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Thursday, 14 December 2017

Advent Series - New Encounter - Six


The Boathouse Man's Excuse - William Kurleke
Thursday Week Two

Lectio

"Jesus said to the crowds: "Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light." Mt 11:28-30


Meditatio

It is not uncommon to see people burdened and stressed over Christmas. So much remaining to do, so little time. Christmas is really a time for lifting burdens, not adding to them. The wisdom of Christmas is to understand that Jesus comes to accomplish for us and in us that which we cannot do – inner peace and consultation of heart. The more that this uncreated grace fills us, the better we will be able to make for ourselves a to-do list in keeping with the true Spirit of Christmas.
  

Oratio

O Lord, may your Spirit be the inspiration that motivates me during these blessed days of Advent. As my understanding of your love for me grows, so will my love for others unfold in imitation.


Contemplatio

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The eye is the lamp of the body. If your vision is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your vision is poor, your whole body will be full of darkness.” Mtt. 6:21


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Monday, 11 December 2017

Advent Series - New Encounter - Five


The Presentation to the Children - William Kurelek 

Tuesday Week Two

Lectio

Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, "Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled."
And Mary said: "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior." Lk 1:39-47


Meditatio

What do you see, what do you hear? Familiar indeed are the popular images of Christmas – most of all the Nativity Scene. Does this image merely invoke a few seasonal sentiments that linger for a couple of weeks and then are packed away with the Christmas decorations? Or does something deeper happen within you, in your spirit, in your heart? Advent is meant to be a new opportunity to encounter Jesus’ presence in our lives. It brings us a new opportunity to hear his voice, calling, instructing, directing us to an even deeper holiness. Yes, I know well these Christmas stories, but at the moment the sound of their hearing reaches my ears, does my heart within me leap for joy.


Oratio

O Lord, a year has passed since Advent last. The joy and expectation that began the year has met with more of the challenges we have been warned to expect. But I hear your call anew, and my heart is once again awakened. I sense your nearness and a new joy rises within me. Come Lord Jesus, come.


Contemplatio

And Mary said: "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior."


A New Encounter

This Advent I have put together a new series of reflections for prayer. The approach I am using is based on the prayer method 'Lectio Divina'. 

Each week in the series will have three meditation based on the Word found in the Advent liturgies. The grace we are are seeking in these meditations is a "New Encounter With Christ". Whatever may be our present progress in prayer, there is is always the need to go deeper. As each stage in our progress into the mystery of Christ's presence matures, the Lord becomes hidden again, requiring us to let go of the comfort and security we now know, and embark yet again in search of Him for whom our heart desire.

In addition to this approach to prayer, with each post I am including a image from the collections of painting by William Kurelek entitled 'Northern Nativity'. They lend themselves well to the Ignatian approach to contemplation - placing oneself in the scene. What William Kurelek does is place the scene in a contemporary setting.

So we have these two approaches to support us as we embark on anew Advent journey in search of a new Encounter with Christ. 


For more information on 'Lectio Divina'  I encourage you to refer to this earlier post. 
. . . LINK . . .





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Saturday, 9 December 2017

Advent Series - New Encounter - Four


The Welcome at the Country Mission - William Kurelek
Sunday Week Two

Lectio

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God.
As it is written in Isaiah the prophet: Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way. A voice of one crying out in the desert: "Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths." John the Baptist appeared in the desert proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
People of the whole Judean countryside and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they acknowledged their sins. John was clothed in camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He fed on locusts and wild honey. And this is what he proclaimed: "One mightier than I is coming after me. I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit." Mk. 1:1-8


Meditatio

At the time of Jesus society governed as theocracy – not like a democracy where people make the laws, but by laws laid down by God. The belief was – keep the laws of God and God will keep you. So, when bad things happened to the people, personally or as a nation, it was because they had abandoned the law of God and chose lived their own way.

God sent prophets, his messengers, sent to tell the people why things are going badly, and to change their ways. But the people did not always welcome the prophets – often rejected and even killed them. Here in Jesus time, Israel had lost their sovereignty – oppressed by Romans. The prophet God sent this time, to call the people back to law was John the Baptist.  John understood that God had an even greater solution – a Prophet greater than he would soon come. He knows, this prophet would show the people that it was not just a matter changing just their minds but changing their hearts;  obeying God not because they had to, but because they wanted to.

Take for example our life in our bodies to help understand the struggle of knowing better and not doing better. Our bodies are governed by God’s laws of nature. Treat our bodies the way God intended and they will be healthy and strong.  Abuse our bodies by indulging in unhealthy, unnatural practices, our bodies suffer. Yet, even knowing this, we still break the laws of our natural bodies.

So it is for our life as a society. Even though we live in a democracy and make our own laws, God’s truth, God’s natural law for our humanity still remains the only true way of living. When we for get this, reject this, things start to go wrong. 

Jesus said in Mtt. 5: "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” He is saying, I have come to put a fire in your hearts that will empower you to overcome your weakness and tendency to sin. John Baptist today telling us he will baptize us with the Holy Spirit.

In Luke 3:15 we read, “The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John could be the Christ. John answered all of them: “I baptize you with water, but One more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.”

There is a danger for us to simply make Christmas a sentimental time – but it has this much deeper meaning. Jesus is coming to light a fire in our hearts.



Oratio

Jesus my Lord, I confess to you and to all the world my need for your presence in my life. I am alone and in darkness without you. I am influenced and controlled by the many forces that surround me. Even though I struggle against them, it is sin that so easily dominates my life. Who can save me but you alone, my Lord and my God. Deliver me from the Evil One. Touch my life with that power which flows from your resurrection. Cause your Holy Spirit to be born in me anew. Prince of Peace and Lord of Glory reign now in my heart. Baptize me with your Holy Spirit and Fire. Raise me up to a New Life in you.



Contemplatio

"Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?" Lk. 24:32


The introductory Post to this series explains the approach I am using for this series and the method of prayer Lectio Divina. > >LINK< <


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Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Advent Series - New Encounter - Three


The Holy Family As Indian - William Kurelek

Thursday Week One

Lectio

Gospel Mt 8:5-11
When Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion approached him and appealed to him, saying, "Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully." He said to him, "I will come and cure him." The centurion said in reply, "Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed. For I too am a man subject to authority, with soldiers subject to me. And I say to one, 'Go,' and he goes; and to another, 'Come here,' and he comes; and to my slave, 'Do this,' and he does it." When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, "Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith. I say to you, many will come from the east and the west, and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the banquet in the Kingdom of heaven."


Meditatio

The Centurion was a member of the occupying forces controlling the land of the Jewish people. Whatever his beliefs may have been, he had come to learn of Jesus’ healing powers. He may not have had the true religion, but he had the right attitude with which to approach Jesus. Humble surrender. Even though he had authority and power, he made himself a little less than the servant for whom he was advocating. With what attitude do you approach Jesus? Is it Lord, my will be done or is it speak Lord, I have come to do your will?


Oratio

O Lord, during these holy days of Advent, help me to examine the condition of my faith. Has it grown from an expectant faith to a faith that expects - because it deserves. So me how pride my have invaded my heart, causing me to think that my faith and devotion are of my own doing and not a work of your grace in me.


Contemplatio

(the Master) … Does he thank the servant because he did what he was told? So you also, when you have done everything commanded of you, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’” Luke 17:9



The introductory Post to this series explains the approach I am using for this series and the method of prayer Lectio Divina. > >LINK< <


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