The Jesus Man
A man who loved God decided to write the Holy Name of Jesus on little pieces of paper and give them out frequently. These “business cards” that simply said “Jesus” were inserted into birthday cards or handed out in times of distress to those who turned to him for advice. When a neighbor, dying of cancer, sought his help, the “Jesus Man” listened and encouraged as a loving friend should, then confidently proclaimed his faith and handed his sick friend a paper reminder of the conversation, “Jesus”. The next few conversations lead to the sick friend seeking to enter into a sacramental friendship with Christ and the church before he died. He passed away shortly thereafter, in the loving friendship of Jesus and the peace and healing of the sacraments. The distributor of these Jesus cards, soon became known himself as the “Jesus Man”. At his own death and burial, many came forward to recollect the powerful example of faith he had been known for in his lifetime. A priest who presides over the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, televised on EWTN, shared this story of an inspired life, not just as a recipient of one of the “Jesus business cards”, but as the loving grandson of the “Jesus Man.”
The story of the “Jesus Man”, shared in our group as our case of a person who exudes faith in the world, gave us the inspiration to be wearing our love of God outwardly in ways that involve intention. Gathering to pray with the gospel and seek to emulate those who make a difference in the world, we consider these “case studies” as the forethought (human virtue) of our own faith in action, and are inspired to take the Cardinal Virtue of Prudence under our own deliberation.
Prudence: Disposes practical reason to discern our true good in every circumstance and to choose the right means of achieving it. Guides other virtues: guides judgement of conscience and guides us to do what we must to save souls.
How We Will Pray
Three Memorares each day; one each for three different people who God presents to us in prayer that needs our love or encouragement.
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided.
Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me.
How We Will Act
Make a phone call (email, note if nothing else) to three people this week that we feel moved to contact; especially after the influx of Christmas cards which bring to mind those we may have forgotten or left behind.
Gospel Reflection: Baptism Of The Lord
Gospel LK 3:15-16, 21-22
and all were asking in their hearts
whether John might be the Christ.
John answered them all, saying,
“I am baptizing you with water,
but one mightier than I is coming.
I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals.
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”After all the people had been baptized
and Jesus also had been baptized and was praying,
heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him
in bodily form like a dove.
And a voice came from heaven,
“You are my beloved Son;
with you I am well pleased.”
I Am Not Worthy
The humility of John the Baptist shows us that he understood his purpose on this earth. He knew he was not Christ, but he was born to point the way toward Christ and toward the sacrament of baptism. We too, should keep in mind that we, as Christians, are called to point the way toward Christ. We need to continually go back to deep prayer in order to fulfill what God has destined for our lives.
The Mystery of the Trinity
In this recount of Christ’s baptism, we have the deep and mysterious transpiring events of the entire Trinity; God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We hear God’s voice, see Christ baptized, and watch as the Holy Spirit descends like a dove. To spend prayer time with the Trinity is a most valuable use of our spirituality. As humans, the mysterious God who became man and interacts with us through the Holy Spirit is a marvel. Endless hours of brainy research will not reveal the depths of the meaning of the trinity to us; only deep prayer and a real relationship in the midst of the THREE-IN-ONE will suffice. Even then we cannot anticipate the depths, breadth and space God is capable of consuming for us when we seek him through faith that surpasses intellect. The only way to have peace in a world where we have deceived ourselves to think we are self-sufficient is to practice letting go and trusting in the Lord. (Totus Tuus, Lord…totally Thine.)
What Are You Going To Do Now?
One of our favorite Catholic priests, Fr Mike Schmitz sent forth over 17,000 youth gathered for the SEEK 2019 retreat in Indianapolis this past week with a poignant question, “So what are you going to do now?” Rather than rhetorical question, he challenges us to be mindful of own sense of mission. DO SOMETHING! You love God? What are you going to do about it? When we are baptized in Christ, we are called; we must respond to the summons; a life of prayer and re-action to the love that has doused us deserves a response. Like St Augustine reminds us, it doesn’t always require words…it requires LOVE. To love is to go beyond ourselves in the service of another with serving the Lord at the core of our intentions.
Our own mission can only be identified by prayer between God and ourselves. We each have a different mission, and like John the Baptist, pointing toward Christ can take a lot of strength and courage. Sometimes “mission” doesn’t mean going to the far corners of the earth to feed the hungry or clothe the naked. Sometimes it just means loving those placed right before us with kind of merciful, unconditional love that we ourselves have received from God. Saint Teresa of Calcutta reminded us that our “mission” begins in our own home, or with the people God has placed in our lives. Sometimes mission may be the less attractive things, but like the saints, we do whatever we do unto the Lord, not for the glory or praise of man. Whatever our mission is in Christ, it must begin and end with prayer.
Filled With Expectations and All Were Asking In Their Hearts
John knew what questions were tumbling around in the hearts of those present at the baptism of Christ. When we seek God first, God will do the ground work for us. Sometimes we are seeking from others what only God can give us. Our human relationships are limited to being “Christ”for others, because we are merely conduits for Christ. God knows our hearts as John poured out answers to their questions that were never voiced. The fact that they were seeking the Lord and full of expectation was being rewarded both spiritually and externally in the waters of baptism.
Like the “Jesus Man” in our case, whatever we do in our journey toward God we should do with consistency. Like anything we want to do well, we must show up for “practice”, even on the days we are not feeling like it. There is grace in the prayer, and Saint Teresa of Calcutta reminds us, “If you pray you will believe.” Not the reverse. Even if it means a “fake it till ya make it” situation for you, may you be encouraged today that God hears the questions of your heart, just like at the Baptism of Jesus, giving John the words to respond. Given the time and space, God will also answer our questions and prayers in His way.