We Will Be Judged on Love

Friday, December 14, 2018

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John of the Cross

Today, in Mercy, we celebrate the feast of St. John of the Cross, a great mystic of the 16th century, one of the 36 Doctors of the Church, and an influential Spanish writer. 

John, with Teresa of Ávila, founded the Discalced Carmelites. His poetry and prose recount the journey of the soul as it grows more deeply into God. 

Much of his poetic writing can surprise, perhaps even shock, with its passionate tone. But John’s love for God is so profound that he uses the symbols of deepest human intimacy to convey his passion. These are the most beautiful images he has to express his total gift of self to the Divine.

Through the darkness of profound personal suffering, John found Light by nurturing this extraordinary spiritual intimacy with God.

John is a perfect inspiration for the Advent journey as we move through darkness to the Light of Christmas.

Many of us will have favorite passages from this prolific and passionate writer.  Mine is this:

“In the evening of our lives,
we will judged on love.
Learn, therefore, to love God
as God wishes to be loved.”

Music: John Michael Talbot tries to capture the mysticism of John’s writings.

Light in Our Darkness

Thursday, December 13, 2018: 

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Today, in Mercy, we celebrate the feast of St. Lucy, patroness of the blind. Lucy was a brave young woman, martyred during the persecutions. 

Her name meaning “Light”, she has been venerated for millennia as one who can bring clarity and insight to places of darkness. 

Today’s first reading shows us what our Radiant God can do for those who live in darkness, destitution and fear.

As the year moves closer to its time of deepest darkness, may we know God’s brightness in our hearts. May we sense God lighting, once again, the dark places in our lives and in our world.

We all have painful situations, unanswered hopes, lingering fears.  Let us bring them out of the shadows today with the help of St. Lucy and our Brilliant God who made the stars to give us hope.

Music:  Hail, Gladdening Light – Etcetera: the Civil Service Choir

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

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Today, in Mercy, we celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, commemorating the apparitions of Mary to the Mexican peasant Juan Diego in 1531. 

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It is also on this date, 300 years later, that Catherine McAuley founded the Sisters of Mercy in Dublin, Ireland. 

Both Mary and Catherine found their joy in total commitment to God’s will and presence in their lives. May they inspire and help  to make God the center of our lives. May that discovery fill us with joy.

Perhaps  by increasing our spiritual simplicity, trust and humility like Juan Diego, we can grow closer to Mary and to her Son.

Today’s beautiful readings can lead us closer into Mary’s arms.  Zecharia, even without knowing her, named Mary the Holy Dwelling from whom Christ would come forth.

Revelation captures multiple images from the Hebrew scriptures, fashioning a glorious picture of Mary’s significance in salvation history.

And our treasured passage from Luke — can we not read it like a beloved family story that gives us roots and wings?

Mary is not so far away from us.  She chose to enter Juan Diego’s life, looking like a queen he would recognize in his own culture. She has chosen to do the same thing in many other struggling cultures. 

How is Mary present to us today? How was she present to Catherine McAuley? A homeless woman? An immigrant mother? An incarcerated young woman/? A sickly neighbor? An annoying, lonely grandmother?

What language is Mary speaking to us?

Music: Tota Pulchra Es Maria – Latin words and translation below. This lovely hymn reflects our responsorial psalm for today.

Tota pulchra es, Maria,
et macula originalis non est in te.
Vestimentum tuum candidum quasi nix, et facies tua sicut sol.
Tota pulchra es, Maria,
et macula originalis non est in te.
Tu gloria Jerusalem, tu laetitia Israel, tu honorificentia populi nostri.
Tota pulchra es, Maria.

 

You are all beautiful, Mary,
and the original stain [of sin] is not in you.
Your clothing is white as snow, and your face is like the sun.
You are all beautiful, Mary,
and the original stain [of sin] is not in you.
You are the glory of Jerusalem, you are the joy of Israel, you give honour to our people.
You are all beautiful, Mary.

Seek Ye Comfort

Tuesday,  December 11, 2018

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Is 40_1 comfort ye

Today, in Mercy, we once again hear that powerful passage from Isaiah, “Comfort Ye, My People”.

Our Gospel gives us the gentle parable of the Good Shepherd who finds and comforts  his lost sheep.

As we listen to today’s tender music, let us slowly name in our prayer those who most need God’s comfort.

We may pray for ourselves, for someone we love, for those we know by name, or for those dear to God though nameless to us – all who suffer throughout the world.

Music: Comfort My People -Created by: Michelle Sherliza, OP; Music by: Monica Brown

 

Hope for Incredible Things

Monday, December 10, 2018

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Today, in Mercy, our Advent readings increase in joyously expectant tone: 

  • Isaiah’s exultant description of the Peaceful Kingdom
  • the Psamist’s confidence in God’s intervention
  • Jesus’s miracle, and probable delight, for the paralyzed man lowered through the roof! 
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We have seen incredible things.. Luke 5:26

These passages are filled with an exuberant expectation, much like children feel as they discover an amazing gift. May we open our hearts with innocent hope toward God’s promise.

If you can, take the time today to read these passages slowly, listening for the particular word that will fall upon your heart like a blossom of hope.

Music: O Come, Divine Messiah – Jennie Lee Riddle and Robbie Seay

Like A Shepherd

Sunday, December 9, 2018

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Baruch 5_9 copy

 

Today, in Mercy, our magnificent readings are filled with the beloved phrases of Advent: 

“Prepare ye the way of the Lord”, 

“Comfort ye my people”, 

“Like a shepherd, he feeds his flock.” 

These words paint the background for our redemption: a merciful God is about to touch our suffering, twisted world with transforming Mercy! 

God will comfort, straighten, lift and heal all that is broken in and around us. 

We have much to put in God’s redeeming hands today in our prayer.

Music: Like A Shepherd – Bob Dufford, SJ

The Immaculate Conception

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

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‘La Colosal (Immaculate Conception)’. Seville Museum of Fine Arts

Today, in Mercy, we celebrate the feast of the Immaculate Conception, the belief that Mary was conceived without the mark of Original Sin.

Beyond the intricate theology of the feast, what we treasure is that Mary made a holy place for Christ to dwell.

We pray that, with Mary’s love and guidance, we too may make choices that sanctify our hearts, readying them to receive God.

God will come to us today – not on angel’s word – but in the human form of someone poor, sick, desperate, heart-broken or lonely. May our faith allow us to respond as Mary did.

Music:  Magnificat – sung by The Daughters of Mary nuns

No More War

Friday, December 7, 2018

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Dec 7 _2

Today, in Mercy, we pray for the gift of hope for ourselves, and for all who desperately need it today. Hope is the steely confidence that no matter how dire our condition, God abides with us and is lifting us toward Light. Hoping, unlike wishing, changes us not our circumstances. That is its magic, its power and its mystery.

Some will remember December 7, 1941. Some will still feel its imprint on their families although they were born years later.

No doubt, every American adult will have some sense of the enormity of war, whether it be WWII, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan or all the other endless operations of war.

Let us pray together today for an end to war, and to all the immoral pursuits that lead to it. Even though it is difficult, let us hope and believe that humankind,  through the grace of God, is capable of more.

Music:  Where Have All the Flowers Gone – by the great Pete Seeger, prolific folk song writer and political activist.  On this recording, Pete is an old man singing with his grandson.

The Lord Is My Rock

Thursday, December 6, 2018

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Today, in Mercy, Isaiah describes the Lord as our Rock who sets up walls and ramparts to protect us. 

rock

In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus tells us to be like the wise man who built his house on such rock. 

What is that “rock” that gives eternal stability in a tumultuous world?

Jesus says it is “doing God’s will” which we learn by listening for God’s voice in scripture, prayer and the circumstances of our lives.

It is not a part-time pursuit. It takes the full commitment of our heart in trusting relationship with God. It is the work and gift of Advent.

Give yourself the time to receive the Gift.

Music:  The Lord is My Rock – Chris Dupré

Everyday Miracles

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

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Today, in Mercy, Isaiah continues to describe the perfection of redeemed Creation.

Dec 5

Matthew’s accompanying Gospel shows us Jesus making this perfection apparent through the miracle of the loaves and fishes.

Many of us long for the coming of this future kingdom. But, through the grace of the Resurrection, this redeemed and perfect kingdom is already available to us who choose to believe in and foster it.

If we really live as redeemed people, the miracle happens around us! Our graces are multiplied, just like the seven loaves and few fish. 

Music: What Is Your Loaves & Two Fishes?