Today we celebrate the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. After Jesus was baptized, the Holy Spirit descended upon him, and He heard “you are my beloved son; with you I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:15-16) How often do you hear God’s voice saying this to you? Baptism is a work of God accepting us as we are. There is nothing we can do or fail to do that will damage this relationship. By virtue of our baptism, we have the Holy Spirit within us revealing the mysterious ways of God. Our job is to have the courage to get comfortable with silence and listen. The voice that says ” I am God’s beloved child called and sent to make a difference in the world.” This is our lifelong learning, the theme of this week.Continue reading “Week Two: Lifelong Learning. Sacred Silence.”
Blessed Mary, Mother of God
Continue reading “Gift of Goodness – January 1, 2022”
And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.Luke 2:19
The Eternal Word Becomes Flesh
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.John 1:1-5
On this, the seventh day of the Octave of Christmas, we are given a mystery. The mystery of the “Word.” It’s a language that is veiled and yet revealing at the same time. It presents Jesus to us as the “Word.” He is the Word who takes on flesh and is eternal, from “the beginning with God.” The passage goes on to say that the Word was God and that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
Lord, Jesus, Eternal Word of the Father, I thank You for coming among us and for making Your eternal dwelling present to us. Thank You for the great mystery of Christmas. Help me to always celebrate this season with great joy and gratitude, and also with a sense of mystery. May I always realize that the mystery of Christmas will never be fully understood. May this mystery draw me closer each and every day so that I may fall more deeply in love with You, my eternal God. Jesus, I trust in You.
From Tragedy to Glory – Feast of the Holy Innocents
When Herod realized that he had been deceived by the magi, he became furious. He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had ascertained from the magi.Matthew 2:16
Today on the fourth day of the Octave of Christmas, we see out of envy and hatred, Herod had countless innocent children killed in an attempt to eliminate Jesus, the newborn King. How is this same envy and hatred playing out in our world today?Continue reading “Gift of Goodness – December 28, 2021”
Contemplating the Eternal Word
Continue reading “Gift of Goodness – December 27, 2021”
Beloved: What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we looked upon and touched with our hands concerns the Word of life—for the life was made visible; we have seen it and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was made visible to us—what we have seen and heard we proclaim now to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; for our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We are writing this so that our joy may be complete.1 John 1:1-4
Honoring the Holy FamilyContinue reading “Preparing Our Heart Series – The Octave of Christmas”
Gloria in Excelsis Deo!
The angel said to the shepherds, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” Luke 2:10-14
Glory to God in the highest! The celebration of the glorious birth of Christ the Lord has begun…Merry Christmas!
As we get ready for the birth of love itself in Jesus Christ, let us take the necessary steps to prepare our hearts and minds. What if we bring out the creche or nativity scene and place it where it can be seen and, if the moment is right, contemplated? What if, in the Spirit of the season, the creche characters began to talk? What if they asked us questions to bring home our faith, to encourage us into gratitude and commitment? How would we answer?
I am the Father of the Child.
My Son is too young to speak.
So I will say a few words
to help you place him
at the center of your crèche
and, as you do it, allow him
to place himself in the center of you.
How many have I courted seekers
in dreams and deserts
only to be forgotten
in the demands of day?
They put me on a throne,
so you must kneel.
They say I withhold blessings,
so you must beg.
They claim I punish,
so you must be afraid.
Then my Son came out of the water
and swallowed my Word from the sky.
The dove of love descended
and my pleasure ran through him.
He never looked back,
but looked everywhere else
and saw what no one else did.
When people cried from the crowd,
When people hid in their sin,
When people lost their way,
When people were shunned,
he reached out.
When people were in pain, he touched.
When people did not understand, he explained.
He gave himself away like one who lays
in the feeding trough of the manger
as food for every hunger.
He knows Me well.
Yet no one could thin a crowd like my Son.
His parables were mirrors.
People saw themselves and did not like what they saw.
His actions were scandalous attacks
on the conventions of separateness.
His arguments silenced adversaries.
The cry of the child in the manger
became the voice of the prophet.
My word of mercy was never so strong, yet never so rejected.
My word of love was never so perseverant,
yet never so avoided.
Of course, they came for him with clubs and swords and lies
and he met them with Me.
I was always his welcome
for those who do not know,
drawing light from their darkness,
life from their death.
In him, I Am Who I Am.
You see, he is Me among you.
So my question to you will be no surprise.
How do you listen my Son?
The perspective of the Child was originally published on December 24, 2019, written by author and theologian John “Jack” Shea for Catholic Extension. Smitten With Goodness exists to shine a light on goodness. The presence of the Catholic Church is a guiding light in many places darkened by poverty and conflict. Catholic Extension uplifts faith communities and supports individuals who bring the light of Christ to the most forgotten areas of our country, and you can support their mission here.