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   When Mary and Joseph took Jesus up to Jerusalem to be presented as prescribed by the law, they encountered Simeon and Anna in the temple. Simeon was a righteous and devout man who prayed daily for the Christ child to come. Anna who worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer, also was waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem. They both had waited eagerly day in and day out for the coming of the Messiah. They prayed, fasted and hoped.

    I wonder at the end of the day as each of them went to sleep, did they whisper to God, “The Christ child did not reveal Himself today as we hoped He would. But we will continue to pray and trust that it will happen." They preservered in praying daily.

    If Anna and Simeon had grown so weary that they gave up praying, fasting and hoping for the Christ child, they could have easily missed the Heavenly encounter. But they were faithful and continued to pray, trust and hope each day. They listened to the Holy Spirit daily. 

   By their faithfulness, and being willing to be led by the Holy Spirit, they knew that this was the awaited Messiah when Mary and Joseph came into the temple with the Christ child.

    When my prayers seem to go unanswered, it is tempting to get discouraged.  Faithful Simeon and Anna, help me to continue on and never give up praying.

   It maybe that my prayers will not be answered this side of Heaven. However, if Simeon and Anna can trust, pray and never give up hope, then I too will trust, pray and hope. Help me Saint Padro Pio to "Pray, Hope and Don't Worry."

Reflection:

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” Ephesians 6:18

 

 

 

Put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with Him is full redemption.” Psalm 130: 7

    One of our priest stated in a recent homily: "Hope is in short supply today." I kept pondering his words in my heart. I thought, he is absolutely right. There are so many people living lives of slow desperation day in and day out. How do we begin to show others the hope that we have in the Lord Jesus Christ?

    According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “Hope is the theological virtue by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ's promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit. The virtue of hope responds to the aspiration to happiness which God has placed in the heart of every man; it takes up the hopes that inspire men's activities and purifies them so as to order them to the Kingdom of heaven; it keeps man from discouragement; it sustains him during times of abandonment; it opens up his heart in expectation of eternal beatitude. Buoyed up by hope, he is preserved from selfishness and led to the happiness that flows from charity."

    If we place our hope in God each day, we can safeguard ourselves from discouragement. The virtue of hope helps us to persevere during times of sorrow and difficulties. When we give into discouragement we can proclaim: "Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23

    Lets face it, life can be challenging at times and I do get discouraged. I may wonder where is God in the midst of these tribulations that I am going through? God has placed in my heart this eternal hope in Him. I know God is closer than my breathing. I just need to stop and take in a deep breath and whisper, “Jesus I trust in you. Jesus I hope in you. Jesus you are all that I need. You are all that I want. You are worthy of my praise.”

Reflection:

Let us help others by living lives filled with hope that comes from God alone.

Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.” Psalm 43: 5

 

 

"Only a few hours more---and this year too will come to an end and pass into history. I too finish the year and await the new dawn with joy....I go down on my knees before my God and, recalling his kindnesses to me this year, I humble myself in the dust and thank him with all my heart."                    St. John XXIII

    These words  are profound and worth meditating on. As I was reflecting on these words and on 2018 which is quickly coming to an end, I want to extend God's blessings and grace upon you my dear sisters and brothers in Christ Jesus. My hope is that you stay close to Jesus each and everyday in the new year.

    I would also like to invite you to join with me in creating an gratitude of attitude list to start out the new year with a new dawn filled with hope and joy.

    Before you and I begin the list, I invite you to close your eyes and imagine that suddenly everything and everybody has been taken from you. You are utterly left destitute. Your home, food, water, warm clothes, car, family, money and it seems even God has been removed from your life.

    As I did this, I began to be thankful for a warm house, enough food to eat, a running car, my family, friends, God, the Sacraments of the Church and the gift of my faith.

    Sometimes I take things for granted and end up grumbling about all the things that are not right in the world, in my family and in the Church. I forgot that the God who took care of me and my family yesterday is the same loving, merciful God who is with me today and each and every day in the new year.

    On my gratitude list is also my sufferings and difficulties of this past year. I can say that the crosses that you and I have endured and our enduring, brings us to the Cross where Jesus crucified is sanctifying and purifying us. Through his merciful love, you and I are invited to surrender all of our difficulties to Jesus and in return He pours out his strength and grace to meet the needs of this minute, this hour and this day.

Reflection:

"Let the peace of Christ control your hearts, let the word of Christ dwell in you richly."

Gospel Acclamation for December 30, 2018

 

 

 

 

Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Luke 1: 38

    When the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary, she must have been frightened at this heavenly visitor. But Angel Gabriel said, “Do not be afraid, Mary for you have found favor with God.”

    Mary listened to the words of the angel and questioned further as to what this all meant. She accepted what the angel had announced to her that she would be the mother of the long awaited Messiah. Mary said yes even though she did not realize all that her “yes to God meant.” She trusted God one day at a time, not knowing what lay before her.

    I can learn so much from Mary and her simple “yes,” to God. It is so true in my own life that when I am faced with an difficult challenge or problem, I can look to Mary to assist me in surrendering to Jesus and saying yes to the unknown. I too can question and ponder what God is asking me to do.

   Sometimes I just want to say “Give me something easy to do God, you know what a weak person I am.” Yet the words of St. Theresa of Calcutta pierces my doubt, “God has not called me to be successful but faithful.”

    With God's help, I can step out in faith and do what God has asked me to do. I ask the Holy Spirit to guide my steps, fill me with courage and give me the words to speak.

   When I look back on the really hard things God has asked me to do and I have obeyed and completed them, I am amazed at graces of courage that flowed in my heart.

Reflection:

Help me Jesus to stop avoiding the things you have called me to do. I know Jesus that nothing is impossible for you, oh my God. I can do nothing by myself but I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

 

Do I indeed derive any pleasure from the death of the wicked? Says the Lord God. Do I not rather rejoice when he turns from his evil ways that he may live? Ezekiel 18:23

    God never quits inviting us to turn from our sinful lives and run to him. Our God is love and His mercy is endless. I compare a hardened heart to a cemented heart. It seems nothing can break through a heart that is hardened and closed from God's graces to get in.

    Is there any hope for them? Yes there is always hope. Looking back on my life when I was lost in my own mess of my life, there were people praying for me. My mom I know prayed many rosaries for my return to my faith.

   Through the intercession of these powerful prayer warriors who storm the gates of Heaven for those who are lost in their own cesspool of sin, addictions and worldly pleasures comes showers of graces.

    If you exam over time a cement sidewalk, you begin to see a slight crack in the cement and then you see green foliage bursting through the crack in the cement. It is like that with a heart that is hardened. Those who pray, fast and offer up their sufferings for these lost souls, begin also to see the slight crack in this person's heart.

   God only needs a crack and His grace, love and healing come pouring into the person's heart. To see a person turn away from a sinful life and enter into God's army of serving others is so beautiful. God and all the angels and saints rejoice.

    If you've been praying for a long time for those you care about to return to the faith, don't give up. Keep praying and keep storming the gates of Heaven for these lost souls.

   You may never know this side of Heaven how your prayers have helped someone to return to God. I do know that when we see these beautiful souls in Heaven, they will thank you for praying for them.

 Reflection:

Thus says the Lord, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26

 

 

Latest comments

04.09 | 19:54

Connie, your analogies are so poignant to our daily lives.
I love watching birds and you blog added another dimension to these
beautiful beings... love you

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04.09 | 15:28

Boy did I need to read this today! Thanks Connie.

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22.07 | 23:28

please pray for Damianus aditya and myself. I have been waiting for reconciliation and to forgive each other, peaces for me and him, I have been struggling with pain. You always know what was happened because You see everything a most hidden corner, in s

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19.07 | 20:14

Well done good and faithful servant. Super site RegHeiden

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