Vocation is not a goal to be achieved but a gift to be received. Every life experience becomes a vehicle for God’s call to be realized in vocation. In learning our limits and embracing failures, we can begin to recognize God’s particular gifts for us, which infuse our very being and form in us our unique vocation.
– Br. Jonathan Maury, SSJE
5 Why should I fear in times of trouble,
when the iniquity of my persecutors surrounds me,
6 those who trust in their wealth
and boast of the abundance of their riches?
7 Truly, no ransom avails for one’s life,
there is no price one can give to God for it.
8 For the ransom of life is costly,
and can never suffice,
9 that one should live on forever
and never see the grave.
Christmas is coming. In this Psalm we see that nothing we can do can ransom out lives. Nothing WE can do. But coming to us on Christmas is someone who can. Someone sent by God. An infant who was born to save us. Praise God!
Luke 1: 26-33
26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
Mary had to be an amazing woman. First of all seeing an angel would be enough by itself and yet the scripture did not say the fainted or ran away. It says she was troubled. I would have been more that troubled.
The angel then goes on to tell her that she will become pregnant and give birth to a son. Since Mary was not married this had to be frightening. What will people think? How will I explain to Joseph? What will happen to me?
And yet Mary listens to the angel and believes. Could you?
Advent 2019: December 6
Jesus said: “There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in a cloud’ with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
This sounds pretty scary. Something like some of the climate changes that we are seeing now. This could be a projection from the climatologists. For many centuries there have been prophecies about the end of things. Many have come and gone. We are still here.
The people of Jesus’ time expected him to return in their lifetime. That didn’t happen. Will it happen? We don’t know. We can only live in our belief that he will come in glory. Whether we will see it in our time no one knows. It doesn’t matter. The point is when He does come it will be a time for rejoicing. He will come again.
Today I was watching part of “The Crown.” It is a popular series on Netflix. I often have things just out at me that you don’t think of finding in a docudrama. In series 3 Phillip (queen’s husband) is talking with his mother. She had a horribly difficult life and has recently been brought to England because of uprisings in Greece. She was a nun running a small clinic in Greece.
She asks Phillip about his faith. He tells her it is “dormant.”
Her reply is: “Find yourself a faith. It helps….No not just helps….it is everything!”
I do so agree with this statement. Having a faith that supports and nurtures you when everything around you is falling apart is everything. It is the one thing that allows you to rest in the strong arms of God and be held. God will be with you through any crisis…small or enormous. His love will fill your heart and soul and bring you peace.
4 I sought the Lord, and he answered me,
and delivered me from all my fears.
5 Look to him, and be radiant;
so your faces shall never be ashamed.
6 This poor soul cried, and was heard by the Lord,
and was saved from every trouble.
I don’t know about you but I tend to worry. I know that I should turn my worries over to the Lord and let them go but I am not good at it. I will turn it over and then pick it back up again. I do this over and over. How ridiculous this is!
God will hear us when we cry to him. He will answer. Don’t keep picking things back up. Worry is a waste.
Religion tends to prefer and protect the status quo or the supposedly wonderful past, yet what we now see is that religion often simply preserves its own power and privilege. God does not need our protecting. We often worship old things as substitutes for eternal things.
A study that I attended was about how people view God. Each of us has our own view and to define it can be difficult. There are some people for who God is part of something visual. They may feel closer to God in the church they have attended all their lives. The only difficulty comes when something in that building is changed. The connection can be shaken. That is why changing something we have associated with our faith all our lives can be so distressing.
We can’t stay connected to the past. We have to live in the present. The words of the service may change, the building may change but our faith must stay connected to Jesus Christ himself.
Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.
Hope. A word to cling to. I suspect that one of the worst things that can happen to us is to have no hope. But having hope also depends on what we hope for. Writings from those in the concentration camps of the Hitler era show that even in conditions of horror hope was still present.
Hope can be a matter of perspective. Am I hoping that I can be an opera singer (not likely) or that my day will be a good one? It is possible that neither will come true but one is less likely.
If my hope rests with the Lord then I will never lose it. The psalm says his love is steadfast and I believe it with all my heart. I will hope in God no matter what.
As we sit and wait to see what Hurricane Dorian will do I drew on one of the many verses in the Bible that tells us to rest in the arms of God. It is amazing how many verses remind us that God is with us at all times.
do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.
I heard this song today and absolutely love the words. It is so true. We can do things we never thought we could when we believe.
Many nights we prayed
With no proof anyone could hear
In our hearts a hope for a song
We barely understood
Now we are not afraid
Although we know there’s much to fear
We were moving mountains
Long before we knew we could, whoa, yes
There can be miracles
When you believe
Though hope is frail
Its hard to kill
Who knows what miracles
You can achieve
When you believe somehow you will
You will when you believe
In this time of fear
When prayer so often proves in vain
Hope seems like the summer bird
Too swiftly flown away
Yet now I’m standing here
My hearts so full, I can’t explain
Seeking faith and speakin’ words
I never thought I’d say
There can be miracles
When you believe (When you believe)
Though hope is frail
Its hard to kill (Mmm)
Who knows what miracles