Today's Wisdom

Those who do not pass from the experience of the cross to the truth of the resurrection condemn themselves to despair! For we cannot encounter God without first crucifying our narrow notions of a god who reflects only our own understanding of omnipotence and power
Pope Francis

Monday, January 2, 2017

2017 - A New Year

The first day of the year is the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary,  the Mother of God. In the Eastern Byzantine Churches it is also the Feast Day of St. Basil the Great. In his exhortation in December 1967, Blessed Pope Paul VI asked that all observe it as a 'Day of Peace.' "Let no voice be missing from the great chorus of the Church and of the world, beseeching Christ Who was immolated for us to 'Grant us peace!'" Paul VI wrote.
Four persons are remembered on the first of January: Our God, Savior, and Lord Jesus Christ who grants peace to the world; His Blessed Mother who always listens to her Son and beseeches blessings on the devotees in the way that he sees appropriate; St. Basil the Great whose compassion towards the destitute compels many to ask for his intercession; and Blessed Paul VI whose humility, I hope, will soon crown a declaration of his canonization.
Personally, I pray very little every night. Since my stroke in 2007, I only pray "Hail Mary" then remember my family, relatives and friends. I add a prayer to God that He may, in his unbounded providence, lead everyone to Christ including us who are probably "nominal" Christians. I implore His act of forgiveness to every person on earth and his mercy to every one on the brink of death and the departed ones who in purgatory long to be with Him in the victorious Church.
Above all I learned to thank God for giving life to us. God creates out of his love. We are all beloved even when we are far from him. Christ not only teaches us in the Parable of the Lost Son, and in the Good Samaritan, but he too extended his goodness and invited the enemies of his people: the Samaritans and the Canaanites; and through his disciples went to all the known nations.
If you wish to know how good is God with me, look for his patience with sinners...It has been over 30 years since my health problems started in May 1986. Then it was only a mild heart attack (myocardiac infarct) that I had. At that time the accomplished Dr. Michael Sole, top cardiologist in Canada, at the time director of research and professor of medicine at the University of Toronto, gave us an ultimatum of what he thought would be my life expectation: 2 years! I wrote about what followed one year after my stroke and shared it with colleagues far away in my studies for the master's degree in information system.
The reason for life is the love of God. God offers us love and joy not only here but in eternal communion. "Do not be afraid little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom" (Luke 12: 32).  Referring to himself as the divine person who will gather all the nations, Christ declares "A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy; I came so that they may have life and have it abundantly." (John 10: 10). Where Satan divides, Christ gathers. We must ask what kind of abundance does Christ give? (See Ephesians 3: 20 and Hebrews 11 too).  If we are being true with scriptures and history, the new life given in Christ must be more than mere material blessings. Redemptive suffering was experienced by many people who did not particularly enjoy it, but accepted it in accord with their conscience as developed through listening to the loving voice of Christ. I know people who were terminally-ill but their illness became an opportunity for them to pray to God, ask forgiveness, and lead a life of inner peace. They died in peace with God. Christ wills to help everyone through His Spirit who urges us to repent and, ordinarily through confession and holy communion, restores us to the state of grace.
Let us do everything possible to build the kingdom of God, pray for the Church and those who are not in full communion with her, collaborate with every person of good will, help the needy where we possibly can, and encourage each other to be attentive to God. Whether  Obama, Trump, Putin, Xi Jinping, Erdogan, Netanyahu, Saudi King Salman, or Iran's Khamenei threatens the lives of people, none of them can challenge God! Pray for them too!

Today's Quote

"Behold I make all things new." (Revelation 21:5)


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