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In the Gospels, Jesus asks what may be the most important question of our lives: “Who do you say I am?” In our bustling world, this can be a difficult question to answer; often we are distracted or believe we lack the time or presence of mind to fully explore how we feel. But just a few minutes devoted to God each day can go a long way toward keeping us centered and focused on what really matters.
In Who Do You Say I Am?, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, offers beautiful insights on the importance of Jesus and the Church in our day-to-day lives. With short daily reflections crafted to inspire anyone seeking to appreciate and deepen their faith, Cardinal Dolan explores the lessons of Jesus and offers fresh new understandings of the saints, prayer, the Bible, beauty, and the pursuit of God, especially in light of the often turbulent nature of faith itself.
Meant to be read at the start of each day or before retiring to sleep each night over the course of a year, this book leads readers step-by-step to a deeper and more personal relationship with God, helping to reveal why Jesus is still vital to a fulfilling life.
|Publisher:||The Crown Publishing Group|
|Sold by:||Random House|
|File size:||10 MB|
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Feast of the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
Last week, billions of people celebrated a mother and the birth of her baby. Children around the world pointed at the newborn child in the nativity scene and asked, “Who’s that?” and parents and grandparents whispered, “That’s Jesus, Our Lord and Savior.” Then the same children pointed to Mary and inquired, “And who’s that?” and the answer was: “That’s His mother. Without her, Christmas could not have happened.”
We Catholics passionately love our Church. As in our families, we are “born into” the Church at Baptism. Like a mother, she feeds us in the Eucharist, forgives us in Reconciliation, strengthens us in Confirmation, consoles us with the Anointing of the Sick, and gives us away in Matrimony or Holy Orders.
In this family of faith, we look to Mary as our own spiritual mother—a mother who guides and protects us. Mary never went to college, yet we call her Sede Sapientiae—“the Seat of Wisdom”—as she gave flesh to Wisdom, to the Word, to the eternal Son of God. Her virtues? Listening, reflecting, pondering, wondering, serving, and trusting. Her fiat, her proclamation: “Be it done unto me according to thy word.” Mary is wise because she accepts God’s will. She gives us Jesus, who shows us the way, teaches us the truth, and shares with us His life.
That’s why the Blessed Mother is the greatest of all the saints, because she is the closest to her divine son and wants nothing more than to draw us close to Him.
He will never fail you or forsake you.
One of the central messages of Christianity is this: We have a God who simply will not take “no” for an answer!
Think about it: It started in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve had everything, every gift, all happiness, intimacy with God, eternal life, no woe, war, or sickness—and they told God no as they disobeyed His only request. God could have legitimately responded, “Go to hell!” But not our God!
He saw a world destroying itself by sin and selfishness and sent a flood to cleanse it . . . but the world once again said no!
He made a covenant with Abraham and bound Himself by a covenant with His people . . . but we once again were unfaithful and told Him no!
He saw His people enslaved, so He sent Moses, Aaron, and Joshua to lead them miraculously to freedom . . . but they all replied no!
He gave us commandments, and we worshipped molten images; He sent David, Jeremiah, Isaiah, and Ezekiel to teach us and call us back to Him, and we said no!
He offered us mercy, salvation, happiness, and eternal life—and we said no!
And then He sent us His Son. . . .
The good news, my friends, is that we have a good God who simply will not take no for an answer! So what will bring us happiness? Saying yes to Him.
Give thanks to the Lord, who is good, whose love endures forever.
A new year brings renewed thanks for the blessings of the past year and the hope of many blessings in the year to come. The Irish sisters who taught me at Holy Infant School in Ballwin, Missouri, invited us to say every morning as we awoke, “Thank you, Lord, for the gift of a new day,” and as we went to sleep at night to whisper, “Thank you, Lord, for the gift of the past day.”
We remember those words as we enter a new year, for gratitude keeps us from arrogance, self-satisfaction, smugness, and selfishness. When we view everything as a gift, we treat everything and everyone with awe and respect. That unfortunate sense of entitlement—the feeling that people owe us things or that we have certain privileges coming to us—is never ours, since we are so thankful for all that we have received.
When we acknowledge that everything we are and everything we have comes to us undeserved from a lavishly generous God, we desire to live a life of praise to that good and loving Father and we shudder at wounding Him with our sin. Because we view everything we are and have as unmerited, we must be charitable and share what we have with others. Since God has been so good to us in the past, we are confident that He will take care of us in the future. In this coming year, let us place all of our concerns in His providential hands.
Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.
Today is the tenth of the twelve days of Christmas, as we build toward the revelation (that’s what the Greek word epiphany means) of Jesus as Savior to all the world, represented by those mysterious wise travelers from a faraway country.
What do you think those three kings felt when they found Jesus in Bethlehem? Awe? Faith? Gratitude?
But—bear with me here—I wonder if what those wise men initially felt was disappointment! You heard me. Disappointment! The star, their research, their travels, their inquiries in Jerusalem, their consultation with Herod, their anticipation of finding the long-awaited king . . . all for this? A little baby in the arms of a young mother in a stable! Where are the trumpets? Where is the palace? He was not the kind of king they expected to find. Yep, I think those Magi were disappointed. At first, anyway. Then their faith, awe, and gratitude kicked in, and they adored the Messiah and presented Him with their gifts.
Now the lesson for us: The Lord’s epiphanies, His revelations, in our world, in our lives, are usually without trumpets, palaces, drama, and glitz. He usually comes to us in gentle, unassuming, simple ways. Our God manifests Himself in ordinary, “disappointing” ways that make it easy to miss Him.
No one should seek his own advantage, but that of his neighbor.
—1 Corinthians 10:24
So many of us, of every and no faith, loved and admired Mother Teresa. You always had the sense that she was leading someone to God. She was telling the truth about the dignity of our lives by serving. And she was never stingy about giving advice, either. And so, in her characteristic simplicity, she wanted us to know what it means to have our priorities in life straight. For the Christian, it means:
Her advice, of course, is a bit countercultural. Don’t we typically start with “me”? She knew from experience that the key to joy is humility. Humility puts things in perspective.
For the Christian, it means the words of Saint Paul: “Whoever boasts, should boast in the Lord.” For all of us, it keeps us from a self-centered sense of entitlement that can become quite the dangerous spiritual and emotional malady. You can see the caution here, can’t you, about constantly feeling sorry for oneself?
If we’re walking around licking our wounds, thinking about the ways we have been overlooked, taken for granted, or underappreciated . . . look out! We’re setting ourselves up for a fall, friends. Can you see how this attitude would lead to cynicism, negativism, and behavior that can get us into all kinds of trouble and poison not just our souls and our health but our relationships?
Mother Teresa was, not surprisingly, onto something. When we focus on Jesus first and then on others, we live a selfless life. Not a selfish life. And that is a life of joy.
Happy Feast of the Epiphany!
Epiphany means “revelation.” Those Magi from the east represent every nation, every age, every race, every language, every culture, adoring the newborn savior of the world, revealed to them as God’s Son. On Christmas we acclaim Him the newborn King of Israel; on Epiphany we confess Him as the Savior of everyone.
So, you see, Epiphany is the day when we profess that Jesus is the Light of the World, revealed as the Savior of all. Thus the charge: We must bring His saving Person and His transforming word to the nations. That’s called evangelization. That’s the missionary identity of the Church.
I figure that most of you have taken down the tree and the lights and put the crib away. Just make sure that Jesus is not put in the attic. Just make sure that you’ve once again seen the light. Just make sure that, like the three kings, you have adored Him as Savior. And just make sure that Jesus has been reborn in you—and then, it’s missionary time! There’s a dark world out there waiting for His Epiphany, His star, His light.