Family, God is so good. We have been racking our brains trying to give you some really meaningful gifts from the Lord for this Christmas season. As it turns out, we read Conversations With God, a meditation book by Francisco Fernandez, of Opus Dei, founded by St. Jose Escriva. There are two teachings we want to share with you, which we believe you will agree constitute two of the greatest gifts the Lord could give you.
The teaching for Monday of the 30th week in Ordinary Time was from St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians, Chapter 4, verse 4 through 8. It’s as if the Lord guided our hands to this section of the Bible. It’s one of the most beautiful as well as powerful teachings of St. Paul. Let us share it with you.
“Rejoice in the Lord always.
I shall say it again, Rejoice!
Your kindness should be known to all.
The Lord is near.
Have no anxiety at all, but in everything
By prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,
Make your requests known to God.
Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding,
Will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers (and sisters) whatever is true
Whatever is honorable, whatever is just,
Whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious,
If there is any excellence, and if there is anything worthy of praise,
Think about these things.
Keep on doing what you have learned and received,
And heard and seen in me.
Then the God of Peace will be with you.”
The second gift the Lord wanted us to share with you came in the teaching for the next day, Tuesday of the 30th week. The title of the teaching is “The Glory of the Children of God. The first paragraph reads “Our sense of Divine Filiation. We thought we knew the meaning of the word from our study of Latin in school. But to be sure, we checked on the Dictionary definition of Filiation. The meaning they gave us was
The Fact of being a child of a certain Parent.
Then the teaching began. From Psalm 2:7, we are taught:
I will proclaim the decree of the Lord Who said to me, “You are My son, today I have begotten you.”
“Today speaks of eternity. It is the today of the intimate life of God, the ‘today’ of eternity, the ‘today’ of the Most Holy and ineffable Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.” (Pope John Paul II)
According to its definition, Filiation requires an equality of nature.
Then the author takes us to the Prologue to St. John’s Gospel, John 1:12-13.
But to all who received Him, who believed in His Name, He gave power to become Children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of flesh, nor the will of man, but of God.
St. Athanasius expanded on this.
“The Son of God became man, so that the sons of men, the sons of Adam, might become sons of God. He (Jesus) is the Son of God by His nature. We are Sons of God by grace.”
St. John wrote “See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. (1John 3:1)
St. Paul touches on it “For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.”
Then he teaches of the fullness of this adoption “So through God you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son then an heir.” (Gal 4:7)
And for us, the culmination of this truth is borne out by St. Paul’s writing to the Romans (Romans 8:29-30)
“For those He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the Image of His Son, so that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those He predestined, He also called; and those He called, He also justified; and those He justified, He also glorified.”
Praise You Jesus! We are sons and daughters of God. We have been predestined; we have been called; we have been justified; we shall be glorified.
Family, we could not have created any words, any prose or poetry which would come anywhere near what we wish for you this Christmas Season. The world has all but destroyed all the joyful traditions that we have held onto from the time we were children. We need something to hang onto, something which will give us joy and peace this Christmas Season. Things might not always turn out the way we expect. We ourselves always have great expectations of how Christmas is going to be in any given year. And then it never works out the way we fantasized. But our thinking was of the world, not of God. No matter how many Christmas commercials tempt us to dream about what will make us happy, no matter how many times we watch “Miracle on 34th Street” or James Stewart in “A Wonderful Life”, at the end of the day on Christmas night, it’s always somewhat of a disappointment when the day is done and it did not turn out as we had dreamed. It’s at that time, when the world has not given us what we want for Christmas, that we have to turn to the Scripture Passages the Lord has given us from the Saints. Reading those passages, gently covered in the warmth and comfort we will get from the knowledge that the God of peace is always with us, we can breathe a sigh of relief, and fall gently into a Christmas sleep of the innocence. Thank you dear Lord Jesus, and thank you St. Paul, St. John and Blessed John Paul II. And from all of us here to all of you there, we wish you nothing but the peace and joy that is Christmas to live in your hearts this year and all the years of your life. We love you!
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