Points Of Meditation - Week Of Saturday, 12.15.12 to Friday 12.21.12



SATURDAY, DECEMBER 15TH     Mt. 17: 9a, 10-13    “I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him but did to him whatever they pleased.  So also will the Son of Man suffer at their hands.”
·         In the Old Testament, Malachi speaks of the coming of Elijah the prophet before “the great and terrible day of the Lord.”   The second coming of Christ and final judgment.
·         When Jesus says that Elijah has already come, he is referring to John the Baptist who prepared the way for the first coming of the Lord, the same as Elijah will do prior to Jesus’ second and final coming.
·         “A servant is not greater than his master.  If they persecuted me, they will persecute you
also.” (Jn 15:20)  Like Jesus and St. John the Baptist, true followers of Christ will also
“suffer at their hands.”  This is an Ignatian meditation on The Two Standards!  We are in spiritual warfare.  Are we under the Standard of Jesus Christ?  Or under the Standard of Satan?   We should recall before we answer that Jesus Christ and His Church are one!   
·         The persecution has already begun – with the HHS Mandate.  This is what the US Conference of Catholic Bishops have to say about the Mandate:
On January 20, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reaffirmed a rule that virtually all private health care plans must cover sterilization, abortifacients, and contraception.  The exemption provided for ‘religious employers’ was so narrow that it failed to cover the vast majority of faith-based organizations – including Catholic hospitals, universities, and charities – that help millions every year.  Ironically, not even Jesus and his disciples would have qualified for the exemption, because it excludes those who mainly serve people of another faith.  In addition, “There is no exemption for objecting insurers, secular employers, for-profit religious employers, or individuals.” 
·         Contraception, far from preventing abortions, leads to abortion… 1) When contraception fails abortion eliminates the unwanted pregnancy by killing the child; 2) The pill and other contraceptive drugs and devices are abortifacients – they allow conception, but prevent implantation in the womb destroying the life of a human being in the earliest stages of development – a mini-abortion.   
·         Contraception, abortion and sterilization are woven of the same cloth – a belief that a child is a burden not a blessing.  Nowhere in Scripture is a child referred to as anything but a blessing!  And the Church of Jesus Christ affirms that pro-life mentality.


·         This contraceptive mentality kills not only the child, but sacrificial loving between husband and wife - married love becomes selfish love.  It also promotes promiscuity.  It makes lust appear glamorous and the virtues of chastity and purity old fashioned. 
·         Natural Family Planning (NFP) allows a husband and wife to delay pregnancy for a serious reason using the natural rhythms of the woman’s body – infertile periods designed by God.  It involves sacrificial loving between spouses and an ongoing decision as to whether God is calling them to have another child at this time.  NFP is so successful that couples having trouble getting pregnant use it to enhance their chances of having a child!
·         It is negligence for a married couple of child-bearing age not to learn and use NFP.  And it is sinful not to throw out their contraceptive mentality with their contraceptive devices!
·         This country was founded by people seeking religious freedom.  Today religious freedom is being challenged as never before over the Church’s teaching on the evils of sterilization, abortifacients, and contraception. 
·         Each of needs to examine our conscience – do we think with the mind of the Church on
these issues?  No matter what any politician says, we cannot disagree with the Church’s teachings and think that we are still Catholic.
·         We need to beg for the gift of faith to believe in ALL that God has revealed through Christ and His Church, on the authority of Him revealing it, He who can neither deceive nor be deceived!
·         Jesus Christ will come again in His second and final coming.  He will separate the sheep from the goats, putting the sheep on His right for eternal life and the goats on His left for eternal punishment.  “For whatever you did to the least of these you did to me.”  Who is least than the tiniest baby in the womb?   Which side will we be on? 

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 16TH        Lk. 3: 10-18      Third Sunday of AdventGaudete Sunday
“Now the people were filled with expectation…”


Christmas which is approaching.  From the stable at Bethlehem to each elevation of the most Holy Eucharist, Jesus Christ Himself is our hope! 

MONDAY, DECEMBER 17TH    Mt. 1: 1-17   “The Book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham….”

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 18TH        Mt. 1: 18-25    Saint Joseph, Our Model…


“Mary was betrothed to Joseph…”   Joseph was obedient to the civil and religious laws of his time.  He did things in the right way – he was well ordered.  Betrothal before marriage… He paid attention to the details.  Do we sometimes let the details slide saying, “Well that’s not really important, I’ll do it my way.”  That was not the way of St. Joseph.

“before they lived together…”  First the marriage then the goods of marriage…  God’s law is important…  Do we always practice chastity (purity) in our state of life?  Do we help others live a chaste life?  Do we encourage young people to guard their purity?  Do we vocally support the Church’s teaching on priestly celibacy?  Or do we undercut this holy practice by our words and our attitudes?

“A righteous man…”   Joseph was a man dedicated to God – a man of prayer and holiness.  His holiness and devotion to God shone through his actions.  Do people know we are growing in holiness by our words and our actions?

“unwilling to expose her to shame…”   Joseph protected Mary even though perhaps he was wounded by her unexplained pregnancy.  His actions towards her were full of charity, forgiveness, mercy.  His concern was for her, not for himself.   There was no bitterness… no anger… no desire for revenge in his heart.  His only thought was to shield her from public ridicule.  Is this how we act when we are offended, wounded or betrayed?

“such was his intention…”   He did not act in a quick, thoughtless manner.  He discerned. He prayed.  He asked for God’s help.   He didn’t make a decision in desolation!  He waited until he had clarity… in the consolation of God’s presence.

“for it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her…”  The angel gives Joseph a view of the awesome miracle that God has wrought!  This is the action of the Holy Spirit… this baby will be the Messiah and He will save people from their sins!  Joseph must have had the quality of deep prayer… here is a revelation beyond belief and he accepts it instantly, without question!  Only someone accustomed to hearing God’s word in prayer and acting on it could act as he did in this situation!  He is our model in mental prayer…

“he did as the angel commanded him”   Joseph obeys.  His will is set.  He never wavers in the trials to come.  He has heard the word of God and he follows it with his whole heart, mind, being and strength!  To be selected as the spouse of the sinless and beloved daughter of God takes some special qualities…  Obedience… holiness… purity… charity…mercy… contemplative life… discernment… docility… and faithfulness.

Let us beg Saint Joseph to take us under his patronage, so that he may be our model as we strive to grow in holiness and welcome Jesus into our hearts this Christmas.
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 19TH        Lk. 1: 5-25     St. John the Baptist’s Qualities…
            Do not be afraid, your prayer has been heard.     
            Your wife will bear you a son…
            You will have joy and gladness…
            Your son will be great in the sight of the Lord…
            He will drink neither wine nor strong drink – that
            is to say, he will lead a holy life…
            He will be filled with the Holy Spirit…
            He will turn many of the children of Israel to the
            Lord their God…
He will go before Him (Jesus) to turn the hearts of fathers towards their children – that is to say, he will lead people to the Messiah who will be a beacon of mercy for them…
                  He will turn the disobedient to the understanding
                  of righteousness…
            He will prepare a people fit for the Lord.
·         There are two possibilities…  It is either the evil spirit speaking to him or the good spirit…  If it was the evil spirit he would banish it and not engage in this conversation. So Zachariah must think this is an angel of the Lord.  And this messenger from God is making a lot of grand promises! 
·         What should he answer?  How about: “Sounds great to me!  Bring it on!”  Instead he argues with the Angel… and pays the price!
·         How could he do that!   It is so clear who is speaking here…  Wake up Mr. Z and smell the coffee!
·         We would never be that obtuse… would we??????
·         Really?  God has not only made even grander promises to us, He has already delivered miracles to us, not just the promise of future ones!
·         He has revealed Himself intimately in Holy Scripture – He has shown us His merciful
Heart… we have seen the suffering He endured for us… He comes to us in the Eucharist!
·         He has given us His Church… the Sacraments… His Mother… the Saints… He has made His salvation known in a million ways!
·         Yet sometimes we are no different than Zachariah…
·         God’s path is clear… direct… revealed!  And yet we choose our own path… we sin… we fail to respond to the abundant graces He pours out on us.  We choose our way instead of His way!
·         Proverbs 3:6 says: “In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make straight your paths.”   We say we want a straight path… but we choose the crooked path, like Zechariah.
·         Today, as we prepare for the Birth of Christ less than a week away… let us reflect on both God’s generous promises to us for our future… but also the gifts He has given to us already.  How well do we use His gifts each day?

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 20TH     Lk. 1: 26-38    Mary’s holy hour… 


Ignore them?  Maybe even reject them?  Or do we ponder them in silence, allowing
God to answer our confused or troubled hearts...
with God!   The inspirations given by the Holy Spirit are a sign of God’s favor for us!  We
receive this assurance in our prayer and our silence…
adoring, and loving the Lord with our whole being… in the silence of mental prayer…

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 21ST    Lk. 1: 39-45     “Mary set out…in haste.” 


Mary trusts that the word the Lord speaks to her is true and will be fulfilled!

Lord, teach me to be generous.
Teach me to serve you as you deserve;
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labor and not to ask for reward,
save that of knowing that I do your will.