Regnum Christi

Greta Caasi

Weekly Digest of the Regnum Christi Daily Meditations: December 31, 2023 – January 7, 2024

THE WEEKLY DIGEST
OF REGNUM CHRISTI
DAILY MEDITATIONS

Sunday, December 31, 2023 - Rooted in Love

Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph

Luke 2:22-40

 

When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, they took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord,” and to offer the sacrifice of “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons,” in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord. Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord. He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regard to him, he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying: “Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in sight of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.” The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer. And coming forward at that very time, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem. When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions of the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.

 

Introductory Prayer: Jesus, you were a small child in your Mother’s arms. You were a baby who needed the protection of Joseph. You felt their goodness and love. Today I want to celebrate this love of your family. I want to enter into this love and bring it also to my own family. I believe and trust that you will help me in this.

 

Petition: Lord, help me discover the wonders of the love of the Holy Family.

 

  1. The Bridegroom Is with You: Our God is a God of love. A family participates in this love because God is the source of the love that draws them together. The love that is so spontaneous, as well as so sacrificial, in a family shows the presence of Christ’s love. Jesus makes this love spring forth. It is homage to his Father and homage to his love for us. Am I aware of Christ’s loving presence in my family? Do I strive to collaborate with his love?

 

  1. Family and Covenant: A family is fruit of a covenant, and God is part of this covenant. God has always wanted to make man part of his family, beginning with Adam and Eve. The Holy Family demonstrates the definitive covenant of God’s love for each of us. They live it with wonder and, like Abraham, they put their faith totally in God, bonding themselves totally to his will and to his love. They play their parts in the working of God’s plan, and God will keep his promise to them, making them providential collaborators in his plan of salvation. We can be sure of God’s faithful love in the family. We can be sure that he is working his plan of salvation with faithfulness. Do I strive for unity in my family by living supernatural charity?

 

  1. Spiritual Inheritance: The Holy Family is a source of blessing. My family is also a source of blessing, even though moments of sorrow are bound to happen. When I live with faith my role in the family, I help to bring these blessings on the world. Often it is the example of Christian families that attracts others to the faith. Often the most powerful apostles, whether lay or consecrated persons, are fruit of the strong faith that is lived in the family. A family should not be closed in on itself; like the Holy Family, it has a mission. It must promote God’s message in the world through example and action. Do I give example to the members of my family? Do I strive to be an apostle both inside and outside the home?

 

Conversation with Christ: Lord, thank you for sanctifying family life by your presence. I want to discover you more in my family and those around me. Help me to accompany my loved ones in their moments of both joy and sorrow. You are with us, Lord. Help us to be your apostles.

 

Resolution: I will take a moment to listen attentively to and speak with a member of my family who may not have received much attention from me recently.

Monday, January 1, 2024 - Our Mother Knows the Song of the Angels

Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God

Luke 2:16-21

 

The shepherds went in haste to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child. All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds. And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them. When eight days were completed for his circumcision, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

 

Introductory Prayer: Lord, you are my friend, my Father, and my protector. I come to you on this new day confident in your presence. I renew my love for you, trusting in your guiding hand.

 

Petition: Lord, I want to hear the angels sing. Help me learn to listen.

 

  1. Sometimes We Need a Little Help: Would the shepherds have been impressed to find Mary, Joseph, and the child Jesus if the angels had not explained what was happening? They would have just thought it was a poor, vagabond family—unimpressive and unassuming like their own lives as shepherds. Yet the angels opened them to a reality that they would never have imagined or perceived. In my life God has also sent me angels who help me discover him: the faith of a parent or grandparent, the sweet, innocent faith of a child, the good example of a friend, a teacher, a priest, or a nun, the example of our Holy Father. Mary also teaches me to discover God in her Son. Do I thank God for these angels that he has sent me? Do I follow their advice and look for Christ in the simple, ordinary circumstances of my life?

 

  1. Hints of a New Song: In a symphony, the first movement only hints at the central theme. Mary had first heard this theme from the angel Gabriel. Now the shepherds take up this theme—the hymn of the angels—and even though the shepherds play their part with great enthusiasm, it probably makes very little noise outside the little town of Bethlehem. Yet the song had begun, and it would grow to a crescendo as Christ lived out his mission. History unfolds God’s mysterious plan of salvation. I am part of that history, of that symphony. Do I do my best to continue Mary’s song, God’s song, by living my commitments and taking part in apostolate?

 

  1. And His Name Shall Be “God Saves”: Mary and Joseph take up the hymn. They know the secret: this child will save Israel and will save all mankind. They begin to explain to the world, using an ancient name, Joshua (Yeshua), a name that now becomes not just a promise but a person. This is God’s new name. This is our God: God Saves. He is not merely a God who is the source of everything. Our God is intimately committed to us, and he puts himself “in the line of fire” to save us. Man had suspected that God was Creator, and the Jews had received the surprise of his friendship, but neither Gentile nor Jew dreamed that God was also this type of love. Do I dare to dream of God’s goodness? Do I let Christ give me peace and hope in the midst of this despairing world?

 

Conversation with Christ: Lord, I have heard something new today. You remind me this Christmas that it is time for a new song, a song of confidence and hope. Mary teaches me this song, this good news. I want to bring this good news more deeply into my life. I know that you are helping me to discover you more each day. Help me also to bring others to discover you.

 

Resolution: In Mary’s presence, I will strive today to “sing this new song” (the Christian virtue I have determined to cultivate) by making a special effort in one aspect of living this virtue.

 

Tuesday, January 2, 2024 - Aspiring to Humility

Saints Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops and Doctors of the Church

Wednesday, January 3, 2024 - Be Inspired!

Christmas Weekday

John 1:29-34

 

John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. He is the one of whom I said, ‘A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.’ I did not know him, but the reason why I came baptizing with water was that he might be made known to Israel.” John testified further, saying, “I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from the sky and remain upon him. I did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain, he is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God.”

 

Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, I know that all Christians are called to proclaim you with their lives and to follow the path you have taught. I want to grow closer to you and to be more the person you want me to be. I love you and long to be transformed by your grace!

 

Petition: Holy Spirit, help me to be attentive and docile to your inspirations.

 

  1. Trust in the Lord and Let Him Lead You: Although John the Baptist knew that he was sent as the Precursor of the Messiah, he did not initially know who the Messiah would be. But he did not let uncertainty about the details stop him. He knew that God had a plan and that he was called to play a part in it; as soon as he knew what direction to go, he went, regardless of not knowing his exact destination. Sometimes we can want to have total knowledge of God’s plan, and we hesitate to go forward until we’re sure we know exactly what to do. However, God rarely gives us a full view of his plan before we start out. He wants us to trust in him, to act on what we do know, and to be confident that God will bring his plan to a good end. Not that we shouldn’t have all the foresight we can, but we can’t expect God to let us in on his “master plan.” When God calls us, our response should be to follow without questioning God’s ways.

 

  1. The Holy Spirit Is Our Guide: The fact that we have to trust in God and allow him to reveal his plan as we go along means that we have to be very attentive to his work in our life. John the Baptist recognized Jesus because he was paying total attention to the signs God was giving him: The Holy Spirit revealed to him that Jesus was the Messiah. God will usually not speak to us through visions and special signs; however, if we have St. John the Baptist’s attitude of openness to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit and seeing God’s will in the events around us, we will be able to discern his plan for our life and fulfill it. The most important time to listen to God is in prayer, so setting aside time to be with God has to be part of our daily routine.

 

  1. Dealing with the Unexpected: When St. John the Baptist realized that Jesus was the Messiah, it might have been a surprise. They were related through their mothers’ families, and they may have known each other in youth before John went out into the desert. However, John clearly states that he did not know who the Messiah was until the moment the Holy Spirit revealed Jesus’ true identity. John may well have shared the common opinion that Jesus was a man like any other, albeit outstanding in justice and piety. The important thing is that he doesn’t doubt the divine inspiration. Rather, he immediately acts on it, proclaiming Jesus to his followers. In our own lives, God may well ask us to do the unexpected, or we may see his will in places we least expect it. We need to have St. John the Baptist’s readiness to see God’s hand and act on it, even if it goes contrary to our expectations.

 

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, knowing your will in my life can be hard at times. Even when I think I do know what you want from me, it can be difficult to follow through—especially when it is something that I did not expect or that requires that I go beyond my “comfort zone.” But, Lord, I do want to do your will. Grant me the same spirit of docility and dedication as St. John the Baptist!

 

Resolution: Today I will renew in prayer my personal commitment to always seek to know and follow God’s will in my life. I will try to heed the inspirations that the Holy Spirit gives to guide me on the right path.

Thursday, January 4, 2024 - The Right Word at the Right Time

Memorial of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, religious

John 1:35-42

 

John was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said, “Behold, the Lamb of God.” The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus. Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come, and you will see.” So they went and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day. It was about four in the afternoon. Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was one of the two who heard John and followed Jesus. He first found his own brother Simon and told him, “We have found the Messiah,” which is translated Christ. Then he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John; you will be called Cephas,” which is translated Peter.

 

Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Lamb of God come into the world to save us. Thank you for revealing yourself to us. I humbly offer you now my mind and heart to focus on your Divine Word, so I may better know and understand your will for me.

 

Petition: Jesus, help me to put you first in my life and strive to help others to know you.

 

  1. Knowing When to Let Go:Here, we see St. John the Baptist in action and the fruits of his fidelity to God’s plan. As he discreetly redirects two of his best disciples to follow Christ, his humility is in full play. Not only does he accept the fact that he must take second stage to Jesus; he actively works for this to happen. It can be very difficult for us to seek only God’s glory and the good of those around us. Our hearts easily attach themselves to people, to areas of responsibility and to the attention we may get because of what we do—whether it be in our profession, private lives, parish or in a volunteer religious organization. However, if we really want to do God’s will, we have to know when it’s time for us to let go. Like John the Baptist, the only thing we should have our hearts totally set on is establishing Christ’s Kingdom.

 

  1. Facing the Consequences: Thanks to St. John the Baptist’s faithfulness to his mission, two men—Andrew and John—meet Jesus and recognize that he is the Messiah. John the Baptist never knew the final results of his actions, but he trusted in the Holy Spirit and did what he felt God wanted. The one phrase he spoke in that moment—“Behold the Lamb of God”—had repercussions for the history of the Church and the world. Without those words spoken at that moment, we might never have had the Gospel of St. John, his letters and the book of Revelation, or the evangelizing work of St. Andrew. Jesus might have called Andrew and John some other way, but they would have lost precious time. We ourselves do not know how much is hanging on our fidelity to God’s plan in our life. Before saying “no” to God, we should ask ourselves if we’re willing to risk the consequences for ourselves and for others.

 

  1. Sharing the Treasure: Andrew, in turn, went to share the news of meeting Jesus and recognizing him as the Messiah with his brother Simon. Simon might well have laughed at him or ignored him. Jesus was not considered a likely figure for Messiahship—he was a carpenter’s son from a little town that another future Apostle, Nathaniel, referred to with scorn. However, Andrew knew that he’d found a treasure and felt the need to share his discovery with his family and friends. Thanks to his enthusiasm, Simon, the future St. Peter, met Jesus. The rest is history. We should ask ourselves: Have I really discovered Jesus in the light of faith? Have I discovered the hope and joy that come from knowing him as my savior? If so, have I overcome any fear, timidity or human respect that might keep me from sharing this treasure with others?

 

Conversation with Christ: Thank you, my Lord, for helping me to see the way to serve you better. Thank you for the saints, who show us how to be your apostles in the world. Give me the wisdom to know your will in my life and the strength and trust to follow through with it!

 

Resolution: From now on, I will try to be more courageous in sharing my faith with others and in getting them involved so that they can have a life-changing personal encounter with Christ.

Friday, January 5, 2024 - He Knows You Already

Memorial of Saint John Neumann, Bishop

John 1:43-51

 

Jesus decided to go to Galilee, and he found Philip. And Jesus said to him, “Follow me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the town of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law, and also the prophets, Jesus, son of Joseph, from Nazareth.” But Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Here is a true Israelite. There is no duplicity in him.” Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree.” Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this.” And he said to him, “Amen, amen, I say to you, you will see the sky opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

 

Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, I want to hear your voice in this Scripture passage and to receive with an open heart whatever you want to tell me. I believe in you, hope in you, and love you.

 

Petition: God the Father, help me to be steadfast in your love.

 

  1. Serving God Requires Perseverance: John the Baptist has done his job of redirecting others to Christ: He is not mentioned in the Gospel reading today. The focus has shifted to Jesus calling his future Apostles, prepared beforehand by the Baptist. As with Andrew, those who are prepared to meet Christ discover in him a great treasure that they cannot keep to themselves. This time, Philip encounters Christ and shares this discovery with Nathaniel. When Nathaniel reacts skeptically, Philip doesn’t give up. He knows that personal experience is more powerful than words, so he brings Nathaniel to meet Jesus. If we try to bring others to Christ, we could run into similar obstacles: hesitation, skepticism, lack of interest…. Do we give in too easily, or do we try to engage others in a more active way?

 

  1. Jesus Wants Us: When Nathaniel does meet Jesus, he is surprised to discover that Jesus knows him and appreciates him for who he is. There is probably more background to Jesus’ simple words than the Gospel tells us, because they win Nathaniel over instantly. Perhaps we sometimes forget that Jesus, as God, is our creator, and when he calls a person (and in one way or another he calls every person), he does it knowing exactly whom he is calling. It is not a general altar call: it is a personal, direct call to our hearts, rooted in a real understanding of us as we are. He knows and loves us better than any mere human being ever could. When we really experience that and help others to do so too, then his call becomes irresistible.

 

  1. Learning to See the Greater Works of God: Jesus promises Nathaniel that he will see “greater things” in the future; in fact, he will witness most of the miracles of Jesus first-hand and will see many manifestations of the Father’s love for the Son. Indeed, this is often the way Jesus works with all of us. We may be won over by an impressive experience of God, but as our relationship with God deepens, we see “greater things”—not necessarily more spectacular things. As our appreciation for spiritual things grows, we become more attuned to God’s work, and we can pick up on the work of grace in our lives and in the lives of others. That profound transformation is much greater than any miraculous physical healing or any merely sentimental experience. We need faith and trust and attentiveness to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit—plus a healthy dose of patience—if we really want to see how God works; but the wait will definitely be worth it.

 

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus Christ, it is very comforting and encouraging to realize that you know me through and through, that you love me and want me to follow you. Thank you for your love! Help me to bring others to you as well. Give me wisdom and perseverance to be able to make a difference in people’s lives. Help me to discern the wonders of your grace in my life and in the lives of those around me.

 

Resolution: I will take the time to reflect on the ways God has worked in my life and, through me, in others. I will analyze how I can better collaborate with his grace.

 

Saturday, January 6, 2024 - Yearning for Christ

Christmas Weekday

Mark 1:7-11

 

This is what John the Baptist proclaimed: “One mightier than I is coming after me. I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” It happened in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized in the Jordan by John. On coming up out of the water he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

 

Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, thank you for the wonderful gift of my baptism. By it you have invited me to follow you closely. You have called me to be part of your Church. You have washed my soul clean. You have called me to bring others closer to you. I hope to always be filled with gratitude for this undeserved gift. In baptism you also gave me the theological virtues of faith, hope and love. I wish to believe in you more, to hope in your mercy and love you every day of my life so that we may spend eternity together.

 

Petition: Jesus, grant me a profound appreciation for my baptism.

 

  1. John’s Yearning for Christ: St. John the Baptist was a man with a mission. Every aspect of his life was given to preparing the way of the Lord. Every fiber of his being yearned to see that day arrive. Be it by penance, preaching, or repentance, he did everything he could to prepare others for the Messiah’s coming. Because his heart yearned for Christ, it made his every action glow with authenticity. What joy must have filled him when, as St. Mark writes, “It happened in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized in the Jordan by John.” The day he longed for had finally arrived! How good it is to long for what we should long for and then to achieve it! Are all of my aspirations truly Christian?

 

  1. Our Yearning for Christ: Like John, we also yearn for Christ’s coming into our lives. But we need not look far off. By our baptism, Christ has already taken our hand; we already belong to him! Our response to this unmerited gift is our baptismal commitments, namely to preach the Gospel and to strive for holiness. In this way, we renounce sin and profess to live out our faith in the Triune God. Baptism gives the certainty for which each of us yearns: Christ is here, he has come into my life, he has seized my soul, and will remain with me unless I deliberately turn away from him by grave sin. Even then, he awaits and pursues me to restore me to his intimate friendship. Do I appreciate the gift of my baptism? Do I actively work to bring that seed to fruition in my life?

 

  1. Our Neighbor’s Yearning for Christ: When we live out our baptismal commitments, the world becomes transformed. Ideologies of violence, tendencies towards corruption, desires for power and possessions are all steadily removed from our hearts. Instead, our eyes are opened to the needs of others. They too yearn for Christ, just like those who gathered alongside the Jordan to hear St. John preach. The greatest gift we can give them is, like the Baptist, to point them to the Lamb of God—it is Christ alone who can satisfy the thirst of every human heart! Am I convinced that Our Lord wishes to use me as an instrument of his grace? I do not need to have outstanding qualities to help others. I just need the desire and the readiness to point out the way of happiness and peace to others.

 

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, I want to take a moment to thank you for your wonderful gift of baptism, the moment when you opened for me the doors to heaven, the moment from which I can be called one of your followers. Through my baptism I can truly be called a Christian! Help me to be worthy of this calling. Strengthen me today with your grace and presence. Guide me along the path of life. Help me to be your light in the world.

 

Resolution: I will be mindful of the great gift of my baptism today by periodically making the Sign of the Cross.

 

Sunday, January 7, 2024 - I Came, I Saw, And I Was Conquered

The Epiphany of the Lord

Matthew 2:1-12

 

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.” When King Herod heard this, he was greatly troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it has been written through the prophet: ‘And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; since from you shall come a ruler, who is to shepherd my people Israel.’” Then Herod called the magi secretly and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search diligently for the child. When you have found him, bring me word, that I too may go and do him homage.” After their audience with the king they set out. And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way.

 

Introductory Prayer: Lord, thank you for your perfect gift of yourself: coming as a humble child born of Mary. The thought of you as a helpless little babe lying in a manger fills my heart with confidence. I know that you could never be capable of deceiving me, since you have divested yourself of all greatness so that I can gaze upon you. You deserve all my hope and all my love, which I humbly offer you now.

 

Petition: Lord, I ask you for a heart truly receptive to your message.

 

  1. We Saw His Star: Those who are sincere of heart find God in their life. In the case of the Magi, their sincerity is shown by what they are willing to sacrifice to attain their goal. The journey required abandoning the comforts of their homeland, the needs of their family members, and the pursuit of wealth. The intention was pure, not muddled with self-centered wants, for it was nothing less than the desire to encounter God’s living presence. Their openness of heart permitted God to speak through many things in their world—from astrology to Herod, from the star to the child in the crib. What will it take for me to find God today? I must put aside all but him and let his hand lead me to that definitive encounter with his divine presence.

 

  1. Warned Not to Return to Herod: No star is offered to Herod or to the worldly, only darkness. The worldly may like the idea of God, and even be curious about him, but they disregard his call. They rarely leave their palace, sacrifice their time, or place themselves at the service of the divine. The prideful lovers of comfort leave their palaces and then oddly claim God is nowhere to be found in the world. They fear the loss of a comfortable world. I pray that my heart be open to all that the living Gospel requires in my life. May Christ find no obstacle in me; rather, may he find in me the will to leave my palace so that I might find and follow him.

 

  1. Then They Opened Their Treasures: In order to give love, I must have been impacted by love. How can I hold to the demands that others place upon me? How can I keep true to my vocation and mission when little affirmation and support come my way? Every morning I need to seek out the God who gives unconditionally so that his giving may impact me. Be it at Mass, in prayer, or in the workings of divine providence, every day a necessary epiphany awaits me. It empowers me to open my coffer and bring forth the gift of self. If I do not experience this love, my life remains closed—no interior strength is found to give myself totally. John tells us: “In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another… We love because he first loved us” (1 Jn 4:10-11, 19).

 

Conversation with Christ: Christ, your love for me compels me to give myself and hold nothing back. I have touched a moment in human history that overwhelms my comprehension and conquers my heart for you. May I give myself as you give yourself to me: at Mass, in prayer, and in souls you call me to serve.

 

Resolution: I will work to improve my charity with the members of my family today, loving them as Christ does.

Weekly Digest of the Regnum Christi Daily Meditations: December 31, 2023 – January 7, 2024 Read More »

Weekly Digest of the Regnum Christi Daily Meditations: December 24-31, 2023

THE WEEKLY DIGEST
OF REGNUM CHRISTI
DAILY MEDITATIONS

Sunday, December 24, 2023 - The Power of Personal Freedom

Fourth Sunday of Advent

Luke 1:26-38

 

The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” And the angel said to her in reply, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.” Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

 

Introductory Prayer: Heavenly Father, you have given Mary to us as our Blessed Mother. Thank you. I know that she constantly intercedes on our behalf and that you listen to her prayer. I am confident in your mercy and love. You are guiding me home to spend eternity with you. I place all my trust in you. I offer you my weak but grateful love in return.

 

Petition: Lord, grant me the grace to embrace you in faith, hope, and love.

 

  1. “Sent from God”: Too often we attribute too much of our achievements to our own doing. Our education, wealth, or technological ability can lead us to have a false sense of security in our ability to shape our world. Today’s Gospel reminds us that God’s plan for the salvation of the human race is his own initiative. He sends his Son into the world at a precise time and in a precise place. He prepares Mary beforehand with everything she will need to fulfill her mission as Mother of the Redeemer—a mission that she accepts in freedom and through faith. I do well to realize more and more that God is also the true protagonist of my own life.

 

  1. “Do Not Be Afraid”: One of the constant refrains of the Gospel is Jesus’ admonition: “Do not be afraid.” When the Lord draws near, our natural tendency is to be afraid. We can be afraid of his presence. We can be afraid of what he might ask of us. We can be afraid of our own limitations in the face of the call to true conversion and holiness of life. We can be afraid of the apparent obstacles along the path of Christian discipleship. Like Mary, we need to overcome our fear by embracing God’s will with faith and love. As our confidence in God increases, our fear decreases. As our love increases, our fear disappears. Of what am I afraid in my relationship with the Lord? Am I surrendering my fear by giving myself in faith?

 

  1. “May It Be Done to Me”: What a truly incredible thing it is to make the salvation of the human race dependent upon the free response of Mary! Mary’s “yes” to God shows us the power and transcendence of personal choice. It also sheds light on the importance of our own personal “yes” to God with regard to his plan for our lives. Mary’s loving, faith-filled consent to a plan she did not fully understand becomes the model of our own daily consent to the divine will as it manifests itself in our daily lives.

 

Conversation with Christ: Lord, I have remembered through this meditation that you are the one guiding my life and all of history. I need to be mindful that you always intend good for me, even if it is painful and purifying. So I should never be afraid of your hand in my life.  I believe and trust in you, my Lord, but increase my faith, hope, and love.

 

Resolution: I will embrace God’s will today as Mary did—with faith and love.

Monday, December 25, 2023 - Flesh, Glory, Grace

The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas)

John 1:1-18

 

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. A man named John was sent from God. He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the light but came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came to be through him, but the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him. But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision but of God. And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth. John testified to him and cried out, saying, “This is he of whom I said, ‘The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.’” From his fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace, because while the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. The only Son, God, who is at the Father’s side, has revealed him.

 

Introductory Prayer: Lord, thank you for this Christmas day. I believe that you became a little child to redeem me and show me the Father’s love. I love you. Your birth shows the depth of your love for me. I choose to recommit myself today to be a Christian in love with you.

 

Petition: Lord, help me to grow in wonder at your love.

 

  1. Flesh: “And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” For most families, Christmas is a day of special closeness. We take time to be with each other. We also know that God is close. He is that “someone” who unites us in love. Today, in astonished silence, we contemplate the Christ Child. Amid all the excitement and emotion of our Christmas day, we cannot help but stop in amazement: My God lets me put my arms around him. Here is an amazing mystery of closeness. Here is where all human closeness finds its greatest expression. It is God’s initiative. He became flesh. He lives among us. Do I let myself draw close to Christ? Do I allow him to love me? Do I allow myself to love him?

 

  1. Glory: “And we saw his glory.” For John, the glory of God that shines in the face of Christ is the glory of love. Jesus glories in being able to love—in being able to love us. What an amazing God we have! He defies our reason. His Christmas glory lies in making himself so humble that he becomes a tiny child dependent on our love. His glory will later consist in embracing his cross and dying out of love for us. Do I appreciate this glorious love? Am I ready to enter into its mystery? Am I ready to make my heart shine with this glory of God’s love today?

 

  1. Grace: “…Full of grace and truth.” The grace spoken of here is the Father’s loving glance. Jesus brings the Father’s loving glance to our world and to our lives. He transforms our world into the very place where the Father finds his Son. The Father is pleased; Christ lives among us. This is the grace that is Christ: God’s initiative of love. Grace is a gift. It does not depend on me. I simply have to accept and receive it. I simply have to appreciate it, as John did. Do I appreciate Christ? Do I try to make my life a gift like his was?

 

Conversation with Christ: Jesus, thank you for this Christmas day. I know it may be busy, but I also know it is very beautiful. It is beautiful because you are here, Lord. Thank you for being here this Christmas day. I want to love you as Mary did. I want to bring your grace and glory to those around me.

 

Resolution: Today I will strive to show special joy and goodness in my relations with others, especially with my family. I will look for an extra way to make each of them happy today.

Tuesday, December 26, 2023 - The Power of Witness

Feast of Saint Stephen, First Martyr

Wednesday, December 27, 2023 - Eager Heart

Feast of Saint John, Apostle and Evangelist

John 20:1a and 2-8

 

On the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we do not know where they put him.” So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb. They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first; he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in. When Simon Peter arrived after him, he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place. Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed.

 

Introductory Prayer: Lord, today I am reminded of the intensity of love that you stir in the hearts of your followers. I want to be your follower today. I believe that you love me. I believe that you have overcome sin and death. I believe that you walk with me.

 

Petition: Lord, give me the joy of discovering you as St. John discovered you.

 

  1. Eager: St. John had been enthused by Christ from the very beginning. Early on Christ had won his heart. In his Gospel, John would record many things about Christ in a very personal way, giving us special insights into Christ. Christ allowed him into his heart, and John’s faith gave him reason to hope in the Resurrection. That is why he runs with such eagerness to the tomb. He does not yet know that Christ is risen, but he wants to know. He wants to be where Christ is. Am I eager to be with Christ? This time of Christmas is a special time in which I can naturally feel attracted to Christ. Do I take advantage of this grace and try to converse more with him?

 

  1. Fast: No hesitation; get there as quickly as possible. John knows where he has to go. Nothing else is as important. He does not let anything get in the way. A saint lives his life quickly, even if his years are long. He lives it quickly because he lives each day, each moment, intensely for Christ and souls. He lives his prayer life intensely—in spite of the natural fatigue and moments of dryness—because he knows the time spent in prayer is the most important moment of the day. A saint lives his service to his family and to others with the intensity of love. Rather than tiring him, love brings him closer to God. Am I afraid to love and to live with intensity?

 

  1. Believing: John was rewarded for his faith. His Lord is alive! No amount of cruelty and evil—not even death itself—can defeat his Lord. John teaches us to believe in Christ, to discover with joy the signs of his presence. Am I using this Christmas season to reaffirm my faith in Christ’s presence in the world? Do I cultivate a supernatural outlook in the things I do, in the way I deal with those around me? Do I build up confidence in Christ’s victory in souls and discover the signs of that victory?

 

Conversation with Christ: Lord, thank you for St. John’s faith. He was close to your heart. Help me to place my heart in your heart. I want to run to you, Lord, throughout the ups and downs of my life, the good times and the bad. Today I will stay close to you in my heart. Stay close to me also.

 

Resolution: I will pray the Creed in front of a manger scene today and make a special effort to talk about God’s providence in my conversations with others.

Thursday, December 28, 2023 - Angel Wings

Feast of the Holy Innocents, martyrs

Matthew 2:13-18

 

When the magi had departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.” Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt. He stayed there until the death of Herod, that what the Lord had said through the prophet might be fulfilled, ‘Out of Egypt I called my son.’ When Herod realized that he had been deceived by the magi, he became furious. He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had ascertained from the magi. Then was fulfilled what had been said through Jeremiah the prophet: ‘A voice was heard in Ramah, sobbing and loud lamentation; Rachel weeping for her children, and she would not be consoled, since they were no more.

 

Introductory Prayer: Father, I come into your holy presence this day aware that you guide my life with love. I believe that nothing happens to me unless you will it. I renew my faith in your promise of heaven, where every tear will be wiped away. Thank you for getting involved in our cruel world in order to heal it with your love.

 

Petition: Lord, may my presence today be a help to those in need.

 

  1. Angels: We want to cry with these women who have had their children stolen from them in the most defenseless time of their lives. Human cruelty reaches so deep that it desires to maintain power by snuffing out the lives of others! Yet these children silently remind us of another reality. They remind us that there is a place where tyranny does not reign. There is a King who rules by love and whose kingdom cannot be defeated by cruelty. These children are messengers of that kingdom. They have been called to give a brief but powerful witness of the fight that this King will wage for love. They have gone ahead of him, and their mothers will find them and hold them forever one day in the presence of their King.

 

  1. Prophets: Thy Kingdom Come! This is the cry of these children. One day this new King will reign, but it will happen through a terrible fight with death and cruelty. These children are powerful prophets of the struggle of this King. They are prophets of the drama of human history where everything is at stake. Their cries are powerful prayers that will be heard by the Father, and their cries begin to stir in that special Child the desire to give his life as a ransom for souls. He will reign by pouring out his life as a gift for these children and for many souls.

 

  1. Children: The Church has declared these children martyrs. The first saints of Christ are infants. Infants speak to us at Christmas, and their witness does not go unnoticed. These children inspire the Church and pray for her. A child speaks to us of goodness and innocence. A child reminds us of the attitude we should have before God. Christ always lives with a heart of a child, a heart that trusts completely in his Father. He shows special predilection for children. He knows that often they are his most powerful apostles, inviting others to God’s house by the simplicity and intimacy of their love for him. How many parents have been converted or discovered a deeper relationship with Christ through the example of their children!

 

Conversation with Christ: Jesus, it saddens me so much to see how these children were taken from their mothers and killed. It tears my heart apart to see how today so many children are never given the chance to know their mother’s love because of the evil of abortion. I want to be a consolation to your heart, Lord. I want to give the very best of myself to you today in order to offer you some of the love that these children wanted to give. Let my life be a witness of unselfish love. Let me be like you.

 

Resolution: I will find some way of encouraging a mother of a young child.

Friday, December 29, 2023 - In the Spirit

The Fifth Day in the Octave of Christmas

Luke 2:22-35

 

When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, the parents of Jesus took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law of the Lord, ‘Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord,’ and to offer the sacrifice of ‘a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons,’ in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord. Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord. He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regard to him, he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying: “Lord, now let your servant go in peace; your word has been fulfilled: my own eyes have seen the salvation which you prepared in the sight of every people, a light to reveal you to the nations and the glory of your people Israel.” The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

 

Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, I long to abide in your presence. You refresh my soul and fill me with your light, although I don’t turn to you often enough or exercise enough faith when I do remember you. But here I am now, Lord, ready to spend a few precious moments with you in the room of my heart. I want to pick up more readily on the inspirations of your Spirit. I want to be a docile instrument in your hands to serve you and your Church.

 

Petition: Lord, teach me to be open to your Spirit.

 

  1. Simeon, a Man of the Spirit: Luke tells us three times in this short passage that Simeon was a man who was attentive to the Holy Spirit. The “Holy Spirit was upon him” since “it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord.” Simeon was in conversation with the Spirit and learned to listen to his holy inspirations. Just as in Christ’s life we see him many times moved by the Spirit—for example, to come to be baptized by John and subsequently to be “driven by the Spirit” into the desert—so in Simeon’s life, he is not only inspired, but also powerfully moved by the Spirit. We should take a moment in our meditation to admire this man who lent himself totally to the movements of the Spirit.

 

  1. Mary, Overshadowed by the Spirit: There is no one who demonstrates docility to the Spirit more than Mary Immaculate. She didn’t put up any obstacles to the work of the Holy Spirit; as the Spirit expresses to us through the Gospel writer, “The holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you” (Lk 1:35). As Pope St. John Paul II describes it, Mary “responded with faithful obedience to every request of God, to every motion of the Holy Spirit.” As she stands here at the presentation of her firstborn son, she now hears words spoken to her through the Spirit’s instrument: “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed” (Lk 2:34-35). Once more, Mary acquiesces to the Holy Spirit and accepts the foretold suffering far in advance.

 

  1. Amazed by the Spirit: All of us have heard incredible stories of moments in which the Holy Spirit clearly intervened or directed a situation. Maybe we have experienced this in our own lives. Is there any reason why we shouldn’t? Are there any obstacles that the Holy Spirit would find in our lives? He should be the soul’s gentle guest. But how do we foster this friendship with the Holy Spirit? We have to bring silence into our hearts so as to distinguish his voice from the noise of so many worldly voices trying to drown out his word, and it also means we have to be docile and obedient once we have heard it.

 

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, there are so many lessons to be learned from your presentation in the Temple. I have taken one of them: the presence of your Holy Spirit so evident in this Gospel passage. In the Christmas season we celebrate your being among us as a tiny child. Yet, your whole life will show us how to be docile to the Holy Spirit. You have sent him so that we might not be alone. May he always accompany me in life, and may he always remind me of the many things you did and said, as you lead me to the Father’s house.

 

Resolution: I will spend the day attentive to the Holy Spirit and make this a particular point for my examination of conscience.

Saturday, December 30, 2023 - A Child and Wonder

The Sixth Day in the Octave of Christmas

Luke 2:36-40

 

There was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage, and then as a widow until she was 84. She never left the Temple, but worshipped night and day with fasting and prayer. And coming forward at that very time, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem. When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions of the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.

 

Introductory Prayer: Lord, I come like Anna today to live the one thing necessary in my life: my relationship with you. I believe that you are faithful to your promises. I believe that you will triumph over sin and death. I love you, Lord.

 

Petition: Lord, help me to see how I can better witness to you.

 

  1. She Worshipped: We all have something we worship. Wisdom teaches us whom we should truly worship: God alone. God deserves our full hearts, because he is the one who is our true Father. In worship we rediscover our greatest treasure, as did the Prodigal Son: “I shall get up and go to my father” (Lk 15:18). In worship we return to that place where we are most deeply welcomed and cared for, to that place where we discover our true friend, where we become more deeply our true selves. Worship also opens us to receive God’s graces. It helps us appreciate the gifts that God wants to give us. Do I strive to worship God with all my heart, mind, and soul during the Eucharistic Celebration?

 

  1. She Spoke About the Child to All: Prayer and worship here on earth do not end only in going to church. They allow us to discover the good news about God’s love, so that we can also share this good news with others. Prayer that does not lead us to evangelize is self-deception. Our Holy Father shows us this intimate connection between prayer and evangelization. He invites us to give to others what we have discovered in being close to Christ. He challenges us to bring others to Christ. Am I living this contemplative and active spirit?

 

  1. The Child Grew and Became Strong, and the Favor of God Was Upon Him: Christmas is a message of hope. God is quietly preparing the future. A child and a young person are reminders that God does not give up on the world, that in each generation he can find new ways of bringing his salvation to all mankind. Am I youthful, spiritually speaking? Am I always trying to learn what God wants to teach me each day, striving to form those virtues that will make me a better instrument of God’s grace? As one who follows Christ, I should have confidence that God’s favor also rests on me; that he looks at my humble, often hidden efforts with great love; that in spite of my weakness he is helping others through me to see the good news that he is present and active in their lives.

 

Conversation with Christ: Lord, I thank you for your presence and care. You have made me in your image, and in the presence of your Son I discover the depths of your love. Help me to grow in wonder at your love today, and help me to bring your good news to others.

 

Resolution: Today I will spend a quiet moment before the child Jesus and thank him for his presence here among us. I will also strive in a particular way to be cheerful and friendly to everyone I meet.

Sunday, December 31, 2023 - Rooted in Love

Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph

Luke 2:22-40

 

When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, they took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord,” and to offer the sacrifice of “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons,” in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord. Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord. He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regard to him, he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying: “Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in sight of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.” The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer. And coming forward at that very time, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem. When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions of the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.

 

Introductory Prayer: Jesus, you were a small child in your Mother’s arms. You were a baby who needed the protection of Joseph. You felt their goodness and love. Today I want to celebrate this love of your family. I want to enter into this love and bring it also to my own family. I believe and trust that you will help me in this.

 

Petition: Lord, help me discover the wonders of the love of the Holy Family.

 

  1. The Bridegroom Is with You: Our God is a God of love. A family participates in this love because God is the source of the love that draws them together. The love that is so spontaneous, as well as so sacrificial, in a family shows the presence of Christ’s love. Jesus makes this love spring forth. It is homage to his Father and homage to his love for us. Am I aware of Christ’s loving presence in my family? Do I strive to collaborate with his love?

 

  1. Family and Covenant: A family is fruit of a covenant, and God is part of this covenant. God has always wanted to make man part of his family, beginning with Adam and Eve. The Holy Family demonstrates the definitive covenant of God’s love for each of us. They live it with wonder and, like Abraham, they put their faith totally in God, bonding themselves totally to his will and to his love. They play their parts in the working of God’s plan, and God will keep his promise to them, making them providential collaborators in his plan of salvation. We can be sure of God’s faithful love in the family. We can be sure that he is working his plan of salvation with faithfulness. Do I strive for unity in my family by living supernatural charity?

 

  1. Spiritual Inheritance: The Holy Family is a source of blessing. My family is also a source of blessing, even though moments of sorrow are bound to happen. When I live with faith my role in the family, I help to bring these blessings on the world. Often it is the example of Christian families that attracts others to the faith. Often the most powerful apostles, whether lay or consecrated persons, are fruit of the strong faith that is lived in the family. A family should not be closed in on itself; like the Holy Family, it has a mission. It must promote God’s message in the world through example and action. Do I give example to the members of my family? Do I strive to be an apostle both inside and outside the home?

 

Conversation with Christ: Lord, thank you for sanctifying family life by your presence. I want to discover you more in my family and those around me. Help me to accompany my loved ones in their moments of both joy and sorrow. You are with us, Lord. Help us to be your apostles.

 

Resolution: I will take a moment to listen attentively to and speak with a member of my family who may not have received much attention from me recently.

 

Weekly Digest of the Regnum Christi Daily Meditations: December 24-31, 2023 Read More »

Week of RC Daily Meditations: December 17-24, 2023

Week of December 17-24, 2023

Sunday, December 17, 2023 - Genuine Self-Knowledge

Sunday of the Third Week of Advent

John 1:6-8, 19-28

 

A man named John was sent from God. He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to testify to the light. And this is the testimony of John. When the Jews from Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to him to ask him, “Who are you?”, he admitted and did not deny it, but admitted, “I am not the Christ.” So they asked him, “What are you then? Are you Elijah?” And he said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” He answered, “No.” So they said to him, “Who are you, so we can give an answer to those who sent us? What do you have to say for yourself?” He said: “I am the voice of one crying out in the desert, ‘make straight the way of the Lord,’ as Isaiah the prophet said.” Some Pharisees were also sent. They asked him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ or Elijah or the Prophet?” John answered them, “I baptize with water; but there is one among you whom you do not recognize, the one who is coming after me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.” This happened in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

 

Introductory Prayer: Father in heaven, my heart desires the warmth of your love. My mind is searching for the light of your word. I long for the coming of Christ our Savior. Through this short, intimate encounter with you, I seek to grow in my love for you. You are my strength, my light, my peace, my joy, my life.

 

Petition: Jesus, help me to generously fulfill the mission you have given me.

 

  1. A Man Named John Was Sent from God”: Consider for a moment the magnitude of this verse. On the one hand, we have an ordinary member of the human race—like you and me—who bears one of the most common names known to mankind. On the other hand, he has a mission that transcends his very person—also like you and me. Scripture repeatedly attests that God “sends”; he reveals himself to a person and then sends that person forth to communicate to others the truth about himself. What is more, the one who truly comes to know God feels compelled to communicate him to others. Even Jesus refers to himself as the one “sent” by the Father. This is because the Blessed Trinity is a relationship of love that God will not keep to himself. He first creates the world for us men and women for our enjoyment and sustenance. Then, after we sinned, he sends us patriarchs, prophets, kings, and ultimately his very own Son as a way of assuring us that he loves us and wants us to be with him forever.

 

  1. I Am Not the Christ”: John knows who he is not. Honest self-knowledge is an essential step on the path to holiness. John is attracting the attention of the multitudes in Israel. Many people would perhaps be flattered or even intoxicated with such celebrity status. Yet John is not grasping for power, nor does he seek to be someone he is not; rather, he is preparing men’s hearts for the true Christ. The Evil One will continually try to get us to look to ourselves and our own talents in an attempt to distract our eyes from God and his plan for us. John gives us a shining example of the triumph of humble self-knowledge over the wiles of the devil. When we, too, are totally focused on God, we feel compelled to eliminate from our personal lives any duplicity, vanity, or inflated self-esteem. We begin to live in the truth, rightly valuing all the gifts God has bestowed on us to use in service of his Kingdom, without taking anything for ourselves, since everything is his.

 

  1. I Am the Voice of One Crying Out in the Desert, ‘Make Straight the Way of the Lord’”: John knows who he is. There is no division in John’s heart between what God is asking and what he personally wants. He knows that God has brought him into this world to make a difference. This reveals the inner source of his zeal, which gives resounding force to his message. He has been entrusted with a mission, and his heart is fully in it. But John is not unique. God has called each one of us into existence to accomplish a mission. Is my heart ardently attached to God’s plan for my life? Do I know and fully embrace God’s plan for my life?

 

Conversation with Christ: Blessed Lord, you are the source of lasting happiness and genuine peace of soul. Help me to base my interior strength on the certitude of your love for me. Help me to recognize your greatness and my nothingness, so that I will be more ready to be emptied of my selfishness and be a faithful instrument of your love. Give me the grace to take on my mission with fervent zeal and to bring it to completion.

 

Resolution: Today I will make three acts of humility for love of Jesus.

 

Monday, December 18, 2023 - Just Joseph

Monday of the Third Week of Advent

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.

 

Introductory Prayer: Lord, I come before you humbly. As one who has frequently fallen into sin, I am aware of my weakness. Your great love, though, assures me that your grace can keep me on the path to holiness.

 

Petition: Lord, let me better imitate St. Joseph in the way I deal with the people around me.

 

  1. No Gloating: Joseph was taken aback to learn that Mary was expecting a baby. Here was a woman he always knew to be beyond reproach. Legally he could have denounced her publicly. Yet he didn’t. He was ready to let the whole matter drop quietly, as if to give Mary the benefit of the doubt. What a great virtue this is: to think the best of others! It reflects a heart of peace and calm. How many friendships have ended―indeed, how many wars have started―because people assumed the worst of someone else. Have I ever judged the motives of someone else, only to learn later that things were not as they first appeared? To whom should I be giving the benefit of the doubt?

 

  1. Angelic Explanation: Notice that the angel appears to Joseph only after he decides to do the charitable thing and send Mary away quietly. So it often goes in the spiritual life: God reveals more of his plan to us only if we respond to a crisis with charity. It is as if Jesus says, “Treat others well and you will begin to understand me better.” In a crisis, is charity my first response?

 

  1. Jesus’ Portal: This Gospel passage could be called a second Annunciation. At the first Annunciation, Mary said “yes” to the angel. Now, Joseph’s “yes” was needed in order to ensure that Jesus would have the appearance of an earthly father (and a reputable lineage). Jesus often wants to come back into the world, so to speak, to touch lives: through a work of charity, a word of kindness―or even a new baby. He counts on our help, though. What help could Jesus be asking of me so as to carry out his plans? Could I be thwarting his plans because of laziness, stubbornness, or selfishness? Is he asking me to cooperate with someone? With a loved one? A classmate? A co-worker?

 

Conversation with Christ: You wonderfully invite me to help you in your mission to save souls, Lord. You respect my freedom, and you want me to respond out of love. Let me appreciate that truth fully, and let me be generous with you.

 

Resolution: I will agree to one request (big or small) today to help someone.

Tuesday, December 19, 2023 - Doubting Zechariah

Tuesday of the Third Week of Advent

Wednesday, December 20, 2023 - Mary’s Fiat

Wednesday of the Third Week of Advent

Luke 1:26-38

 

In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.” But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his Kingdom there will be no end.” But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” And the angel said to her in reply, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.” Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

 

Introductory Prayer: Lord, as I contemplate the example of Mary’s simplicity and generosity, my heart burns within me. If only I could be as docile as she was. In my desire to improve, I trust in your help and mercy. As I begin this prayer, I humbly place myself in your presence. I come, Lord, to do your will.

 

Petition: Grant me, Lord, a love for the example of Our Lady.

 

  1. A Personal Call: We notice the very human details of the Annunciation. It happened in a specific place, to a specific person. So it is with God’s plan. He doesn’t call us en masse. He calls each one of us personally, because he loves each of us as a son or daughter. The Catholic faith is a personal relationship with Our Lord. Do I ever feel the opposite? Do I ever feel like just a number? That’s not how God intends my faith to be. My vocation is personal. Do I respond likewise in a personal way to God?

 

  1. Beyond All Hopes: God’s people had long awaited a Messiah. Mary also would have looked forward to a Savior. Yet it likely would not have occurred to her that she would ever be the mother of the Redeemer. We too might wonder: When will God send someone to save the world in our time? In fact, he tries to do just that―through each one of us. Each of us can be a saint; each of us can help save the world, with God’s grace. Likewise, each of us is called to a great and unique vocation, whether ordained, consecrated, or lay. To what great mission is God calling me? Do I realize that my life can be great, if lived with sufficient love?

 

  1. Let It Be: Mary’s fiat―“Let it be done to me”―was the response that brought joy to the angels in heaven. A 14- or 15-year-old, by her openness to God’s plan, would help to change the course of history. We, too, are called to say “yes” to God and to build little civilizations of love. Each generation can contribute to building the Kingdom. Do I see the young people in my life as potential apostles? Do I respect them as persons called to great things? Do I see my friends in the same way?

 

Conversation with Christ: Lord, your great plan for sending your Son into the world hinged on Mary’s “yes.” Let me learn from her openness; let me say “yes” to what you ask.

 

Resolution: I will pray for a young person to have the strength to follow a vocation to the priesthood or consecrated life.

Thursday, December 21, 2023 - A Journey of Faith and Love

Thursday of the Third Week of Advent

Luke 1:39-45

 

Mary set out in those days and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”

 

Introductory Prayer: Lord, help me to settle my mind and my heart. I know that you are present in this prayer. I want to turn aside all distractions. Increase my faith in your action in my life. You are leading me to yourself. Help me to place myself more fully in your hands. Increase my faith so that I will do anything and suffer anything for you. Use me as an instrument of your grace in the lives of those I meet today.

 

Petition: Lord, help me to follow Mary’s example of faith and love and bring you to others this Christmas.

 

  1. Mary, Our Advent Model: Mary is truly the model of how we should be living Advent in preparing for Christ’s arrival. God the Father prepared her from the first moment of her conception to be the worthy mother of his Son. As a faithful daughter of Israel, she had prayed throughout her youth for the coming of the Messiah. When she was a young lady, she discovered that she was part of God’s answer to that prayer, but in a way that would have far exceeded any Hebrew maiden’s prayers: Not only would the Messiah be her son, but her son would also be God. Her “fiat,” her wholehearted “yes!” to the Archangel Gabriel, launched the proximate preparation for the birth of Jesus the Messiah. Let us enter into Mary’s response of faith, which is a guide for us along our own pilgrimage of faith. Let us listen to the beat of Mary’s contemplative heart, so that our Christmas may be as fruitful as that first Christmas.

 

  1. Someone Who Loves Takes Notice of the Details: No sooner had the Archangel left Mary in Nazareth after announcing her important role in God’s incredible plan of salvation than Mary herself made plans to depart. She went with haste to help her elderly kinswoman Elizabeth who was pregnant for the first time. Gabriel had not instructed Mary to go to Elizabeth’s aid, nor did he suggest it. Mary’s great love was sufficient to cause her to spring into action and embark upon the long sixty-mile journey to Elizabeth’s hometown outside Jerusalem. In undertaking this challenging and potentially dangerous journey, Mary showed—as she did at the wedding feast in Cana—that someone who loves takes notice of the details. She showed that someone who loves does whatever possible to lend a helping hand, even at the cost of considerable sacrifice. We can imagine that this was Mary’s attitude from her earliest childhood.

 

  1. Be a Missionary—Bring Christ! By going to Elizabeth’s aid, Mary—carrying the tiny Jesus in her womb—became the first missionary, the first bearer of the Good News that would change all of human history. Mary was able to bring incredible joy to both Elizabeth and John the Baptist in her womb precisely because she was bringing Christ. And Mary was able to burst out with her beautiful Magnificat for the very same reason. To bring joy to others this Christmas, we really have to bring them Christ. He is the greatest gift we could ever bring to someone we love—all the material goods in the world fall flat in comparison. Without sharing Jesus, we are not giving our loved ones anything that is truly lasting. Bring Christ and you bring everything.

 

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, it is clear that your mother wants me to learn from her example. She inspires me to bring you to others this Christmas season. I know plenty of people who desperately need you in their lives, who need your forgiveness, who hunger for your love and presence, perhaps without even knowing it. I know that my loving relationship with you is never meant to be kept to myself; it is a gift meant to be shared. Your mother’s example shows me the way to live Advent well and explicitly challenges me to be a missionary by bringing you to the world.

 

Resolution: I will share my faith this Christmas season with a friend or relative in need.

Friday, December 22, 2023 - Favor Is the Key

Friday of the Third Week of Advent

Luke 1:46-56

 

Mary said: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior, for he has looked upon his lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name. He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation. He has shown the strength of his arm, and has scattered the proud in their conceit. He has cast down the mighty from their thrones and has lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has come to the help of his servant Israel, for he remembered his promise of mercy, the promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children for ever.” Mary remained with Elizabeth about three months and then returned to her home.

 

Introductory Prayer: I love you, Lord, for you have loved me first. You have allowed me to see your provident hand in so many events of my life; how can I not believe in you? These days of Advent have slipped away so quickly. You are almost at my doorstep, ready to knock. I want to be ready for your arrival on Christmas Day. Therefore, I pour out my humble plea before you.

 

Petition: Lord Jesus, mark my life with gratitude.

 

  1. The Key Word: The Magnificat, and indeed the entire history of salvation, can be summarized in the word “favor.” This is the true motive of Christmas. God looks with favor (or good will) upon mankind. Many times, we see our spiritual life as the effort we make to become pleasing in God’s eyes, drawing his blessings down upon us. This would mean that in some way we bring about our own growth in holiness. This is not the case: God is never “obliged” to grant us his grace. We do not “deserve” anything from God. Our spiritual life should consist in presenting ourselves before God as we truly are: sinners. By placing our weakness before his omnipotence, we draw down his favor to lift us up from our misery and to adopt us as his children. This is what happened as he “looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant (Mary).”

 

  1. The Gift of Himself: To demonstrate his immense love for us and to give himself to us, God becomes one of us. Love makes us seek to become more like our beloved. How could God become more like his beloved creature? He not only became man, but he shared the lot of the poorest of the poor. Very few humans, even among the paupers, have been born in a stable. How many babies are laid in the feeding trough of a cow or horse? Well, that is exactly what a manger is. Though he was rich (he was God almighty), he became poor, to enrich us with his poverty. We need to ask ourselves what we are doing to become more like our beloved. What are we doing to imitate Christ in his gift of self? Have we learned to put aside our whims and fancies in order to do the things that are pleasing to our spouse, children, or parents? These are the ways to prepare ourselves for a grace-filled Christmas.

 

  1. Abundant Blessings: The rest of the Magnificat is a glorification of God, recognizing the favors he bestows upon those who love him. All generations will call us “blessed.” God will show the might of his arm, he will lift up the lowly, and the hungry he will fill with good things… We truly have so much for which to be thankful. The challenge of our Christian lives is to be mindful of our blessings and mark our actions with the seal of gratitude. We glorify God and we bless God when we try to respond according to all the good he has done in our lives. Then in turn, others will call us blessed, because our filial attitude opens the door for God to enter in and do still more good through us. Do I count my many blessings often? Do I truly seek to “repay” God by cooperating, and am I aware that in return he will bring about still more good and bless me more?

 

Conversation with Christ: Lord, as I prepare my soul for your coming this Christmas, I invite you to enter my humble dwelling. Please do not pass by without bestowing your blessings upon my poor soul. I need your grace. I will not leave your presence today without at least a crumb from your banquet. Allow me to thank and praise you for your infinite mercy as you look upon your lowly servant.

 

Resolution: Today, out of gratitude for the many blessings I have received, I will give something good to someone in need.

Saturday, December 23, 2023 - Hark, the Herald

Saturday of the Third Week of Advent

Luke 1:57-66

 

When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy toward her, and they rejoiced with her. When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child, they were going to call him Zechariah after his father, but his mother said in reply, “No. He will be called John.” But they answered her, “There is no one among your relatives who has this name.” So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called. He asked for a tablet and wrote, “John is his name,” and all were amazed. Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed, and he spoke blessing God. Then fear came upon all their neighbors, and all these matters were discussed throughout the hill country of Judea. All who heard these things took them to heart, saying, “What, then, will this child be? For surely the hand of the Lord was with him.”

 

Introductory Prayer: Lord, as I humbly kneel before you in prayer, I recognize your power and glory. Without you, I am nothing, but with you I can do all things. With this trust, I implore you to help me make good use of this time of prayer as an expression of my deep desire to love and imitate you. I am here to please and glorify you.

 

Petition: Lord, help me to appreciate more deeply the role of parents and families as domestic churches.

 

  1. Amazing Grace: Elizabeth and Zechariah received the great grace of a child in their old age. And not just any child: he was John the Baptist. To ready him for his great vocation, he would need the love and guidance that are unique to parents. Great people often trace their path from the love of a mom or dad (frequently both), who might remain hidden from the world. Am I grateful to my parents for what I received from them? Am I regularly seeking what is truly best for my spouse and children and not just what seems best in the eyes of the world?

 

  1. God’s Call: The child would not be named after his father, but rather would receive the name God chose. The great tension in the life of a child (and sometimes an adult) is the close identity they have with a parent―or with a parent’s plans for their life. In truth, our identity rests in our heavenly Father. God alone gives us meaning and a vocation in life. Could there be expectations of a parent or other family member that hold me back from God’s plan for me? Or, if I am a parent, do I unjustly impose my plans on my children? Do I interfere in their vocation? In their marriage?

 

  1. Zechariah’s “Yes”: Zechariah’s voice returns only after he acquiesces to God’s plan and agrees to the child’s name. When we finally say “yes” to God in our life, that’s when we find the deepest meaning of our lives. That’s when we can express ourselves the best. Am I keeping God waiting?

 

Conversation with Christ: Lord, Zechariah took a long and winding road on his path over nine months. Let me see my own life as a path and have patience with those who are still on their path.

 

Resolution: Today, I’ll say “yes” to one thing that God has been asking of me.

Sunday, December 24, 2023 - The Power of Personal Freedom

Fourth Sunday of Advent

Luke 1:26-38

 

The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” And the angel said to her in reply, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.” Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

 

Introductory Prayer: Heavenly Father, you have given Mary to us as our Blessed Mother. Thank you. I know that she constantly intercedes on our behalf and that you listen to her prayer. I am confident in your mercy and love. You are guiding me home to spend eternity with you. I place all my trust in you. I offer you my weak but grateful love in return.

 

Petition: Lord, grant me the grace to embrace you in faith, hope, and love.

 

  1. “Sent from God”: Too often we attribute too much of our achievements to our own doing. Our education, wealth, or technological ability can lead us to have a false sense of security in our ability to shape our world. Today’s Gospel reminds us that God’s plan for the salvation of the human race is his own initiative. He sends his Son into the world at a precise time and in a precise place. He prepares Mary beforehand with everything she will need to fulfill her mission as Mother of the Redeemer—a mission that she accepts in freedom and through faith. I do well to realize more and more that God is also the true protagonist of my own life.

 

  1. “Do Not Be Afraid”: One of the constant refrains of the Gospel is Jesus’ admonition: “Do not be afraid.” When the Lord draws near, our natural tendency is to be afraid. We can be afraid of his presence. We can be afraid of what he might ask of us. We can be afraid of our own limitations in the face of the call to true conversion and holiness of life. We can be afraid of the apparent obstacles along the path of Christian discipleship. Like Mary, we need to overcome our fear by embracing God’s will with faith and love. As our confidence in God increases, our fear decreases. As our love increases, our fear disappears. Of what am I afraid in my relationship with the Lord? Am I surrendering my fear by giving myself in faith?

 

  1. “May It Be Done to Me”: What a truly incredible thing it is to make the salvation of the human race dependent upon the free response of Mary! Mary’s “yes” to God shows us the power and transcendence of personal choice. It also sheds light on the importance of our own personal “yes” to God with regard to his plan for our lives. Mary’s loving, faith-filled consent to a plan she did not fully understand becomes the model of our own daily consent to the divine will as it manifests itself in our daily lives.

 

Conversation with Christ: Lord, I have remembered through this meditation that you are the one guiding my life and all of history. I need to be mindful that you always intend good for me, even if it is painful and purifying. So I should never be afraid of your hand in my life.  I believe and trust in you, my Lord, but increase my faith, hope, and love.

 

Resolution: I will embrace God’s will today as Mary did—with faith and love.

Week of RC Daily Meditations: December 17-24, 2023 Read More »

Weekly Digest of the Regnum Christi Daily Meditations: December 10-17, 2023

THE WEEKLY DIGEST
OF REGNUM CHRISTI
DAILY MEDITATIONS

Sunday, December 10, 2023 - Preparing for Christmas

Second Sunday of Advent

Mark 1:1-8

 

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God. As it is written in Isaiah the prophet: Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way. A voice of one crying out in the desert: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.” John the Baptist appeared in the desert proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. People of the whole Judean countryside and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they acknowledged their sins. John was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He fed on locusts and wild honey. And this is what he proclaimed: “One mightier than I is coming after me. I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

 

Introductory Prayer: Lord, you have given me a new day. You have given me a new opportunity to prepare myself for your coming. I believe that you will be with me as I continue my preparation for your coming. My heart is too often divided and pulled in many directions, but I wish to set my heart totally on you so that I may love you above all else. Here I am, Lord, to know you and love you more.

 

Petition: Lord, help me to embrace the proper means to prepare myself for your birth.

 

  1. John’s Preparation: John the Baptist ate locusts and wild honey. He wore a camel’s skin and lived in the desert. In this manner he prepared himself for Christ’s coming. He had removed himself from the world and all its temptations. He had forfeited his home, family, friends, money, food—anything that would take him from fulfilling his call to prepare the way of the Lord. Compared with John, how deep is my commitment? What price am I prepared to pay to be his messenger?

 

  1. John’s Preaching: John invites sinners to repentance. Thousands flock to hear him. His words move the people to listen. Probably more so does his example: the people see him living in the desert without the comforts of the world. By his actions they see he is truly a prophet. He has come before them so he can rightly call them to conversion. His life has strength and meaning that is not found in others. If we could be authentic and lead by our example, how many more people would be moved to follow Christ!

 

  1. John’s Repentance: Those who recognize their sins go to John to be baptized. For John, baptism is a symbol of repentance: the people recognize their sins and ask God for forgiveness. John knows that he cannot forgive sins, but he realizes that it is important for everyone to take the step of being sorry and asking God to forgive them. John tells us clearly that it is Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, who will forgive sins. He doesn’t try to obtain forgiveness in another way. He doesn’t try to circumvent God’s plan. God has given us the sacrament of confession for the forgiveness of our sins. How often do I take advantage of it? Am I faithful to frequent confession, or perhaps do I look elsewhere for the grace that only comes from confession?

 

Conversation with Christ: Lord, often I fall into the ways of the world, letting myself get caught up in its comforts and vanities. Teach me that only one thing matters: you and the life you promised us. Help me to use this Advent to prepare for your coming by detaching myself from the ways of the world and by being an example of Christian living for those whom I encounter. Help me to be always faithful to my frequent confession.

 

Resolution: Today I will make a sacrifice, foregoing a comfort or something I really like, and offer it up to God in reparation for sins––especially my own.

Monday, December 11, 2023 - The Paralytic Versus the Pharisees

Monday of the Second Week of Advent

Luke 5:17-26

 

One day as Jesus was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem, were sitting there, and the power of the Lord was with him for healing. And some men brought on a stretcher a man who was paralyzed; they were trying to bring him in and set him in his presence. But not finding a way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on the stretcher through the tiles into the middle in front of Jesus. When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “As for you, your sins are forgiven.” Then the scribes and Pharisees began to ask themselves, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who but God alone can forgive sins?” Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them in reply, “What are you thinking in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, ‘your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk?’ But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the one who was paralyzed, “I say to you, rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.” He stood up immediately before them, picked up what he had been lying on, and went home, glorifying God. Then astonishment seized them all and they glorified God, and, struck with awe, they said, “We have seen incredible things today.”

 

Introductory Prayer: Lord, you are the author of all things and you have power to forgive sins. Though my faith is still weak, I do believe in you. And I also trust in your goodness and mercy. Here I am before you in prayer, longing once more to love you with all my mind, heart, soul, and strength.

 

Petition: Lord, help me to seek you in my life above all else.

 

  1. The Pharisees’ Faith: The Pharisees sat in front of Christ watching him cure the sick. Earlier they had seen many other miracles, but despite what they saw they could not bring themselves to believe in Christ. Miracle after miracle couldn’t change their mind. Jesus decides to give them a decisive miracle so that they will believe. He decides to cure the paralytic to show his power to forgive sins. Since disease for the Pharisees was a sign of sin, they should have been ready to accept Jesus’ message of healing and forgiveness. But they were too wrapped up in seeking their own plans and protecting their own honor to discern God’s loving mercy behind what they witnessed. How often do we want God to give us a sign so we can follow his plan? And how often are we not open to what he tells us, simply and directly because we’re too focused on achieving our own plans?

 

  1. The Paralytic’s Faith: The paralytic needed no signs. He believed Jesus could help him. His faith was so strong he would not let the difficulties overcome him. He couldn’t walk so he found someone to carry him. When he arrived, he couldn’t get to Christ, so his men brought him in through the roof. He was determined to see Christ because he knew what Christ could do for him. His faith was so strong it moved him to action. He had a living faith, which goes far beyond mere ideas. His faith moved him to find Our Lord no matter the difficulties. What have I done to seek Christ, to meet him face to face? What have I been prepared to do in order to receive his grace? Do I give up my prayer or my apostolate at the first difficulty?

 

  1. For God’s Glory: Jesus didn’t perform this miracle for himself or his own glory. He sought only God’s glory. We see how everyone glorifies God after the miracle. It’s almost as if Christ is forgotten. Christ sought only to do what would glorify the Father. How often do we seek our own glory when we work on the apostolate or perform an act of charity? How often do we hope someone will remember us and say, “Thank you,” although we are here to build Christ’s Kingdom for God’s glory alone? We need to constantly renew our purity of intention.

 

Conversation with Christ: Lord, how great was the faith of the paralytic! He was humble enough to find you and strong enough in his faith that nothing could keep him from you. Grant me the gift of a humble heart and a strong faith so I can be constant and dedicated in seeking to encounter you in my life and in fulfilling your will for your glory and the good of others alone.

 

Resolution: Today I will look for solutions to the problems that come my way, and I will renew my intention to perform my duties for God’s glory throughout the day.

Tuesday, December 12, 2023 - “God Is with You”

Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Wednesday, December 13, 2023 - The Yoke of Love

Memorial of Saint Lucy, Virgin and Martyr

Matthew 11:28-30

 

Jesus said to the crowds: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”

 

Introductory Prayer: Lord, you know the sincerity of my desire to spend this time with you. As I begin this meditation, I believe that you are here with me, that you never abandon me. Because I love you, my one wish is to please and console you in your solitude in the tabernacle. I hope in the boundless mercy that motivated your Incarnation. May we one day meet again in your heavenly kingdom.

 

Petition: Mary, you who are the perfect model of humility, help me to be meek and humble like Christ your Son, who out of love for me became a helpless infant at Bethlehem.

 

  1. Who Is This Man? Who is this man who stands before us in this Gospel—the man whose gaze has penetrated into the most secret recesses of our souls and discovered what lies hidden there? A man who recognizes that we labor, that we are burdened by the demands of life, weighed down by our sins and imperfections, straining under the load of our passions and unfulfilled desires. Who is this man who would dare promise what we have always longed for in the inner sanctuaries of our consciences, yet never quite allowed ourselves to hope for? Who could utter such a simple, gentle, and appealing invitation, more than we could ever find ourselves worthy of: “Come to me… and I will give you rest”? Who but God himself?

 

  1. How Can We Come to Him? How can we accept the invitation of the one who is God become man? How can we come to him? How can we attain what our souls have longed for all the days of our existence? Christ himself gives us the answer: “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart.” He is so humble that he does not even wait for us to respond to his invitation. He humbles himself so that he can first come to us at Christmas. To discover how to turn to him with our heavy burden of selfishness and unrestrained passions, we can first approach the manger where the King of Kings lies so helplessly.

 

  1. A Mystery of Humility and Love: Bethlehem is a mystery of humility and love. Doesn’t Christ seem humble to you, reduced to the state of a helpless infant? Without words or speeches, he teaches a living lesson we need to feel with all the intensity of which we are capable, allowing the consequences to spring forth on their own. Can we imagine any other state in which the goodness and humility of God radiate more clearly? Before this helpless child, who is God Incarnate out of love for us, we are reduced to silent wonder. All vain ambitions fade, all anger and bitter passion soften, and all idle pursuits are driven far from our hearts. The yoke that burdened us, the rod of our taskmaster, is smashed and it is replaced by the light and easy yoke of love.

 

Conversation with Christ: Lord, help me to penetrate more deeply into the mystery of your becoming a helpless and innocent child at Bethlehem for me. Help me to grow in goodness of heart so I can radiate your goodness to those around me.

 

Resolution: On my way to and from work today, or at a quiet moment, I will contemplate Christ meek and humble in the manger at Bethlehem. I will imitate his loving humility in my own life and have the confidence to turn to him for help with my failings.

Thursday, December 14, 2023 - A Kingdom for the Violent?

Memorial of Saint John of the Cross, Priest and Doctor of the Church

Matthew 11:11-15

 

Jesus said to the crowds: “Amen, I say to you, among those born of women there has been none greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the Kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now, the Kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent are taking it by force. All the prophets and the law prophesied up to the time of John. And if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah, the one who is to come. Whoever has ears ought to hear.”

 

Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe in your presence here with me as I humbly kneel before you to do you homage and praise you. I long for the reward you have promised to those who love you with undivided hearts. My heart is not at peace until it rests in you.

 

Petition: Lord, help me to long for and strive for the inexpressible joy of heaven.

 

  1. None Greater Than John: In a phrase tinged with admiration, Christ pays St. John the Baptist the highest of compliments: “Among those born of women there has been none greater than John the Baptist.” And Christ reveals why: He is the last of the prophets, the one who brings the age of the law and the prophets to a close. But he is even more. He is Elijah, the one sent before the promised Messiah to prepare the way for him. Then comes an unexpected reversal: “Yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” Do not Christ’s words awaken in our hearts an ardent longing for heaven? What else could matter in life but to arrive there, where the least of us will be greater than the greatest one on this earth?

 

  1. Longing for Heaven: How much do we really desire to reach our final goal? Does our attitude sometimes reflect St. Augustine’s during the process of his conversion, before he received the final, definitive grace of entrusting his life entirely to God? Do we not have to confess that we often say to God, “Lord, please bring me to heaven—but not yet!”? St. Cyprian reflects on this phenomenon in one of his homilies: “How unreasonable it is to pray that God’s will be done, and then not promptly obey it when he calls us from this world! Instead we struggle and resist like self-willed slaves and are brought into the Lord’s presence with sorrow and lamentation, not freely consenting to our departure, but constrained by necessity. And yet we expect to be rewarded with heavenly honors by him to whom we come against our will!”

 

  1. The Kingdom of Heaven Suffers Violence: A true longing for heaven is necessary, because it is not easy to arrive there. Christ assures us, “The kingdom of heaven suffers violence.” What does Our Lord mean by this enigmatic affirmation? Surely he does not intend to contradict his own new commandment of love? The “violence” Christ speaks of must be done exclusively to ourselves. In order to ascend the heights of holiness we need to follow in the footsteps of St. John the Baptist, dying to our earthly tendencies. Am I prepared to renounce what often seems most intimately a part of me? Can I beg the Lord for humility? “That others may be more loved than I. That others may be called to occupy posts and I may be forgotten. That others may be preferred to me in everything. Lord Jesus, make this my prayer” (from the Litany of Humility, traditional prayer).

 

Conversation with Christ: Lord, you are showing me that heaven is not for the weak and the soft, but for those who are strong in dying to themselves and living for you and for souls. Help me to grow in fortitude in order to win heaven.

 

Resolution: Today, when I experience something painful or difficult, I will offer up the unpleasantness to God, knowing it is nothing in comparison to the reward of heaven that awaits me.

 

Friday, December 15, 2023 - A Lesson About the Heart

Friday of the Second Week of Advent

Matthew 11:16-19

 

Jesus said to the crowds: “To what shall I compare this generation? It is like children who sit in marketplaces and call to one another, ‘We played the flute for you, but you did not dance, we sang a dirge but you did not mourn.’ For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they said, ‘He is possessed by a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking and they said, ‘Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is vindicated by her works.”

 

Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for this new day and all the graces you will bless me with. I believe in you and your love for me. I wish to show my love for you by staying focused on what is most important during this time of prayer: you and your most holy will.

 

Petition: Lord Jesus, help me to see your actions and the actions of others with the eyes of faith.

 

  1. Eyes of Faith: God comes to us in many and various ways each day. Sometimes he reveals his goodness to us when he allows us to succeed in life. Other times he permits trials in our life so that we can cling more surely to him. The proper response to God’s constant action in our lives will only be possible if we are able to discern that it is indeed God who is acting—that it is God who is “playing the flute for us” or “singing a dirge for us.” We need the eyes of faith. A habitual interior attitude of faith and trust in God allows us to live with great peace and purpose.

 

  1. Worldly Standards of Judgment: Jesus complains when the crowds use worldly standards to size him up. They are caught up in their opinions and all too easily pass judgment on him. They accuse Jesus of being possessed by a demon, a drunkard, and so on. How easy is it for me to judge others by accepting or rejecting them for mere external things? What are my internal attitudes towards others? Lord, help me to be detached from all worldly standards of judging and to embrace each soul, loving them as you do, and to leave the judging to you.

 

  1. But Wisdom Is Vindicated by Her Works: Despite the rejection and harsh judgments of many, Jesus went about doing good. This is what he meant by saying that “wisdom is vindicated by her works.” In the same vein, he also taught that you can recognize a tree by its fruits. Knowing how easy it is to misjudge others, I cannot permit myself to worry about what others may say or think of me. Rather, I need to be busy like Jesus, going about doing good. Good actions speak for themselves, even if it may take a while for others to perceive or appreciate them. When we trustfully follow along to the flute or the dirge Our Lord is playing for us, and we do so for his sake and for the sake of spreading his message, we can rest in the certainty that God is blessing us and will bring his good works to fruition through us.

 

Conversation with Christ: Thank you, Jesus, for this opportunity to spend time with you in prayer. Let it be my motivation for the day and bring me to live a greater spirit of faith in you and the mission you have entrusted me. How much it would help me to consider my actions, the actions of others and your actions under the light of your love and good will. I do believe that you permit everything that happens in my life for the sake of bringing about a greater good, but Lord, increase my faith.

 

Resolution: I will strive to interpret the actions of others in a positive way, excusing any defects I may perceive.

Saturday, December 16, 2023 - Bethlehem and the Cross

Saturday of the Second Week of Advent

Matthew 17:9a, 10-13

 

As they were coming down from the mountain, the disciples asked Jesus, “Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” He said in reply, “Elijah will indeed come and restore all things; but I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him but did to him whatever they pleased. So also will the Son of Man suffer at their hands.” Then the disciples understood that he was speaking to them of John the Baptist.

 

Introductory Prayer: Lord, your disciples sincerely tried to comprehend your identity and believe in you. I come before you today with my doubts and problems, hoping to find in this prayer an answer to my deepest aspirations. I want to believe with unwavering faith, and I want to love you with a devout heart. I offer you this time of prayer as my token of gratitude for all I have received from you.

 

Petition: Mary, help me to embrace God’s will in my life, just as Christ embraced the Father’s plan for our salvation.

 

  1. John the Baptist as Elijah: Once again the Gospel refers to John the Baptist as the one whose role is to prepare us for the One who is to come. Through the prophet Malachi, the Jews’ expectation of the return of Elijah, who will prepare the way for the promised Messiah, has grown. But they have come to view him as a figure of great power, someone who will sweep men away. So, they fail to recognize Elijah’s presence in the person of John the Baptist, whose only power is that of the Spirit of God, calling all people to conversion of heart in order to receive the Christ. How many times in my life do I fail to recognize the presence of Christ in my life because I’m seeking something other than Christ’s promises to his followers? Christ doesn’t offer an easy path of comfort and consolations.

 

  1. Bethlehem and the Cross: Why did Christ become a helpless baby at Bethlehem? Why did he take on a fragile human body? Precisely so he could suffer for us in order to redeem us. What does that mean for our lives as Christians? It means nothing less than the fact that suffering is a gift from God. It is the Father’s gentle caress, molding us into the image of his Son. The cross is the source of our fruitfulness, not only in our personal spiritual growth, but also in the mission to win graces for others, for all of the souls God has mysteriously entrusted to our care.

 

  1. Obedience unto Death: Christ’s desire to embrace suffering rose from his loving obedience to his Father’s plan, without condition or limit. This loving obedience is what gives suffering its redemptive value. From the moment of his birth at Bethlehem, Christ shows us what it means to obey with love. Bethlehem is a school of obedience. In Bethlehem, Christ teaches us that only a loving obedience frees, only loving obedience redeems and sanctifies, only loving obedience enriches. Loving obedience alone saves, loving obedience alone frees us from sin, and loving obedience alone pleases God. Let us embrace the cross of obedience in the challenging circumstances of our daily lives, in the trials brought by the passing of years, in the sorrow that afflicts us when God calls our loved ones back to him. Loving obedience is the path to holiness, the way to the Father’s house.

 

Conversation with Christ: Thank you, Lord, for giving us a school of loving obedience at Bethlehem, throughout your life and in your death on the cross. Help me to embrace suffering like you did and to be confident in its power to make me holy and win graces for souls.

 

Resolution: I will seek to recognize God’s presence in my day by patiently welcoming the suffering and trials he permits, so he can bring about a greater good.

Sunday, December 17, 2023 - Genuine Self-Knowledge

Sunday of the Third Week of Advent

John 1:6-8, 19-28

 

A man named John was sent from God. He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to testify to the light. And this is the testimony of John. When the Jews from Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to him to ask him, “Who are you?”, he admitted and did not deny it, but admitted, “I am not the Christ.” So they asked him, “What are you then? Are you Elijah?” And he said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” He answered, “No.” So they said to him, “Who are you, so we can give an answer to those who sent us? What do you have to say for yourself?” He said: “I am the voice of one crying out in the desert, ‘make straight the way of the Lord,’ as Isaiah the prophet said.” Some Pharisees were also sent. They asked him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ or Elijah or the Prophet?” John answered them, “I baptize with water; but there is one among you whom you do not recognize, the one who is coming after me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.” This happened in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

 

Introductory Prayer: Father in heaven, my heart desires the warmth of your love. My mind is searching for the light of your word. I long for the coming of Christ our Savior. Through this short, intimate encounter with you, I seek to grow in my love for you. You are my strength, my light, my peace, my joy, my life.

 

Petition: Jesus, help me to generously fulfill the mission you have given me.

 

  1. A Man Named John Was Sent from God”: Consider for a moment the magnitude of this verse. On the one hand, we have an ordinary member of the human race—like you and me—who bears one of the most common names known to mankind. On the other hand, he has a mission that transcends his very person—also like you and me. Scripture repeatedly attests that God “sends”; he reveals himself to a person and then sends that person forth to communicate to others the truth about himself. What is more, the one who truly comes to know God feels compelled to communicate him to others. Even Jesus refers to himself as the one “sent” by the Father. This is because the Blessed Trinity is a relationship of love that God will not keep to himself. He first creates the world for us men and women for our enjoyment and sustenance. Then, after we sinned, he sends us patriarchs, prophets, kings, and ultimately his very own Son as a way of assuring us that he loves us and wants us to be with him forever.

 

  1. I Am Not the Christ”: John knows who he is not. Honest self-knowledge is an essential step on the path to holiness. John is attracting the attention of the multitudes in Israel. Many people would perhaps be flattered or even intoxicated with such celebrity status. Yet John is not grasping for power, nor does he seek to be someone he is not; rather, he is preparing men’s hearts for the true Christ. The Evil One will continually try to get us to look to ourselves and our own talents in an attempt to distract our eyes from God and his plan for us. John gives us a shining example of the triumph of humble self-knowledge over the wiles of the devil. When we, too, are totally focused on God, we feel compelled to eliminate from our personal lives any duplicity, vanity, or inflated self-esteem. We begin to live in the truth, rightly valuing all the gifts God has bestowed on us to use in service of his Kingdom, without taking anything for ourselves, since everything is his.

 

  1. I Am the Voice of One Crying Out in the Desert, ‘Make Straight the Way of the Lord’”: John knows who he is. There is no division in John’s heart between what God is asking and what he personally wants. He knows that God has brought him into this world to make a difference. This reveals the inner source of his zeal, which gives resounding force to his message. He has been entrusted with a mission, and his heart is fully in it. But John is not unique. God has called each one of us into existence to accomplish a mission. Is my heart ardently attached to God’s plan for my life? Do I know and fully embrace God’s plan for my life?

 

Conversation with Christ: Blessed Lord, you are the source of lasting happiness and genuine peace of soul. Help me to base my interior strength on the certitude of your love for me. Help me to recognize your greatness and my nothingness, so that I will be more ready to be emptied of my selfishness and be a faithful instrument of your love. Give me the grace to take on my mission with fervent zeal and to bring it to completion.

 

Resolution: Today I will make three acts of humility for love of Jesus.

 

Weekly Digest of the Regnum Christi Daily Meditations: December 10-17, 2023 Read More »

Weekly Digest of the Regnum Christi Daily Meditations: December 3-10, 2023

THE WEEKLY DIGEST
OF REGNUM CHRISTI
DAILY MEDITATIONS

Sunday, December 3, 2023 - Always on the Watch

First Sunday of Advent

Mark 13:33-37

 

Jesus said to his disciples: “Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come. It is like a man traveling abroad. He leaves home and places his servants in charge, each with his own work, and orders the gatekeeper to be on the watch. Watch, therefore; you do not know when the Lord of the house is coming, whether in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning. May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to all: ‘Watch!’”

 

Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, I all too easily forget that you deserve the first spot in my life. In this moment, though, I recognize you as my King and Master. I know you are present with me now and that you wish to fill me with your grace. Thank you for your friendship; I offer my weak love in return. I love you, Lord, and wish you to reign in my life.

 

Petition: Lord Jesus, help me to stay vigilant and attentive to your holy inspirations.

 

  1. “You Do Not Know When the Master of the House Will Come”: Lord Jesus, I am not the master of my life; you are. I therefore ought not to fritter away my time simply doing as I please. I will need to render you an account of my stewardship over my life, which really belongs to you, my Creator and Redeemer. What will you ask of me when you come for my soul? Do my daily actions demonstrate your ownership of my life?

 

  1. Keep Alert: Lord Jesus, this Gospel may sound a bit harsh, but I thank you for its message. You’re reminding me how important it is to live my Christian life in a state of healthy tension—a tension that doesn’t imply frustration or anxiety of any sort, but rather is a constant desire to draw closer to you and be more like you. Just as a lover is exquisitely attentive to fulfill the every desire of the beloved, I should be watchful for the least occasion to please you.

 

  1. When He Comes, Will I Be Asleep? This Gospel makes me reflect on my need to receive pardon in the sacrament of reconciliation. The definitive moment of my death, that very special face-to-face encounter with you, Lord, might come when I am not expecting it. I must be ready for that moment. I want to be able to look you fully in the eye. I have sought to please you in my actions, and when I have failed, I have turned to you through confession to be washed of my sins. I want to hear you say to me: “Well done, my good and faithful servant… Come, share your master’s joy” (Mt 25:23).

 

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, help me to “stay awake” in my daily life, keeping heaven as my true goal in all that I do. Help me to be ready in every moment of my life to be called into your presence.

 

Resolution: I will set a regular time to receive the sacrament of reconciliation frequently, when possible.

Monday, December 4, 2023 - Faith That Moves Rain Clouds

Monday of the First Week of Advent

Matthew 8:5-11

 

When Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion approached him and appealed to him, saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully.” He said to him, “I will come and cure him.” The centurion said in reply, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed. For I too am a man subject to authority, with soldiers subject to me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come here,’ and he comes; and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith. I say to you, many will come from the east and the west, and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the banquet in the Kingdom of heaven.”

 

Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, I place myself before you with great confidence, sure of your desire to spend this time with me and accompany me throughout the day. I am grateful for your unconditional and unfailing love. I humbly offer you my desire to love you more and serve you more faithfully.

 

Petition: Lord, help me to have a profound and yet childlike faith in you.

 

  1. “I Will Come and Cure Him”: Jesus has a heart that is prompt in serving those in need. Doubtless Christ had other plans when he arrived in Capernaum, plans that didn’t include making another trip to cure the slave of a foreigner. Often, we can find ourselves in similar situations in our daily life. We are just about to relax after a grueling day when the phone rings or a little voice asks for help with his or her homework. It is in those moments that Jesus is inviting us to imitate his example of service. Turn the tables around for just a moment. How many times have I been the one on the other side asking for a little of someone else’s time? Ask Jesus for the grace to be flexible and always available to the needs of others.

 

  1. “I Am Not Worthy…”: The centurion has a profound awareness of his own unworthiness, and this is key to his finding favor with Jesus. At times we pray as if we deserved God’s favor, but here the centurion recognizes that he is unworthy that Jesus should come to him. So great was this man’s faith and humility that we use his words to express our own sentiments before receiving Jesus in Holy Communion: “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.” As we continue to prepare for Christ’s coming during the Advent season, let’s make these words of the centurion our own.

 

  1. Faith Moves Rain Clouds: If it can be said that Jesus had a weakness for something, it would seem that Christ’s “weakness” showed itself when he perceived faith in others. He never worked a miracle without first demanding faith from the one to receive it, and he never refused anyone who asked anything from him with faith. Jesus says that if you have faith the size of a mustard seed you can move mountains. Although I personally have never seen anyone move mountains, I surely have seen prayer move smaller things, like rain clouds, for instance. If you need mountains, rain clouds, or anything else to be moved, ask for it with faith, and you will really touch Jesus’ weak spot. Direct your prayer of petition to Our Lord with confident faith and love for his will. He really listens, and he can move whatever needs to be moved.

 

Conversation with Christ: Christ Jesus, let me ask you for the faith that you demand from me. I’m going to remember now to turn to you with my concerns, no matter how small, knowing you’re accompanying me and wish to help and guide me. In return, help me to recognize you in those who seek my aid, and give me the generosity to answer promptly and graciously in imitation of you.

 

Resolution: Just before lunch, I will make a simple act of faith in Christ, that he is guiding and protecting me.

Tuesday, December 5, 2023 - God’s Ways

Tuesday of the First Week of Advent

Wednesday, December 6, 2023 - Jesus Is the Bread of Life

Wednesday of the First Week of Advent

Matthew 15:29-37

 

At that time: Jesus walked by the Sea of Galilee, went up on the mountain, and sat down there. Great crowds came to him, having with them the lame, the blind, the deformed, the mute, and many others. They placed them at his feet, and he cured them. The crowds were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the deformed made whole, the lame walking, and the blind able to see, and they glorified the God of Israel. Jesus summoned his disciples and said, “My heart is moved with pity for the crowd, for they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, for fear they may collapse on the way.” The disciples said to him, “Where could we ever get enough bread in this deserted place to satisfy such a crowd?” Jesus said to them, “How many loaves do you have?” “Seven,” they replied, “and a few fish.” He ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground. Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, gave thanks, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds. They all ate and were satisfied. They picked up the fragments left over—seven baskets full.

 

Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, I now turn confidently to you, who are my friend and Savior. You are always watching over me and protecting me whether I am mindful of you or not. Thank you. I love you, and I’m grateful for these moments to refresh myself in your presence.

 

Petition: My Jesus, give me an unshakeable confidence in your unconditional love.

 

  1. Jesus on the Mountain: Jesus is the focal point of history and of all human aspirations. Even when he goes to out-of-the-way places, as is the case in this Gospel passage, he is sought after. He strides by the Sea of Galilee and scales up the mountain, and all humanity seeks him out. He doesn’t interrogate them about their past or condemn them for their sins. He simply gives to each what he or she needs: to the blind, sight; to the mute, the gift of speech; to the deaf, hearing. Imagine for a moment this poor mass of humanity around the Master. Place yourself with them. Your turn comes, and suddenly it is as if the crowd disappears and you are alone with Jesus. He looks into your eyes with loving concern and asks what you are seeking––even though he already knows it. My Jesus, it is you that I seek. Heal me, and do not let any sin separate me from you today.

 

  1. “They Have Nothing to Eat”: Love is not always very practical. Jesus’ heart is moved with compassion for all those who have sought him out. He knows the sacrifices that they have made in searching him out, and he is not going to leave them disappointed. The disciples saw only the practical problem, but in his charity towards his neighbor, Jesus all but ignores it. What can I learn from Christ’s attitude? Will I ever be let down or not be satisfied if I seek Christ with a sincere heart?

 

  1. The Bread of Life: The miracle that Jesus works in multiplying the loaves is a prelude to an even greater miracle he plans to bring about. Jesus knows the longings of our hearts, and he knows that material food has its limits, even when it is abundant. St. Augustine states, “You made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” How can I not trust that Jesus will always provide what I truly need, after his lowering himself to appear as bread so that we can feed on him and be satisfied?

 

Conversation with Christ: My Jesus, I have a very wayward heart. I know that you are the only one who can fulfill the longing of my soul; yet so often I put my confidence in the fleeting things of this world instead. Reassure my heart that you will always provide for me if I put all my trust in you. Keep me going up the mountain towards your heavenly Kingdom, where you will be all in all.

 

Resolution: I will pause sometime during the day––perhaps before lunch––and make a spiritual communion by inviting Christ into my heart. I will thank him for the gift of himself in the blessed Eucharist and renew my confidence in him.

 

Thursday, December 7, 2023 - Flood-Proof

Memorial of Saint Ambrose, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

Matthew 7:21, 24-27

 

Jesus said to his disciples: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock. And everyone who listens to these words of mine but does not act on them will be like a fool who built his house on sand. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. And it collapsed and was completely ruined.”

 

Introductory Prayer: Lord, I come before you in humility and with a spirit of hope. You no doubt have something to tell me. I approach you in prayer, confident of your love and trustful of your grace to enable me to carry out whatever you ask. I offer this prayer for those in my family who might be far away from you.

 

Petition: Lord, help me deepen my life of faith and charity, to better prepare for the trials ahead.

 

  1. The Façade: It is easy to address Jesus as “Lord, Lord.” After all, we know by faith that he is the Son of God. His miracles and the endurance of his Church attest to his divine nature. Yet, our recognition of his divinity isn’t enough. Our admission that “Jesus is my savior” won’t guarantee us a place in heaven. Faith in Christ can’t just remain on our lips; it must penetrate our hearts and minds as well. Faith, then, implies doing the will of God the Father—in thoughts, words and deeds. How does my faith in Christ translate into acts? Am I satisfied with saying a few prayers, and little else?

 

  1. Out of Sight: Christ exhorts his disciples to build their faith on rock, not on sentimentality. To dig a solid foundation of faith takes hard work. It demands constancy in prayer, charity, and generosity. It also requires humility and purity of intention, since the work of preparing a foundation is not glamorous. There’s nothing particularly beautiful about a big hole in the ground at a construction site. So it is in the spiritual life, too; digging a foundation forces us to go deep, to remove our worst faults. The process isn’t pretty. It forces us to face our vices honestly. Without this step we risk building our lives on sand. How well am I digging my foundation?

 

  1. Too Late: Foundations seem firm when all is calm. Fair weather doesn’t test the strength of a building. The real test comes when the climate turns nasty. The same occurs in the spiritual life. When serenity reigns around us, peace blossoms effortlessly. But when a crisis befalls us—a rejection, an illness, a bit of opposition over a moral matter—that’s when we learn the sturdiness of our faith. Peter, who boasted that he would stand by Our Lord “though all may have their faith in you shaken” (Mt 26:33), learned the hard way that his courage wasn’t what he thought it was. He abandoned Christ in the garden of Gethsemane, as did all the Apostles. How well do I face ordinary temptations and setbacks? How well could I face a serious crisis?

 

Conversation with Christ: Lord, I fear sometimes that I’m not much better than Peter, who bragged that he would stand by you, but then fled when the guards arrested you on Holy Thursday night. I want to be a true Christian witness in the world, but I need your help to overcome my human respect and laziness.

 

Resolution: I will do one external act of witness to the faith.

Friday, December 8, 2023 - Holiness Is Just One “Yes” Away!

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Luke 1:26-38

 

The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.” But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his Kingdom there will be no end.” But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” And the angel said to her in reply, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.” Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

 

Introductory Prayer: Lord, you are the author of life and of love. You wish to draw me closer to you, and yet I seem to find so many ways to escape from you. Forgive my dullness and coldness of heart. At least here I am now, hungry to know you and love you more and more.

 

Petition: Heavenly Father, help me to decide once and for all to strive for holiness.

 

  1. God Makes the First Choice: When we read the Old Testament, we marvel at the many accounts of people chosen by God to fulfill a certain mission. We are familiar with the calling of the prophets Isaiah (cf. Isa 6), Jeremiah (cf. Jer 1), Moses (cf. Ex 3), and so on. Mary is the New Testament prototype of God’s calling. In all cases, God is the one who takes the initiative; he sends his messenger to communicate his choice. For Mary, the humble girl of Nazareth, this calling comes unexpectedly and is beyond purely human possibilities. For this reason, she is troubled by the words of the angel Gabriel and wonders about the greeting he gives. Do I keep in mind that God’s plan for my life comes of his own initiative? Have I given my answer yet? Lord, help me to cooperate with you fully in putting into action your “golden” blueprint for my life.

 

  1. A Case Presented to Confirm Freedom: God doesn’t want Mary to act blindly; he wants a response that involves her whole heart, mind, and soul. For this reason, the angel Gabriel answers Mary’s questions and concerns, which do not manifest doubt but, rather, humility in seeking to understand God’s will. God created Mary free of sin and filled her with grace and goodness. Yet he respects her freedom to choose to do his will. What a mystery that the all-powerful God who created all things and who lovingly cares for us should be so generous in respecting our freedom! Lord, keep me from abusing my freedom in willfully subjecting myself to the slavery of my passions: pride, vanity, sensuality.

 

  1. Holiness Is Just a “Yes” Away: After hearing God’s messenger, Mary must give her answer. She does so with flying colors. Her generosity perfectly echoes God’s. Every moment of the day is a new opportunity for us to imitate Mary’s excellent example. She dedicated her life to saying “yes” to everything God asked of her, no matter what it was. She was rewarded with the grace of the Assumption. Only saints get into heaven, so we need to dedicate ourselves to following the path of holiness, too. That means giving a simple, humble “yes” to every opportunity provided by God to become more Christ-like. Lord, give me the courage to offer you my life as a blank sheet of paper, so you can write whatever you wish upon it.

 

Conversation with Christ: Jesus, I know that you are calling me to be more like you today! I know this is not an easy task, but you will give me the grace to achieve such a high ideal. I need to trust you and to see everything as something you send my way to help me achieve my goal of holiness. Grant me the grace, motivation, and continued good examples of others to be generous like Mary, your Mother.

 

Resolution: I will take a moment to encourage another person to strive for holiness, too. In a special way, I will be mindful to encourage young people to be open to the consecrated vocation, should the Lord be calling them.

Saturday, December 9, 2023 - Power in Weakness

Saturday of the First Week of Advent

Matthew 9:35-10:1, 5a, 6-8

 

Jesus went around to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom, and curing every disease and illness. At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.” Then he summoned his Twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out and to cure every disease and every illness. Jesus sent out these Twelve after instructing them thus, “Go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons. Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.”

 

Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, I believe in you, the Lord of heaven and earth. Lord Jesus, I trust in your goodness and tender concern for my good and the good of every single person on this earth. Lord Jesus, I love you and wish to cooperate more fully with you. I am such a poor, weak instrument, but I know that you can do anything through those who trust in you.

 

Petition: Help me, Lord, to know the mysteries of your Sacred Heart and to respond with love.

 

  1. The Heart of Christ: “His heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd.” Jesus is our Creator and our Redeemer. He knows that what we seek is his friendship, whether we realize it or not. He knows that only he can satisfy our innermost desires. We need to be moved with compassion at the thought of Jesus’ pain, wounded by so many souls who refuse to turn to him, our only source of light, life and happiness. Do I ever consider how Jesus’ heart needs to be consoled because of the indifference and rejection of so many souls whom he loves infinitely?

 

  1. Pray to the Lord of the Harvest: “The harvest is abundant, but the laborers are few.” There are so many souls in need of healing and so few to help Our Lord with building his Kingdom and saving souls. “Ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.” Christ is calling us to help him in this mission. We cannot be indifferent to the cries of our brothers and sisters who do not know the truth and who have not experienced God’s awesome love. We must be convinced that Jesus is the only answer for their yearnings. Do I pray often to the Lord of the harvest? Do I realize that I am also called to be a laborer in the Lord’s harvest?

 

  1. Go to the Lost Sheep of the House of Israel: Jesus sends us out although we feel weak and helpless. Can we “heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, and drive out demons?” Isn’t there someone else, Lord? No. Christ calls us for the same reason he called the first Apostles, namely because he chooses the weak to show that he is in charge. “Without me you can do nothing” (cf. Jn 15:5). But united to him, we will bear much fruit. Trust in him especially when we feel our own weakness and incapability. For, as the Apostle St. Paul reminds us, “I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me” (Phil 4:13), and “When I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor 12:10).

 

Conversation with Christ: O Lord Jesus, I want to respond to the longings of your heart. You have loved us to the point of dying on the cross for us, and we repay you so poorly. You deserve our grateful, loyal love, but so often we abandon you. I want to console your Sacred Heart by helping to bring many souls back into your friendship. I want to be part of the solution and not part of the problem; however, I do not feel worthy or up to the task of being your apostle. Help me to cooperate with you. Help me to soothe your longing to heal us and care for us. Here I am, Lord, to do your loving will.

 

Resolution: I will go before the Blessed Sacrament today (or virtually, if I am unable to go in person), intensifying my union and friendship with my Risen Lord, and ask him to send more holy priestly vocations for his Church.

Sunday, December 10, 2023 - Preparing for Christmas

Second Sunday of Advent

Mark 1:1-8

 

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God. As it is written in Isaiah the prophet: Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way. A voice of one crying out in the desert: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.” John the Baptist appeared in the desert proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. People of the whole Judean countryside and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they acknowledged their sins. John was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He fed on locusts and wild honey. And this is what he proclaimed: “One mightier than I is coming after me. I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

 

Introductory Prayer: Lord, you have given me a new day. You have given me a new opportunity to prepare myself for your coming. I believe that you will be with me as I continue my preparation for your coming. My heart is too often divided and pulled in many directions, but I wish to set my heart totally on you so that I may love you above all else. Here I am, Lord, to know you and love you more.

 

Petition: Lord, help me to embrace the proper means to prepare myself for your birth.

 

  1. John’s Preparation: John the Baptist ate locusts and wild honey. He wore a camel’s skin and lived in the desert. In this manner he prepared himself for Christ’s coming. He had removed himself from the world and all its temptations. He had forfeited his home, family, friends, money, food—anything that would take him from fulfilling his call to prepare the way of the Lord. Compared with John, how deep is my commitment? What price am I prepared to pay to be his messenger?

 

  1. John’s Preaching: John invites sinners to repentance. Thousands flock to hear him. His words move the people to listen. Probably more so does his example: the people see him living in the desert without the comforts of the world. By his actions they see he is truly a prophet. He has come before them so he can rightly call them to conversion. His life has strength and meaning that is not found in others. If we could be authentic and lead by our example, how many more people would be moved to follow Christ!

 

  1. John’s Repentance: Those who recognize their sins go to John to be baptized. For John, baptism is a symbol of repentance: the people recognize their sins and ask God for forgiveness. John knows that he cannot forgive sins, but he realizes that it is important for everyone to take the step of being sorry and asking God to forgive them. John tells us clearly that it is Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, who will forgive sins. He doesn’t try to obtain forgiveness in another way. He doesn’t try to circumvent God’s plan. God has given us the sacrament of confession for the forgiveness of our sins. How often do I take advantage of it? Am I faithful to frequent confession, or perhaps do I look elsewhere for the grace that only comes from confession?

 

Conversation with Christ: Lord, often I fall into the ways of the world, letting myself get caught up in its comforts and vanities. Teach me that only one thing matters: you and the life you promised us. Help me to use this Advent to prepare for your coming by detaching myself from the ways of the world and by being an example of Christian living for those whom I encounter. Help me to be always faithful to my frequent confession.

 

Resolution: Today I will make a sacrifice, foregoing a comfort or something I really like, and offer it up to God in reparation for sins––especially my own.

Weekly Digest of the Regnum Christi Daily Meditations: December 3-10, 2023 Read More »

Weekly Digest of the Regnum Christi Daily Meditations: November 19-26, 2023

THE WEEKLY DIGEST
OF REGNUM CHRISTI
DAILY MEDITATIONS

Sunday, November 19, 2023 - Invest in Christ

Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 25:14-30

 

Jesus told his disciples this parable: “A man going on a journey called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one—to each according to his ability. Then he went away. Immediately the one who received five talents went and traded with them, and made another five. Likewise, the one who received two made another two. But the man who received one went off and dug a hole in the ground and buried his master’s money. After a long time the master of those servants came back and settled accounts with them. The one who had received five talents came forward bringing the additional five. He said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents. See, I have made five more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.’ Then the one who had received two talents also came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two talents. See, I have made two more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.’ Then the one who had received the one talent came forward and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a demanding person, harvesting where you did not plant and gathering where you did not scatter; so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground. Here it is back.’ His master said to him in reply, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I did not plant and gather where I did not scatter? Should you not then have put my money in the bank so that I could have got it back with interest on my return? Now then! Take the talent from him and give it to the one with ten. For to everyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And throw this useless servant into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’”

 

Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, I know that you don’t want me to live my life in fear. Only one type of fear is legitimate: the fear of losing you. Because I know you will never leave me, I am not afraid of this either. I know that I can lose you only if I leave you. Jesus, I place my hope in you and offer you all my love.

 

Petition: Heavenly Father, grant me the grace of increased hope and trust in you.

 

  1. To Whom Much Is Given, Much Is Expected: At times, life can seem a little overwhelming, and we can feel we just don’t have what it takes. Then we are reminded of a certain truth: Christ never gives us more than we can handle! When Christ gives us a mission or allows a temptation, he always provides the talents and grace to complete that mission or resist that temptation. What, then, is there to be afraid of? Each of us has been given a certain amount of talents; thus, we are expected to bear a certain amount of fruit. We are not expected to bear fruit beyond the talents we have been given. Each of us is faithful to the degree in which we glorify God by using our talents!

 

  1. There Is Nothing to Fear but Fear Itself: St. John tells us that “God is love.” There is, then, only one proper response to him: love. It is amazing to think that we can fear him who is described simply as “love.” We might fear what will happen in the future—college, job, family, and so on—but does this really solve anything? If we look into the past, it’s easy to see that many of our fears were unfounded and unrealized. So why is this fear present? Satan will use any means to separate us from our God who is love. If he can’t get us to fall by committing sin, he paints a picture that might make us fear or fall into discouragement. It has been said that “after mortal sin our biggest enemy is discouragement.” Our faults keep us humble, aware that we are always in need of Christ. No disposition brings greater joy to the heart of Christ than that of a humble, trustful child.

 

  1. Take a Risk for Christ: Christ took the ultimate risk for me! He died knowing full well that I might not choose him, and yet the small chance that I would, far outweighed the chance that I would reject him. Again I am reminded that Christ didn’t die for a whole mass of people, but that he died for each of us individually: He died for me! Jesus, I want to be like the first disciples who loved you with an unrestrained love. I want to go out on a limb for you! I want to offer my life for the salvation of one soul, knowing full well that he might not choose you!

 

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, I know that you do not want me to be afraid of failure. I know that if I try my hardest for you, there will be no such thing. Please help me always to fight courageously in order to better myself for your glory.

 

Resolution: Today, when the opportunity presents itself, I will speak to someone about Christ.

Monday, November 20, 2023 - Seeing with Faith

Monday of the Thirty-Third Week in Ordinary Time

Luke 18:35-43

 

As Jesus approached Jericho a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging, and hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what was happening. They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” He shouted, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!” The people walking in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent, but he kept calling out all the more, “Son of David, have pity on me!” Then Jesus stopped and ordered that he be brought to him; and when he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” He replied, “Lord, please let me see.” Jesus told him, “Have sight; your faith has saved you.” He immediately received his sight and followed him, giving glory to God. When they saw this, all the people gave praise to God.

 

Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, you are the Alpha and the Omega. You have given me life and offer me eternal life with you. You deserve my honor, gratitude, and love, and yet you never impose yourself upon me. Thank you for respecting my freedom so that I can offer myself to you. All that I have is yours; I return it to you.

 

Petition: Lord, grant me greater faith in your constant and continual presence in my life.

 

  1. Begging by the Roadside: How many times in life have we felt like this blind beggar sitting by the roadside, down-and-out and hard on luck—physically, spiritually or emotionally? Witnessing our distress, some people simply walked by without a care. Maybe they tossed us a coin, though they didn’t really help us out of our discouragement or difficulty. Others might have jeered at us or not dared to look at us. Some may even have scolded us, like the people in the Gospel telling the beggar “to be silent.” Just as the blind beggar of today’s Gospel could not give himself what he most desired—sight—, we are unable to give ourselves what we most need—faith. Do I regularly ask for an increase of faith? Am I aware of how much I need a strong faith?

 

  1. Jesus Is Passing By: The book of Job tells us that “life on earth is a drudgery” (cf. Job 7:1). It shouldn’t be surprising, then, when in our lives as Christians we take some real blows and even some falls. God doesn’t want us to become discouraged. He wants us to see these as opportunities to turn to him, the source of the strength and help we need. Other voices will tell us to be quiet and not bother the Master: “After all, you just need to work things out,” “With so much going on, how can you find time to pray?” Jesus constantly passes by. He is the only one who can bring me the peace my heart desires and longs for. “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!”

 

  1. “Lord, Please Let Me See”: Jesus promises us that he will listen to our request, just as he did to the blind man. But what should our request be? To have a more comfortable chair so as to sit by the road and beg with ease? To have a beautiful silver cup to collect coins in? Or to see? Often what we really need is not what we ask for in prayer. We need the vision that only the supernatural virtue of faith can give. We need the ability to see everything from God’s vantage point and to see how the difficulties and trials we experience are part of a bigger picture. We need to have the firm assurance of the final victory of the Lamb, Jesus, and the strength to persevere in fidelity. Lord, please let me see… Please increase my faith.

 

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, allow me to praise and glorify you for your constant companionship and for never leaving me alone in my struggles and trials. Increase my faith so that I will be able to experience your love even amidst difficulty and trials.

 

Resolution: I will pray three “Our Fathers” for an increase of faith among my family members.

Tuesday, November 21, 2023 - Jesus Is My Guest

Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Luke 19:1-10

 

At that time Jesus came to Jericho and intended to pass through the town. Now a man there named Zacchaeus, who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man, was seeking to see who Jesus was; but he could not see him because of the crowd, for he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus, who was about to pass that way. When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.” And he came down quickly and received him with joy. When they saw this, they began to grumble, saying, “He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner.” But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house because this man too is a descendant of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.”

 

Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, you are the Alpha and the Omega. You have given me life and offer me eternal life with you. You deserve my honor, gratitude, and love, and yet you never impose yourself upon me. Thank you for respecting my freedom so that I can offer myself to you. All that I have is yours; I return it to you.

 

Petition: Lord, increase my faith.

 

  1. Zacchaeus up a Tree: Yesterday and today’s Gospel passages speak eloquently of the need to encounter Christ at all costs. The blind man we read about yesterday would not stop shouting until he was brought to the Lord. Today a short and very unpopular man named Zacchaeus runs back and forth among the crowd until finally, in his determination to encounter Christ, he breaks all protocol and scrambles up a tree. Jesus wastes no time in entering this tax collector’s life decisively and transforming it. This resembles our own encounter with Christ. At times different obstacles stand in our way and prevent us from seeing Our Lord and his action in our lives. Above all we lack determination. How easy it is to craft excuses: “I am just too short,” “Maybe Jesus is too busy,” “I am just a sinner.” If we really want Our Lord to stay at our house, he will, but there may be trees that we need to climb first.

 

  1. Welcoming Jesus: Few people ever welcomed Jesus with the joy and exuberance as did this little man. He came down from the tree, gave half of his wealth to the poor, and promised to restore any fraudulent transactions four times over. Zacchaeus has truly been like that merchant in search of fine pearls (cf. Mt 13:45-46). He is willing to sell all he has to buy the pearl of great price: friendship and intimacy with the Lord. How many times has Jesus looked up at us and asked us to remain with him? How many times have we had the immense grace of receiving the King of Kings into our hearts in the Blessed Eucharist? Do we offer merely a corner of our hearts for him, or do we reserve the presidential suite? How pure do we maintain our souls for our Guest?

 

  1. Of Sinners and Saints: What makes someone a saint and someone else a sinner? Certainly, it is not the grumbling of the jealous crowd who are unwilling to climb up the tree to see Jesus yet are quick to criticize anyone who does. In fact, everyone is a sinner. St. Paul writes, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Of these I am the foremost” (1 Tim 1:15). Yet St. Paul, Zacchaeus, you and I all go from being sinners to saints when we encounter Christ and are faithful to his friendship. Salvation came to Zacchaeus’ house when Jesus entered it, and salvation comes to us through the graces received at baptism, renewed in the Sacrament of Penance, and nurtured in the Eucharist.

 

Conversation with Christ: Jesus, help me to be willing to do whatever it takes to grow in a deeper friendship with you. Don’t allow me to worry about the murmurings of the crowd, but only to listen to your voice and respond to it with generosity.

 

Resolution: I will make a point to go to confession at the next possible opportunity, asking Jesus to forgive me my sins and to help me to turn from being a sinner into being a saint. I will make it a real encounter with Jesus.

Wednesday, November 22, 2023 - Kings and Gold Coins

Memorial of Saint Cecilia, Virgin and Martyr

Luke 19:11-28

 

While people were listening to Jesus speak, he proceeded to tell a parable because he was near Jerusalem and they thought that the Kingdom of God would appear there immediately. So he said, “A nobleman went off to a distant country to obtain the kingship for himself and then to return. He called ten of his servants and gave them ten gold coins and told them, ‘Engage in trade with these until I return.’ His fellow citizens, however, despised him and sent a delegation after him to announce, ‘We do not want this man to be our king.’ But when he returned after obtaining the kingship, he had the servants called, to whom he had given the money, to learn what they had gained by trading. The first came forward and said, ‘Sir, your gold coin has earned ten additional ones.’ He replied, ‘Well done, good servant! You have been faithful in this very small matter; take charge of ten cities.’ Then the second came and reported, ‘Your gold coin, sir, has earned five more.’ And to this servant too he said, ‘You, take charge of five cities.’ Then the other servant came and said, ‘Sir, here is your gold coin; I kept it stored away in a handkerchief, for I was afraid of you, because you are a demanding man; you take up what you did not lay down and you harvest what you did not plant.’ He said to him, ‘With your own words I shall condemn you, you wicked servant. You knew I was a demanding man, taking up what I did not lay down and harvesting what I did not plant; why did you not put my money in a bank? Then on my return I would have collected it with interest.’ And to those standing by he said, ‘Take the gold coin from him and give it to the servant who has ten.’ But they said to him, ‘Sir, he has ten gold coins.’ He replied, ‘I tell you, to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. Now as for those enemies of mine who did not want me as their king, bring them here and slay them before me.’” After he had said this, he proceeded on his journey up to Jerusalem.

 

Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, you are the Alpha and the Omega. You have given me life and offer me eternal life with you. You deserve my honor, gratitude, and love, and yet you never impose yourself upon me. Thank you for respecting my freedom so that I can offer myself to you. All that I have is yours; I return it to you.

 

Petition: Lord Jesus, teach me to be patient and persevering in using my talents to serve you and my neighbor.

 

  1. Jesus, the King of Kings: Nowadays there is renewed interest in the imminence of the Lord’s return in glory. Every Sunday when we recite the Creed, we attest to our faith that Christ “will come again to judge the living and the dead.” But we also know that we do not know when it will be, as Our Lord clearly states: “But of that day and hour no one knows” (Mt 24:36). So, what should we do in the meantime? The answer is very simple: Live faithful to the values of Christ’s Kingdom and show that he is our King right now. Are there any areas in my life where Christ is not ruler? Am I faithful to my Christian commitments? Do I use my time well?

 

  1. Earning One Gold Coin at a Time: In today’s parable each servant receives only one gold coin, but some invest it better than others. There are some gifts that God has given all of us in equal measure and some that we each receive in varying degrees. At baptism we receive the gifts of faith, hope, and love in seed form, so to speak, and it is up to us to make sure they are cultivated, irrigated, and exposed to enough light so that they will grow and bear fruit. These gifts of faith, hope, and love are not given to us just for rainy days or moments of trial, but rather to keep us focused on who we are as children of God and heirs to the Kingdom of heaven. Exercising these virtues is like earning gold, one coin at a time. How often have I thanked God for his gifts of faith, hope, and love? Do I strive to grow in these virtues by keeping my heart set on the things of heaven and through charity towards my neighbor?

 

  1. God’s Generosity: St. John reminds us that “God is love” (1 Jn 4:8). God’s essence is self-giving. The man who hid his coin could not discover or fathom this reality, but the man who “spent” his gold coin found this out as he was able to earn many more. Jesus tells us that “unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat” (Jn 12:24). Later, however, a metamorphosis occurs which brings many new grains of wheat into being. Jesus’ death on the cross is the perfect example of the transformation of sacrifice and self-giving into fruitfulness. We can’t have Jesus as our king unless we are willing to follow him on his journey to Jerusalem and impending death. We have much to give up, but we have so much more to gain by using our talents for the Kingdom.

 

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, I am sometimes afraid of what it means to die to myself. Help me to use all of my talents for your Kingdom. Help me to realize that I have nothing to lose and everything to gain and to take steps courageously to love you.

 

Resolution: As a way of showing my love for Jesus, today I will practice patience with someone who annoys me.

Thursday, November 23, 2023 - Build Your Life on the Rock That Is Christ

Thursday of the Thirty-Third Week in Ordinary Time

Luke 19:41-44

 

As Jesus drew near Jerusalem, he saw the city and wept over it, saying, “If this day you only knew what makes for peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. For the days are coming upon you when your enemies will raise a palisade against you; they will encircle you and hem you in on all sides. They will smash you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave one stone upon another within you because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.”

 

Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, many times I have overlooked your love in the circumstances of my life. I know you are always present, even if I don’t feel your love. This time of prayer is an opportunity to show you my love, and I truly desire to bring you consolation as you so often bring consolation to me.

 

Petition: Heavenly Father, help me to stand firm amidst the vicissitudes of life.

 

  1. “As for Me and My Household, We Will Serve the Lord” (Josh 24:15): The beauty of this life is that it offers us so many options. We have all been given the grace of free will, and we can choose to do many things. We can choose where we would like to work, where we want to vacation, who our friends are, and what we are going to do this very moment. But the most important choice we make in life is to decide whether to love and serve God or to deny him. God’s greatest natural gift to us is free will, and with it we direct our own destiny. What a truly beautiful soul who chooses to spend his life serving God! Clearly opting for God and his ways gives direction to a person’s life and provides clarity in moments of darkness and trial.

 

  1. The Time to Prepare for a Storm Is Now: The worst time to clean out the gutters is in the middle of a thunderstorm. And that roof would have worked a lot better had it been fixed before a week of rain. The concept of being prepared is so hard for us human beings. Christ told his disciples, “Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test” (Mt 26:41). He was saying, “Be prepared. You never know when temptations or tough times are going to strike.”

 

  1. Holding the Fort: The spiritual life is a lot like a castle. A castle has its strong points and its not-so-strong points. It has a moat, high stone walls and turrets, but it also has a gate made only of wood. Each of us has one or two things that can be likened to that wooden gate. We all have our weaknesses, but do we know what those weaknesses are? One of the keys to being able to resist sin is self-knowledge. If we know ourselves, we can avoid putting ourselves in compromising situations. We can use our strong points to fight the enemy and fortify those areas that are the weakest. In the end, the strongest weapon we have both to resist and to fight is our dependence on the Lord—our prayer and fidelity to his will!

 

Conversation with Christ: Jesus, I don’t want to base my life just on feelings and on what pleases me. I want to live for you, to take a risk for you.

 

Resolution: I will start a constant prayer life by praying the Rosary every day this week.

Friday, November 24, 2023 - God’s House Is Holy

Memorial of Saint Andrew Dung-Lac, Priest, and Companions, Martyrs

Luke 19:45-48

 

Jesus entered the temple area and proceeded to drive out those who were selling things, saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves.’” And every day he was teaching in the temple area. The chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people, meanwhile, were seeking to put him to death, but they could find no way to accomplish their purpose because all the people were hanging on his words.

 

Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, you are the Alpha and the Omega. You have given me life and offer me eternal life with you. You deserve my honor, gratitude, and love, and yet you never impose yourself upon me. Thank you for respecting my freedom so that I can offer myself to you. All that I have is yours; I return it to you.

 

Petition: Lord God, teach me greater reverence for your house.

 

  1. Zeal for the Father’s House: Jesus was not an enemy of commerce. In fact, many times the Gospel makes references to buying and selling without any negative connotations at all. However, in today’s Gospel passage we find Our Lord irate for two principal reasons. First, business activity was taking place within the Temple area. This was, in a sense, a “profanation” of God’s house. The Temple of Jerusalem contained, veiled behind a massive curtain, the Holy of Holies, where God’s mysterious presence dwelled. Yet, paradoxically, Temple worshipers had first to cross what had the appearance of a marketplace to be able to worship before the Lord. Second, Jesus was indignant due to the fact that the temple merchants were dishonest. Am I always honest in my business dealings? Do I always respect God’s name and the things of God?

 

  1. Return to Reverence: Jesus was on fire with zeal for the house of his Father and determined that it be respected as a house of prayer. Silence, worship and prayer are elements that should be an essential part of every visit to a church, especially for Sunday Mass. In the tabernacle of every Catholic Church, Our Lord is present in the Eucharist as a prisoner of love waiting to enter into dialogue with us. We are never closer to heaven than when we are before Our Eucharistic Lord. Yet we can forget this truth. Our postures, chatter, and dress might contribute to a general “profanation” of God’s house. Do I try to remember every time I enter a church that I am standing before my Lord who made heaven and earth? Can others see that I believe Jesus is really present in the Eucharist? Is he the center of my attention? Can I put aside all distractions?

 

  1. Hanging on Jesus’ Words: The crowds are described as “hanging” on Jesus’ every word. Jesus showed a reverence for his Father’s house far greater than any external piety the Pharisees demonstrated. He spoke the truth and was never afraid to stand up for it, even when it was less than convenient to do so. He was unafraid of those who “were seeking to put him to death.” Jesus’ uprightness was the key to his effectiveness and the attractive power of his words. As Christians we are called by vocation to imitate the uprightness of Our Lord in our words and actions.

 

Conversation with Christ: Lord, many times I have entered Church distractedly and forgotten that you were present. I beg your forgiveness. I ask to be a zealous witness of your love, and I promise to show you greater reverence in the Blessed Sacrament.

 

Resolution: I will live the Mass this Sunday, either in person or virtually, with a special reverence.

Saturday, November 25, 2023 - Christ Is the Answer

Saturday of the Thirty-Third Week in Ordinary Time

Luke 20:27-40

 

Some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection, came forward and put this question to Jesus, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us, ‘If someone’s brother dies leaving a wife but no child, his brother must take the wife and raise up descendants for his brother.’ Now there were seven brothers; the first married a woman but died childless. Then the second and the third married her, and likewise all the seven died childless. Finally the woman also died. Now at the resurrection whose wife will that woman be? For all seven had been married to her.” Jesus said to them, “The children of this age marry and remarry; but those who are deemed worthy to attain to the coming age and to the resurrection of the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. They can no longer die, for they are like angels; and they are the children of God because they are the ones who will rise. That the dead will rise even Moses made known in the passage about the bush, when he called ‘Lord’ the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.” Some of the scribes said in reply, “Teacher, you have answered well.” And they no longer dared to ask him anything.

 

Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, you are the Alpha and the Omega. You have given me life and offer me eternal life with you. You deserve my honor, gratitude, and love, and yet you never impose yourself upon me. Thank you for respecting my freedom so that I can offer myself to you. All that I have is yours; I return it to you.

 

Petition: Lord Jesus, help me to be a child of God, a child of the resurrection.

 

  1. Simple and Constant Conversation: Today we see some Sadducees asking Christ an important question about heaven. Christ teaches us that once we are in heaven, things will be considerably different than they are here on earth. This is a beautiful example how we can converse with Christ. We simply need to ask him questions: questions about our faith, about difficulties we may be having with certain relationships, about career changes, etc. The answers we receive may not be what we were expecting or hoping for, but what is important is that we engage Christ in conversation every day and that we seek to please him in everything we do. This open, warm contact with Our Lord is already a little taste of heaven.

 

  1. Union with Christ: Christ reminds us that he and the Father are the God of the living. He gave us our life; we lost it. He became man, suffered, died, and rose on the third day that we might have a new life—a life in and with God, now and for all eternity. Our ultimate marriage will be in heaven, as we will be one with God as Jesus is.

 

  1. Participation in the Life of God: When God reveals his mysteries to us, we participate in his life. God has made us so we would pursue him, so we would listen to him, so we would understand him, so we would crave the things of God. Is that not a mystery unto itself? We have a God who wants to speak with us constantly about the things of heaven! This reality, this inestimable gift, should move us to share with others the Good News.

 

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, through your death and resurrection and my baptism, you have made me a child of God. Help me to appreciate more fully this day and what it means to be a child of God. Grant me the grace to live in accord with this gift of gifts.

 

Resolution: Today I will look on all things as if God were speaking to me in every moment.

Sunday, November 26, 2023 - Sheep and Goats

Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

Matthew 25:31-46

 

Jesus said to his disciples: “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’ And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of the least brothers of mine, you did for me.’ Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’ Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’ He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’ And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

 

Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for this chance to spend time with you in prayer. You are the Prince of Peace and the Lord of Mercy. I trust in your goodness and love. I love you and earnestly long to love you more each day.

 

Petition: Lord, help me to translate my faith in you into good deeds done for others.

 

  1. Judgment Day: All of our life is, in a sense, a preparation for the judgment we face at life’s end. That is when we go before Our Lord and give account for everything we have done or failed to do. No excuses will be accepted, no more “second chances” given. Jesus’ mercy doesn’t mean he ignores justice. “Mercy differs from justice, but is not in opposition to it,” wrote Pope Saint John Paul II in his 1980 encyclical, Dives in Misericordia (Rich in Mercy). Would I be ready to face the Lord this very day? If not, why not? What facet of my life do I need to change right now?

 

  1. The Sheep: The sheep to be saved are the people who helped others, who showed mercy, who didn’t turn a cold shoulder to someone in need. Our Lord doesn’t praise them for their many prayers so much as for their good deeds. Prayer is important, of course. But it’s not enough. Christ wants our love for him to be reflected in our love for others. Oddly, many of those to be saved will not have realized that it was really Christ they were helping. Do I see Christ in those who need help? Do I see Christ in my family members? My co-workers? The demanding boss? The unpopular classmate? The smelly beggar?

 

  1. The Goats: It’s scary to think that those who will be lost were not necessarily “bad people.” In this passage Our Lord doesn’t chide them for doing wicked things. He doesn’t accuse them of starting wars or peddling drugs or committing acts of terrorism. Rather, he faults them for the sin of omission, for things they didn’t do. “You gave me no food… You gave me no clothing.” We may think ourselves good Christians because we don’t cheat on our taxes or look at pornography or miss Mass on Sundays. But acts of charity are key, too. We should do these without neglecting the others.

 

Conversation with Christ: Lord, I don’t want to end up with the goats at the Last Judgment. That’s why I want to take my faith seriously. I want to have a generous heart. But do I limit my generosity? Why can’t I see you in my neighbor? You have loved me unconditionally. Help me to respond to your love by loving others unconditionally.

 

Resolution: Before noon, I will perform one small act of charity for someone close to me.

Weekly Digest of the Regnum Christi Daily Meditations: November 19-26, 2023 Read More »

Weekly Digest of the Regnum Christi Daily Meditations: November 12-19, 2023

THE WEEKLY DIGEST
OF REGNUM CHRISTI
DAILY MEDITATIONS

Sunday, November 12, 2023 - The Heart’s Oil

Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 25:1-13

 

Jesus told his disciples this parable: “The kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones, when taking their lamps, brought no oil with them, but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps. Since the bridegroom was long delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep. At midnight, there was a cry, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise ones replied, ‘No, for there may not be enough for us and you. Go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.’ While they went off to buy it, the bridegroom came and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him. Then the door was locked. Afterwards the other virgins came and said, ‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us!’ But he said in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”

 

Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, I believe that you are here calling me to prayer. I believe in the reality and strength of your love, poured out for me. I trust that I can enter into this love now through prayer and find all the courage I need to seek you actively. I love you, Lord. May this prayer serve as a sincere act of my love for you.

 

Petition: Lord, prepare my heart for Love.

 

  1. Called to Meet the Bridegroom: God became man to encounter each one of us in a human way. Yet the encounter is not distant, brief or superficial. It is intimate; God presents himself as a “bridegroom.” He is the reason for joy and celebration. The ten bridesmaids represent the bride, sharing in her joy. Their sole mission is to greet and accompany the bridegroom into the wedding feast. No one can take their place. How seriously they take their role will determine how well they fulfill it. The Church is Christ’s bride. Like the bridesmaids, must I not have a deeper understanding of Christ and his love for the Church, if he is to be my joy and reason to celebrate?

 

  1. Life Is a Preparation: Time is one of God’s most precious gifts. Once lost, it can never be restored. We realize that the most important moment of life is in fact the moment of death. Yet, that last hour will be in some way the result and summary of all the hours we have lived until that moment. Every moment is a preparation to meet the Lord who loves us and has given his life to win our salvation. We will not be able to improvise when the moment of truth comes. Each act of faith, trust and love—every effort to sacrifice and do God’s will—establishes a relationship with the Bridegroom. My life is a search to know and love him, to be with him. How ready, open and surrendered will my heart be? Will I still want to greet him?

 

  1. Does He Know Me? What words could be more desperate than, “Lord, open to us”? And what more tragic than “I do not know you”? The Bridegroom certainly knows the bride, the one for whom he has given his life. But he knows us in love, what his love calls us to be. So he cannot know us only if we “fall out of love.” Our disposition while we await the Bridegroom—which sums up faith, hope and love—is gratitude. The Lord, who loved us first, will look to find a grateful heart that has been transformed by the graces of baptism, repentance, and charity. A grateful heart does not forget him. Not a day goes by without a loving remembrance and acts of thanksgiving. Little wonder he left us the Eucharist, the thanksgiving sacrament, through which to prepare for his coming.

 

Conversation with Christ: Dear Lord, help me to anticipate your coming by finding you in each person on my path. May I never fail to prepare my heart to love you and share the joy of your Kingdom. Reveal to me the depths and qualities of your love so that I can prepare to give you a ready, sincere, and worthy response.

 

Resolution: I will take time to resolve or put aside the worries or hardships of the day in order to recognize and love Christ in those I love.

Monday, November 13, 2023 - Uprooting Sin

Memorial of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, Virgin

Luke 17:1-6

 

Jesus said to his disciples, “Things that cause sin will inevitably occur, but woe to the one through whom they occur. It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck and he be thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he wrongs you seven times in one day and returns to you seven times saying, ‘I am sorry,’ you should forgive him.” And the Apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” The Lord replied, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.”

 

Introductory Prayer: I believe in you, Lord Jesus, as the only one who can fill my heart. I believe in the power of faith to change my life and the lives of others. I trust that you will grant me the light and strength to cast out sin from my life. I come to you in prayer so that I can love you even more with a firm but serene opposition to sin.

 

Petition: Lord, may I desire “death before sin.”

 

  1. Causing Others to Sin: The negative effects of sin are many: offending God, damaging my conscience and soul, hardening my heart, forming bad habits, losing grace and will power, creating distance and difficulty in prayer, etc. But no result of sin is more damaging than that of scandal, where my sin leads others to sin. Why is this so serious? As a Christian I am called to live and teach Christ’s life to others. Scandal falsifies and contradicts my vocation and mission in life. We all have “little ones” entrusted to us: children, family members, those new to the faith, those searching, those who are especially weak… If I am truly dedicated to lead them to Christ, then sin and scandal will have little room. How real and determined is my dedication?

 

  1. Rebuke and Forgive: We must fight sin wherever we find it. How much more difficult does this become in a world where tolerance is ranked above virtue! Even in family life we are tempted to let things go and not create friction and uneasiness. But if sin is our greatest enemy, then we must always cast it out. The key is to do everything with the heart of Christ, a heart of love: ready to forgive the sinner, never judging their heart, but never minimizing an evil action. How well do I teach moral truth? Do I distinguish the sin from the sinner? Is Christ’s love always my motivation and dominant message?

 

  1. Faith Uproots Sin: All of this—fighting personal sin and helping others conquer it—seemed a bit much for the Apostles. They begged for an increase of faith. Faith of any size embraces God’s understanding of the evil of sin and seeks to live accordingly. Yet sin is not overcome easily, and mere understanding is not enough. We must uproot sin from our lives and reject it constantly in the lives of others. Only Christ’s love provides the strength we need, and often the perseverance in battling the same sins over time only comes through the strength that comes from Christ’s love. Only through Christ can our hearts be filled and not return to old habits of sin.

 

Conversation with Christ: Give me, Lord, the courage to fight sin in my life. Grant me your heart, Lord, so I can fight and suffer without cowardice, without taking time out and without discouragement, even if others do not understand or thank me. Help me to uproot sin from my life and put you first.

 

Resolution: I will fight to eradicate sins against charity in my family or work life. I will avoid it and call others to do so too in a gentle but firm manner.

 

 

Tuesday, November 14, 2023 - The “Right” of Gratitude

Tuesday of the Thirty-Second Week in Ordinary Time

Luke 17:7-10

 

Jesus said to the Apostles: “Who among you would say to your servant who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, ‘Come here immediately and take your place at table’? Would he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare something for me to eat. Put on your apron and wait on me while I eat and drink. You may eat and drink when I am finished’? Is he grateful to that servant because he did what was commanded? So should it be with you. When you have done all you have been commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.’”

 

Introductory Prayer: Jesus, I believe in you, my Lord and my Creator! You have given me everything, and you owe me nothing. You have forgiven me everything when I owed you more than I could ever pay. I trust in your forgiveness and love, Lord.

 

Petition: Jesus, help me to be grateful to you.

 

  1. Proud Attitudes: How often are we offended by how others treat us, by a lack of gratitude, respect or appreciation? However justified the reactions of our sensitivity, what lies at the root of our complaints is pride. Looking out from my own broken creaturely condition, I can’t help but see myself for more than I am and expect more respect from everyone—including God. Yet, before God I am but a poor, tiny, and dependent creature. From him I receive all that I am and need. How can I demand anything from him? Even worse, how can I complain when I recognize that I am an ungrateful sinner who has denied the rights and love of my Creator?

 

  1. The Fundamental Relationship: Our culture has become one of “entitlement.” We view ourselves as having rights—“just” expectations—, and we expect that much is owed to us. Thus, we see children demanding what they want, spouses expecting their preferences to be respected, and the belief that government must provide us with everything. God gets thrown into the fray as well, so that he, too, must deliver according to our attitude of spoiled children. What we forget is that we have received everything from God, and we owe him everything. Jesus’ image of the servant and master is not just a metaphor. Although his free and generous gift of redemption raises us up to the level of children and friends, he owes us nothing. Our fundamental relationship with God must be that of a grateful creature with a loving Creator. We must start there.

 

  1. Humble Attitudes: Far from asking us to act as “unprofitable servants,” Jesus wants to free us from the pride that enslaves. The virtues of service, gratitude, honor, and obedience may not be popular today, but they forever reflect the heart of a child of God. Jesus embraced all these virtues and the attitudes of humility that they require. My first duty in life is to serve and obey God. My duty of gratitude can never be exhausted, for he gives me so many gifts—life, faith, family, etc.—, and he leads me to a love that is self-giving, rather than demanding my rights before God and others.

 

Conversation with Christ: Dear Lord Jesus, help me to embrace my condition as creature with humble simplicity. Open my mind and heart to the many endless expressions of your generous love. Teach me a gratitude that thinks more of you than of me.

 

Resolution: I will pray for the grace to show gratitude to God in my daily activities, striving to make these acts of gratitude occur.

Wednesday, November 15, 2023 - The Highest of All Prayers

Wednesday of the Thirty-Second Week in Ordinary Time

Luke 17:11-19

 

As Jesus continued his journey to Jerusalem, he traveled through Samaria and Galilee. As he was entering a village, ten lepers met him. They stood at a distance from him and raised their voice, saying, “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!” And when he saw them, he said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” As they were going they were cleansed. And one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. He was a Samaritan. Jesus said in reply, “Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?” Then he said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.”

 

Introductory Prayer: I love you, my Lord, because you are love itself. Forgive all that is in me that does not come from your love and does not reflect your love. If I am to become what you want me to be, it will happen only if I allow you to act in me.

 

Petition: Lord, grant me the gift of gratitude towards you.

 

  1. From Receiver to Giver: These poor lepers are outcasts, banned from communion with all society. Their only hope is Christ. They have nothing to lose by asking, and so they make their plea. Standing at a distance from Christ, according to the law, they acknowledge their own helplessness and beg for mercy. They receive it: Christ heals them, and they go on their way, satisfied with his gift. To Our Lord’s dismay, however, only one returns to give thanks. To give thanks in Greek is EuXaristia. Only one is Eucharistic; only one is saved.

 

  1. A Just Return: Our Lord rewards gratitude. Why is our thanksgiving so important to God? In a way, by showing gratitude we justly return to God what he deserves. Take the example of the lepers: They are helpless outcasts. They can’t do anything for themselves except beg—much like our situation before God. We, too, are spiritual lepers begging God’s mercy. If we were to accept God’s gift without giving thanks, we would be reduced to mere consumers of grace, incapable of giving anything back. But God wants to save us from that predicament, and he asks for our thanksgiving, euXaristia.

 

  1. From Thanksgiving to Communion: What is the dynamic of thanksgiving? When we give thanks, we are no longer passive recipients; we become active givers, giving back to One who has given us what we do not deserve. When we become active givers, God places us on another level—another level capable of receiving even more from him. By giving thanks for what he had received, the leper was capable of receiving more from God. Indeed, he did receive more—he was saved. Saved by God’s mercy, he was now capable of receiving still more, of growing in intimacy with God. God invites us into a personal relationship today, into a Eucharistic relationship in which we are no longer mere passive recipients of his grace, but coworkers of his redemption. In living a life of thanksgiving, a Eucharistic life, we attract many blessings for our own souls, our families, our parish, and for souls in danger of being lost.

 

Conversation with Christ: Lord, make me aware of the many gifts you have given me so that I may respond to them and give you what you deserve: my heartfelt thanksgiving. May I be more thankful and thus deepen my communion with you.

 

Resolution: I will make a visit to the Eucharist today, if possible, and consider the many gifts God has given me. In adoration I will thank him with all my being.

Thursday, November 16, 2023 - The Kingdom Within

Thursday of the Thirty-Second Week in Ordinary Time

Luke 17:20-25

 

Asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God would come, Jesus said in reply, “The coming of the Kingdom of God cannot be observed, and no one will announce, ‘Look, here it is,’ or, ‘There it is.’ For behold, the Kingdom of God is among you.” Then he said to his disciples, “The days will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it. There will be those who will say to you, ‘Look, there he is,’ or ‘Look, here he is.’ Do not go off, do not run in pursuit. For just as lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day. But first he must suffer greatly and be rejected by this generation.”

 

Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe in your presence in my life. You have called me to share in your faith and love. I trust that you will help me grow closer to you. I love you, Lord, here and now. I will live this day in prayer.

 

Petition: Lord, help me to understand your Kingdom better.

 

  1. When? Since the Pharisees had the wrong notion of the Kingdom of God, they could hardly ask the proper questions concerning it. Their expected kingdom was a worldly kingdom that would cast off foreign domination and restore sovereignty to Israel. But Christ’s Kingdom is concerned more about the state of the soul and the struggle between good and evil than external nations. The Pharisees’ misperception kept them from recognizing Christ and his Kingdom. Thousands of years later we, too, can be susceptible to the errors of the Pharisees. For us, a lack of faith can keep us from seeing that the Kingdom of God comes only when we accept Jesus as king of our souls. Only when we allow him to rule and order our lives does his Kingdom come. The “when” is now. Now is the moment for me to encounter Christ and make him my King.

 

  1. Where? Christ’s disciples also struggled to understand the nature of the Kingdom. They sought to see “the days of the Son of Man,” a powerful reign where Christ was supreme with the entire world subject to him. Yet, Christ comes first to reign in the heart of each person. In my own heart, do I believe in Christ and accept his will? Do I love him and sacrifice myself in order to respond to his will? Am I building the Kingdom from my prayer and life of grace?

 

  1. How? If the Kingdom is here and now, then how do we enter? We enter the same way our King enters—through the door of suffering and perseverance. “First he must suffer greatly and be rejected.” Belief is not just a one-time acceptance. Faith must be lived throughout the great and little trials we encounter in life. In this way we make faith and the Kingdom more our own. We need to remember that in the end, it is the Kingdom—and the King himself—who comes to us, like lightning across the sky.

 

Conversation with Christ: Dear Jesus, help me to understand your Kingdom. Build your Kingdom within me, in my thoughts and desires. Become my life and my love. Cut away any distance between us. Make my life the light and salt to spread your Kingdom effectively to those with whom I cross paths.

 

Resolution: Tonight, I will dedicate a longer and calmer time to examine my conscience. I will look for progress as well as the struggles of the Kingdom within me.

Friday, November 17, 2023 - Living My Encounter with Christ

Memorial of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, Religious

Luke 17:26-37

 

Jesus said to his disciples: “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be in the days of the Son of Man; they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage up to the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Similarly, as it was in the days of Lot: they were eating, drinking, buying, selling, planting, building; on the day when Lot left Sodom, fire and brimstone rained from the sky to destroy them all. So it will be on the day the Son of Man is revealed. On that day, someone who is on the housetop and whose belongings are in the house must not go down to get them, and likewise one in the field must not return to what was left behind. Remember the wife of Lot. Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses it will save it. I tell you, on that night there will be two people in one bed; one will be taken, the other left. And there will be two women grinding meal together; one will be taken, the other left.” They said to him in reply, “Where, Lord?” He said to them, “Where the body is, there also the vultures will gather.”

 

Introductory Prayer: I believe in you, Lord, my companion and strength. I believe that you come out to meet me each day, asking me to depend more on you and less on creatures. I hope in you, Lord, as the one who fills my longing to love and be loved. I love you here and now with my prayer and with my desire to be faithful and generous in the little things you ask of me.

 

Petition: Lord, help me to put you first in my life.

 

  1. They Were Eating and Drinking: In the time of Noah and of Lot, God’s judgment was said to come down upon man. Yet the real moment of judgment for each one of us comes immediately upon our own death. It is then that the Kingdom will be fully revealed to us, and it will be decided whether we will be part of it or not. But it is in the course of my own life that my option for being received into the Kingdom is decided. God comes to me today. How will I respond? My response now and each day determines my eternal place in the Kingdom.

 

  1. Do Not Return to What Was Left Behind: In most disasters people have little chance to collect belongings; those who try are often lost as a result. The same will be true of the Final Judgment—or at our own death; when Jesus comes, will I be ready? What do I most cherish? What I must hold on to is my relationship with Christ. And this implies in so many ways losing “my life” here. Do I live with the attitude of losing my life a little more each day, detaching myself from things, activities and people, so as to be freer to love, serve and be with Christ?

 

  1. Where the Body Is: “Where, Lord?” the disciples ask; where will the day of the Son of Man take place? It will take place, says Jesus, wherever you are. Whether we die and encounter Christ in a personal judgment or are alive to encounter the Lord at his Second Coming and the Final Judgment, the reality is the same. Standing next to a saint or a sinner will not alter our fate. Who we know or what contacts we have will do little. Where we are in our relationship with Christ will be the only real determining factor. Where am I, Lord, today, in relationship with you? May this be my only concern!

 

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, increase my desire to live my life in close relation with you. Order all my activities according to your will, and my relationships according to your heart. “I want whatever you want, because you want it, the way you want it, as long as you want it” (Prayer of Pope Clement XI).

 

Resolution: I will give priority to my relationship with Christ. I will make prayer my first act today before every meal.

Saturday, November 18, 2023 - Pray With Faith

Saturday of the Thirty-Second Week in Ordinary Time

Luke 18:1-8

 

Jesus told his disciples a parable about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary. He said, “There was a judge in a certain town who neither feared God nor respected any human being. And a widow in that town used to come to him and say, ‘Render a just decision for me against my adversary.’ For a long time the judge was unwilling, but eventually he thought, ‘While it is true that I neither fear God nor respect any human being, because this widow keeps bothering me I shall deliver a just decision for her lest she finally come and strike me.’” The Lord said, “Pay attention to what the dishonest judge says. Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night? Will he be slow to answer them? I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily. But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

 

Introductory Prayer: I believe in you, Lord, for you are mine and have proven your love for me. I trust you, for you have never let me down and know what is best for my life. I love you, Lord, for all your gifts. I desire to love and to do your will.

 

Petition: Teach me to pray always, Lord.

 

  1. Becoming Weary: We can become weary in prayer when we don’t see results. This happens because we have a distorted idea of prayer, or we have taken on worldly views that undermine our appreciation for its true value, or simply because we experience what seems to be failure in prayer (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2726-2728). Prayer is a gift and comes from the Holy Spirit. It is neither a machine nor a magic formula. It requires effort on our part, for it is an act of love, self-giving. Prayer works if I persevere and allow God to act. Sometimes I will not see its effects. To continue to seek God in prayer is already the best fruit of prayer. Do I depend on him?

 

  1. The Judge: If prayer is about giving myself and depending more on God, then it becomes a question of how I understand God. I depend only on those I trust, and I trust only those who have proven their love and ability to support me. Do I really believe God is all good, all-loving, and all-powerful? Do I believe he cares about me? God for us is a judge, but so much more. He is first of all a loving father and a dedicated, unconditional savior and lover. As a loving father, he wants our trusting dependence. He wants us to believe.

 

  1. The Chosen Ones: Who are we for God? We are more than simple creatures, more than worthless slaves. We are beloved children, for whom he died and to whom he gives everything. We are the frustrated scholars and broken lovers that he desires to raise up to share his infinite truth and love. We are chosen ones, chosen for him, for happiness, forever. Out of the darkness and slavery of sin, he frees us so that his glory will shine in us. Now, if we are all this and more for God, why do we doubt in prayer? Let us place all our confidence in him.

 

Conversation with Christ: Dear Lord Jesus, increase my knowledge of your love for me. Help me to trust you in my everyday life. Open my heart to persevere in prayer. Grant me the humility to see how I need to pray, always and in so many ways. Teach me what prayer is and how to do it well for love of you.

 

Resolution: Throughout the day, I will dedicate myself to simple, small invocations and prayers that express my love, gratitude, and trust in God.

Sunday, November 19, 2023 - Invest in Christ

Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 25:14-30

 

Jesus told his disciples this parable: “A man going on a journey called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one—to each according to his ability. Then he went away. Immediately the one who received five talents went and traded with them, and made another five. Likewise, the one who received two made another two. But the man who received one went off and dug a hole in the ground and buried his master’s money. After a long time the master of those servants came back and settled accounts with them. The one who had received five talents came forward bringing the additional five. He said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents. See, I have made five more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.’ Then the one who had received two talents also came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two talents. See, I have made two more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.’ Then the one who had received the one talent came forward and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a demanding person, harvesting where you did not plant and gathering where you did not scatter; so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground. Here it is back.’ His master said to him in reply, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I did not plant and gather where I did not scatter? Should you not then have put my money in the bank so that I could have got it back with interest on my return? Now then! Take the talent from him and give it to the one with ten. For to everyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And throw this useless servant into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’”

 

Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, I know that you don’t want me to live my life in fear. Only one type of fear is legitimate: the fear of losing you. Because I know you will never leave me, I am not afraid of this either. I know that I can lose you only if I leave you. Jesus, I place my hope in you and offer you all my love.

 

Petition: Heavenly Father, grant me the grace of increased hope and trust in you.

 

  1. To Whom Much Is Given, Much Is Expected: At times, life can seem a little overwhelming, and we can feel we just don’t have what it takes. Then we are reminded of a certain truth: Christ never gives us more than we can handle! When Christ gives us a mission or allows a temptation, he always provides the talents and grace to complete that mission or resist that temptation. What, then, is there to be afraid of? Each of us has been given a certain amount of talents; thus, we are expected to bear a certain amount of fruit. We are not expected to bear fruit beyond the talents we have been given. Each of us is faithful to the degree in which we glorify God by using our talents!

 

  1. There Is Nothing to Fear but Fear Itself: St. John tells us that “God is love.” There is, then, only one proper response to him: love. It is amazing to think that we can fear him who is described simply as “love.” We might fear what will happen in the future—college, job, family, and so on—but does this really solve anything? If we look into the past, it’s easy to see that many of our fears were unfounded and unrealized. So why is this fear present? Satan will use any means to separate us from our God who is love. If he can’t get us to fall by committing sin, he paints a picture that might make us fear or fall into discouragement. It has been said that “after mortal sin our biggest enemy is discouragement.” Our faults keep us humble, aware that we are always in need of Christ. No disposition brings greater joy to the heart of Christ than that of a humble, trustful child.

 

  1. Take a Risk for Christ: Christ took the ultimate risk for me! He died knowing full well that I might not choose him, and yet the small chance that I would, far outweighed the chance that I would reject him. Again I am reminded that Christ didn’t die for a whole mass of people, but that he died for each of us individually: He died for me! Jesus, I want to be like the first disciples who loved you with an unrestrained love. I want to go out on a limb for you! I want to offer my life for the salvation of one soul, knowing full well that he might not choose you!

 

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, I know that you do not want me to be afraid of failure. I know that if I try my hardest for you, there will be no such thing. Please help me always to fight courageously in order to better myself for your glory.

 

Resolution: Today, when the opportunity presents itself, I will speak to someone about Christ.

Weekly Digest of the Regnum Christi Daily Meditations: November 12-19, 2023 Read More »

Weekly Digest of the Regnum Christi Daily Meditations: November 5-12, 2023