Every day, we need to go to our quiet place...

Today's Scriptural Meditation Readings:

December 18, A.D. 2008

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:

Jeremiah 23:5-8
Psalm 72:1-2, 12-13, 18-19
Matthew 1:18-25

A reflection on today's Scripture:

HOW do you answer God's request for the conformity of your will to His?

For all of us, God's request does not come as it did for Mary, the Virgin Mother, in the visitation of the Angel Gabriel at the Annunciation. It is more like the experience of Joseph and more likely less pronounced than that. In his case, a dream -- a clear and dramatic revelation, his annunciation. And that is more than most faithful people and those God is pursuing most vigorously get to experience. How do you notice God's call to conform your will to His?

Joseph, first among the ordinary servants of the Lord to receive God's revelation of a plan in which he would take part, faced significant questions. If you were Joseph, would you believe that God was using your betrothed? Would you believe that God was asking that you yield your destiny and thus your will to Him? Would you believe that you could live as so ordinary a craftsman with a dimension of reality unknown before this time?

You are an ordinary servant and God asks you! Your revelations are in the Word of God, at the foot of the cross, in the Eucharist, in counsel and cajoling from others looking for your good, or in demands for your mercy, or your repentance or even in wonder and dreams. God is asking. Isn't God asking? For your will to become more supple, less hard, your comportment more childlike and your actions more virtuous? Is not God appearing in your own hopes about the future, which you can begin to pursue on a certain way, called the narrow way, the way of the Cross, through a narrow gate, led by a Shepherd who will stop and come back when you are lost?

Listen to Jeremiah. God is faithful. A mere shoot on a stump will bring forth its blossom and behold there is the Savior. Can you not easily pick up from this the meaning of the image Jesus preaches, "I am the vine, and you are the branches"? What He is, He invites you to be an extension of!

Mary and Joseph are human participants in the divine plan which began with human participants in the Garden. God asks us to be human participants. Not to just be the saved, but the participants.

The intimate level of participation of Mary stirs our hearts. The immediate level of Joseph becomes an example of how our hearts can fulfill God's wish.

Would you give up what Joseph was asked? If not, as an Advent penance, ask, "Am I doing what God asks?"

- Rev. Stephen H. Gratto |
email: smartins @frontiernet.net

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Thursday of the Third Week of Advent

Lives of the saints:

Full Scripture text from today's Liturgy of the Word:


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