Thursday, January 12, 2012

Devotion for today: This is My Beloved Son

To begin our study of the Luminous Mysteries, we begin with Jesus’ Baptism in the River Jordan.
Scripture for meditation: Isaiah 61: 1, 10
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me, He has sent me to bring glad tidings to the lowly, to heal the broken hearted…I rejoice heartily in the Lord, in my God is the joy of my soul; For he has clothed me with a robe of salvation, and wrapped me in a mantle of justice.

The Gospel of Mark tells us: 9-11
It happened in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized in the Jordan by John. On coming up out of the water he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

St. Gregory of Nazianzen explains: Christ is bathed in light; let us also be bathed in light. Christ is baptized; let us also go down with him, and rise with Him….Jesus rises from the waters; the world rises with him. The heavens, like Paradise with its flaming sword, closed by Adam for himself and his descendants, are rent open. The Spirit comes to him as an equal, bearing witness to his Godhead. A voice bears witness to him from heaven, his place of origin. The Spirit descends in bodily form like the dove that so long ago announced the ending of the flood and so gives honor to the body that is one with God. Today, let us do honor to Christ’s baptism…in holiness. Be cleansed entirely and continue to be cleansed. Nothing gives such pleasure to God as the conversion and salvation of men, for whom his every word and every revelation exist. He wants you to become a living force for all mankind, lights shining in the world. You are to be radiant lights as you stand beside Christ, the great light, bathed in the glory of him who is the light of heaven. You are to enjoy more and more the pure and dazzling light of the Trinity, as now you have received – though not its fullness – a ray of its splendor, proceeding from the one God, in Christ Jesus our Lord, to whom be glory and power forever and ever. Amen.

Prayer: Father in heaven, you revealed Christ as your Son by the voice that spoke over the waters of the Jordan. May all who share in the Sonship of Christ follow in his path of service to man, and reflect the glory of his kingdom even to the ends of the earth, for he is Lord forever and ever. (The Liturgy of the Hours, evening prayer II for the Baptism of the Lord.)

My thoughts: The Baptism of Jesus is a true mystery of light. Jesus is revealed as the Son of God when the Holy Spirit descends upon Him: His divine nature is revealed as He is immersed in a truly human act. Jesus is truly God and man, and in that divine nature He brings us salvation. St. Gregory reminds us that this light which now illumines our souls must be shared with the world. It is so powerful to hear him tell us that we must be a “living force to all mankind.” As you reflect on the first mystery of light, picture the light of Christ glowing in your heart, and ask yourself, “Am I shining brightly to all the people in my life?” If the answer is no, then today is the day to rent your heart open and let out the light of your love. God will be most pleased, and so will you!

Our prayer to God: Dear God, my Father in heaven, you love me so much that you have blessed me with the gift of faith. It is my anchor in the storms I face and my refuge in times of distress. Let me willingly and joyfully share that faith with others, so that they will come to a full realization of your love. I want to be a powerful force, a radiant light. Please give me the strength and discipline to do Your holy will, and bring others to You. Amen

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