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Second Sunday of Advent

December 4, 2016

JMJ

Blessed Sunday!

Jesse Tree
Sarai/Sarah, Genesis 21:5-8
Suggested symbol: laughter
We cut the letters “Ha” from sheet styrofoam
A printable file with the pictures I’m using can be downloaded here:2jesse-tree-pictures
sarahlaughs
Her beauty
turned the heads
of kings
but she could not
be taken in.
She was devoted to
her Abraham,
and he to her.

Nor did she chafe
to find the joke
on her
when she gave birth
at ninety years
of age.

Her laughter
just turned to delight
and she invites us
to join in
with her!

Her daughter
many centuries removed
took up her theme
of praising God
for doing the miraculous
in her,
having conceived
God’s only Son.

Lord, turn my laugh
of disbelief
into the humble laughter
of delight
at Your designs
so far
surpassing mine.

Saturday, first Week of Advent, St. Francis Xavier

December 3, 2016

JMJ

Blessed St. Francis Xavier’s Day!

St.FrancisXavier
You can find his story here

Jesse Tree
Abram/Abraham, Genesis 15:1-6
Suggested symbol: starry sky
The pictures I’m using can be downloaded in a printable file here:1jesse-tree-pictures

God called again,
and Terah’s son,
an aged man,
packed everything he had,
resumed the journey,
abrahamgoestocanaan
coming to
the Promised Land–
without a son.

He longed for one.

God cut a covenant with him,
a promise of descendants
as abundant as the stars,
abrahamstars
of land
and blessing,
changed his name
to Abraham…

but kept him waiting
for a son,
on whom the promises
all hung.

He faced
impossibility
with faith
that was rewarded
by a miracle of life,
then did the same,
when God commanded him
to sacrifice
his son,
believing that
the God
who gave him life
could give it back
again*.
sacrificeofisaac

abrahamisaac

When time was full,
on this same mountain
God the Father
gave His Son
in sacrifice
for Abraham
(and you
and me).

CrucifixSunset

Lord,
may my faith
transcend
impossibilities
relying on
your Love
to make a way
for things
too high
for me to dream.

*see Hebrews 11:19

Friday, First Week of Advent

December 2, 2016

JMJ

Blessed Friday!

Jesse Tree:
Terah, Genesis 11:31-32
Suggested symbol: tent
We folded a piece of paper to look like a tent
The pictures I’m using can be downloaded in a printable file here: 1jesse-tree-pictures

The years went by.
The promise passed from Shem
to Arpachshad,
to Shelah, Eber, Peleg,
Reu, Sergu, Nahor,
down to Terah,
living in
the land of Ur.

By then,
things had declined.
The clan
had started serving idols
like the pagans
among whom they lived*.

So Terah
moved away.
tent

He took his family,
set out
to go to Canaan,
but settled in Haran,
just halfway there,
and there remained,
a voluntary exile
from the land
God had intended
him to have.
mapharanur
O Lord,
preserve me
from halfhearted measures
in my quest to follow You.
Please spur me on
when I’m inclined
to just give up
and settle
where I am.

*see Judith 5:6-9, Joshua 24:2

Thursday, First Week of Advent

December 1, 2016

 

JMJ

Blessed Thursday!

Jesse Tree
Tower of Babel, Genesis 11:1-9
Suggested symbol: tower
We cut squares of sheet styrofoam, each smaller than the other,
& glued them together with the largest square centered on the bottom
& increasingly smaller ones centered on top
so it looked like a pyramid of steps.

Clicking this link will open a document with the pictures I’m using: 1jesse-tree-pictures

towerbabelconstruction

towerofbabel

In Hebrew,
“Shem” means “Name”,
so when men said,
“Let’s make a name”
it was a fist
in Heaven’s Face,
a bold rejection
of the promise
given in
the line of Shem.

They turned against
the Name
He gave them
laboring
to build their own
at Babel
and thus save
themselves.

Their plan backfired.
Their speech confused,
they lost what little
unity
they’d had
and scattered
over all the earth.

The One
Whom we await
received
the Name
above all other names*;
His Spirit fell
at Pentecost
to undo
Babel’s curse.

we hear them telling in our own tongues
the mighty works of God
~Acts 2:11

In Your Name
will I glory, Lord,
and in the unity
of multiplicity
in You.

*Philippians 2:9

Wednesday, First Week of Advent, St. Andrew

November 30, 2016

JMJ

Blessed St. Andrew’s Day!

You can find his story here

The St. Andrew’s Christmas “novena” starts today,
(to use the word “novena” very loosely–this is a lot more than nine days!).

The following prayer is prayed 15 times per day from the feast of St. Andrew until Christmas:

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment
in which the Son of God
was born of the most pure Virgin Mary,
at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold.
In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God!
to hear my prayer and grant my desires,
through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ,
and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.
Imprimatur
+MICHAEL AUGUSTINE, Archbishop of New York
New York, February 6, 1897

I made a set of 15 violet beads
–strung like sacrifice beads but with a simple square knot at the end–
to help us keep track.
I found that praying 15 times a day for days on end for the same intention
has a way of purifying one’s motivation.
It feels awfully silly (or selfish, as the case may be) to pester God that often for something
if what I’m praying for really isn’t all that eternally important!
This is all the more true as the words of the prayer itself
highlight the darkness and “piercing cold” Jesus suffered for my sake.
Compared to His life, mine looks pretty good!

Jesse Tree:
Shem, Genesis 9:20-23
Suggested symbol: blanket, grapes
We attached an image of a cluster of grapes to a small piece of fabric
Clicking this link will open a document with the pictures I’m using: 1jesse-tree-pictures
shemjaphethcovernoah

Sin reared its ugly head
again
when Noah yielded
to the lure
of wine
and passed out
drunk
within his tent.

He squandered
his ability
to lead,
as Adam had.

While Ham
disdained
his father,
Shem and Japheth
modestly
upheld his rank
by covering
his nakedness.

Then Ham was cursed,
the others, blessed,
and Shem took up
the promise
that what he had done
for Noah,
his descendant
would accomplish
for the world.
blanketgrapes
Thank You, Father,
for Your mercy
on my faults.
Help me to imitate
this Patriarch
in showing mercy too,
when others fail.

Tuesday, First Week of Advent, Noah

November 29, 2016

JMJ

Blessed Tuesday!

Jesse Tree:
Noah, Genesis 9:8-17
Suggested symbol: rainbow
Clicking this link will open a document with the pictures I’m using: 1jesse-tree-pictures

The woman’s seed
bred fratricide;
with Abel slain
by Cain,
God gave another son
to Eve
and Seth took up
the promised line
while evil reigned
and grew.

Amid the curse,
the promised passed
from father to his son,
through Enos, Cainan, Mahalale,
through Jared, and through Enoch
(who “walked with God, and he was not,
for God took him”*),

through Methuselah (the longest-living man),
to Lamech,
hence to Noah
(whose name translates,
“to rest”).

Yet
they had not escaped
unscathed.
Beguiled by
the daughters
of the evil line
they took of them
to wife
and evil reached
the breaking point.

All creation
was awash and drowning
in its wickedness.

Before the deluge
burst,
God intervened,
to save him
who alone
had not succumbed
to sin,
that he might build
the holy refuge
(a foreshadowing
of Jesus’ Cross
and Church)

that would arise
above the tempest
until it
had run its course.
noahsark
The waters rose.
The ark bore up
the promise
and preserved it
from the flood.

(Baptismal waters
are the means
God uses now**.)

When everything was over
Noah sacrificed to God
Who made a covenant
with man
to never let things
come to such a pass
again.noahsacrifice

His splendid bow
now points at Him.
It can no longer
shoots its arrows
down to man.

Dear Lord, preserve me
when the tempest rises
in my soul.
May I hold fast
to You
and to Your Plan.

*Genesis 7:24
**I Peter 3:20-21

Monday, First Week of Advent: Adam & Eve

November 28, 2016

JMJ

Blessed Monday!

Jesse Tree

Adam & Eve, Gen 3:1-19
Suggested symbol: apple & snake
My prince made a red origami ball for an apple & I glued a piece of green string around it for a snake.
Clicking this link will open a document with the pictures I’m using: 1jesse-tree-pictures

applesnake
adameveexpelled

A fallen angel
slithered in
and Adam,
charged to till and guard the garden,
let him pass,
to plant the weeds of doubt
within the virgin soul
of Eve, his bride.

She let trust die
within her heart,
believed the lie
that God was holding out
on her,
that she must turn
away
from Him
to seek a good
she lacked.

And Adam followed
when he should have led.

The guilt,
the shame,
the living death
drove both of them
to hide from God,
Who lovingly pursued them,
to apply the remedy
(painful though it had to be)
that would restore
the life
they’d cast away.

He made a promise
that the serpent
would be vanquished
by Eve’s seed.

In time, an angel
hailed a Virgin
whose receptivity to God
untied the knot
the virgin Eve had tied
when her trust died.

The New Eve
crushed
the serpent’s head.

God’s promise
was fulfilled.

Increase my trust
in You,
Dear Lord,
that I may crush
the serpent
who entices me
to turn away
from You.

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