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1st Sunday in Advent: St. Josemaria Escriva

FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT

GOSPEL OF THE DAY

Jesus said to his disciples: “Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come. It is like a man traveling abroad. He leaves home and places his servants in charge, each with his own work, and orders the gatekeeper to be on the watch.

Watch, therefore; you do not know when the Lord of the house is coming, whether in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning. May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to all: ‘Watch!’”

Mark 13: 33-37

IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF CHRIST

“‘Ego sum via, veritas et vita.’ ‘I am the way, the truth and the life.’ In these clear and unmistakable words Our Lord traces out for us the true path that leads to everlasting happiness. Ego sum via: he is the only road linking heaven and earth. He is speaking to all men, but in a very special way he is thinking of people who, like you and me, are determined to take our Christian vocation seriously, so that God may always be present in our thoughts, on our lips and in everything we do, including our most ordinary and routine actions.

“Jesus is the way. Behind him on this earth of ours he has left the clear outlines of his footprints.

“They are indelible signs which neither the erosion of time nor the treachery of the evil one have been able to erase. ‘Iesus Christus heri et hodie; ipse et in saecula.’ How I love to recall these words! Jesus Christ the very Jesus who was alive yesterday for his Apostles and the people who sought him out; this same Jesus lives today for us, and will live forever. Yet, at times, we poor men fail to recognize his ever-present features, because our eyes are tired and our vision clouded. Now, as we begin this time of prayer close to the tabernacle, ask him, like the blind man in the Gospel did, Domine, ut videam! Lord, that I may see! Enlighten my intelligence and let Christ’s words penetrate deep into my mind. Strengthen his life in my soul so that I may be transformed in readiness for eternal Glory.”

St. Josemaria Escriva
Friends of God, no. 127

For reflection and prayer:
Do I realize that God is calling me to serve Him in and through my daily life and activities?

Do I watch for the ways God is preparing me to serve Him?

Do I prepare my soul in confession, Holy Communion, and penance to deal effectively with the joys and sorrows of life?

FOOTPRINTS IN THE SNOW: LORD, THAT I MAY SEE!

It may seem surprising that a little thing like footprints in the snow was enough to make St Josemaria Escriva, a teenager at the time (1918), take the great decision to give his life to God.

But that is the language God often uses to call people, and that is how generous souls who seek God sincerely are capable of responding, with faith.

Continue reading…

For more Advent reflections and resources please visit:
http://www.stjosemaria.org/latest-news/387-advent2014
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Reflection for the 1st Sunday in Advent: St. Josemaria Escriva



“Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths (Ps 25:4).”

REFLECTION FOR THE FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT

“The liturgical year is beginning, and the introit of the Mass invites us to consider something closely related to the beginning of our Christian life: the vocation we have all received. ‘Make me to know your ways, o Lord; teach me your paths (Ps 25:4).’

“We ask the Lord to guide us, to show us his footprints, so we can set out to attain the fullness of his commandments, which is charity.

“In considering the circumstances surrounding your decision to make every effort to live your faith, I imagine that you, like me, will thank our Lord. I know too that, without falling into false humility, this thankfulness will leave you even more convinced that you have merited nothing of this on your own. Usually we learn to invoke God as a young child from our Christian parents. Later, teachers, friends and acquaintances have helped us in many ways not to lose sight of our Lord.

“Open your own hearts to Jesus and tell him your story. I don’t want to generalize. But one day perhaps an ordinary Christian, just like you, opened your eyes to horizons both deep and new, yet as old as the Gospel. He suggested to you the prospect of following Christ earnestly, seriously, of becoming an apostle of apostles. Perhaps you lost your balance then and didn’t recover it. Your complacency wasn’t quite replaced by true peace until you freely said ‘yes’ to God, because you wanted to, which is the most supernatural of reasons. And in its wake came a strong, constant joy, which disappears only when you abandon him.

“I don’t like to speak of someone being singled out to be part of a privileged elect. But it is Christ who speaks, who chooses. It is the language of Holy Scripture: ‘He chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy,’ St Paul tells us (Eph 1:4).

“I know that such thoughts don’t fill you with pride nor lead you to think yourself better than other men. That choice, the root of our vocation, should be the basis of our humility. Do we build monuments to an artist’s paintbrush? Granted the brush had a part in creating masterpieces, but we give credit only to the painter. We Christians are nothing more than instruments in the hands of the creator of the world, of the redeemer of all men.”

St. Josemaria Escriva
“The Christian Vocation” – Christ is Passing By, 1
www.stjosemaria.org
Image: “The Calling of St. Peter and St. Andrew” (1481). Domenico Ghirlandaio. (Source: Wikipaintings)
PRAYER FOR THE FAMILY

Throughout Advent, we invite you to join us each day in praying the Prayer for the Family through the intercession of St Josemaria Escriva.PRAYER

O God our loving Father,Creator of all things, you sent your Son, Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, into the home of Mary and Joseph forming the Holy Family of Nazareth; inspire us by their example to imitate their selfless charity in our family life.

Through the intercession of St. Josemaria, help our families to be united in the heart of Christ, enjoying a loving communion with each other, recognizing and upholding the sacredness of marriage, generously welcoming the gift of life, and valuing the inestimable gift of each family member.

Help us dedicate ourselves in generous service to our families and to reflect the love that Christ had for Mary and Joseph, making our family a true domestic Church with Christ at its center.

Teach us to find Christ in the crosses that occur in family life and help us to find joy in them and unite them to him.

Watch over and protect our family so that each member will be faithful to the Gospel and never stray from the path of holiness. We ask you, through the intercession of St. Josemaria, to grant us the favor of (make your request).

Amen.

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we give our hearts and souls to you.

 

The Way of the Cross by St. Josemaria Escriva

The Way of the Cross by St. Josemaria Escriva

First Station

It is after ten in the morning. The trial is moving to its close. There has been no conclusive evidence. The judge knows that his enemies have handed Jesus over to him out of envy, and he tries an absurd move: a choice between Barabbas, a criminal accused of robbery and murder, and Jesus, who says he is Christ. The people choose Barabbas, and Pilate exclaims:

What am I to do then, with Jesus? (Matt 27:22).

They all reply: Crucify him!

The judge insists: Why, what evil has he done?

Once again they respond, shouting: Crucify him! Crucify him!

Pilate is frightened by the growing uproar. So he sends for water, and washes his hands in the sight of the people, saying as he does so:

I am innocent of the blood of this just man; it is your affair (Matt 27:24).

And having had Jesus scourged, he hands him over to them to be crucified. Their frenzied and possessed throats fall silent. As if God had already been vanquished.

Jesus is all alone. Far off now are the days when the words of the Man-God brought light and hope to men ‘s hearts, those long processions of sick people whom he healed, the triumphant acclaim of Jerusalem when the Lord arrived, riding on a gentle donkey. If only men had wanted to give a different outlet to God ‘s love! If only you and I had recognised the day of the Lord!

Points for meditation

1. Jesus prays in the garden. Pater mi (Matt 26:39), Abba Pater! (Mark 14:36). God is my Father, even though he may send me suffering. He loves me tenderly, even while wounding me. Jesus suffers, to fulfil the Will of the Father… And I, who also wish to fulfil the most holy Will of God, following in the footsteps of the Master, can I complain if I too meet suffering as my travelling companion?It will be a sure sign of my sonship, because God is treating me as he treated his own Divine Son. Then I, just as He did, will be able to groan and weep alone in my Gethsemani; but, as I lie prostrate on the ground, acknowledging my nothingness, there will rise up to the Lord a cry from the depths of my soul: Pater mi, Abba, Pater,… fiat!

2. The Arrest:… venit hora: ecce Filius hominis tradetur in manus peccatorum; the hour has come: behold the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners (Mark 14:41). So, the sinful man has his hour? Yes, and God his eternity!…Chains binding Jesus! Chains, which He voluntarily allowed to be put on him, I ask you to bind me, to make me suffer with my Lord, so that this body of death may be humbled. For —there can be no half measures here — either I reduce it to nothing, or it will degrade me. Better to be a slave of my God than a slave of my flesh. Continue reading

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