creatures.

Praised be my Lord for our sister water, who is very serviceable to us, and humble and precious and clean.

Praised be my Lord for our brother fire, through whom Thou givest us light in the darkness; and he is bright and pleasant and very mighty and strong.

Praised be my Lord for our mother the earth, the which doth sustain us and keep us, and bringeth forth divers fruits and flowers of many colors, and grass.

Praised be my Lord for all those who pardon one another for love’s sake, and who endure weakness and tribution: blessed are they who peacefully shall endure, for Thou, O Most High, wilt give them a crown.

Praised be the Lord for our sister, the death of the body, from which no man escapeth. Woe to him who dieth in mortal sin. Blessed are those who die in Thy most holy will, for the second death shall have no power to do them harm.

Praise Ye and bless the Lord, and give thanks to Him and serve Him with great humility.

St. Francis of Assisi

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving Day!


(Lizelia Augusta Jenkins Moorer)

Let us give thanks to God above,
Thanks for expressions of His love,
Seen in the book of nature, grand
Taught by His love on every hand.

Let us be thankful in our hearts,
Thankful for all the truth imparts,
For the religion of our Lord,
All that is taught us in His word.

Let us be thankful for a land,
That will for such religion stand;
One that protects it by the law,
One that before it stands in awe.

Thankful for all things let us be,
Though there be woes and misery;
Lessons they bring us for our good-
Later 'twill all be understood.

Thankful for peace o'er land and sea,
Thankful for signs of liberty,
Thankful for homes, for life and health,
Pleasure and plenty, fame and wealth.

Thankful for friends and loved ones, too,
Thankful for all things, good and true,
Thankful for harvest in the fall,
Thankful to Him who gave it all.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Devotion for today: how can I thank you for loving me?

Today let us give thanks to God for His merciful love
Scripture for meditation: Luke 15:20-24;28;31 The father of the prodigal and elder son
While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him and was deeply moved. He ran out to meet him, threw his arms around his neck, and kissed him. The son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against God and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son.”  The father said to his servants, “…let us eat and celebrate because this son of mine was dead and has come back to life. He was lost and is found.” … He (the older son) grew angry at this and would not go in; but his father came out and began to plead with him. “My son,” replied the father, “you are with me always, and everything I have is yours.”
Christ tells us: Luke 6:36-38
“Be compassionate, as your Father is compassionate. Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Pardon, and you shall be pardoned. Give, and it shall be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will they pour into the fold of your garment. For the measure you measure with will be measured back to you.
Henri J.M. Nouwen explains: There is always the choice between resentment and gratitude because God has appeared in my darkness, urged me to come home, and declared in a voice filled with affection: “You are with me always, and all I have is yours.” Indeed, I can choose to dwell in the darkness in which I stand, point to those who are seemingly better off than I, lament about the many misfortunes that have plagued me in the past, and thereby wrap myself up in my resentment. But I don’t have to do this. There is the option to look into the eyes of the One who came out to search for me and see therein that all I am and all I have is pure gift calling for gratitude. There is an Estonian proverb that says: “Who does not thank for little will not thank for much.” Acts of gratitude make one grateful because, step by step, they reveal that all is grace. The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming, First Edition, Doubleday, 1994.
Prayer: Psalm 145: 8-10, 21
The Lord is gracious and merciful,  slow to anger, and of great kindness. The Lord is good to all and compassionate toward all His works. Let all your works give you thanks, O Lord, and let your faithful ones bless you.  May my mouth speak the praise of the Lord, and may all flesh bless His holy Name forever and ever.
My thoughts:  Studying the father in this parable leads us to an amazing conclusion: our God is a God rich in mercy and compassion; slow to anger. This father could have been furious with either son for their behavior, yet he ran to greet the younger and welcome him home, and came out and pleaded with the elder and assure him of his love. God comes to us; He pleads with us to come to Him. His love for  us can never end, no matter how many mistakes we make, or how mad we get at Him. As Henri Nouwen reminds us, we must choose  to free ourselves from the chains of resentment and sin, and allow God to lead us to His banquet table.
Our prayer to God:  Today let us remember to thank God for His merciful love.  Then, one by one, let us recall those people in our lives who need to experience our compassion and love.  Let us pray for each one of them, forgive them, and promise to live by Christ’s words: “Be compassionate, as your Father is compassionate.”  We will then be celebrating a Thanksgiving Day free from resentment and filled with God’s grace: a truly blessed Thanksgiving Day indeed!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Devotion for today: Thank You, Mother!

 In preparing for Thanksgiving, let us give thanks for the gift of Mary, our Blessed Mother
Scripture for meditation:  John 2:1-5 Wedding at Cana
 On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and His disciples had likewise been invited to the celebration. At a certain point the wine ran out, and Jesus’ mother told Him, “They have no more wine.” Jesus replied, “Woman, how does this concern of yours involve me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother instructed those waiting on table, “Do whatever He tells you.”
Christ tells us: John 19:25-26
Near the cross of Jesus there stood His mother, His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. Seeing His mother there with the disciple whom he loved, Jesus said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son.” “In turn He said to the disciple, “There is your mother.” From that hour onward, the disciple took her into his care.
In her diary, Saint Faustina relates to us this vision:  Before Holy Communion I saw the Blessed Mother inconceivably beautiful. Smiling at me she said to me, “…but I desire that you…be my child. I desire…that you practice the three virtues that are dearest to me – and most pleasing to God. The first is humility, humility, humility and once again, humility; the second virtue, purity; the third virtue, love of God. As My daughter, you must especially radiate with these virtues.” The Diary of Saint Faustina, 1412-1415.
Prayer:  Lovely Lady Dressed In Blue
Lovely Lady dressed in blue, teach me how to pray! God was just your little boy, tell me what to say!
Did you lift Him up, sometimes, gently on your knee? Did you sing to Him the way Mother does to me?
Did you hold His hand at night? Did you ever try Telling stories of the world? O! And did He cry?
Do you really think He cares if I tell Him things ------- Little things that happen? And Do the Angels' wings
Make a noise? And can He hear Me if I speak low? Does He understand me now?
Tell me, for you know. Lovely Lady dressed in blue, teach me how to pray!
God was just your little boy, and you know the way.
Mary Dixon Thayer


My thoughts: We are so blessed to have a heavenly Mother who loves us so much! She takes our needs to her Son, then returns to us and says, “Do whatever He tells you.” Her instructions to Saint Faustina sound so typical of a loving mother, “Stand up straight, eat your peas, and practice the three most pleasing virtues to God.” How wonderful is that! We have a mother who loves us unconditionally! The Prayer reminds us of the childlike love and awe we should have for Mary. No matter hold old we are, we can always use a Mother’s care and love. Oh, and practice humility. I have a feeling that is really, really important!
Our prayer to God: Today is a good day to stop and thank Mary for being such a good Mother, one who loves us enough to give us spiritual advice and take our petitions to her son. Let us also thank Christ for giving us such a wonderful gift. Lovely Lady dressed In Blue…I love You!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Devotion for today: it is right to give Him thanks and praise

Today we give thanks for the gift of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament
Scripture for meditation: Hebrews: 10:19-25
 Brothers, since the blood of Christ assures our entrance into the sanctuary by the new and living path He has opened up for us through the veil (the veil meaning His flesh), and since we have a great Priest who is over the house of God, let us draw  near in utter sincerity and absolute confidence, our hearts sprinkled clean from the evil which lay on our conscience and our bodies washed in pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to our profession which gives us hope, for He who made the promise deserves our trust. We must consider how to rouse each other to love and good deeds. We should not absent ourselves from the assembly, as some do, but encourage one another; and this all the more because you see that the Day draws near.
Christ says: Luke 19:20
Then, taking bread and giving thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying: “This is My body to be given for you. Do this as a remembrance of Me.” He did the same with the cup after eating, saying as He did so, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which will be shed for you.”
St. Alphonsus encourages us: You must be aware that in a quarter of an hour’s prayer spent in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, you will perhaps gain more than in all the other spiritual exercises of the day.  
They feel great tenderness and devotion who go to Jerusalem and visit the cave where the Incarnate Word was born, the hall where He was scourged, the hill of Calvary on which He died, and the sepulcher where He was buried; but how much greater ought our tenderness to be when we visit an altar on which Jesus remains in the Holy Sacrament! Eucharistic Miracles, Joan Carroll Cruz, Tan Publishing, 1987
 Prayer: Come Adore/ Tantum Ergo
Come adore this wondrous presence, Bow to Christ the source of grace.
Here is kept the ancient promise, of God’s earthly dwelling place.
Sight is blind before God’s glory. Faith alone may see his face.
Glory be to God the Father, Praise to His coequal Son.
Adoration to the Spirit, Bond of love, in Godhead one.
Blest be God by all creation, Joyously while ages run.  St. Thomas Aquinas

My thoughts: What a great gift we have to be able to visit Christ in the Blessed Sacrament in every tabernacle in every church throughout the world! Our first passage reminds us that nothing separates us from Christ’s presence any longer. We are free to kneel before the Blessed Sacrament any time of any day. As Saint Alphonsus tells us, adoring Christ in the Eucharist is greater than any visit to the Holy Land. Those are simple reminders of where He was. On the altar, or in the tabernacle, is where He Is! Although “faith alone can see His face,” may our faith always be that strong, and may we thank God this week for this truly great gift.

Our Prayer to God: Why not stop by a church during this week of preparation for Thanksgiving Day, and take a minute to kneel before the tabernacle and thank God for the gift of Himself, so freely given to us. Time spent before the Blessed Sacrament is time spent in complete abandonment to God. It is, after all, right to give Him thanks and praise.