Saturday, December 31, 2011

Imagining the Lord wishing you a Happy New Year


If the Lord were wishing you  a "HAPPY NEW YEAR," and He is, it would probably sound something like this: 

"Hear the Word of my Son,______(your name)________.

Apply my Son’s Word to your life—live it faithfully.

Please yourself by pleasing my Son.

Plow through the “hard stuff” with my Son at your side; He will carry you, if necessary.

Yield to My Son’s direction—the Spirit will guide you in all of your affairs.

Never lose sight of my Son and the Spirit—they are always with you,

Even when it seems otherwise!

Waver not in the faith handed down to you.

Yield to the Spirit’s Presence,

Even when the yielding, the letting go of your will, is tough.

Appraise every situation with My Son, through My Son, and in My Son.

Rely on grace and the power of the Spirit working within you


Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy 2012


 Have a year filled with many blessings!

Assign a time for reflection and solitude,

Place God in the foreground and background of your life,

Please yourself by acting justly and loving tenderly,

Yearn for the Kingdom of God first!

Now is the time to reach out to the needy,

Even criminals need our love; for, by the grace of God, there go I

Wait upon the Lord and you shall be saved!

Yield in obedience to the Holy Spirit’s direction

Ever mindful that without God we  are lost souls.

Ardently seek truth!

Rarely be so busy that you have no time to play with and listen to your children and express your love and gratitude to your spouse and, if a member of a religious community, to other community members.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Happy New Year


Hoping to be one mind, one heart, one soul with God

ANSWERING God’s call

Pleasing God by the choices you make

Pausing to consider God’s will

Yielding to God’s ways

Never putting God on the “back burner” of your life

Eager to seek God’s truth in all things

Waiting upon God before making significant decisions

Yielding your will go God’s will in all things

Ever aware of God’s presence and power at work in your life

Always eager to choose the way of love and reconciliation

Reaching out in love to those less fortunate than oneself

Abiding with Jesus

We read in today’s first liturgical reading that “…whoever claims to abide in him [in Jesus] ought to walk just as he walked” (1 Jn 2: 3-11).  And how did Jesus walk? In obedience to His Father! Am I walking in obedience to God, or am I obeying someone or something else?  Jesus’ obedience to the Father reveals who the Father is.  Jesus healed the sick, the lame, the deaf and the dumb, the blind and the crippled; raised the dead to life, cast out demons, proclaimed God’s Kingdom in our midst, forgave sinners, righted wrongs, challenged the self-righteous and those who were unjust and deceitful. He looked after the orphaned, the widowed and the children and was especially solicitous for the lost sheep of Israel.  Jesus was obedient to the point of giving up His life for our sake.  Jesus and the Father are one—Jesus and the Father brought the dead back to life, restored hearing and sight, righted wrongs and challenged the unjust and deceitful, cast out demons and forgave sinners. Together they redeemed humankind by Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection from death.  Both the Father and the Son secured our salvation and brought about our reconciliation with our Creator God. Obedience was the way to that reconciliation, to our restoration with God.  Where does my obedience lead?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas in the Convent

Christmas in the Convent: “What was your Christmas like, you ask?  And don’t you miss your family?”  My family members, now, are the members of my religious community. Just as a married person refers to her spouses’ family now as her family, so, too, in religious life.  We care for one another as a married person cares about her extended family members. What happens to them is of concern to her, as for us living together in community.  Do I miss my family of origin: my siblings and their families (my parents are deceased)? Of course, I do. And as I get older, I miss them more.  It is how life is! Relationships grow with age, so it seems.

What was Christmas like in the Convent?  First of all, the most exciting part of Christmas for me was the anticipation approaching the birth of Christ—the hours of meditation on the meaning of Christmas in the liturgical readings of each day.  Midnight Mass, now celebrated at 10:00 p.m. in most parishes around Denville, NJ, was, of course, the highlight of the celebration along with Vespers or Evening Prayer I  and Morning Praise of the liturgical hours, that is, the Prayer of the Church, on Christmas Eve and Christmas day.

On Christmas Day, we three Sisters living on 1st floor of Our Lady of Sorrows Convent in Denville, NJ, had eleven of our sisters living here in NJ over for dinner.  One of the sisters brought a 95-year-old woman to the meal so that she did not have to be alone that day.  This meal, as you can imagine, was awesome. Besides the fact that we have one of the best cooks in the community living with us was the camaraderie of the sisters, the visiting and telling of Christmas stories: what it was like in some  of the native countries from where our sisters originate: Korea, Guyana, Grenada, Wisconsin.  We closed our dinner celebration with the celebration of Vespers arranged by one of the sisters and the sharing of gifts.
I hope that each of you reading this also has a wonderful Christmas and that the New Year is filled with an abundance of God’s choicest blessings.     

Feast of Holy Innocents, Dec. 28th

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Innocents, the killing of approximately 30 male children by an outrageously infuriated Herod, who, “when he realized he was deceived by the Magi,…ordered the massacre of all of the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years and younger…(Mt. 2: 13-18).  Statistics inform us that every ten seconds, in the U.S., alone, a child is abused, raped or killed by out-of-control adults.  Since 1990, 10,000 American children have died at the hands of their parents or caregivers (Source:  DreamCatchers for Abused Children).  The murder of those one sees as a threat, an inconvenience, a nuisance, a person to be used and then thrown away—is a sin against humanity throughout humankind’s existence, beginning with Cain’s slaughter of his brother Abel.  The weeping and sobbing “heard in Ramah” thunders throughout the world of today by thousands of parents and grandparents mourning the abortion, the abduction, the abuse and the murder of their children by family members, caregivers, strangers, human traffickers, pedophiles who roam the neighborhoods looking for innocent, and many times helpless,  victims.  The souls of some of these victims, in the words of today’s psalm, have “been rescued like a bird from the fowler’s snare.” Others, however, continue to be abused. Who will rescue us from this horror? Who will break the snares of evil that blanket the world of today in this form of cruelty?  In faith, we know that, with Christ’s coming into the world, we have been set free. Evil will not triumph. Satan has been defeated by the obedience of Christ to the will of the Father, our salvation.  May God hasten the day when our hope in the salvation of the entire world, on the one hand,  from pedophiles, abortionists, child-murderers, rapists, and abusers will be fully realized. On other hand, may each one of us also be set free from that which infuriates us. May we be healed of our woundedness lest we, in turn, wound others in secret revenge of our own abusers.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

John, the disciple whom Jesus loved

Today we celebrate the feast of St. John the Evangelist.  St. John shares with us his experience of Christ, whom he saw and touched in person.  John, believed to be the youngest of the apostles, was one of Jesus’ closest friends. He accompanied Jesus to Mount Tabor, to Gethsemane,  was the one who rested his head on Jesus’ chest at the Last Supper,  was the only apostle at the foot of the Cross. It is to John that Jesus, during His agonizing death on the cross, entrusted His mother, certainly revealing His love and trust in John.   John was present at the Ascension and at Pentecost.  He is the one who recognized the Risen Christ after the resurrection on the shore of Tiberius, preparing breakfast for the apostles. Like John , we too, experience intimate moments with Jesus. Will I, like John, recognize Jesus in the various disguises in my life? Jesus comes to us hidden in our neighbor, in the stranger, the homeless, in a little child, in the disguise of the sick, the physician, the priest, family members—in fact, in all of our encounters, great and small, welcomed and unwelcomed.  Like John, we receive special messages from Jesus at the foot of our crosses.  Jesus  entrusts persons to us as precious to the Lord as His mother was to Him.  Like John, do I trust Jesus to the point of asking Him personal questions, as John did at the last Supper? Will I, like John, accompany others to the foot of their crosses and be a comfort to them? Will I, like John, be the one to recognize Jesus “making breakfast” for me after a busy “night” and nothing to show for my efforts? In what disguises and in which situations will I recognize the face of Christ this day and realize that, like John, I too, am Christ’s beloved disciple?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!  What an incredible feast. Jesus, the splendor of heavenly light, the Sun of Justice, the Radiant Dawn enters our world of darkness, where we live under the shadow of death.  Death, where is your sting?  Death is the last enemy that Christ conquers here on this earth.  God takes on human flesh and  journeys here on earth, healing diseases, making the deaf hear and the blind see, casting out demons, bringing the dead to life, those paralyzed walk again, those stooped over stand straight at Jesus' touch, those turning the Temple and all that is sacred into a den of thieves are cast out, those cheating the poor and oppressed are brought to justice, those condemning another sinner are challenged to face their own sinfulness. Over and over again, Jesus shows us the Father's face.  We learn, through Jesus' words and actions, that God is a God of compassion and mercy, a God of love and truth,a God of justice, a God who turns darkness to light, death to life, blindness to sight, deafness to hearing, sickness to health, deceit into honesty, sinfulness into reconciliation to those who trust in the Living Word and repent of their sin. Mary and Joseph, the shepherds and kings who visit the newborn Christ show us the way during this holy season: that of obedience to God's messengers, to God's spirit directing us to the Lord, the Savior of the world, brought into this world as a infant this night 2000+ years ago.  Happy Birthday, Jesus!  Thank you so much for coming to save us from Satan's snares.

Friday, December 23, 2011

God born according to the flesh

"The birth of Your Son, O God, according the flesh!  How great Thou art, O God! How loving! How compassionate! How caring!  Our first parents, Adam and Eve, representing all humankind, turned away from You, rebelled, refusing to be obedient to You, their Creator.  Every person on this earth, each of Your sons and daughters created in your image and likeness, have been deceived by Satan and by each other, as were Adam and Eve.  All sinned!  You alone, O God, are truth and holiness. In your compassion and love, You left heaven to take on human nature in order to show us the way back to the Father through Your Son's obedience to the point of death on the tree of the cross.  As Satan deceived Eve to disobey You from a tree and we deceived ourselves and each other from the "tree of pride," so, You saved us from the death of sin from a tree: the tree of the cross on which a humble, obedient Son returned His life to you, Father, and thereby restored us to life with you for all eternity. Thank you through this very Son of God, Jesus the Christ, whose birthday we will celebrate in a couple of days."

Thursday, December 22, 2011

My soul magnifies the Lord

O God,  my soul rejoices in You, my Savior.  You, who are mighty, have done great things for me.  Holy is Your name.” 

                 You’ve given me life.
               You  have chosen parents for me who
                            loved You,
                         honored You,
 worshipped You,
 recognized You as God and as their personal savior.
                You gave me parents for whom Church was important.
                You gave me parents of
 strong faith,
 firm trust,
and love for You and each other.
You gave me parents who
respected the sacrament of marriage,
gave their all to growing in  love and respect of each other,
and cherished their children.

Thank You, Lord, that these values are lived out by each of my siblings and are key values in my life as a woman religious.

How was any of this possible? The Holy Spirit overshadowed them and us, Lord. Thank you!


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Hark! My Lover--Here He Comes

What imagery in today’s first Scripture reading, Song of Songs 2: 8-14.  It begins with “Hark, my lover—here he comes springing across the mountains, leaping across the hills. ”  That is our God, our lover, hastening  to us. Can’t wait to arrive. Passionately seeking us!  Verse 9 tells us that God “stands behind our wall, gazing through the windows, peering through the lattices [of our souls].”  What walls have I erected to keep my Beloved out of my vision, out of my thoughts, out of my actions, out of my decisions?  Whatever that wall is, God patiently waits for me to let Him into my life. He says to me in verses 10-13:

                                “Arise, my beloved, my dove, my beautiful one,
                                       and come!
                                For see, the winter is past,
                                       the rains are over and gone.
                                The flowers appear on the earth,
                                       the time of pruning the vines has come,
                                       and the song of the dove is heard in our land.
                                The fig tree puts forth its figs,
                                        and the vines, in bloom, give forth fragrance.
                                Arise, my beloved, my beautiful one,
                                       and come!”

Listen to God say to you: “Arise, my beloved,…, my beautiful one, and come!”  I envision myself on my deathbed and hear God calling me His “Beautiful One” and beckoning me to come to Him. Come, your “winter is past, the rains are over and gone.” My vine is being pruned, purified, of all that is not of God—a process going on throughout our lives here on earth.  The beauty of our souls, our true selves, the self that is one with God, is beautiful.  God sees it. Do I?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Generosity in saying "yes" as Mary did

Today’s Gospel, Luke 1: 26-38, is the Annunciation story.   Once assured that her virginity will be left intact—she had vowed virginity to the Lord—Mary says   “yes”  to the angel, wholeheartedly, graciously, generously,  believing and trusting in God and His plan for salvation.  Mary first met her need to know that her virginity would not be violated.  Every day that I meet my legitimate needs, whatever they are, I  make available my creative, life-giving energies to say “yes” to others.  If I neglect my needs,  however, those energies are stymied, blocked, obstructed by anger and resentment which quietly, or not so quietly, accumulate in my unconscious and sometimes conscious mind.  What a revelation for me, as I was fighting against myself repeatedly, putting my legitimate needs on the back burner, telling myself that I simply did not have time for myself.  I was astounded when I realized that by meeting my needs first I release gratitude, joy, peace, love and generosity: gifts needed to authentically say “yes” to others as well as energy needed to give myself wholeheartedly to my ministry and to community life. What may initially, and to the naked eye,  look like selfishness may actually, to the eyes of faith, be an unselfish choice that leads to an increased generosity in giving to others within one’s family, one’s community, one’s workplace, one's church.

Monday, December 19, 2011

God's messengers announcing important births

In both readings today, Judges 13: 2-7, 24-25a and Lk 1: 1-25 an angel announces two very important births. In  the first reading from Judges, an angel appears to a barren woman  and announces that she shall bear  a son. This son will be consecrated in her womb and, moved by the Spirit, shall begin the deliverance of Israel. Delivered from what, you ask? From those who are attempting to deny them entrance into the Promised Land. In the Gospel the angel Gabriel announces to Zachariah that his wife, also barren, shall bear a son.This son shall prepare the way for the Messiah.  If we fast forward to the 21st century, we, too, are being delivered, to this very day, from those forces that attempt to deter us from reaching God’s promise of eternal salvation and life with Him for all eternity as well as from accepting our role in salvation history. We, too have person's who prepare us for the way of the Lord and to be disciples of the Lord.  Who are the ones in your life, stirred by the Spirit, who deliver you from selfish, sinful pursuits and negative, destructive attitudes and model discipleship for you?  For me, my deliverance began with my parents, God’s messengers and faithful followers of Christ, and continues to this very day through the Sisters with whom I live and those to and with whom I minister and who, in turn, minister to me.  God's messengers in my life, "angels of deliverance" are also the authors of the Scriptures, of spiritual books, directors of retreats, homilists, a neighbor, street people, the poor and marginalized, the sick and dying, children and babes in a parent's arms, and so many more who open my eyes to God's love and mercy and invite me to be of service. Who are the “angels of deliverance” in your life? Who prepares you to walk the ways of God, to receive Jesus as the One who will set you free and bring you closer and closer to experiencing the fullness of life that Jesus promises in the Gospels?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Jesus' genealogy

Today’s Gospel,  Mt. 1: 1-17, at a fleeting glance, seems uninspiring. Who, in God’s name, are these people in Jesus’ genealogy and who cares, was my initial reaction.  When it comes right down to it, aren’t Mary and Joseph and David the persons of significance in Jesus ‘  family tree?  As we look  more deeply, however, we discover that His genealogy, all of it, carries a profound message: no matter how we turn away from God, we count in God’s eyes and are a significant part of salvation history, my own and that of others and vice versa.  And, yes, no family, not even Jesus’, is exempt from having a relative, or two or three, who has committed serious sin. We all have come into this world effected by Adam and Eve’s disobedience and are personally vulnerable to the snares Satan sets for us, even if not as blatantly immoral as David’s sin against Uriah. With Mary, we can say: My soul magnifies the Lord, for He, who is mighty has done great things in granting each of us the grace of redemption, as He did David and all of the other shady characters in His genealogy and ours. And  I need to remember that  even though the  shadiness of my sinfulness may pale in comparison to David’s murder of Uriah and attempts to cover up his sexual sin, my  sin is also a form of darkness that affects the world in which I live.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Behold, the Lord is coming with peace in His hands

The opening prayer of today’s liturgy awakens us to the coming of the Lord, who is “descending with splendor”  to visit us “with peace” and  “will bestow on us “eternal  life.” Wow!  Each of us is waiting for both of those gifts: peace and eternal life.  I thought of a cousin through marriage who is dying of cancer and has been given about a month to live.  Imagine yourself facing the end of your sojourn here on earth, knowing in faith that your God is “descending with splendor” and will be visiting you with the gifts of peace and eternal life. What more would you need in that point in time? Certainly nothing the world is capable of giving!   We know that the time will come for all of us when we will have no more than a month left to live.  How prepared am I to meet  a Visitor who comes with peace in His hands?  Or am I not ready—will God find someone who is not at peace with him/herself and not at peace with others, in short, is not a peace-maker? Will God, as Jesus said to those He sent out to evangelize, find no peace “under my roof,” need to shake the dust off His feet and sadly move to someone who’s heart is ready? Do I make a way for God by being a peacemaker when around me there is anything but peace or am I the one disturbing the peace by my obnoxious, insensitive, unkind behaviors and attitudes? Am I a  “good news” or a “bad news” person, that is, someone  who berates others, says mean things to others , is a “know-it-all” person who discounts other people’s intelligence and experiences or, much worse, am I that person who says unkind things behind people’s backs rather than confronting them directly, not out of anger but out of love,  with the behavior that is offensive to me? “Behold, the Lord is coming.” Is my house in order?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

"What did you go out into the desert to see?" (Lk 7:24)

What a message in today’s Gospel, Lk 7: 24-30.  I am asked why I have gone out into the desert and for whom am I looking?  Certainly, deserts are unwelcome places, at least for me!  So who is out there that has caught my attention? Have I gone out of curiosity? Have I gone to criticize? To condemn? To chastise myself or someone else?  Or am I responding to John’s message to repent and prepare for God’s visit to my interior dwelling place?  Am I seeking to be cleansed, purified of my sins? Am I longing for the Lord “to create a clean heart in me, put into me a new and constant spirit” (Ps. 51: 12)?  If I am expecting anything else or anything less, I will be disappointed. However, if I am preparing my heart  to receive my  Savior, my visit to the desert of my life will be an awesome experience whenever I have the courage and the humility to visit this place in preparation for the birth of the Lord anew in my heart and life.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Do I take offense of the Truth?

In today’s Gospel, Jesus is asked by John’s disciples whether He is really the Messiah or should they be looking for someone else. Jesus’ response is: the dead are brought back to life, the deaf have their hearing restored and the blind see again.  Then He adds: “Blessed is the one who takes no offense at me” (Luke 7: 18b-23).  As I reflected upon that last statement, I thought of the many  times I am, or others are, offended when the truth about ourselves or our behaviors  is revealed and how often we dance around the truth, afraid to be direct with people lest we offend them.  I wonder how often others are afraid to confront me with a truth that I need to hear.  May salvation come to my house today that I may not only hear the truth  I need to hear but may I also speak a truth that needs to be spoken in a way that it can be heard and in a way that God’s will is accomplished in me: my  salvation and my ongoing conversion into the person of Christ incarnated in today's world.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The dance of "yes" and "no"

In the Gospel of today, Mt. 21: 28-32, we read about the two sons who were asked to work in their Father’s vineyard. One refused and then changed his mind. The other said yes and did not go. Both sons exist within each of us. Sometimes we follow the Spirit’s counsel only after initially refusing to do so. At other times we enthusiastically  say “Yes, I will do that,” and simply abandon the good to which  we were called  by our God. Walking with and walking away from God is a dance in which all human beings engage.  None of us is exempt from this vulnerable state and all of us are given the opportunity to repent and return to the Lord over and over again in any given day! The Good Shepherd knows when we go astray and comes looking for us. What a great and loving God!  He never wearies or grows tired of our shenanigans—grace will triumph in our lives. That is why God incarnated Himself in human nature—an event we will celebrate in a few short days.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Today we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. On Dec. 9, 1531, Mary appeared to Juan Diego,  an Aztec Indian and a recent convert to the Catholic faith.  At the time the Aztec people had been conquered by the Spaniards and were being treated harshly.  The bishop himself had been invoking our Blessed Mother asking for help.  But when Juan Diego shared the Blessed Mother’s request with him to have a Church a church built on the hill where she appeared to him in order to thereby  make her Son known and  respond to her children’s petitions,  the bishop initially refused his request and eventually asked for a sign. A sign was given—roses appeared on the hill in the midst of winter. Juan Diego, with Mary’s help, collected a bouquet, wrapped them in his cloak and returned to the bishop. When he opened his cloak, not only was there the miracle of the roses but imprinted on the cloak was the exact replica of Mary as she had appeared to him on that hill.  Needless to say, the bishop repented and built the church as requested by Mary.

 The important message here for us is that God chooses the  lowly,  the marginalized and the oppressed to be His ambassadors, as was Juan Diego, and to be recipients of and  give birth to the Word of God, as did Mary. As Christians we live in a paganistic, secularistic, materialistic and demoralized society.  We are marginalized, shunned, oppressed in a world doing its utmost to shove God out of humankind’s awareness, so now the world says we celebrate the holidays, not the birth of Christ.  As a speaker on religious life recently said to a group of us religious, it is a great time to be in religious life, as we, too, are on the margins where both Juan Diego and our Blessed Mother were in their time on earth. That is the place God chooses for great things to happen.  I believe that we are in the right place and the right time when we experience being the lowliest of the lowly and when we are most vulnerable. It seems that it is during those times that God’s grace breaks through, barren hills are transformed into flower gardens and  ordinary cloaks are changed into manifestations of a divine visitation for those seeking the Lord.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Jesus' frustration with the crowd

In today’s Gospel, Mt 11: 16-19, Jesus expresses his exasperation with people who, rather than accepting Jesus and His message  and sincerely listening to Him, complain that He’s not like John the Baptist.  In dealing with leaders or significant persons in our lives who speak a truth, it is easy to avoid that truth by saying something like: “How come you are not like so and so” or “So and so does the same thing, so why complain about my behavior.”  By comparisons we take ourselves out of the present moment and avoid dealing with the issue at hand.  The truth that could have set us free and deepened our relationship with one another is avoided.  As we escape the reality momentarily, the wisdom of that moment will resurface at a later time when we realize that a truth was spoken that we needed to hear. Imagine Jesus being in that situation and how saddened He must have been!  He is, in fact, in each of our situations and how saddened He must be when we skirt issues by comparisons as a subtle means to avoid a truth that needs to be faced if we are going to be set free through honest interactions.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Mary's Immaculate Conception: Jesus' gift of redemption given to Mary from conception

In the opening prayer of today’s Mass, we ask that, just  as God preserved Mary from every stain of sin by virtue of Jesus’ death on the cross,  we, too, through Mary’s intercession, want to be purified and welcomed into God’s divine presence.  This led me to ponder our journey through this life, which involves being purified as gold is purified in fire through the everyday experiences of our lives. There is no other way to become worthy of entering into the presence of our God.  That purification, here, occurs as it did for Adam and Eve, as related in today’s first reading, that is, each time we, as adult Christians, try to be like God, disobeying His commands and doing it our way, living independently of God and of others, whether married or in religious life or single (in relationships with friends, co-workers, fellow parishioners  in church ministries), refusing to accept responsibility for our disobedience, we are caught naked before God, ourselves and others.  Our attempts to hide are futile. God brings us face to face with who we really are, what the consequences of our disobedience are and how we now need to live with those consequences in a way that leads to our transformation, that is, our being a follower of a Higher Will and a greater Intelligence than our own while also realizing that all of our actions effect those with whom we live, work and enjoy leisure time. We are interdependent, interrelated  human being who are meant to be in communion with God and others.  That ability to commune respectfully with God and others begins with being honest with ourselves and not entering into the blame game which both Adam and Eve had done.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

God's intimate involvement in our lives

Today’s first Scripture reading, Is. 40: 25-31, begins with “To whom can you liken me as an equal?”  In another part of Isaiah, we read: “I am Yahweh, there is no other” (Is. 45:5).  Hear Jesus say to you: “I created  you in God’s image and likeness. I redeemed you by sacrificing my life in obedience to My Father and yours. No one else could rescue you or humankind from the eternal distance and perpetual darkness disobedience to one’s Creator causes.”  No one could restore the shattered relationship of humankind with God except One who is God.  “I am God; there is no other.”  God creates the darkness,  (cf Is 45:7) the chaos, the woe that envelopes the person who chooses to commit evil, to walk the path of disobedience. God is the One who restores a sinner’s relationship with God when that person repents. The act of repentance opens the person’s heart, my heart, to Christ’s redeeming graces: darkness turns into light; chaos into order; ugliness into beauty; sin into holiness. “I am God; there is no other” (Is. 44:6). “To whom can you liken me as an equal? (Is. 40: 25)? O God, how great Thou art! And You don’t ever “grow weary”  (Is 40:28) of this redemptive grace with sinners, like me.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

"Comfort, comfort my people," says the Lord

Today’s first reading is from Is. 40: 1-11, the same reading as for the second Sunday of Advent. What a reading. Through Isaiah, the Lord asks us to comfort each other, to talk tenderly to each other. Why? The mountains of our lives, the rugged ways, the hills will be leveled. Any leveling is painful. Mountains/hills/the rugged ways of pride, selfishness, narcissism, pragmatism and feverish activity to do everything we can do, to acquire everything that is acquirable, to achieve everything that is possible for us to achieve in one twenty-four hour day leaves little, if any time, for contemplation, prayer, being attentive to the needs of the lonely, the destitute, the unloving parts of ourselves and other; in short, we are unavailable for the important things of life: growing in our relationship with Christ and one another, being there for others in the way that Christ was present to those who came to Him for healing and to hear the Word of God.  “Talk tenderly” to those whose lives are shattered because of being sinned against or because of their own sinfulness; “talk tenderly” to yourself when you have sinned, messed up, made a mistake, alienated yourself from your loved ones and long for reconciliation.  God Himself tells us through Isaiah that He will lead us to the right path “with care.” He will take us by the hand as we enter into the time of awakening, a time of repentance, a time of purification that enables the glory of God to be revealed in us and through us.