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Thursday, third week of Advent, 2010

December 16, 2010

Blessed Thursday!

For those interested in praying the nine-day Christmas novena
(as opposed to the one that started on the feast of St. Andrew),
today would be the day to start.

Lord, our sins bring us unhappiness.
Hear our prayer for courage and strength.
May the coming of Your Son bring us the joy of salvation.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.
(Opening Prayer from today’s Mass)

Readings:
Isaiah 54:1-10 (God will take us back with enduring love)
Psalm 30:2, 4-6, 11-13 “I will praise You, Lord, for You have rescued me”
+ Luke 7:24-30 (the least born into the Kingdom of God is greater than the greatest prophet)

Raise a glad cry, you barren one!
-Isaiah 54:1

Break forth in jubilant song,
you who are despised and rejected through your own fault!
God’s about to flood you with such extraordinary fruitfulness
that you won’t have room to hold it all!

Make room!  Make room!

Bolster your dwelling to stand firm under the sheer volume of this blessing!

Enlarge the space for your tent,
spread out your tent cloths unsparingly;
lengthen your ropes and make firm your stakes
-Isaiah 54:2

Yes, I know you’re inclined to cower in shame.
Yes, you blew it.  No, you don’t deserve God’s blessing.
But God’s bigger than your failure.

Fear not, you shall not be put to shame;
you need not blush, for you shall not be disgraced.
The shame of your youth you shall forget,
the reproach of your widowhood no longer remember…
In an outburst of wrath, for a moment, I hid My Face from you,
But with enduring love I take pity on you,
says the Lord, your redeemer,
..I have sworn not to be angry with you, or to rebuke you.
-Isaiah 54:4, 8

He wants to make you great!

I assure you, there is no man born of woman greater than John.
Yet the least born into the Kingdom of God is greater than he
-Luke 7:28

He intends to make you,
with all your sins and petty rebellions against the Almighty,
greater than the greatest man–the greatest in God’s eyes, mind you–who ever lived!
He intends to make you, who’ve treacherously compromised your soul
for the paltry pleasures this world has to offer,
greater than the rugged man, consecrated to God before birth (see Luke 1:13-15),
who turned his back on creature comforts;
who lived in the desert on locusts and wild honey (when he ate at all–see Mark 2:18),
dressed in camel’s hair, and fearlessly stood up to a wicked king (see Matthew 3:1-4, 14:3-4).
God says you can be greater than him.

That’s incredible!

This is the greatness the Bridegroom (see Mark 2:19) is coming to bring us.
In the Person of Jesus, through His Incarnation,
“Heaven is wedded to earth” (see the Exultet).  Divinity and humanity unite.
We, the fruit of that union, born into the Kingdom through Baptism,
take our place within the tent that Holy Mother Church has enlarged
to take in the whole world.
We become sons and daughters of God (see Galatians 4:5-7)
princes and princesses in the royal family of the Lord of Hosts!

That’s what sent such a thrill through the crowd of riffraff
who’d gathered around Jesus.
They knew He was talking about them!
That’s why they burst into praise!

I will extol You, O Lord, for You have upheld me…
You have turned my mourning into dancing:
You have loosed my sackcloth:
You have girded me with gladness
that my soul may praise to You, and not be silent:
O Lord my God, I will give thanks You forever
-Psalm 30:2, 12-13

It’s all gift;  pure, undeserved, unimaginable gift.
(No matter how expert our Christmas shopping may be,
we can never out-give Almighty God!)

Our part is to make room…and rejoice!

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