Posted by: livingscripture | November 22, 2014

Thirty-third Saturday in Ordinary Time

From the Word of the Day

“They can no longer die, for they are like angels; and they are the children of God because they are the ones who will rise.”

 (Luke 20: 36)    

How should we live this Word Jesus risen 3

I would bet that this strong, clear assertion of the Lord Jesus has never been read by those who follow certain lines of nihilism, as those of Nietzsche, Freud, and Marx.

Instead, we have the well-grounded certainty, consolation, and strength to live believing this very simple and bright future as God’s children.  We are fully acknowledged as children in the Only Son Jesus.  We are thus children of the Resurrection!

A child participates in its Father’s nature.  The New Testament explains many times that through this we are participants in the divine nature.  Because of the Grace that Jesus, the Incarnate Word of God, acquired for us, brings this without any kind of restrictions.    I can repeat to myself, ‘I am a child of God in all the truth and clarity of the Gospel.  I am a child of the Resurrection.  Everything I live day by day is passing.  But life, my deep essence as an incarnated spirit, will never be destroyed by ‘sister bodily death’ (St. Francis of Assisi).

This body of mine, with its unique individuality God wanted in His wondrous loving me first, will rise again!

Today as I pause for silent contemplation, I will dwell on the stupendous fact that I am God’s child and a child of the Resurrection.  This is the source of my joy as a Christian!  How can I ever be sad? 

Grant me the joy of being saved.  Sustain in me a generous heart!  (Psalm 50)

The voice of Benedict XVI – General Audience of November 21, 2012

Faith is expressed in the gift of self to others, in the fraternity that makes us one, able to love, and to overcome the solitude that saddens us.  This knowledge of God through faith in not only intellectual, but is vital.

 

Posted by: livingscripture | November 21, 2014

PRESENTATION of the BLESSED VIRGIN MARY in the TEMPLE

From the Word of the Day

“Every day he was teaching in the temple area.  The chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people, meanwhile, were seeking to put him to death, but they could find no way to accomplish their purpose because all the people were hanging on his words.”

 (Luke 19: 47-48)             

 

How should we live this Word PresentMary[1]

The fact that Jesus taught daily in the temple clearly shows what He Himself said, “I have not come to abolish the Law but to bring it to completion”. (Mt. 5: 17)   His speaking coincided so well with His ‘being’ that His person fascinated the people and it was appropriate to describe their attitude toward Him as ‘hanging on His words’.

Even though we cannot share the grace of seeing Him and listening to Him as His contemporaries did, we too can live the basic gift of the grace of listening.  Yes, I call it Grace because it is a Grace to not merely listen or read distractedly the Word of the Lord but to make the heart-felt effort to listen with the heart is truly Grace, the one that gives meaning, importance, essence to an active love of God in our daily life.

Today as I pause for silent contemplation, I will listen with my whole heart to God’s Word speaking to me.

Lord, grant that my life may be capable of listening to the Word of Life.  Help me Lord, to appreciate and desire times of silence during my work, my rest, at home, or in nature.  This is the only way I can defend myself from emptiness and flee the materialism that is so pervasive.  Listening to Your Word gives me spiritual oxygen and helps me live authentically because when my heart listens to Your Word, I am drawn to put it into practice. 

The voice of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, June 2009 

Those who love the Word know how necessary silence is, both interior and exterior, in order to truly listen to it and let its light transform us through prayer, reflection, and discernment.  In a climate of silence, in the light of Scripture, we learn to recognize God’s signs and see our problems from the perspective of salvation.

 

Posted by: livingscripture | November 20, 2014

Thirty-third Thursday in Ordinary Time

From the Word of the Day

“As Jesus drew near Jerusalem, he saw the city and wept over it, saying, ‘If this day you only knew what makes for peace – but now it is hidden from your eyes.”

 (Luke 10: 41-42)             

 

How should we live this WordimagesCARK0V2I

Jesus cries.  He is not crying over the dramatic events due to the evil lack of understanding on the part of the Scribes, Pharisees, and Leaders of the people who oppose Him.  He is not crying for Himself but for the beloved city where patriarchs and prophets spoke God’s Word and witnessed even to the death in order to keep faith with the Truth.  The source of the deep and acute sorrow of Jesus is the awareness of a closure of total ignorance about the road that leads to peace.

This is the burning reality!  Peace is not a flower or a little bird that beautifies the path.  The path itself is the road to peace.  It is not found by chance but is built day by day, within and outside oneself.  It is not made of a combination of idyllic feelings, nor of quiet moments contemplating creation, as worthy as this may be.

Rather, peace is the loving knowledge of the heart that allows itself to be invaded by God’s Word and, with the consoling strength of the Holy Spirit, decides to live His Word.  Peace comes from placing nothing and no one before the love of Jesus Christ, persuaded by faith that He is essentially our Peace.  He is the One who defeats our enemies: pride, presumption, possessiveness, and all malevolent intolerance toward others.

Today as I pause for silent contemplation, I will ask Jesus to keep my heart open to His Word and to live it daily. 

Lord, help me to understand that peace is not quiet living but living that is true, good, and beautiful because it is in continuous harmony with the Father’s will, in Your company, and in the strong love of Your Holy Spirit. 

The voice of Pope Paul VI 

In order to have true peace, we must give it a soul.  The soul of peace is love.

Posted by: livingscripture | November 19, 2014

Thirty-third Wednesday in Ordinary Time

From the Word of the Day

“Praise the Lord in his sanctuary;

Praise him in the firmament of his strength. 

Praise him for his mighty deeds;

Praise him for his sovereign majesty.”

 (Psalm 150)       

 

How should we live this Word imagesCAB7N2IN

In this precise moment I do not see God’s sovereign majesty.  With a dense cloud cover that makes all gray and heavy, I am oppressed.  Yet, how beautiful it is to be able to use my memory to recall other sounds and scenes!

Praise is the possibility of communicating with God, glorifying Him for what He is and gives us: the nobility of our vocation as men and women brought into this world through God’s most tender love, which enables us to remember His gifts at every moment.  All that palpitates and lives in creation is the ‘sanctuary’ of the Most High God who has created all.

Raise your head on a starry night to contemplate the immense sky shining with infinite lights that are also worlds and dive into the marvel.  You will then re-discover that capacity for awe too many people have lost today.

Today as I pause for silent contemplation, I shall look at God’s wonderful creation with new eyes, beginning with my own body and spirit and then all that is around me.  I will take time to revel in His creation.

Lord, manifold are Your initiatives in history and in the universe.  Grant that by contemplating Your creation, humans may stop wasting, polluting, abusing Your gifts.  Let us all discover the importance of having been dreamt of and wanted by You even before the world began.  Help us to live deeply the joy of praising and thanking You, and being ever more in awe of Your immense glory.

The voice of Pope Francis 

Please, be the guardians of creation, of each other, of the environment.

Posted by: livingscripture | November 18, 2014

Thirty-third Tuesday in Ordinary Time

From the Word of the Day

“He who walks blamelessly and does justice; who thinks the truth in his heart and slanders not with his tongue…shall never be disturbed”

 (Psalm 14)          

How should we live this Word image037-praise

This Psalm aptly describes the just person.  It gathers the characteristic traits that are basic and recognizable in any reality and time.  The just person’s lineaments do not change.  The person we want to be, with God’s help, is attentive but without anxiety, to any temptation to sin.  Such people are honest and upright in all their dealings that are resplendent with justice.  Justice could not be practiced unless the secret source of their speaking and acting was truth.  The text says, ‘who thinks the truth in his heart’.  This refers to what flows from within, from one’s depths.  That which is not rooted in our interior life is like the chaff blown by the wind.

We need to understand this well. People who have truth as their guiding value can never fall into the malicious and vulgar gossiping about others, to the point of slander and calumny.

Today as I pause for silent contemplation, I shall think about my words and actions.  Am I rooted in Jesus, in His truth?  Do I avoid speaking or listening to gossip about others? 

My Lord, these words of the Psalm urge me to be a person who is ready to extinguish the poison of gossip and slander.  Keep me far from speaking evil or listening to evil about others.  Help me to live in the truth, Your truth which dwells in my heart so that by practicing justice my life may be good and beautiful for Your glory and the good of my sisters and brothers.

The voice of Lev Tolstoy, Russian Author

A sacrifice done to satisfy the demands of honesty is the highest joy of the spirit.

Posted by: livingscripture | November 17, 2014

Thirty-third Monday in Ordinary Time

From the Word of the Day

“He is like a tree planted near running water, that yields its fruit in due season and whose leaves never fade.  Whatever he does prospers.”

 (Psalm 1)           

How should we live this Word 100_0256

The image of the tree is very efficacious in helping us feel the beauty and utility of the presence of those who believe in God and serve Him with their whole heart.  The tree by running waters does not experience the decay of fronds and leaves.  People who fear God know how to read the positive in their life so that ‘whatever they do prospers’ in the true meaning of the phrase.

The challenge is to change our outlook and our mentality.  The tree of which the Psalm speaks is right beside us.  It is there to be the image and the proposal of serenity and peace for us.  We are like trees in our identity as people who live their Baptism and allow themselves to be daily vivified by the river of Grace that is life in Jesus Christ daily spent with Him as gift to our sisters and brothers.

We are like trees that never decay because God’s daily Word and the frequent recourse to the heart’s center where God dwells are such certainties of love that they prevent every kind of withering.

Today as I pause for silent contemplation, I shall picture in my mind the image of the tree planted near running streams.  I am that tree and the running stream is God’s grace that nourishes me and invigorates me at every moment. 

Lord, I ask only this, keep me with You.  Let the roots of my existence go deeper and deeper into the saving waters of Your Holy Presence.  Thus, everything in me and around me will be good today and for all eternity. 

The voice of Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity, Carmelite 

How beautiful it is to pray for each other, making an appointment with the good God where no distance or separation exists!

 

Posted by: livingscripture | November 16, 2014

Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

From the Word of the Day

“Who can find a perfect woman?  Her value is greater than pearls.”

 (Proverbs 31: 10)            

 

How should we live this Word mother_child_79[1]

This brief passage is taken from the Book of Proverbs that is part of the Wisdom Books of the Bible.  The author asks a question about the possibility of finding ‘a strong woman’.  This question seems to highlight her value.  Such a woman is precious!  She is more precious than pearls!

We will pause on the attribute of ‘strength’ that identifies the woman of whom the sacred author speaks.  It is not physical strength, even if that is not to be despised.  Neither is it the various kinds of work she does that count.  We must make a temporal and social-cultural transposition.  The times of the woman described here are not those of the woman today.

However, there is something to say about her that goes way beyond changeable aspects that are exterior, social, or cultural.  It is the ardent humanity of the woman who, if married, seeks to make her husband content by using her God-given talents.  This woman is strong and precious for her family because she knew how to order love in herself and finalized every activity to this love, the gift of herself.

It is due to this intense harmony that flowed from her deep love for God that the woman is strong and does not allow herself to be closed in the circle of family duties.  Without neglecting her home in any way, she opens her hands to the poor and those who need her consolation and to be aroused by her virtuous example, by her attentive care.

Today as I pause for silent contemplation, I shall consider what makes this woman more precious than pearls and I will seek to imitate her virtues and attitudes. 

Lord, teach me to walk in Your ways all the days of my life. 

The voice of Denis Diderot, French Philosopher and Author

When we write of women, we need to dip our pen in the rainbow and dry the page with the dust of butterflies.

 

 

Posted by: livingscripture | November 15, 2014

Thirty-second Saturday in Ordinary Time

From the Word of the Day

“Jesus told his disciples a parable about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary.  He said, ‘There was a judge in a certain town who neither feared God nor respected any human being…’  Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night?  Will he be slow to answer them?  I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily.  But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”  (Luke 18: 1-2, 7-8)          

 

How should we live this Word t_Healing_the_Woman

Jesus, our Teacher of prayer, suggests that we ‘pray always without becoming weary’.  In time, if the prayer is true, said with humble, patient, and constant hope, it will surely be heard.  But we must not fall into superstition that exacts an automatic and instantaneous response from God, with the desire to bend Him to our will.

Today’s parable is very suggestive.  As happened in those times, a widow is alone without help, without support.  She stands before a judge who has no conscience, and who feared neither God nor humans.  The chasm between the widow’s prayer and the judge’s attitude could not have been greater.  The woman entrusts herself to prayer in all hope.  She has nothing more to lose and casts all her suffering and her very life into her prayer.  Jesus calls attention to the fact that, even among human beings, such an insistent prayer will be heard, and even more so, when it is directed to God.  If we do not stop and entrust ourselves completely to God, crying out to Him without tiring, day and night, God will turn to us and hear our prayer.

Today as I pause for silent contemplation, I shall renew my complete trust in God’s Goodness and in His Provident care for me. 

Lord, I trust you implicitly and know You hear me always. 

The voice of Tertullian, Founder of Western Christian Literature 

Let us offer our prayer to God like a host pleasing and acceptable to Him: offered with our whole heart, nourished by faith, tended by truth, integral through innocence, pure through chastity, crowned by love, accompanied by a host of good works.

 

Posted by: livingscripture | November 14, 2014

Thirty-second Friday in Ordinary Time

From the Word of the Day

“I ask you, not as though I were writing a new commandment but the one we have had from the beginning: let us love one another.  For this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, as you heard from the beginning, in which you should walk.”

 (2 John 1:5-6)   

 

How should we live this Word imagesCAAP5NO9

Today’s Liturgy presents us with the second Letter of the Apostle John.  It is a very brief letter but one of great importance because the summary of the whole Gospel of Jesus is contained in His ‘New Commandment’.  It is a message especially timely for today when we are often prone to fragment the Gospel, sometimes emphasizing only secondary aspects.

In his letter, St. John concentrates on the essential, forcefully re-proposing the commandment taken from the beginning: walk in love.  It is a stupendous invitation that opens the mind and heart and urges us toward broader and ever newer horizons!

When we lose sight of these limitless spaces, we run the risk of losing ourselves in a jungle of secondary precepts that make our life suffocating and heavy.  Then it is truly the case to make a serious examination of conscience and ask ourselves: is the commandment of love truly at the center and in first place for our choices in the spiritual life?  The well-known words of St. Augustine cited below, could be an excellent guide for this discernment.

Today as I pause for silent contemplation, I will listen to God’s voice in the depths of my soul. 

Lord, open my heart to Your Word and my will to do as You command. 

The voice of St. Augustine, Church Doctor 

Once and for all, therefore, you are given a brief precept: love and do what you will.  When you are silent, be silent for love.  When you speak, speak for love.  When you correct, correct for love.  When you forgive, forgive for love.  Let the root of love be in you because from this root only good can come.

 

Posted by: livingscripture | November 13, 2014

Thirty-second Thursday in Ordinary Time

From the Word of the Day

“So if you regard me as a partner, welcome him as you would me.  And if he has done you any injustice or owes you anything, charge it to me.  I, Paul, write this in my own hand: I will pay.  May I not tell you that you owe me your very self.  Yes, brother, may I profit from you in the Lord.  Refresh my heart in Christ.’”

 (Philemon 17-20)            

 

How should we live this Word

Today in the first reading we meet a text which we rarely hear and is little known.  This is why I enjoy pausing on it for a while.  This is the shortest letter of the Apostle Paul and is written to Philemon.  More than a letter, it is a note of only 20 verses.  And yet, this brief writing image029- circle of friendsremains as a small masterpiece, full with vivacity, cordiality, human warmth, and even some humor.  Without this letter, we would know the heart of Paul much less, above all in its most intimate and human nuances, so different from the heated and polemical tone of his other letters.

A slave by the name of Onesimus, which means ‘useful’ in Greek, had fled from his master Philemon and had taken with him quite a sum of his money.  After various vicissitudes, he meets Paul who was in prison.  The Apostle proclaims the Gospel to him and coverts him to Christianity, then sends him back to his master with this letter of recommendation.  Philemon had also been converted by Paul and is asked to receive his slave as ‘himself’ and above all as ‘a beloved brother in the Lord’.

Even in its brevity, this note is so important that it has been justly considered ‘the first Christian declaration of human rights’.  What was most important to Paul was to transform from within the human relationship between master and slave, teaching to see the slave as a brother, with the same dignity and greatness in the Lord.  Human history would over the centuries and with great difficulty, arrive at a proclamation of the dignity of every human being.  The seed had already been sown by Paul in this brief writing and in the Letter to the Galatians, “There is no longer slave, nor free person…because you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3: 27-28)

Today as I pause for silent contemplation, I will consider the dignity every human being has as a child of God.

Lord, thank You for the dignity You bestow on all human beings.  Help me to be ever mindful of this and act accordingly. 

The voice of St. John Chrysostom, Church Doctor 

The great Paul enthusiast and passionate reader of his letters, makes this stupendous affirmation about the Apostle, “The heart of Christ was the heart of Paul”.

 

 

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