Meditations

St. John Chrysostom’s Sermon on Christmas in Celebration of the Nativity of the Lord

St. John Chrysostom’s Sermon on Christmas in Celebration of the Nativity of the Lord

Wherefore He became flesh, so that He Whom heaven did not contain, a manger would this day receive. He was placed in a manger, so that He, by whom all things arc nourished, may receive an infant’s food from His Virgin Mother. So, the Father of all ages, as an infant at the breast, nestles in the virginal arms, that the Magi may more easily see Him. Since this day the Magi too have come, and made a beginning of withstanding tyranny; and the heavens give glory, as the Lord is revealed by a star.

To Him, then, Who out of confusion has wrought a clear path, to Christ, to the Father, and to the Holy Ghost, we offer all praise, now and for ever. Amen.

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A God Who Keeps His Promises – Second Meditation of Advent

A God Who Keeps His Promises – Second Meditation of Advent

During those 600 years of waiting, the cry of every faithful Israelite must have been, “How Long, O Lord, How Long?” But no matter how great the darkness, no matter how impossible the situation seemed, God did not fail in his promises. To the contrary he fulfilled them more abundantly than they could have ever imagined. He fulfilled them in Christ.

As you look to the Christ child this Christmas, see there not simply a babe in a manger, but the supreme and earth-shattering evidence of a God who does not fail in his word, even when we fail him. For he is the God is the God of Love, the God who keeps His promises.

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The Power of Yes – First Meditation of Advent

The Power of Yes – First Meditation of Advent

Mary was confident that, although this call on her life would cost her everything, it would not be at her expense…No, she was central to the purposes of that call because by it, she, too, would not only be saved but also honored. “All generations will call me blessed” she says, in confidence that the fulfillment of God’s call rested not on the whims of man but in His faithfulness, for His plans are not to harm his faithful ones, but to prosper them and give them a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).

Wherever He has called you, wherever He is asking you to serve Him right here and now, however great the sacrifice to your dreams or even your life know this:…You are not simply His instrument, but His beloved child whom He delights to use not only for his glory, but for your good.

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Instruments or Obstacles of Grace? – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

Instruments or Obstacles of Grace? – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

The question is, how would we fare if we were in their shoes? Because there is one thing of which we can be certain—God’s grace is ceaselessly reaching into the lives of the lost, seeking to draw them to Christ. Will we, then, be instruments of that grace or obstacles? Will we help draw others to Christ through the same availability and hospitality we see here in Christ–even to the most despised sinners? Or will we, like the crowd, shut them out from encountering God’s transforming love because we are so conditioned by our own judgments of others that we don’t have eyes to see God’s grace in their lives?

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Following Christ – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

Following Christ – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

If, then, following Jesus is the more demanding command, why order the rich man sell and give? Because this was the concrete incarnate way this particular man was to follow Jesus; it was his particular cross. Paul says of the meaning of the Cross: “You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich”(II Cor. 8:9) Isn’t that what he asked of this man? Isn’t that what he asks of us, each in our own way? And since comparative material wellbeing is the lot of most of us, will not our cross of sacrificial love involve, in part, sacrificial giving to the poor as well?

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Praying Grace for Others – Meditation of the Studies in 2 Timothy

Praying Grace for Others – Meditation of the Studies in 2 Timothy

When I pray these short prayers…I find that the wellbeing of every person becomes important to me. I find I treat each person I meet better–less as a “thing” or a “tool” for my benefit, and more as a real person to love and to cherish…Perhaps this practice may seem artificial to you. I would suggest it is not…If we pray for someone when we meet them and as we leave them, everything in between will be bathed in our love and, we can be sure, God’s grace. What could be better?

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A Faith that Saves – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

A Faith that Saves – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

Jesus says that it is this faith which made him well. The word used here comes from the word sozo, which can also mean ‘to save’. There can be no doubt that this is what is implied here, for he had already been healed. The physical healing he received from Jesus was an immense grace and a foretaste of the complete wholeness and salvation Jesus came to bring him and the other lepers. But it was only a foretaste. Only through faith—a constant living into that healing through obedience, trust and gratitude expressed in worship—could he be made completely well, could he be saved.

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All for One – Meditation of the Studies in 2 Timothy

All for One – Meditation of the Studies in 2 Timothy

At the heart of the gospel is the great affirmation that “we are members of the body of Christ and individually members one of another”. That is, as the Three Musketeers would say, it is “All for one and one for all”. This is how we are to live and this is how we are to serve. The fact that we all let each other down in this, sometimes severely, does not change this fact at all. That is why the foundational ideals of the church are love, loyalty, and mutual service but the practical virtues that express this are patience, forbearance, and forgiveness.

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Extravagant Mercy – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

Extravagant Mercy – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

The message is clear: we can either be driven by our devotion to mammon—that is acquiring, storing up material possessions, which will ultimately fail—or we can store for ourselves treasures that do not fail in “the eternal habitations” by giving freely giving of our possessions to those in desperate need for mercy. In neither case are the possessions ever really ours. They are entrusted to our care and our stewardship them is a mark of our faithfulness to the Master and our trust in his mercy.

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Running The Race – Studies in 2 Timothy

Running The Race – Studies in 2 Timothy

Just this past weekend the Catholic Church canonized Mother Teresa of Calcutta…Her ministry was the ministry of little things…many little acts of love performed especially for the poorest of the poor for love of them and Jesus. No one doubts she ran her race with perseverance right through the finish line….All of us are called to this little way of love and service no matter what else we may be asked to do. A hundred times a day we have the opportunity to give a smile, to lend a hand, to praise, to thank, to visit, to help. Often we have the opportunity to say a good word about Jesus. And we have these opportunities to the very end.

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