woman covering face with book on bed
Bible, Gospel, Lent, Liturgical Living

Our Favorite, Comfy Sweatshirt Prayer Revisited

23 February 2021

Matthew 6:7-15

One of my favorite scripture passages is Isaiah 55:10-11 which compares the word of God to rain that falls to earth making it fertile and fruitful. The word of God, it says, will not return to God empty, but will do what pleases God and achieve the end for which He sent it. 

In a recent general audience, Pope Francis spoke about this saying, “The Bible was not written for a generic humanity, but for us, men and women in flesh and blood, men and women who have first and last names, like me, like you” (Homily, 27 Jan 2021). I love these reminders that God’s word is living and purposeful, shared with me as if God were speaking these words to me alone. 

This is a good reminder as we approach the words of today’s gospel in which Jesus teaches us the Lord’s Prayer. For many of us, the Lord’s Prayer is like our favorite comfy, old sweatshirt – it fits, it’s easy, and it’s always there. 

But in that familiarity, do we find ourselves forgetting to read these words with the same intentional prayerfulness we give to other, less familiar passages? Do we gloss over today’s gospel with a “been there, done that” approach instead of diving deeply into this beautiful prayer gifted to us by our Savior? Do we recite rather than pray the Lord’s Prayer? 

Much has been written about the perfection of the Lord’s Prayer – how it organizes our priorities according to God’s intention and how it helps us look past the trials of today toward eternity with God. 

What if we were to explore this prayer with those things in mind or reflect on it using the purposeful steps of lectio divina, searching and listening for what God is saying to each of us in these familiar words? What fruit would God’s word yield if we just ask, “What are you saying to me today, Lord?”

Kim Miller

Meditation

Pray the words of the Our Father from Mt 6:14 slowly.

Lent Devotional 2021
Download your copy of A Time to Grow: A Daily Devotional for Lenten Pilgrims here.
facade of old cafe in small village
Bible, Gospel, Lent, Liturgical Living, Uncategorized

Beyond the Day Spa – to a Hospital for Sinners

Luke 5:27-32

We all love a good cliché, even one about the Church. A quote attributed Saint Augustine comes to mind here: “The church is not a hotel for saints, it is a hospital for sinners.” I’ve heard this said a number of ways and used in a number of circumstances. Today’s Gospel could probably be pointed to as its origin. Here Jesus says, “Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do.” Jesus said this after He was questioned as to why He would “eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners”. 

What you do to the least…

Ministering to those who are untouchable, or undesirable is not attractive to most of us. If we are honest, we feel most comfortable ministering in socially comfortable and acceptable situations. Jesus was challenged many times for socializing with or ministering to those seen as “less than” or “unclean”. 

But did the fact that Jesus served everyone from leper, to adulterer mean that he was a “live and let live” kind of savior?  Did His associations mean his acceptance of clichés such as “As long as no one gets hurt what does it matter?” or “You do you.” No, quite to the contrary. 

According to the folks at The Gospel Coalition, “Jesus was a friend of sinners not because he winked at sin, ignored sin, or enjoyed light-hearted revelry with those engaged in immorality. Jesus was a friend of sinners in that he came to save sinners and was incredibly pleased to welcome sinners who were open to the gospel, sorry for their sins, and on their way to putting their faith in Him.” 

Jesus had an Invitational Open Door Policy

In many ways Jesus had an invitational open-door policy in order to bring healing to the most people possible. Eating with the tax collectors was not just a welcome aboard party for Levi, it was an invitation for all present to come and be healed. Since you are the hands and feet of Jesus present today, can you be the one to help keep the door open for all to come to Him? 

Lisa Miklos

Meditation

Who are the “least” in my community? Am I doing a good job being the hands and feet of Christ to the people who needs Christ’s love the most?

Download your free Ebook of A Time to Grow HERE

If you or someone you know is seeking to grow in faith or community this Lent, then my book Joyful Momentum will help! Get your copy HERE
father and son lighting candles
Advent, Bible, Gospel, Liturgical Living, Mass Reflection

Sacred Heart Enthronement: A Reflection for Friday of the Third Week of Advent

Friday 18 December

Matthew 1:18-25

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means “God is with us.” When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home. He had no relations with her until she bore a son, and he named him Jesus.


The simple and humble birth of our Lord is the most remarkable moment in history. God became man and liberated us from the bondage of sin. He came to “bring glad tidings to the poor, and to proclaim liberty to captives” (see Lk 4:14-19). Christ our Savior was born and we are invited to live with him, and the Father and the Holy Spirit, for all of eternity.

Jesus is the “who” in all of history. We are invited every Advent to grow closer to the Third Person of the Trinity and not make Christmas “one more thing to do.” We have a growing trend in our culture where religion fits into our schedule versus scheduling our life around our Faith. More and more our sporting events, activities, and even family time, trump our time for Mass. Without receiving Christ in the Eucharist, we cannot experience His peace, grace, and the invitation to follow him. 

This invitation is also present in the Sacred Heart Enthronement devotion. In this devotion, families are invited to welcome Jesus into their home each and every day. It helps us to see that Jesus is the solution to our difficulties, both ordinary and significant. He helps us carry our crosses, discover new solutions and see the good in everyone. Our journey through Advent is about growing closer to Jesus and learning to love with Divine Love. Even though we are imperfect, when we allow the Spirit of Jesus to burn through our weaknesses, we give Him honor for His humble birth. No matter where we celebrate Christmas, with friends and family or NOT, let us turn to the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph to be our guide.

As St. Matthew tells us, in quoting Isaiah, “the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means “God is with us.” What more could we ask for?

Emily Jaminet

Meditation

Most holy Heart of Jesus, fountain of every blessing, I adore You, I love You, and with a lively sorrow for my sins, I offer You this poor heart of mine. Make me humble, patient, pure, and wholly obedient to Your will. Grant, good Jesus, that I may live in You and for You. Protect me in the midst of danger; comfort me in my afflictions. Give me health of body, assistance in my temporal needs, Your blessing on all that I do, and the grace of a holy death. Amen.[1]


[1] This prayer was originally published in the book “Enthronement to the Sacred Heart”, by Fr. Francis Larkin. To Request copies of this prayer card go to http://www.WelcomeHisHeart.com.

Advent, Bible, Books, Gospel, Liturgical Living

Good Tidings – Advent 2020 Devotional

I’m excited to share with you Good Tidings, an Advent Devotional for 2020. You can read Good Tidings daily by downloading this FREE PDF, or you can subscribe to my blog and receive the devotion delivered to you each day of Advent.

Good Tidings includes the daily Gospel, reflection, and a guide through lectio divina for each day of Advent. The booklet culminates with a Nativity Prayer on Christmas.

This year, when many of us have been at home for months on end, my hope is that this devotional will help make Advent special.

This year has felt pretty monotonous for me. I’ve stayed home, worked from home, homeschooled, and days have blended into weeks and months. Creating this Advent devotional has helped me put some punctuation marks in a sea of sameness. Editing this booklet really lifted my spirit out of quite a funk. Though I couldn’t reach out and hug each friend who contributed to this devotional, I felt closer to them by reading their words. I hope this book will do the same for you.

I’ll be leading discussion digitally in the Joyful Momentum Facebook Group daily throughout Advent. Please join in!