Not everyone is going to have the kind of conversion experience of Isaiah or St. Peter or St. Paul. But each of us in our own way can have an experience of God that transforms our life into something more beautiful. First of all, we need to see ourselves as we really are--totally dependent on God. Secondly, we need to pray that God will help us in our daily lives to experience His amazing grace and power. And finally, we need a sense of mission, lives patterned after the life of Jesus. Then, and only then, will we become the kind of people God has created us to become.
Jeremiah could not have endured the isolation and the scorn that was his lot without a deep and abiding faith in God. The word of the Lord came to him saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.” Wow, what a source of security! No wonder he could handle rejection so well. His life was built upon the rock of God’s love for him. He knew, because he was speaking for God, time would prove his assertions as true. He had the greatest ally that anyone could have. He was on the side of God. Do not despair if you get rejected as long as you are following Jesus!
What is the dream God has placed in your heart? A dream was born in Nehemiah’s heart ... to go to Jerusalem to help his people. That is how every great work begins. God puts a dream in someone’s heart. There is still much to do in this world. May God ever supply us with men and women like Nehemiah who see the world’s needs and respond to God’s call. Has God planted a dream in your heart?
Baptism is important because of what it says about the person being baptized and what it says about the Church. Most importantly is what it says about the grace of God. Your baptism must make a difference in your life. Let that difference begin today!
Just as light is the appropriate symbol for Christ, darkness is the appropriate symbol for a world without Christ. We make our resolutions, but it’s not easy in a world of darkness. Our biggest enemy is within. There is something within our hearts (our fallen human nature) that causes some of us to resist the very things that we need to have a satisfying life. In the same way, light is the appropriate symbol of a world with Christ. He is our guide, our strength, the One who fills our life with meaning. Thank God we have a star to follow. It is the same star that guided the Magi long ago. It is the light of Christ. Christ, who is a dependable guide, whose love never fails. My friends, are you tired of living in darkness? “Arise, shine, for your light is come.”
What, then, do Mary’s memory and the Church’s memory have to do with our memory? How does the pure heart of Mary pondering Jesus touch our heart? How does the Church’s living memorial of Christ’s death and resurrection affect what is in my heart and yours, in my memory and yours? The Gospel tells us that “Mary treasured all of these things in her heart.” Let us look towards our Blessed Mother, the perfect disciple, to see how to begin this New Year with a heart focused on Jesus!
Families are wonderful. But they are challenging. Raising a family is like juggling a glass ball. If it is dropped, it can shatter. So take care. Handle it gently and with love. Someday you will thank God for such a wonderful gift!
“Love came down at Christmas.” This is the true meaning of Christmas. The God whose nature and whose name is Love came into our world to redeem us from the powers of sin and death. Even the humblest place and the humblest people take on a new significance when touched by the hand of God. He is available to us. But not if we stand at a distance and merely tip our hats. We must welcome His Spirit into our lives. He must become part of our very being. Joy to the world the Lord is come!
I don’t know what kind of Advent season this has been for you thus far. I hope it has been the best one ever. Perhaps, however, it has been a difficult time. If so, remember these lessons from Mary’s experience: Life takes some strange twists and turns but God is faithful to His promises. God loves you. God will never forsake you. The star of Christmas still shines today. It is the star of hope; it is the star of peace, but, most surely of all, it is the star of love.
A famous artist painted a picture of the Nativity. In his painting, across the crib falls the shadow of the Cross. Salvation is God’s eternal plan for humanity. This is why He has come down. This is why we have been lifted up. Heaven and earth have intersected at the cross of Calvary. Salvation has drawn nigh. But what is our response to that stupendous news? All we have to do is receive it, joyfully, and make it our own.