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Blessed

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The Scriptural account of the encounter between Mary and her cousin Elizabeth, is celebrated on the Feast of the Visitation. The meeting of the Old and New Testament represented in these blessed women gives us a glimpse  of the power of God, who brings new life to them in their anticipated sons to be born. It was difficult to envision the tremendous joy that the two experienced until I came across this more recent image. Their joy is contagious. Jesus is in their midst, and these two women truly know they are blessed.

Have you ever thought about the word blessed and its meaning? I have recently meditated on it. For me, it is the belief that we are chosen by his love and surrounded by his presence every moment. When we realize how we are blessed, each of us in our own ways, we begin to see the hand of God in our lives and how his love sustains us. At times this can be challenging.

While the prayer after communion invites us to recognize the presence of Christ among us in the Eucharist, we must remember that the presence of Christ is also discovered in others. He asks us to serve him by serving others. Mary's service to Elizabeth by her visit remains a model for the Christian who wishes to meet Christ in daily life. This is a wonderful challenge for you and me; namely, to seek Christ in others, to know that Christ is living in them, and to become aware of how Christ is transforming them. Let us make each day extraordinary by Mary's example. You are blessed. I am blessed. Let us live that reality.

A Supernatural Way of Living

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Are you ready to die? This was the question the professor silently wrote on the chalkboard the first evening of my formation class in servant leadership. My thoughts ran immediately to answer, “Well, I’m certainly not ready yet!” As it turns out, he wasn’t referring to a physical death, but rather an orientation of the heart to be willing to do the Lord’s will. He was really asking us if we were willing to die into Christ, His Church, and His Mission.

Jesus models for each of us how He, as the good shepherd, lays down his own life for each of us, His sheep. Offering our owns lives for the love of others is Jesus’ vocational request for each one of us. This is not a skill to be perfected with practice, or a natural human attribute that only some of us are given, but rather a supernatural way of living through the power of grace that each of us is destined for.

 

Epiphanies of God

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By definition, Epiphany means an appearance or manifestation, particularly of a divine being. God breaks into the everyday life of His people, manifested in the person of Jesus. 

The story of the Magi arriving in Jerusalem looking for the newborn king of the Jews is only found in the Gospel of Matthew. The term "magi" may refer to a group of astrologers from Persia or the East. They are neither referred to as kings nor being three in number. It as common belief in ancient times that a new star appeared at the birth of a great figure. We are told that the Magi brought gifts. Gold, appropriate for a king, yet given to the one who gives the kingdom "to the poor in spirit." Frankincense, an expensive perfume for the one who tells us "the meek shall inherit the earth." Myrrh, a traditional herb used in burial preparations, foretelling of Christ's suffering and death. 

Two thousand years have passed since that first Epiphany. Is the star that led the Magi still burning brightly in our lives? How does God manifest Himself to us today? We need only look to ourselves. We make God present to others. The God we cannot see shines through the love of those we can see. Sometimes that star is profound and easily recognized, while other times it may be subtle and difficult to see. In making God's love present to others, we become Epiphanies of God...shining stars that lead one another to Christ...we become Christ, each one for the sake of all.

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