Sweet Light in His Eyes

Feast of Saint Andrew, Apostle

Saturday, November 30, 2019

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Today, in Mercy, we stand at the edge of a new Liturgical Year. Yes, in “Church-think”, it is New Year’s Eve.

And it’s fitting to stand here beside Andrew, on his feast, remembering how one day Jesus invited him to launch out into a whole new world.

Mt4_10Andrew

Today teases us with something we cannot yet imagine. Tomorrow, it will be December – the last month of 2019. It will be Advent, the time to wait in silence for unfathomed miracles. What graces will these days hold for us as we prepare for Christmas?

Jesus teased Andrew and Peter too with the promise to be “fishers of men”. Wading knee-deep in the Galilean Sea, do you think they had any hint of what Jesus was talking about? I don’t. I think they simply caught the faith, hope and love in his eyes the way a match catches flame when it’s struck.

Let’s stand with Andrew today at the brink of Advent, on the edge of the long nights or days of December (depending on our hemisphere 😉)

Let’s trust the fire we find in Christ’s eyes as we pray through this Holy Season. Let’s be very intentional not to miss the point of these sacred days by losing them to the muddle of a commercialized, secularized “holiday season”.

St Andrew PRayer

 

An old devotion that I still love is the St. Andrew Novena. The prayer, prayed from November 30 until December 24th, is meant to remind us of the true meaning of these days leading to Christmas. Because my mother said it with me when I was a little girl, it carries both spiritual and emotional riches for me.

It is traditionally suggested that we say it fifteen times a day. I will confess that I only say it once a day, but I do that slowly, focusing on the sacred mystery held within the words.

 

I also have created my personal version without specific petitions. I think God knows what we need and provides for us. That Lavish Mercy is enough and everything.

My St. Andrew’s Prayer:

Hail, and blessed be the hour and moment
at which the Son of God was born
of our dear Mother Mary
in a stable
at midnight
in Bethlehem
in the piercing cold.
At that hour, I ask you dear God,
to hear my prayer and grant my hope
that you fill our world again
with your Loving Presence.
Through Jesus Christ and His most Blessed Mother.
Amen
.

Music: We Shall Behold Him – Ron Kenoly (Lyrics below)

I love this hymn, especially the line “the sweet light in his eyes shall enhance those awaiting”. Maybe that’s the light Andrew saw. May we see it too!

The sky shall unfold
Preparing His entrance
The stars shall applaud Him
With thunders of praise
The sweet light in His eyes shall enhance those awaiting
And we shall behold Him, then face to face.

O we shall behold Him, we shall behold Him
Face to face in all of His glory
O we shall behold Him, yes we shall behold Him
Face to face, our Savior and Lord.

The angel will sound, the shout of His coming
And the sleeping shall rise, from there slumbering place
And those remaining, shall be changed in a moment
And we shall behold him, then face to face.

We shall behold Him, o yes we shall behold Him
Face to face in all of His glory
We shall behold Him, face to face
Our Savior and Lord
We shall behold Him, our Savior and Lord
Savior and Lord!

Christ the King

Sunday, November 25, 2018

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Today, in Mercy, we celebrate The Solemnity of Christ the King.

Rev1_7JPG

For some, the lofty, politically-tinged title might obscure the rich devotion offered by this feast. The title “king” carries with it suggestions of exaggerated power, wealth and dominance not compatible with our Gospel perception of Jesus.

We may be more comfortable with images of Christ as infant, brother, shepherd, lamb, vine, gate, way, truth, life…

But what all these images point out is that our ability to comprehend the fullness of Christ is severely limited by our humanity. We usually choose a specific image based on our circumstances and spiritual needs.

Pope Pius XI promoted the concept of Christ the King in his 1925 encyclical Quas Primas, in response to growing international secularism and nationalism. His intent was not to compare Christ to the challenged world leaders of the time. It was to raise the perceptions of all people to the lessons of Divine Leadership: mercy, justice, inclusivity, and peace.

Oh, how we could benefit from the same understanding today! 

In this age with its culture of continual war, the human pain it causes, refugee crises, climate devastation, wealth distortion and indifference to the poor, how our hearts long for just, wise and loving leadership!

In his encyclical, Pius XI wrote:

Christ the King reigns “in the human hearts,” both by reason of the keenness of his intellect and the extent of his knowledge, and also because he is very truth, and it is from him that truth must be obediently received by all humanity. He reigns, too, in our wills, for in him the human will was perfectly and entirely obedient to the Holy Will of God, and further by his grace and inspiration he so subjects our free-will as to incite us to the most noble endeavors. He is King of hearts, too, by reason of his “charity which exceedeth all knowledge.”

— Quas primas, §7[4]

Let’s pray for these virtues for all who are charged with any form of power or leadership:

  • keen spiritual intellect
  • deep heart’s knowledge
  • uncompromising truth
  • obedience to grace
  • holy inspiration 
  • noble character
  • and surpassing charity for all Creation

May Christ the King truly live and reign among us. May we behold the “sweet light in His eyes”!

Music: We Shall Behold Him – offered in American Sign Language by Kayla Seymour; sung by Sandi Patty

We Shall Behold Him

Thursday, October 4, 2018

                    Reading:  http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/100418.cfm

Today, in Mercy, we celebrate the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, a man who through his deep understanding and love of poverty, worshipped God in all Creation.

we shall behold hinm

In many ways, our reading from Job echoes what we know of Francis. Francis, by choice, and Job, by circumstance, are left with nothing. Each one  experiences that emptiness as an open pathway to God.

Poverty of spirit is that freedom from dependencies, material and otherwise, which could block us from full relationship with God. The parable of Job shows us a man who possessed such poverty in the extreme experiences of his life.

Francis of Assisi’s story is not a parable. He was real, like you and me. His passionate desire for God burned with the intensity of this verse from Job:

But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives,
and that he will at last stand forth upon the dust;
Whom I myself shall see:
my own eyes, not another’s, shall behold him,
And from my flesh I shall see God;
my inmost being is consumed with longing.

We, too, good friends, shall someday behold Him. May the great holiness of Francis inspire us to unblock our hearts to recognize and adore God, even in this life of challenges and blessings.

Music: We Shall Behold Him – The Woodlands Church UMC Choir

Former American Idol finalist LaKisha Jones sings the solo during an Easter Morning anthem.

Savor the exultant words first. I especially love the lines: 

The sweet light in His eyes, shall enhance those awaiting
And we shall behold him, then face to face

We Shall Behold Him
The sky shall unfold
Preparing His entrance
The stars shall applaud Him
With thunders of praise
The sweet light in His eyes, shall enhance those awaiting
And we shall behold Him, then face to face
O we shall behold Him, we shall behold Him
Face to face in all of His glory
O we shall behold Him, yes we shall behold Him
Face to face, our Savior and Lord
The angel will sound, the shout of His coming
And the sleeping shall rise, from their slumbering place
And those remaining, shall be changed in a moment
And we shall behold him, then face to face
We shall behold Him, o yes we shall behold Him
Face to face in all of His glory
We shall behold Him, face to face
Our Savior and Lord
We shall behold Him, our Savior and Lord
Savior and Lord!