Home Essentials – Obedience

Note to self:

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The most important rule of a well-regulated family, of a family founded on love and unity, is that the children show an unbounded trust in and obedience to their parents. Jesus practiced this for thirty years in Nazareth for we hear nothing of Him but that ‘he was subject to them,’that is, He did what He was told.

from “The Joy in Loving” by Mother Teresa.

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Home Essentials – Peace

Today’s post is about uncertainty.

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I’m sure that, at one time or another, almost everyone has contemplated the thought of Mary’s uncertainty, as she travelled to Bethlehem on that first Christmas, two thousand years ago.

She was expecting her first child, a poor young woman with no resources, except her faithful husband and faithful God. Many of us have wondered what it would be like to arrive in an unfamiliar town and have nowhere to stay, and then to actually go into labour that night, with no midwife or doctor, no clean bed, and most of our baby’s requirements left at home. (Mary had swaddling clothes, so maybe that is a little like us being able to grab some disposables from the 7-11.)

But, the truth is, that we all have very uncertain lives. We literally don’t know what tomorrow will bring. We have no idea when we will be called to leave this world. We can ‘read the signs of the times’ and get a feel for events moving into place around us, but as for the exact circumstances of tomorrow, or even later today, or even five minutes’ time, well, who knows?

God does, of course.

The Bible is filled with stories, amazing stories, of the uncertainty of men and women and the faithfulness of their God.

The Apostles were no strangers to uncertainty, even though they lived with Jesus, day in and day out. It may seem surprising to be reading about Jesus’ Last Supper during this time of Advent, but, Jesus’ words on that night are really the crux of His mission on earth and show us the certainty that He promised to give us to replace the uncertainty always present in our lives.

Jesus promised us peace. He never assured us that we will experience wealth, happiness (as in always getting everything we desire), stability, good health, freedom from war and tyranny. Some of His followers do experience blessings; some are freely given, some are given as an answer to much prayer, some are given miraculously, but none of those blessings are guaranteed.

Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. ” John 14:27.

It was peace that marked the lives of Mary and Joseph, as they passed through their many trials. It was peace that the shepherds experienced, when they arrives at the humble shelter to honour the baby Jesus. And it is peace that the world craves – the world will not be converted with an intellectual argument; if that were so, then we would have no atheists today. When we have peace, true peace, not a false acceptance of error or sin, and when we live that peace, then not only can we cope with whatever life throws our way, but we also learn to listen, to better help our children, to make good decisions, to discern the Will of God, to have dialogue with other Christians, to build bridges.

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Words of Wisdom from John Paul II

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This is an extract from an Advent meditation taken from “Prayers and Devotions” by Pope John Paul II and edited by Bishop Peter Canisius Johannes van Lierde:

Saint Joseph of Nazareth was a “just man.” It was said to his credit, “as justice,” that he believed in “the God who gives life to the dead and calls into existence things which do not yet exist.”

That happened at the decisive moment for the history of salvation, when God, the eternal Father, “sent His Son into the world” to accomplish the promise made to Abraham.

It was exactly then that the faith of Joseph of Nazareth was manifested. It showed itself to be up to the measure of the faith of Abraham.

It was manifested even more when “the Word of the Living God became flesh in Mary,” the Spouse of Joseph; by the announcement of the angel, “she was with child through the power of the Holy Spirit.” The faith of St. Joseph was bound to be manifested “before the mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God.

Then it was indeed that Joseph of Nazareth underwent the great proof of his faith, just as Abraham had seen his faith tried. And now Joseph, “the just man,” believed in Him who “calls into existence things which do not yet exist.”

In fact, God Himself, through the power of the Holy Spirit, called into existence the humanity which was that proper to the only begotten Son of God, the Father’s Eternal Word, in the womb of the Virgin of Nazareth, Mary, the bride promised to Joseph.

And Joseph of Nazareth believed in God: “Joseph, Son of David, have no fear about taking Mary as your wife. It is by the Holy Spirit that she has conceived this child.” Joseph took Mary to himself- and That which had been engendered in her.

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