Advent Week Four: A Time for Sharing, A Time for Caring

divine intimacyOne of my favorite books for Lectio-Divina (see Week One of the Advent Study) is Divine Intimacy, by Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalene.

This book provides meditations on the interior life for every day of the liturgical year. I have found it to be very efficacious.

One of the meditations offered by Father Gabriel for the fourth week of Advent is entitled, The Call to the Apostolate.

In it, he offers an insightful perspective of the Christian call to evangelization based on the words of St. John the Baptist, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord” (Luke 3: 4). In the end, he tells us that “Jesus has need of us.” When I read these words, they infused me with zeal.

Because I found this meditation so spiritually benefiicial, today I’d like to share with you what Father Gabriel presents.  Read the rest…

Advent Week Three: A Time for Charity, A Time for Love, Part II

As we discovered yesterday, for our good deeds to become charitable acts, we must center our hearts, our souls, our minds, and all of our strength on love of God. Then, and only then, will our good deeds effect a change that reaches beyond the finite to touch the eternal. And when we do that, every thought, word, deed, and suffering can become an act of charity — even our daily labor. Read the rest…

Advent Week Three: A Time for Charity, A Time for Love, Part I

stk23557sis“May the Lord make you overflow with love for one another and for all, even as our love does for you. May He strengthen your hearts…At the coming of our Lord Jesus…” — Thes. 3:12-13

Toy collections, food drives, charity bazaars — all common activities in communities and parishes during the Christmas season. And they are good. They help fulfill Jesus’ mandate to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31).

However, this command of Jesus is subordinate to the one preceding it — “you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind.”

Love of neighbor flows from love of God, and love of God is a prerequisite for a charitable action. There is a profound difference between a humanitarian act and an act of charity.

A humanitarian action, admirable as it may be, is limited in potential. Rooted in human compassion and accomplished through human incentive, it goes only as far as the individual’s generosity and goodwill carry it. Read the rest…

Advent Week Two: A Time for Reconciliation, A Time for Forgiveness, Part V

While it is necessary for our physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being for us to extend forgiveness, it is just as necessary that we seek forgiveness when we have offended another. Read the rest…

Advent Preparation Week Two: A Time for Reconciliation, A Time for Forgiveness, Part IV

While the six steps toward forgiveness outlined by psychologists can be of great help, forgiveness itself is primarily a spiritual work that takes place deeply within the inner confines of our heart. Therefore, making use of the remedies given to us in Sacred Scripture and through Holy Mother Church are of ultimate benefits.

Today, we will look at three spiritual remedies that enable us to move along the path to forgiveness. Read the rest…

Advent Week Two: A Time for Reconciliation, A Time for Forgiveness, Part III

106564606I hope that your time of prayer yesterday was a fruitful one as you began the process of forgiveness. The first three steps we discussed yesterday are fundamental to the healing process and they may need to be revisited often as you journey toward forgiveness. Read the rest…

John Paul II — “Christmas is the Feast Day of Man”

When I came back to the Faith in 1981, one Scripture passage became the rudder of my spiritual life. It is Ephesians 1: 3-4. Through the years, this passage has spoken to me in many ways and has sustained me through many trials.

Verse 4 , however, is particularly relevant for this time of the year, and was echoed by Pope John Paul II in a Christmas reflection. It states this, “God chose us in him before the world began to be holy and blameless in his sight, to be full of love.” Those first five words tell us something about ourselves that is amazing and astounding — each one of us was distinctively and individually chosen by God to have life. Read the rest…

Advent Week Four: A Time for Caring, A Time for Sharing

star-of-bethlehem1As we approach the solemnity of Christmas tomorrow, we would do well to ask the Holy Spirit to help us enter into the mystery we are celebrating. Implicit in the glory of the birth of Christ, is His death. It is already present, as it has been since His conception in the womb of Mary, in His flesh.

A season of joy, to be sure. A season of wonder, most definitely. A season of magnanimity, most assuredly. For this is the season that proves God’s love for us. His Son has been sent for one mission, and one mission only, to pour Himself out for us. 

The Incarnation is the Redemption begun. It is consummated at the conception and culminated at the crucifixion. As we gaze upon the Christ Child lying in the creche, how can we ignore that He is already on the bed of wood?

It is this we celebrate: that in the midst of our depravity, God sent His Son in the fullness of time, born of a woman (Gen. 3:15; Gal. 4:4). It is in this that we find cause for rejoicing.

Carol Houselander, an English author of the last century, asks us to focus our attention on this reality during the Advent season. It is not too late to ponder the cause of our joy in these last hours before Christmas day.

Writing in Reed of God, Houselander offers us these words for meditation and contemplation. She invites us to consider the role of the Virgin Mary, Mother of God, as we consider the coming of the Christ Child: Read the rest…

Advent Week Three: A Time for Sharing, A Time for Caring

200479108-001In yesterday’s blog, we discussed the necessity of evangelization in the modern world and why this call applies in a special way to the lay faithful.

But the question remains, how do we effectively communicate the Catholic faith in the world today? This remains a challenge especially given the competing voices in today’s market place of ideas.

Indeed, secularism and relativism have captivated the mindset of the culture. However, St. Paul reminds us in 2 Timothy 4 that our mission is to preach the Gospel “in season and out,” and the reality is you and I have been chosen by God to do so in our day and time. And, in the end, truth is on our side.

Following are four steps that help us share the faith with others.

Read the rest…

Advent Week Three: A Time for Sharing, A Time for Caring

baby-Jesus-in-a-manger1The Incarnation of Jesus Christ has forever changed the destiny of mankind. Through His birth, death, and resurrection, the chains of death are broken, the gates of heaven are flung open wide, and eternal life has been restored to man. However, accepting the salvation Christ has won remains an individual decision to be made by each human being.

I remember well when I made that decision for myself. It all started with a woman who shared her faith in Jesus Christ with me.

Though she was going through an emotionally difficult time, she was certain God had a plan for her in the midst of it. Her trust stood in stark contrast to my own faith experience which had not recovered from my college years. Like living water flooding the landscape of my soul, her words and her witness brought me new life and led me back to Catholicism.

Read the rest…