"You may be the only gospel another person reads." - a familiar saying
Have you read a good book lately? Did you tell another person about the good book you read? Did you hear about the good book that someone else read?
Novels, short stories, science fiction, essays, biographies, romance, history. There are all kinds of books to read, from every genre and from every age.
But YOU may be the "book" that another person reads. You are the character, you are the story: the way you live and work and speak and love.
Are you a good read?
Father, write your story on the pages of my life so that others may see Your gospel through me. Amen.
Photo by Joel Muniz on Unsplash
Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light:
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.
Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
Ring out the grief that saps the mind
For those that here we see no more;
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.
Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.
Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes
But ring the fuller minstrel in.
Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.
Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.
Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.
--Alfred Lord Tennyson - 1809-1892
The Church has invoked the titles of Christ in the O Antiphons for at least 1,300 years. These seven ancient prayers have been prayed by over millions of Christians. The medieval monasteries used to ring their largest bell as the choirs of monks intoned Mary’s Magnificat and these Advent antiphons. They are invoking Christ in seven messianic titles.
They are seven heart cries for Jesus to come anew in our life. Each one of them is preparing us to invite the Christ child more completely in this blessed season.
Like a final crescendo, these O Antiphons are intoned during Evening Prayer on the seven days leading up to Christmas Eve, from December 17 to December 23. Each night they form luminous bookends around Our Lady’s Magnificat, like seven prayers she prayed during her week-long journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem. All seven are in the oracles of the Old Testament prophet Isaiah, who gives us many memorable images of the Messiah. They are rich meditations on the One who is to come.
Although there are seven titles in the O Antiphons, only one has remained firmly in popular Christian culture, thanks to an Advent hymn: "O Come, O Come Emmanuel". This messianic title is the final of the O Antiphons. The seven titles prayed on each day are:
"Again his voice roars, his majestic voice thunders ..." - Job 37:4
The cacophony of noise drums in my head. The medical term for it is "tinnitus"; I simply call it "aggravating". While some refer to it as "ringing" or "buzzing" in the ears, I wish it were only a "ring" or a "buzz".
I have read of some people who patiently pray for the noise to stop so that they can sit silently and listen for the voice of God. There has to be a different approach.
Maybe this is God's way of getting my attention. Perhaps He is speaking, loud and clear; I just refuse to listen to it. I see it as "aggravating noise"; He sees it as a still voice speaking thunderously to me.
"Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening." - 1 Samuel 3:9
"... For the holy Spirit will teach you at that moment what you should say." - Luke 12:12
I visited my friend on a Monday. He had brain cancer for 14 months. He told me the doctor recently told him there was nothing more they could do for him. He said he no longer cared about work, sports, or anything else: "those things aren't important anymore," he remarked.
I held his hand, kept silent for a bit, and then tried to convey encouraging, uplifting, positive thoughts. "It is all in God's hands," I told him. "Yeah ... God," he said. When I left, I told him I would see him again in a few weeks.
My friend died five days later. I guess I didn't get it. It didn't seem like he would die that soon after I saw him. I was planning on seeing him again. Should I have said more? Did I say the right thing?
Yes. I will see him again. At some point in time.
Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash
"... and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak, and as many as touched it were healed." - Matthew 14:36
Oh, how I wish I could touch the tassel on His cloak and be healed. To feel the power released by Him and enter into me would be so warming.
We all have issues and problems and worries and concerns. Just let me touch You so I can be healed.
Jesus, heal me. Amen.
The words on the top of the notepad read: "Leave a trail of genius."
Merriam-Webster defines "genius" as exceptional intellectual or creative power or other natural ability.
If I carve the trail, will others follow?
Will my wisdom be a guiding light?
Or am I merely leaving crumbs for others to clean up?
"The prophet went on and waited for the king on the road, disguising himself with a bandage over his eyes." - 1 Kings 20:38
It seemed like a good idea. In order to compensate for a sore toe, just ditch the tennis shoes and walk the treadmill in sandals. Well, now there's band-aids decorating my blistered soles!
Sometimes the choices we make aren't so smart. How often do we place bandages on our "blistered souls"? We try to cover up our mistakes, our hurtful actions, our transgressions, our ridicule. We don't want to expose our scorn to others.
Remove the bandage and free yourself in the Sacrament of Confession.
Divine Physician, let my soles walk openly toward your mercy. Unveil the goodness in my heart and heal my soul of all guilt and shame. Amen.
OMG! The butterfly landed on my hand in the backyard. How cool is that!! I could feel it tickling the back of my hand. And, then, in the blink of an eye, it was gone.
Do you have a moment when God was so close to you, you could touch him and feel His tickling deep in your soul?
O God, come close to me. Enable the Holy Spirit to come alive in my soul. Amen.
"He will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire." - Matthew 3:12
Some call them weeds; others call them flowers. God says He will come and separate the wheat from the chaff.
What if I'm "having a bad day" when He comes? What side will I be on?
Everlasting God, may You always see favor in me. Amen.
"Looking at little life moments with a spiritual eye."