December 10, 2016 – Let us see Your face

I love the Psalm refrain for today: Lord make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved. This beautifully sums up most of what we have been talking about this week, namely looking at Mary to teach us how to unite our will with God’s Will.

Lord make us turn to you: The psalmist is asking God to help us reorient our lives, our wills, to God’s design and purpose for us. We are asking God to clear the path and show us the way to submitting our broken wills to His perfect Will. What better guide than Mary?

Let us see your face: We are asking God to reveal His Will to us. How does God reveal His Will? Sometimes we see it through people around us, sometimes through certain experiences or moments of clarity.  But to see God’s face, to come that close to God, there is something we absolutely have to do. We have to read the Bible, which we believe is the inspired Word of God. We have God’s Words, His promises, His desires for humanity and how we are to live with one another all written down for us in a living text that is as relevant today as the day Jesus read from it in the synagogue. If we truly wish to see the face of God and to know His Will we must read His Words.

We shall be saved: Here we bring in again the blessing of Elizabeth: “Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.” Key in on the phrase “spoken to you.” You might think, well God doesn’t speak to us today like He did back then. Friends, God does. Remember, the Scriptures are not dead words on a page but are God’s inspired and creative Words. If we open ourselves to God in Scripture we will find Him in our hearts. We will come to know God’s Will and grow in our union with Him.

St. Augustine explains how during the time of the prophets God made promises to His people. St. John the Baptist was the last prophet. The coming of Christ signaled the beginning of the fulfillment of the promises God had made. We are still in this time of fulfillment, but during Advent we take time to reflect on the original promises God made as we prepare for Jesus to come. For today, spend some time reflecting on the following passages from St. Augustine regarding God’s promises and their fulfillment.

He [God] promised us eternal salvation and an unending life of blessedness with the angels, and an imperishable inheritance, the joy of seeing his face, a dwelling-place with him in heaven, and the fear of death removed from us through the resurrection. This is, if you like, his ultimate promise. We look forward to it, and when we reach it, we will want nothing more. But as to how this final end is to be reached, he has also told us in promises and prophecies…

Even so, it was not enough for God to send his Son to point out the way – he made his Son the way itself, so that we can go on our journey guided by him as he walks along his own way (http://www.catholic.org/advent/story.php?id=30978).

***Are you finding the experience of focusing on what you are waiting for providing opportunities for growth? Is your time spent in prayer over these situations bearing fruit in your life as you unite your will more closely to God’s? Please feel free to share your experience, thoughts and offer support to one another in the comments, on Twitter with the #DailyGraces or on the Facebook page.Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com

December 4, 2016 -Looking to the Future

Today’s readings present quite a challenge. The First Reading from Isaiah is so nice. Everyone will get along with everyone else, wolves and lions hanging out with lambs and eating hay, babies playing with poisonous snakes, sounds great right? God’s justice will be in full force and will not tolerate wickedness, but overall there is a very happy tone to this reading. Same with the Psalm and the Second Reading from Romans. There is special emphasis that even the Gentiles (non-Jews) will be able to flourish and partake in God’s paradise.

Then we hit the Gospel from Matthew. It starts off with John the Baptist and the phrase we reflected deeply on last week “Prepare the way of the Lord.” Now we get into the second part.

When he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees
coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers!
Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?
Produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance.(Matthew 3:-8)

I am baptizing you with water, for repentance,
but the one who is coming after me is mightier than I.
I am not worthy to carry his sandals.
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
His winnowing fan is in his hand.
He will clear his threshing floor
and gather his wheat into his barn,
but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” (Matthew 3:11-12)

Anyone know what a winnowing fan is? Thank you Wikipedia: “Wind winnowing is an agricultural method developed by ancient cultures for separating grain from chaff. It is also used to remove weevils or other pests from stored grain.” Ouch! I’m pretty sure I want to be grain, how about you?

All last week we were preparing ourselves for prayer, finding quality times for prayer and exploring a few different kinds of prayer. We closed yesterday considering how we even need to prepare our attitude in order to experience fruitful prayer.

There is more to do. It is not enough to pray, even daily, without connecting it to something. Unlike the Pharisees and Sadducees we must produce fruit. That fruit is displayed for us most beautifully in Mary at the Annunciation. It is the fruit of submission and communion.

We will explore this theme all week. For now, today’s prayer is to repeat three times slowly and with great care Mary’s response to the Angel Gabriel after he told her God wanted her to be the mother of the Savior:

May it be done to me according to your word (Luke 1:38)

***Thanksgiving has just passed but before we get too carried away in the hype of Christmas we should remind ourselves that being thankful is something for everyday, not just Thanksgiving. What are you thankful for today? How does having a thankful spirit change the way you view your day? Please feel free to share your experience, thoughts and offer support to one another in the comments, on Twitter with the #DailyGraces or on the Facebook page.Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com