Friday, December 17, 2021

Gratitude

 17th Dec 2021



There are only eight days left till Christmas. How??

I don't know about you but I am so unprepared it frightens me. Then I think, what does it matter if I don't achieve everything on my list, as long as I am ready to receive Jesus into my life more fully when the Feast comes. 

What am I thankful for this week?

Don't you find it's hard to be grateful when sleep evades you and your body is suffering pain and just getting through the day is a struggle? It's been a bit like that for me this week. But, I am thankful, even for this time, because it teaches me I cannot rely on myself, I have to place my trust in the Lord. It's a lesson in letting go. That saying comes to mind - Let go and let God. By myself I can do nothing, but with Jesus everything is possible, even happiness in suffering. These last days, I'll try to stay close to Mary and Joseph as they travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem for the birth of Jesus. 

Thank you , Lord that I opened my eyes this morning to a brand new day. That I've got another opportunity to get to know you and to learn how to Love.

Thank you, Lord for the family you've given me. All amazing in their different ways, all beautiful people. Keep them wrapped in the warmth of your eternal embrace. May we grow ever more close, in appreciation and service of one another. 

Thank you, Lord for all the little things.  We have many cards dropping through our letter box. Not that I'm saying it's a little thing for someone to take the trouble to think of us at Christmas.  Far from it.  To think that someone has taken the trouble to spend time thinking , buying, then writing  us a card, is quite extraordinary. And I feel totally blessed that so many have me in mind for even that short time. I haven't finished writing my cards yet, but with everyone I write I know that I have that person, that family in mind when I do. Also, I deliberately send only cards with the true Christmas message. My thinking is, maybe it will be the only image of what the season is all about. I don't mind sending them "late" either, as long as they arrive during the season. That is, during the 12 days - 25th Dec- 6th Jan. 



Thank you Lord for the joy I experienced this week with my very autistic grandson who played a game with me for the first time. My heart melted in that connected moment. Hope came in with each high five.

Thank you, Lord for my dear hubby who is so patient with me when I am miserable because I'm tired. He is always there, always trying his best, always loving. 

Thank you, Lord, for the warmth and comfort of our home. I pray for those, who are homeless or don't have the basic food and shelter for themselves and their families. Teach us how to be generous in this area. 

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Some reflections that we can mediate on in  our prayer as we await the Child Jesus’ arrival at Christmas.     (From: opusdei.org.uk)



THE LORD is near. The intensity of our longing increases each day, each hour. Our hearts are focused on the arrival of Emmanuel. Today’s Gospel (Matt 1:1-17) presents us with the long chain of generations that have waited for the Messiah’s arrival: from Abraham to David, and right up to Saint Joseph. We were born much later but we are heirs to the same promise. It is not easy to imagine how eagerly so many generations of the Jewish people awaited the promised Messiah. The liturgy offers us a clue when it gives voice to the joyous outburst at the imminent arrival of Jesus: Rejoice, O heavens, and exult, O earth (Is 49:13).

Abraham is the beginning of this long chain, the first in a family that will endure forever. He trusted in the Lord and his promise of a multitude of descendants: Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them (Gen 15:5). God has used his fidelity and that of so many others to send us his Son and make God’s intimacy with mankind possible once again. Our dignity has been restored and raised to unthinkable heights: no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him (1 Cor 2:9). Our heart is filled with the deep joy of knowing that we are saved, rescued and healed: “And so, with Angels and Archangels, with Thrones and Dominions, and with all the hosts and Powers of heaven, we sing the hymn of your glory.” (Preface II of Advent.)

Our singing may not always be in tune, but the Holy Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words (cf. Rom 8:26). We would like to respond with the same divine measure. It is impossible to put into words God’s intense desire to come into the world to save us, or his insistence in preparing his people: fourteen generations from Abraham to David, fourteen until the deportation to Babylon, and another fourteen until Christ (cf. Mt 1:17). And it is God himself who will rejoice and give thanks in us.

WE ALL have our own family tree. Jesus wanted to have his. And in Mary, his mother, God himself comes to live with mankind, uniting himself to us forever. He comes to bring hope for all men and women of all times and places. With the incarnation, God takes on himself everything human. He unites himself to the story of each person’s life in order to offer us eternal life. The Creator of heaven and earth has wanted to belong to the human family.

“In the stable at Bethlehem, heaven and earth meet. Heaven does not belong to the geography of space, but to the geography of the heart. And the heart of God, during the Holy Night, stooped down to the stable: the humility of God is heaven. And if we approach this humility, then we touch heaven. Then the earth too is made new.” (Benedict XVI).   How often it seems to us that God cannot be where weakness, fragility or mediocrity is found. If we do not make a pact with sin, but rather strive to embrace the true goods in life, then the humility of God does not reject the stable of our heart, and brings heaven into every moment of our ordinary life, of our home.

For many generations, that long list of Jewish people experienced a yearning that only the arrival of the newborn in Bethlehem would fulfill. Some probably didn’t fully understand what they were longing for. Others, in their confusion, turned to idols that were apparently closer and more accessible. This same longing for salvation continues to be present in every person’s heart, often without understanding it clearly or being able to put it into words. We are fortunate to grasp clearly the good news of Christmas. We await the arrival of Jesus and are eager for this good news to reach the neediest heart in the furthest corner of the world.

“WE BLESS YOU, Lord God Most High, who lowered yourself for our sake. You are immense, and you made yourself small; you are rich and you made yourself poor; you are all-powerful and you made yourself vulnerable.” (Pope Francis).  Sometimes we do just the opposite: we try to see ourselves as great and powerful. As Saint Augustine knew so well: “You, man, wanted to be God and perished. He, God, wanted to be man and saved you. Human pride was so powerful that it needed divine humility to heal it!” (Sermon 183).

It is Christ who lifts us on his shoulders up to heaven. Pride brings a brief glory that lasts only a few moments and quickly demands its price. It brings with it anxiousness and unease. Pride constantly needs to seek new ways to stand out above others. It never brings peace or tranquil fulfilment. Saint Josemar√≠a once admitted: “I know a donkey of such bad character, that if he had been in Bethlehem beside the ox, instead of humbly adoring the Creator, would have eaten the straw in the manger.” ( Intimate Notes, no. 181).

God’s love, in contrast, can fill our hearts as nothing else has ever done. When speaking about his love, we will always fall short. What we don’t know about God's immense Love is much more than what we do grasp. Our Lady who, as the preface of today’s Mass says, “longed for him with love beyond all telling,” will tell us in the intimacy of our prayer these secrets that she knows so well. A mother always knows how to express, with a gesture, with a caress, what can’t be put into words.





5 comments :

  1. I absolutely loved reading your message today. I can't begin to tell you of the parallels that I have with this today, also. One that really hit home for me, among the many, is the singing that changes the atmosphere of a day and a place - and a person. My husband struggles with dementia, and I have other things that take place in the home that are also stressful. but, God showed me to just begin to sing praises to him no matter the circumstances. I was walking around outside my home while taking the dogs out this morning, and I just began to sing. Back inside, as a variety of challenges come to me, I sing. I sing praises to God and I sing in the Spirit. And, the more I sing, the more I know that Ephesians 6 is alive and moving in me and in my home and family. Thanks for taking the time for this thoughtful message today.

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  2. Thank you Lynda for reading and then commenting on this post. And the intimate struggle you shared. Sing praises to God, for sure.

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  3. Thank you for sharing your thankful prayer. Have a blessed weekend!

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    1. A pleasure Romi. Thanks for reading my post and commenting. It's always lovely to have a response from readers, as you know.

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  4. What a wonderful post! Thank you, and thank you for the reminder that if the card arrives during the actual season of Christmas, it's still on time.

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