Prayer

Lord, we choose that the goal of our life is to live with you forever. You, who love us, gave us life. Our own response of love allows your life to flow into us without limit. All the things in this world are gifts of you, presented to us so that we can know you more easily and make a return of love more readily.

As a result, we appreciate and use all these gifts from you insofar as they help us develop as loving persons. But if any of these gifts become the center of our lives, they displace you and so hinder our growth toward our goal. For everything has the potential of calling forth in us a deeper response to our life in you.

Our only desire and our one choice should be this: I want and I choose what better leads to the deepening of your life in me.

—Based on the words St. Ignatius Loyola as paraphrased by David L. Fleming, S.J.  from the beginning of the Spiritual Exercises


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

A Year of Grace and Life

I can’t decide whether it is fitting or ironic that the Gospel on the last day of our calendar year starts with the words “In the beginning.” In the next few days, many people will be making New Year’s resolutions to exercise more, eat healthier, read more books, etc. Today, though, on this last day of 2013, and the seventh day of Christmas, we also have the opportunity to look back on our year and see how God has been working in our lives.

One of the most fundamental Ignatian prayer tools is the Examen. This daily prayer can help us become more aware of God each day. Another way of looking at the Examen, though, would be to look back over the past year and take note of where we have experienced God. The Gospel reading reminds us that God, the Word, “made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only-begotten Son, full of grace and truth.”

As I examine the past year in my life, I go through this modified Examen process:

1. Take time to simply be in God’s presence

2. Reflect on those gifts from the year that I am thankful for

3. Review the year, taking special note of the instances where I felt God’s presence, or an increase in faith, hope and love

4. Take note of the instances where I struggled to find God, or felt a decrease in faith, hope, and love

5. Look ahead to next year: What is God inviting me to in 2014?

Happy New Year!

—Lauren Gaffey is Director of Programs and Administration at Charis Ministries. Founded in 2000, Charis Ministries reaches those in their 20s and 30s nationwide, nurturing their faith through retreats based in Ignatian spirituality. www.charisministries.org


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

St. Sylvester

John 1: 1-18

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 into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him.

He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.

(John testified to him and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’”) From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

December 31, 2013

St. Sylvester

John 1: 1-18

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 into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him.

He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.

(John testified to him and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’”) From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations

A Year of Grace and Life

I can’t decide whether it is fitting or ironic that the Gospel on the last day of our calendar year starts with the words “In the beginning.” In the next few days, many people will be making New Year’s resolutions to exercise more, eat healthier, read more books, etc. Today, though, on this last day of 2013, and the seventh day of Christmas, we also have the opportunity to look back on our year and see how God has been working in our lives.

One of the most fundamental Ignatian prayer tools is the Examen. This daily prayer can help us become more aware of God each day. Another way of looking at the Examen, though, would be to look back over the past year and take note of where we have experienced God. The Gospel reading reminds us that God, the Word, “made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only-begotten Son, full of grace and truth.”

As I examine the past year in my life, I go through this modified Examen process:

1. Take time to simply be in God’s presence

2. Reflect on those gifts from the year that I am thankful for

3. Review the year, taking special note of the instances where I felt God’s presence, or an increase in faith, hope and love

4. Take note of the instances where I struggled to find God, or felt a decrease in faith, hope, and love

5. Look ahead to next year: What is God inviting me to in 2014?

Happy New Year!

—Lauren Gaffey is Director of Programs and Administration at Charis Ministries. Founded in 2000, Charis Ministries reaches those in their 20s and 30s nationwide, nurturing their faith through retreats based in Ignatian spirituality. www.charisministries.org

Prayer

Lord, we choose that the goal of our life is to live with you forever. You, who love us, gave us life. Our own response of love allows your life to flow into us without limit. All the things in this world are gifts of you, presented to us so that we can know you more easily and make a return of love more readily.

As a result, we appreciate and use all these gifts from you insofar as they help us develop as loving persons. But if any of these gifts become the center of our lives, they displace you and so hinder our growth toward our goal. For everything has the potential of calling forth in us a deeper response to our life in you.

Our only desire and our one choice should be this: I want and I choose what better leads to the deepening of your life in me.

—Based on the words St. Ignatius Loyola as paraphrased by David L. Fleming, S.J.  from the beginning of the Spiritual Exercises


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Prayer

Lord, is it possible “that the favor of God” is  upon me, upon those I love so dearly, and even upon those who have brought deep hurt to me? Regardless of my circumstance, regardless of the haunting fear that might strike at my soul or at souls of those I love, I will embrace your promise that your favor is upon us. You are near; you are my rescue and my foundation. Amen.

—The Jesuit Prayer Team


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Tell Everybody!

Today is the Sixth Day within the Octave of Christmas. We are still “celebrating the most sacred day” of Christmas as proclaimed in the Roman Canon and we continue for eight full days to sing the joyful angelic hymn, “Glory to God in the Highest!” The angels could not contain their joy as they shared their message with the shepherds, “Behold I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all people!” Tell everybody!

Last month my sister and her husband marked their fiftieth anniversary. It was such an important milestone that they spread their celebration over a week—eight days—throwing an intimate dinner the first and eighth days to share their joy and include as many of their family and close friends as possible. Their aim was to tell everybody how happy they are. I told Judy that was a great way to celebrate because it reminded me of how the church celebrates her biggest jubilees—the Nativity and Easter—with an octave. Tell everybody your great joy!

Today’s Gospel offers us three possible moments for meditation on Jesus’ infancy and early childhood: the moment with Anna in the Temple; the return of the Holy Family to Nazareth in Galilee; and how Jesus grew up, “and the favor of God was upon him,” in Nazareth.  The hidden life of Jesus gives ample opportunity for prayerful imagination.

Here I prefer to focus on the aged widow and prophetess Anna’s encounter with the baby and his parents after Simeon’s dramatic prophecy and canticle.  “… Coming forward at that very time Anna gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem,” that is, that Jerusalem be set free. Anna feels she must give thanks and tell everybody about the child, her joy was so great. Tell everybody!

By the way, if some of the proper names in this text put you off, I would like to play with them a bit, since Luke is clearly aware of the Hebrew meaning of the names he chooses.  Anna means “Grace;” Phanuel means “the Face of God;” and the tribe Asher means “Happy!”  Surely Anna was graced, favored and happy to look upon the face of God (like Jacob/Israel) and live! She could not help but tell everybody!

—Fr. Dennis Glasgow, S.J. is a Jesuit on health sabbatical, a new member of the Jesuit community at Colombiere Center in Clarkston, MI. He previously spent twelve years as associate pastor at St. Mary Student Parish in Ann Arbor, MI.


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Luke 2: 36-40

There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day.

At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

December 30, 2013

Luke 2: 36-40

There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day.

At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations

Tell Everybody!

Today is the Sixth Day within the Octave of Christmas. We are still “celebrating the most sacred day” of Christmas as proclaimed in the Roman Canon and we continue for eight full days to sing the joyful angelic hymn, “Glory to God in the Highest!” The angels could not contain their joy as they shared their message with the shepherds, “Behold I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all people!” Tell everybody!

Last month my sister and her husband marked their fiftieth anniversary. It was such an important milestone that they spread their celebration over a week—eight days—throwing an intimate dinner the first and eighth days to share their joy and include as many of their family and close friends as possible. Their aim was to tell everybody how happy they are. I told Judy that was a great way to celebrate because it reminded me of how the church celebrates her biggest jubilees—the Nativity and Easter—with an octave. Tell everybody your great joy!

Today’s Gospel offers us three possible moments for meditation on Jesus’ infancy and early childhood: the moment with Anna in the Temple; the return of the Holy Family to Nazareth in Galilee; and how Jesus grew up, “and the favor of God was upon him,” in Nazareth.  The hidden life of Jesus gives ample opportunity for prayerful imagination.

Here I prefer to focus on the aged widow and prophetess Anna’s encounter with the baby and his parents after Simeon’s dramatic prophecy and canticle.  “… Coming forward at that very time Anna gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem,” that is, that Jerusalem be set free. Anna feels she must give thanks and tell everybody about the child, her joy was so great. Tell everybody!

By the way, if some of the proper names in this text put you off, I would like to play with them a bit, since Luke is clearly aware of the Hebrew meaning of the names he chooses.  Anna means “Grace;” Phanuel means “the Face of God;” and the tribe Asher means “Happy!”  Surely Anna was graced, favored and happy to look upon the face of God (like Jacob/Israel) and live! She could not help but tell everybody!

—Fr. Dennis Glasgow, S.J. is a Jesuit on health sabbatical, a new member of the Jesuit community at Colombiere Center in Clarkston, MI. He previously spent twelve years as associate pastor at St. Mary Student Parish in Ann Arbor, MI.

Prayer

Lord, is it possible “that the favor of God” is  upon me, upon those I love so dearly, and even upon those who have brought deep hurt to me? Regardless of my circumstance, regardless of the haunting fear that might strike at my soul or at souls of those I love, I will embrace your promise that your favor is upon us. You are near; you are my rescue and my foundation. Amen.

—The Jesuit Prayer Team


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Prayer

Lord, we can see in you the same tension that we sometimes feel — to follow your call as well as to please the important people in our lives. We also identify with the anxiety of Mary and Joseph, seeking their lost boy and both relieved and angry when you are found in the Temple.

Discovering our purpose and parenting children have similarities.We need to lean on your grace to guide our efforts; we can’t do this alone. We can expect disappointments along the way. It is inevitable. But out of the uncertainties and the consistency of the search, we will be transformed and arrive at a life-giving acceptance and triumph as we place our lives before you.

—The Jesuit Prayer Team


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

The Gift of Family

God didn’t come to earth on a cloud amid trumpet blasts with angels leading the way.  Instead he became a human being and was born into the world in a family, where Joseph and Mary received him with love and nourished him and raised him and taught him what he needed to know to succeed in life.

So the Holy Family has become for Christians the model family, one to be imitated by other families. And yet, Mary and Joseph and Jesus were an ordinary family in almost every way.  Joseph was a carpenter who passed his trade onto his son.  In fact, they were so ordinary that later when people wanted to question Jesus’ identity as a prophet and miracle worker they asked is this not the carpenter’s son? (Mt 13.55)  How could an ordinary man from such an ordinary family get all this wisdom?

The Holy Family had their share of misunderstandings and problems between them.  St. Luke tells us about Jesus staying behind in the Temple (Lk 2.41-52), when his parents had started their journey back to Nazareth.  After they found him, Mary asked him with tears in her eyes, no doubt:

“Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been looking for you anxiously.”  And he said to them, “How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”

What makes the Holy Family the model family for us is not that everything was always perfect between them, but that somehow they learned how to work through their problems and reconcile with each other.  As God planned to save the world through a family, he also saves us by means of our families, through our daily joys and struggles, misunderstandings and reconciliations.

—Fr. Tim Howe, SJ, is president of St. Xavier High School, in Cincinnati, OH.


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Welcome to FaithCP

Creighton Prep and the Midwest Jesuits have partnered to create FaithCP, a daily resource for prayer. FaithCP provides daily scripture, reflections, and prayers grounded in the spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits.


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Prayer

Lord, we choose that the goal of our life is to live with you forever. You, who love us, gave us life. Our own response of love allows your life to flow into us without limit. All the things in this world are gifts of you, presented to us so that we can know you more easily and make a return of love more readily.

As a result, we appreciate and use all these gifts from you insofar as they help us develop as loving persons. But if any of these gifts become the center of our lives, they displace you and so hinder our growth toward our goal. For everything has the potential of calling forth in us a deeper response to our life in you.

Our only desire and our one choice should be this: I want and I choose what better leads to the deepening of your life in me.

—Based on the words St. Ignatius Loyola as paraphrased by David L. Fleming, S.J.  from the beginning of the Spiritual Exercises


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

A Year of Grace and Life

I can’t decide whether it is fitting or ironic that the Gospel on the last day of our calendar year starts with the words “In the beginning.” In the next few days, many people will be making New Year’s resolutions to exercise more, eat healthier, read more books, etc. Today, though, on this last day of 2013, and the seventh day of Christmas, we also have the opportunity to look back on our year and see how God has been working in our lives.

One of the most fundamental Ignatian prayer tools is the Examen. This daily prayer can help us become more aware of God each day. Another way of looking at the Examen, though, would be to look back over the past year and take note of where we have experienced God. The Gospel reading reminds us that God, the Word, “made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only-begotten Son, full of grace and truth.”

As I examine the past year in my life, I go through this modified Examen process:

1. Take time to simply be in God’s presence

2. Reflect on those gifts from the year that I am thankful for

3. Review the year, taking special note of the instances where I felt God’s presence, or an increase in faith, hope and love

4. Take note of the instances where I struggled to find God, or felt a decrease in faith, hope, and love

5. Look ahead to next year: What is God inviting me to in 2014?

Happy New Year!

—Lauren Gaffey is Director of Programs and Administration at Charis Ministries. Founded in 2000, Charis Ministries reaches those in their 20s and 30s nationwide, nurturing their faith through retreats based in Ignatian spirituality. www.charisministries.org


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

St. Sylvester

John 1: 1-18

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 into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him.

He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.

(John testified to him and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’”) From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

December 31, 2013

St. Sylvester

John 1: 1-18

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 into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him.

He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.

(John testified to him and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’”) From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations

A Year of Grace and Life

I can’t decide whether it is fitting or ironic that the Gospel on the last day of our calendar year starts with the words “In the beginning.” In the next few days, many people will be making New Year’s resolutions to exercise more, eat healthier, read more books, etc. Today, though, on this last day of 2013, and the seventh day of Christmas, we also have the opportunity to look back on our year and see how God has been working in our lives.

One of the most fundamental Ignatian prayer tools is the Examen. This daily prayer can help us become more aware of God each day. Another way of looking at the Examen, though, would be to look back over the past year and take note of where we have experienced God. The Gospel reading reminds us that God, the Word, “made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only-begotten Son, full of grace and truth.”

As I examine the past year in my life, I go through this modified Examen process:

1. Take time to simply be in God’s presence

2. Reflect on those gifts from the year that I am thankful for

3. Review the year, taking special note of the instances where I felt God’s presence, or an increase in faith, hope and love

4. Take note of the instances where I struggled to find God, or felt a decrease in faith, hope, and love

5. Look ahead to next year: What is God inviting me to in 2014?

Happy New Year!

—Lauren Gaffey is Director of Programs and Administration at Charis Ministries. Founded in 2000, Charis Ministries reaches those in their 20s and 30s nationwide, nurturing their faith through retreats based in Ignatian spirituality. www.charisministries.org

Prayer

Lord, we choose that the goal of our life is to live with you forever. You, who love us, gave us life. Our own response of love allows your life to flow into us without limit. All the things in this world are gifts of you, presented to us so that we can know you more easily and make a return of love more readily.

As a result, we appreciate and use all these gifts from you insofar as they help us develop as loving persons. But if any of these gifts become the center of our lives, they displace you and so hinder our growth toward our goal. For everything has the potential of calling forth in us a deeper response to our life in you.

Our only desire and our one choice should be this: I want and I choose what better leads to the deepening of your life in me.

—Based on the words St. Ignatius Loyola as paraphrased by David L. Fleming, S.J.  from the beginning of the Spiritual Exercises


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Prayer

Lord, is it possible “that the favor of God” is  upon me, upon those I love so dearly, and even upon those who have brought deep hurt to me? Regardless of my circumstance, regardless of the haunting fear that might strike at my soul or at souls of those I love, I will embrace your promise that your favor is upon us. You are near; you are my rescue and my foundation. Amen.

—The Jesuit Prayer Team


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Tell Everybody!

Today is the Sixth Day within the Octave of Christmas. We are still “celebrating the most sacred day” of Christmas as proclaimed in the Roman Canon and we continue for eight full days to sing the joyful angelic hymn, “Glory to God in the Highest!” The angels could not contain their joy as they shared their message with the shepherds, “Behold I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all people!” Tell everybody!

Last month my sister and her husband marked their fiftieth anniversary. It was such an important milestone that they spread their celebration over a week—eight days—throwing an intimate dinner the first and eighth days to share their joy and include as many of their family and close friends as possible. Their aim was to tell everybody how happy they are. I told Judy that was a great way to celebrate because it reminded me of how the church celebrates her biggest jubilees—the Nativity and Easter—with an octave. Tell everybody your great joy!

Today’s Gospel offers us three possible moments for meditation on Jesus’ infancy and early childhood: the moment with Anna in the Temple; the return of the Holy Family to Nazareth in Galilee; and how Jesus grew up, “and the favor of God was upon him,” in Nazareth.  The hidden life of Jesus gives ample opportunity for prayerful imagination.

Here I prefer to focus on the aged widow and prophetess Anna’s encounter with the baby and his parents after Simeon’s dramatic prophecy and canticle.  “… Coming forward at that very time Anna gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem,” that is, that Jerusalem be set free. Anna feels she must give thanks and tell everybody about the child, her joy was so great. Tell everybody!

By the way, if some of the proper names in this text put you off, I would like to play with them a bit, since Luke is clearly aware of the Hebrew meaning of the names he chooses.  Anna means “Grace;” Phanuel means “the Face of God;” and the tribe Asher means “Happy!”  Surely Anna was graced, favored and happy to look upon the face of God (like Jacob/Israel) and live! She could not help but tell everybody!

—Fr. Dennis Glasgow, S.J. is a Jesuit on health sabbatical, a new member of the Jesuit community at Colombiere Center in Clarkston, MI. He previously spent twelve years as associate pastor at St. Mary Student Parish in Ann Arbor, MI.


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Luke 2: 36-40

There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day.

At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations


Please share the Good Word with your friends!

December 30, 2013

Luke 2: 36-40

There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day.

At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations

Tell Everybody!

Today is the Sixth Day within the Octave of Christmas. We are still “celebrating the most sacred day” of Christmas as proclaimed in the Roman Canon and we continue for eight full days to sing the joyful angelic hymn, “Glory to God in the Highest!” The angels could not contain their joy as they shared their message with the shepherds, “Behold I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all people!” Tell everybody!

Last month my sister and her husband marked their fiftieth anniversary. It was such an important milestone that they spread their celebration over a week—eight days—throwing an intimate dinner the first and eighth days to share their joy and include as many of their family and close friends as possible. Their aim was to tell everybody how happy they are. I told Judy that was a great way to celebrate because it reminded me of how the church celebrates her biggest jubilees—the Nativity and Easter—with an octave. Tell everybody your great joy!

Today’s Gospel offers us three possible moments for meditation on Jesus’ infancy and early childhood: the moment with Anna in the Temple; the return of the Holy Family to Nazareth in Galilee; and how Jesus grew up, “and the favor of God was upon him,” in Nazareth.  The hidden life of Jesus gives ample opportunity for prayerful imagination.

Here I prefer to focus on the aged widow and prophetess Anna’s encounter with the baby and his parents after Simeon’s dramatic prophecy and canticle.  “… Coming forward at that very time Anna gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem,” that is, that Jerusalem be set free. Anna feels she must give thanks and tell everybody about the child, her joy was so great. Tell everybody!

By the way, if some of the proper names in this text put you off, I would like to play with them a bit, since Luke is clearly aware of the Hebrew meaning of the names he chooses.  Anna means “Grace;” Phanuel means “the Face of God;” and the tribe Asher means “Happy!”  Surely Anna was graced, favored and happy to look upon the face of God (like Jacob/Israel) and live! She could not help but tell everybody!

—Fr. Dennis Glasgow, S.J. is a Jesuit on health sabbatical, a new member of the Jesuit community at Colombiere Center in Clarkston, MI. He previously spent twelve years as associate pastor at St. Mary Student Parish in Ann Arbor, MI.

Prayer

Lord, is it possible “that the favor of God” is  upon me, upon those I love so dearly, and even upon those who have brought deep hurt to me? Regardless of my circumstance, regardless of the haunting fear that might strike at my soul or at souls of those I love, I will embrace your promise that your favor is upon us. You are near; you are my rescue and my foundation. Amen.

—The Jesuit Prayer Team


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Prayer

Lord, we can see in you the same tension that we sometimes feel — to follow your call as well as to please the important people in our lives. We also identify with the anxiety of Mary and Joseph, seeking their lost boy and both relieved and angry when you are found in the Temple.

Discovering our purpose and parenting children have similarities.We need to lean on your grace to guide our efforts; we can’t do this alone. We can expect disappointments along the way. It is inevitable. But out of the uncertainties and the consistency of the search, we will be transformed and arrive at a life-giving acceptance and triumph as we place our lives before you.

—The Jesuit Prayer Team


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The Gift of Family

God didn’t come to earth on a cloud amid trumpet blasts with angels leading the way.  Instead he became a human being and was born into the world in a family, where Joseph and Mary received him with love and nourished him and raised him and taught him what he needed to know to succeed in life.

So the Holy Family has become for Christians the model family, one to be imitated by other families. And yet, Mary and Joseph and Jesus were an ordinary family in almost every way.  Joseph was a carpenter who passed his trade onto his son.  In fact, they were so ordinary that later when people wanted to question Jesus’ identity as a prophet and miracle worker they asked is this not the carpenter’s son? (Mt 13.55)  How could an ordinary man from such an ordinary family get all this wisdom?

The Holy Family had their share of misunderstandings and problems between them.  St. Luke tells us about Jesus staying behind in the Temple (Lk 2.41-52), when his parents had started their journey back to Nazareth.  After they found him, Mary asked him with tears in her eyes, no doubt:

“Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been looking for you anxiously.”  And he said to them, “How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”

What makes the Holy Family the model family for us is not that everything was always perfect between them, but that somehow they learned how to work through their problems and reconcile with each other.  As God planned to save the world through a family, he also saves us by means of our families, through our daily joys and struggles, misunderstandings and reconciliations.

—Fr. Tim Howe, SJ, is president of St. Xavier High School, in Cincinnati, OH.


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