Thursday, January 3, 2013

Memorial of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, Religious

John was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said, "Behold, the Lamb of God." The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus. Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them, "What are you looking for?" They said to him, "Rabbi" -- which translated means teacher, -- "where are you staying?" He said to them, “Come, and you will see." So they went and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day. It was about four in the afternoon. Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was one of the two who heard John and followed Jesus. He first found his own brother Simon and told him, "We have found the Messiah" -- which is translated Christ. Then he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, "You are Simon the son of John; you will be called Cephas," -- which is translated Peter. (John 1:35-42)

Introductory Prayer: Lord you know my heart. Continue to call me to work in your vineyard. A day with you is worth more than a thousand without. Make me faithful to your friendship.

Petition: Lord grant me a lively faith that seeks your grace and presence in my daily routine.

1. Worth the Wait. Sometimes it seems it takes forever for God to answer a prayer, but when he does, the results are beyond all expectation. Ever since Abraham’s time, the world was awaiting a savior. We recall that God tested Abraham, asking him to sacrifice his only son Isaac. The Book of Genesis (Chapter 22) records that Isaac, unaware of his father’s intention asked, “‘My father! … Behold, the fire and the wood; but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?’ Abraham responded, ‘God will provide himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.’” Pointing out Christ by the Jordan River, John the Baptist announces the good news, “Behold, the Lamb of God.” The prayers of fallen creation are answered as the savior of the world -- God’s lamb -- takes the field on salvation history. Is my faith in God willing to endure the test of time? Does my faith wane when my prayers are not answered as fast as I would like?

2. What Are You Looking For? Whom Do You Seek? After the Fall, God promised a savior who would restore to man his communion with God. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says: “The dignity of man rests above all on the fact that he is called to communion with God. This invitation to converse with God is addressed to man as soon as he comes into being. For if man exists it is because God has created him through love, and through love continues to hold him in existence. He cannot live fully according to truth unless he freely acknowledges that love and entrusts himself to his creator” (no. 27). In today’s Gospel passage, Simon Peter and Andrew entrust themselves to Christ, and the course of their lives undergoes a radical change for the better. Do I seek Christ everyday? Do I entrust my whole life to him? Are there areas in my life that I haven’t turned over to Christ: my financial concerns, my time, my family?

3. The Courage to Leave Yourself Behind. Peter and Andrew experienced Christ in a deeper and intense way when they left their previous ways behind. Too often we become attached in an inordinate fashion to things, ways and lifestyles that do not fit in with our Catholic faith. Do I have the courage, like Peter and Andrew, to cut bait with my past sins and sinful habits? Can I be generous enough to leave behind even some good things in order to follow Christ in a relationship that requires a deeper commitment of my time, resources or talent? What is holding me back? Do I lack faith and trust in Christ? Is my love up to the challenge? Christ invites us all to “Come and see” what new meaning our lives have when we deepen our commitment to him.

Dialogue with Christ: Oh Lord, teach me not to be afraid, but rather to have courage in taking on a real commitment of my time, resources and talent. I want to help you extend your Kingdom in the hearts of men. Strengthened by faith and emboldened by your love I know I won’t be disappointed. I know, Lord, that you have the words of everlasting life. Convince me, Lord, so that I may proclaim to the world with my brothers in the faith, “We have found the Messiah.”

Resolution: I will set aside time each day this week to sit down and study more about my faith, especially those areas which I find difficult to explain to others.

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