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Posts Tagged ‘love’


James: Appropriate Action

Friday, November 11, 2022james-700x300

“James advocates living faith and practical love. His concern is behavior. Like other moralists of his age, he is impatient with fine words that have no action . . . Faith without appropriate practice in love is a charade”. (Senior RG 548)

God says: My servant James has expressed my vision quite well in his letter to you, and my hope is that you spend time with his words and with me today. Choose a small portion of his verses and examine them well. He has an important message about how and why to endure trials. He gives you good advice about words and thoughts, deeds and gestures. James can teach you how to be authentic; he structures lessons on honesty and wisdom. He reminds you of my immense generosity and love for you. And he describes how you might be in the world and not become part of it. Listen to James and learn to live by my measure rather than your own for when you do . . . you will find that you are living a life of appropriate action.

Enter the words wisdom or generosity in the blog search bar and reflect on how our actions. live out God’s love in creation. Are they in and for God? Can we say that they are appropriate?


Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.RG 548. Print.   

Image from: https://kingdomnewtestament.wordpress.com/category/james/

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1 Samuel 2Doom versus Reward

Jan Victors: Hannah

Jan Victors: Hannah

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

We have reflected on how our dry bones can be called to new life through God’s goodness and care. Today we remember a favorite from February 23, 2008. 

We spent time reflecting on this chapter before but we often look at the story of Hannah, her dedication and perseverance through her barrenness, and the reward she received – not only the child Samuel, who was destined to be the last of the Israelite judges who anointed both Saul and David as kings, but three more sons and two daughters (verse 21). We have seen how Hannah endured her trials by waiting actively . . . by watching and witnessing. We have read the verses ourselves, and we have heard them read out from the pulpit, but today we notice something new. The story of Hannah’s devotion to God and her life of witness is interwoven with the threads of another story: Eli and corruption in holy places. We find this dichotomy when we read carefully.

Today’s reflection brings us to these questions: can we see that so often in our lives the reward we receive rises from doom? Can we see that God turns all bad to good when we allow God to intervene in our lives? Can we remain faithful in the face of transgressions in our lives? Can we speak courageously to Yahweh with our petitions for the hopeless places and people in our lives? Can we love those who harm us?  an we live among the corrosion and still persevere in our fidelity to God? Do we believe that when we bring open and ready hearts to God, that God will make all things new?

Eli is held directly responsible for the actions of his sons. The HARPERCOLLINS COMMENTARY points out that the accuracy of the prophecy of the doom of the house of Eli as predicted in 2:34 is a sign that Yahweh keeps all promises. Eli’s two sons will die on the same day (1 Kings 13:3). Although this is a story of suffering, it is good news for us, for just as Yahweh keeps the promise of reward for Hannah and doom for Eli, so too does God keep the promise to all to walk among us as a good shepherd. (Mays 247)

The books of Samuel give the account of a people coming of age and so it is a bumpy narrative; sacred people and places are corrupted by human willfulness and waywardness . . . yet all is not lost.  These books contain the interwoven stories of injustice and mercy, corruption and love, willfulness and endurance, curse and blessing, doom and reward.  We do not have to look very far beyond ourselves to find the Elis and the Hannahs around us.  We do not have to wonder how to rise out of doom to reach our reward.  This is our human story: joy, healing and redemption rising from corruption, deceit and doom.  It is laid open for us today.


Image from: http://findfruit.blogspot.com/2009_01_01_archive.html

Mays, James L., ed.  HARPERCOLLINS BIBLE COMMENTARY. New York, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1988. 247. Print.

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Ezekiel 37: From Dry Bones to Restoration – Part IV

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Perhaps the reason we do not find serenity is that we do not ask for restoration. Today St. Paul, in his first letter to Timothy, reminds us that reunion with God is only a petition away. He is a follower of Christ because he answered God’s invitation to follow.

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God . . .

Perhaps the reason we do not find peace is that we do not ask for strength.

I am grateful to him who has strengthened me . . .

Perhaps the reason we do not find solace is that we do not ask forgiveness.

I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and an arrogant man . . .

Perhaps the reason we do not experience love is that we have not shown mercy.

I have been mercifully treated . . .

Perhaps the reason we do not experience transformation is that we do not believe in restoration.

The grace of our Lord has been abundant, along with the faith and love that are in Jesus Christ . . .

Today we spend time with the opening chapter of Paul’s first letter to Timothy and we ponder what our lives might be like if and when we seek strength, forgiveness and mercy. We reflect on the possibility of new life rising from the arid bones of our sorrow.

Tomorrow, finding faith . . . 


Use the scripture link to explore varying editions of 1 Timothy 1.

Image from: https://www.christianity.com/wiki/bible/what-is-the-significance-of-the-valley-of-dry-bones-in-ezekiel.html

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Luke 9:10-17: Some Left Over – Part VImultiplication-of-loaves-and-fishes-c-osseman

Saturday, August 6, 2022

Once more we read about this miracle of feeding thousands. Some say that the true miracle was that, moved by Jesus’ words and hunger pangs, the crowd pulled food secreted in pockets that they ordinarily would not have shared. This version of this story rests on several points: 1) those following Jesus were a greedy lot, 2) Jesus’ amazing words that moved the crowd to uncharacteristic sharing have been left out of the six Gospel descriptions of these events, and 3) the crowd not only shared their food but donated their leftovers to some unknown recipients. We might spend a lifetime debating these arguments, or we might instead reflect on the points above in the following way as Luke suggests.

God the Creator gives us far more than we can ever hope to equal. Today we give thanks for God’s immense generosity.

Jesus our Brother offers us an intimate relationship of sustenance that we can never hope to exceed. Today we give thanks for Christ’s redeeming love.

The Holy Spirit brings us an outpouring of healing and consolation that we can never hope to surpass. Today we give thanks for the Spirit’s abiding patience and persistence.

Examining the citation using the scripture link above, we determine to show generosity, love and patience to our sisters and brothers in Christ.

Tomorrow, John’s story of multiplication of generosity, love and patience.


Image from: http://www.tolleetlege.com/meditations/not-enough-gospel-reading-for-the-eighteenth-sunday-in-ordinary-time/

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st-mary-magdalene

Pietro Perugino: Mary Magdalene

John 20:1-18: Glory XII – Healing

Friday, July 29, 2022

Adapted from a reflection written on August 9, 2007 and posted today as a message about God’s glory, an experience offered to each of us.

Jesus said to her, “Mary!”

The love between Jesus and his disciples is palpable, and when Jesus speaks to the Magdalene in verse 20:16, it is clear that this man had a very human relationship with the friends who surround himself.  And it is this same relationship that is offered to us, a relationship of healing love, truth and light. This is why it is so important for us to surround ourselves with people who will nurture the growth of Jesus’ truth and light and life, people who speak with their ears and live with their hearts, people who touch one another in the manner that Christ touched his followers, people who heal.

Today’s lesson on Glory: As we explore the varying versions of the importance of Mary Magdalene in the life of Jesus and the early church, we find that this young woman calls to each of us today by her example of steadfast love and witness. 

We are all called to be healers to one another; and as adopted sisters and brothers of Christ we have the power to heal one another not only in a medical way but emotionally and spiritually as well.  When we listen for God’s Word to speak, when we exercise patience and persistence, when we live out our faith in God, our hope in Christ and our love in the Spirit, we meet Christ. We heal and we are healed.

And so we pray, as Mary Magdalene may have prayed . . .

Precious God, keep me mindful of this your promise, to set us prisoners free from all that binds us, to raise us to the great hope you have placed in us, to send your Spirit into our temples to abide with us forever.  In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.


For more about Mary Magdalene, and for insight into her Gospel, click on the image or visit: https://parabola.org/2015/01/29/the-gospel-of-mary-magdalene/

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John 14:15-31: Glory, Part IV – The Advocate

Thursday, July 21, 2022advocate

We have explored the mystery of Christ’s power that is found in humility, emptiness, and service. We have examined Jesus’ words as recorded by John, The Beloved Apostle. And we have carried God’s glory with us in our pockets, as our bookmarks, and as our bedtime reminders that Jesus is with us constantly. Knowing all of this, we look to find God’s glory in the Advocate that Jesus assures us is with us always.

Today’s lesson on Glory: There is no reason for us to look for glory in awards, in accolades, or in any external place in our lives. God’s glory – the glory that is eternal – comes to us and resides in us through the Advocate.

Jesus says: I will not leave you orphans. I will come to you.

God says: Read Psalm 139 to remind yourself of how intimately I know you. Remember that I made you out of love to be loved.

Jesus says: In a while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me, because I live and you will live.

God says: I have made you to be with me forever.

Jesus says: Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you.

God says: I have made plans for your joy, not your woe. Read the words of my prophet Jeremiah if you doubt me.

Jesus says: Not as the world gives do I give it to you.

God says: Do not expect to find my glory in the awards and power that the world can give you. Look for me in your humility. Look for me when you serve others. Look for me in the empty times in your life.

Jesus says: Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.

God says: Look for me in your fears and disappointment. Know that my Advocate lives within you.

Jesus says: Get up, let us go.

God says: Once you have discovered that I have taken up residence in your heart . . . move out into the world to take me with you as you encounter others. Share this good news with all who have ears to hear. 

In today’s Noontime we hear words from Jesus that must be held and treasured. Keep them with you in writing. Carry them as mantras that will sustain you. Share them others who also look to find God’s glory.

And let us pray,

Holy and omniscient God, you have told us that you reside in us and this we struggle to believe. You have told us that we find our glory in unexpected places. You have told us that we need not fear anyone or anything. Help us with our fears and disappointments. Guide us in our search to know you intimately. We ask all of this in Jesus’ name. Amen.  


Image from: https://www.pinterest.com/ElleE777/come-holy-spirit/

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2 Corinthians 10: God’s ToolsMicah6_8

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Explore THE MESSAGE version of these verses at the scripture link and compare it to other versions to allow Paul’s message to open in us more fully.

Can we apply Paul’s words to our lives today? Do they describe our world of social media and connectivity?

I hear that I’m being painted as cringing and wishy-washy when I’m with you, but harsh and demanding when at a safe distance writing letters. 

Can we see our world in Paul’s words today? What do we consider to be the tools of our trade and how do we use them?

The world is unprincipled. It’s dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn’t fight fair. But we don’t live or fight our battles that way—never have and never will. The tools of our trade aren’t for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. 

Do Paul’s assertions call us to God or send us away? Do we affirm or deny their truth?

What you say about yourself means nothing in God’s work. It’s what God says about you that makes the difference.

God says: When my servant Paul speaks of an unprincipled world, he does not mean to frighten you into obedience to me. No. He knows that the faithful respond best to love rather than fear. Yet, I understand that his words may seem harsh, strident or bitter to you. I do not hear them this way. No. What I hear is his deep devotion to living life in and through Christ. And I hear his earnest desire that all experience the warm and loving bond with me that he shares. So this is what I ask of you today and all days, and these are the tools I ask you to use. Walk with me humbly and willingly. If you do not want to be by my side, go apart for a while. I am always here when you are ready to be with me. I also that you love others gently and mercifully. It is my hope that you will live in me as I live in you, and that you will show this love to the world. And finally, I ask that you act justly. Rather than simper or berate, intercede for those who need my help. Ask forgiveness, pardon others, and act prudently and compassionately so that my justice will roll from your hands and hearts. Turn away from what you see is corrupt. Use the modern tools you have at your hands, but use my ancient ones as well for all else is meaningless. All else holds empty promise and false hope. All else is useless. Remain in my mercy, enact my justice, and live in my humble love. Become my tools in the world you experience in and around you today. 

Spend time with Micah 6:8. Consider how the prophet’s words are pertinent to our modern world, and consider how we might better become mercy, wisdom, humility, justice and love as we go through our days.


 Image from: http://www.4catholiceducators.com/Micah_6-8-poster.htm

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denarius

The Roman Denarius

Mark 12:13-17: The Mystery of Rendering

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.

These words seem oh so simple . . . and yet they contain such a depth of wisdom that a lifetime of reflection will not uncover all that Jesus wishes to tell us.

God says: When you are perplexed by the world, remember that your confusion comes from believing that there are two worlds you want to reconcile. There is only one world and one life. That world and life are me. Render your confusion to me. You will reap clarity and wisdom. When you are disappointed in the relationships you have forged, remember that no one’s opinion but mine matters. Others who pose and cajole you are speaking only on their own behalf. Truth comes from love and love comes from me. Render your lives to me. You will reap life eternal. When you are hurt and damaged by the hypocrisy around you, remember that integrity is the hallmark of my discipleship. I will deal with the lies and deceptions. Stay away from deceit and it will not ensnare you. Render your fidelity, hope and love to me. You will reap peace and serenity.

Spend time with these verses today. Use the scripture link to compare differing phrases and lexicon. Determine what it is that Jesus is saying when he answers a question with his own question. Decide what it is that Jesus is asking us to give over. And then consider what it is we gain by this rendering.


 Image from http://www.beastcoins.com/RomanImperial/RIC.htm

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Genesis 1:9-31: The Mystery of IncarnationNativity_450x259

Monday, June 13, 2015

Richard Rohr, OFM in his June 5, 2015 tells us: “If incarnation is the big thing, then Christmas is bigger than Easter (which it actually is in most Western Christian countries). If God became a human being, then it’s good to be human and incarnation is already redemption. Francis and the Franciscans were the first to popularize Christmas. For the first 1,000 years of the church, there was greater celebration and emphasis on Easter. For Francis, if the Incarnation was true, then Easter took care of itself. Resurrection is simply incarnation coming to its logical conclusion: we are returning to our original union with God. If God is already in everything, then everything is unto glory! Much of the early church did not have trouble with what many would now call universal salvation (apocatastasis, as in Acts 3:21). We are all saved by infinite love and mercy anyway. ‘God alone is good’ (Mark 10:18), so there’s no point in distinguishing degrees of worthiness. Everything in creation merely participates in God’s infinite goodness, and our job is to trust and allow that as much as possible.

“As Matthew Fox said, we made a terrible mistake by starting with ‘original sin’ (a phrase not in the Bible); we absolutely must begin with original blessing. ‘God created it, and it was good’ is stated six times in a row in our Creation story (Genesis 1:9-31), ending with ‘indeed it was very good!’ But, up to the present time, most of Christianity concentrated on what went wrong with our original goodness . . .

“The Franciscan starting point is not sin; our starting point is Divine Incarnation itself. So our ending point is inevitable and predictable: resurrection. God will lead all things to their glorious conclusion, despite the crucifixions in between. Jesus is the standing icon of the entire spiritual journey from start to finish: divine conception, ordinary life, moments of enlightenment (such as his baptism, Peter’s confession, and Jesus’ transfiguration), works of love and healing, rejection, death, resurrection, and ascension. That is not just Jesus; it is true for all of us.”

Richard Rohr, OFM, Adapted from an unpublished talk and posted on June 5, 2015 at: https://cac.org/richard-rohr/daily-meditations

Christ is present in all of creation. Christ is present in each of us. This is the mystery of incarnation. We know that God creates the universe and the microverse out of great love and deep compassion. We know that Christ comes to walk among us as salvation and redemption. We know that the Spirit abides with us to console and heal. This we know and yet it is mystery when we wonder . . . how is it that God loves us this deeply and this well? And how is it that we fail to trust this great love?

To read a commentary about the mystery of the incarnation, click on the image above or visit: http://www.catholica.com.au/ianstake/023_it_print.php 

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