You Too Are Full of His Grace

It has been a difficult winter with two life changing events occurring in the family. One family member losing a battle with cancer and another spending a week in ICU. And then the rise of the coronavirus in America causing much suffering, fear and anxiety.

Now in the fourth week of our Lenten season of fasting and penance a ray of light and hope suddenly appears in the midst of it all with the Solemnity of the Annunciation on March 25th! A sudden reminder of how God came to be with us as foretold in Isaiah 7:14 “Behold, a Virgin shall conceive and bear a son: and his name will be called Emmanuel (God with us)”. Jesus Christ true God and true man. The one that we truly need now.

The Annunciation by Henry Ossawa Tanner (American)

God assured Mary of His grace that night as He does for us now. Read the beautiful Meditation by Word Among Us for March 25th below.

TODAY’S MEDITATION: LUKE 1:26-38

Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you. (Luke 1:28)

Why do you think the angel Gabriel greeted Mary with these words? Perhaps because he wanted Mary to know that God had already filled her with all the grace she would need to say yes to bearing God’s Son into the world. Maybe he also wanted to reassure her: she could count on God always being with her, not just in that blessed moment.

Mary might not have had much time to reflect on the angel’s greetings until later, after she had said yes to God’s plan. But as the baby grew in her womb, she probably thought about it often. She knew that what God was asking of her wasn’t going to be easy. No doubt this was a special child. How was she going to raise Jesus to be a king and sit on the throne of David, as the angel had said? (Luke 1:32-33). When such questions swirled in her mind, she could always go back and recall the angel’s words: God was with her, and so was his grace.

When has the Lord asked you to do something difficult? Maybe you were given a special needs child to raise or you are caring for an ailing spouse or parent or you’re trying to work through tensions in your marriage. We all are faced with situations in which God is asking us to do what seems beyond us. We may have to say yes to the Lord not once but many times as we struggle to be obedient to his plan for our lives.

But what the angel said to Mary is also true of us. Mary was born without original sin, but because of our baptism, we are also filled with God’s grace. He dwells in us. That means he is always with us and that his grace is always available to us.

When Mary said yes to the angel, Jesus came into the world to save us and share his divine life with us. Now we can move forward, day by day and one step at a time, to do what God is asking of us—because we too are “full of grace” (Luke 1:28)!

“Lord, thank you for giving me the grace to say yes to whatever is your will for me.”

Isaiah 7:10-14; 8:10

Psalm 40:7-11

Hebrews 10:4-1

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#Annunciation

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No Longer Strangers

I always like reading from Ephesians and this morning’s daily reading was no exception with its’ focus on relationship. The Word Among Us had an excellent meditation on today’s Epistle and is included below.

Meditation: Ephesians 2:19-22

Saint Thomas, Apostle (Feast)

Members of the same household as saints like Thomas? It might seem like a stretch, especially when you think of how much the saints accomplished for Christ. You might feel that your life falls far short of such a high standard. But remember, as Thomas’ own story tells us, the saints were not perfect. Look at the apostles, the “foundation” Paul says we are built upon: Peter misunderstood Jesus and denied him. All of them except John abandoned him. Thomas himself proclaimed he wouldn’t believe Jesus had risen until he had probed the wounds with his own hands.

You are . . . members of the household of God. (Ephesians 2:19)

But that is not the end of their stories. Jesus gave Peter the chance to proclaim his love three times, mirroring his threefold denial. Then Peter went on to lead the early Church. Jesus appeared to Thomas and let him see his wounds. Once Thomas saw the resurrected Jesus, he made one of the most powerful proclamations of faith you will hear in the New Testament: “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28). From there, he went on to proclaim the gospel all the way to India!

These apostles were no less members of the household of God when they struggled with unbelief or weakness than when they became courageous heroes of the faith. This means that you are no less a member of the household of God when you are painfully aware of your own weakness and unbelief. In fact, that’s a great place to start because the more you know how much you need Jesus, the more open you will be to meeting him and receiving his grace. Look at Thomas: Jesus did not deny him the chance to touch his wounds. But he didn’t stop there. He called Thomas further, beyond his weakness and into deeper faith.

You are a member of God’s household, and in this household, the saints are your big brothers and sisters. They have so much to teach you, especially through their stories about how God accepted them and continued to work in them. You can be confident that God will accept and work with you too.

“Jesus, thank you for bringing me into your household of faith.”

John 20:24-29

Psalm 117:1-2

Word Among Us – July 3, 2019

Malta House

Helping Homeless, Pregnant Moms

Malta House promotes the dignity of God-given life by providing a nurturing home environment, support services and independent living skills to pregnant and parenting mother of all faiths and their children. This is possible through the generosity of many. Representatives came to St Peter Church last Sunday to share their mission and needs and to say thank you for helping to provide a safe home for mothers and their babies. Please visit their website at http://www.maltahouse.org to see how you can be involved.

#MaltaHouse

#SupportingSingleMothers

Don’t Be a Lone Ranger!

Even St. Paul needed a community of believers to shore him up

Today’s reading in Acts talks about Paul’s inspiration when he sees an altar to the “Unknown God” in Athens. The article in the today’s publication of Word Among Us is excellent and follows here.

Meditation: Acts 17:15, 22–18:1

6th Week of Easter

They came away with instructions for Silas and Timothy to join him. (Acts 17:15)

It’s easy to see St. Paul as a “lone ranger” hiking alone down Roman roads, single-handedly establishing new churches. Today’s first reading might even cement that image in our minds, as Paul goes into Athens on his own to preach—except for the fact that he’s eagerly awaiting Silas and Timothy’s arrival. In reality, the picture of a lone, independent St. Paul is far from the truth.

From his conversion onward, Paul tried to surround himself with believers who supported him. Some of their names are familiar to us: Barnabas, Titus, Luke, Priscilla and Aquila. Others are not so well known: Sopater, Gaius, and Sosthenes. At one time or another, these brave men and women (and more) accompanied Paul on his missionary journeys. They proclaimed God’s word alongside him (Acts 13:5). They comforted him when he was crestfallen (2 Corinthians 7:6). And they energized him with their witness (Philippians 2:20). What’s more, most of Paul’s letters were works of collaboration, written with coworkers in ministry.

Far from being a lone ranger, Paul was a team player who saw the value in community. Consider one of the metaphors that Paul used to describe the Church: a body composed of many members, each of which was vital to the body’s functioning (1 Corinthians 12:12).

If Paul needed a community of believers shoring him up, so do we!

Are you a part of a group of other Christians who help support you in your faith? Maybe you’re involved in a parish renewal organization. Or perhaps you serve beside other Catholics in your community. If so, that’s great. Is there any way you can strengthen these relationships? Perhaps you could set up a monthly lunch gathering or start a text message thread devoted to praying for each other’s petitions. Or maybe you can just simply express how much they mean to you.

If you don’t belong to a group like this, how about looking to join one? You might start by looking at your church bulletin for a listing of existing groups. And you can always ask the Lord to open doors of friendship for you. Remember, you are not meant to be a lone ranger. You are a member of the body of Christ.

“Lord, thank you for the gift of friendship.”

Psalm 148:1-2, 11-14

John 16:12-15

#CatholicLiving #CatholicWay