Sunday, December 19, 2010

Father Corapi: Do Not Waste Time Or Opportunities This Christmas!

“Be Thankful For The Bread Of Life Who Was Laid In A Manger”

Another Christmas is here. I don’t know about you, but with each passing season I think more of my mortality, and wonder how many Christmas days or any days are left in my allotted time in this life. One of the greatest sorrows, I believe, is to have missed opportunities, to have wasted time. When we think of the unfathomable gift of God’s only Son given to us as a Gift surpassing all gifts, we have to take a moment or two to be thankful. Some days it’s more difficult to be thankful than others. Every November I speak and/or write about our American holiday of Thanksgiving, reminding myself and others of the need to be thankful. Then a few weeks later along comes Christmas. Jesus, the Bread of Life, is laid in a manger (a place where food is placed by higher creatures for lower creatures). Mary, the Mother of the Eucharist, performs this sacred act. It all takes place in Bethlehem, a word that means “House of Bread.”

Eucharist is a word that basically means “thanksgiving” or “to give thanks.” So, every year after Thanksgiving I recall that the ultimate thanks to the Father is Jesus in the Eucharist. This miracle of thanksgiving is foreshadowed in a mysterious way at Christmas when the Mother of Thanksgiving (the Eucharist) lays her only Son (the Bread of Life) in a manger (place where food is set) in the House of Bread (Bethlehem).

For a sad and somewhat mysterious reason an incredible amount of sadness and depression descends upon no small number of people during the holidays. I don’t know if it’s the Devil’s revenge, or just a natural emotional response of millions of people who once knew the warmth of a family and traditional values, but now feel isolated, desolate, lonely, and alienated. More than 50% of marriages end in divorce, and the fragments of broken families are strewn far and wide over the landscape of modern society. We do the best we can, but even I have to admit the holidays are a challenge. Some years I have to consciously and strenuously ignore the secular facet of the holidays and look only at the religious and spiritual. You might say that’s what we expect of a priest. You wouldn’t be wrong, but you have to remember priests are just as human as anyone else.

This year, for the first time in ten years, I will celebrate Christmas without old Sage, my loyal and loving Chesapeake Bay Retriever. There will be one red bow less to put on dogs’ collars, and the empty space in the house and around the house still aches without his presence. Yet, we give thanks for all things great and small, for all creatures great and small, for all blessings and gifts, great and small. Especially we thank God our Father for the greatest gift of all–the gift of His only Son, Jesus in the Eucharist. Emmanuel, God is with us, at Christmas, and forever.

God Bless You,

Father John Corapi, SOLT

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The Apostle, St. John tells us exactly how to recognize the spirit of truth from the spirit of falsehood. He says "as for them, they are of the world - and the world listens to them because they speak the language of the world. But we are children of God and those who know God: LISTEN TO US. Those who are not of God REFUSE TO LISTEN TO US. That is how we can tell the spirit of truth from the spirit of falsehood." ~1 John 4:6 [The "us" to whom St. John refers are the Apostles, and their successors the Bishops.]

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Prayer to avoid the Sin of PRIDE:
“Oh My Jesus help me to avoid the sin of pride when I speak in Your Name. Forgive me if I ever belittle anyone in Your holy Name. Help me to listen Jesus when Your Voice is spoken and fill me with Your Holy Spirit so that I can discern the truth of Your Word when You call out to mankind. Amen.”

A prayer of St. Teresa of Avila:
O my God! Source of all mercy! I acknowledge Your sovereign power. While recalling the wasted years that are past, I believe that You, Lord, can in an instant turn this loss to gain. Miserable as I am, yet I firmly believe that You can do all things. Please restore to me the time lost, giving me Your grace, both now and in the future, that I may appear before You in "wedding garments." Amen.

“My children, let your speech be chosen with great care—it must be a light in the world. Know and believe that all you say has repercussions in time and eternity. Therefore, choose your words with wisdom and prudence, choosing to remain silent rather than fill the air with useless chatter or worse, gossip or virulent speech. Let your speech be a perfect mirror of your peaceful heart, a heart firmly grounded in the love of God and in complete trust in His goodness. Silence is often the more virtuous path. Bridle your tongue and you will be working for peace in the world.”

In the Name of Jesus I renounce as lies all thoughts that enter my mind from the evil one who accuses. By the authority of Jesus, I command them to leave me. I consecrate my mind to God for transformation into His Thoughts for my protection, salvation and His glory.



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Just a Note:

Through the grace of God and many prayers, I survived a double surgery (with cancer) in the fall of 2008. Since then has becoming increasingly important to me to enhance my prayer life. I have taken on the task of praying for strangers and those with little hope and much adversity. To that end, I've also begun (July '09), to make rosaries and related items to put prayer into the hands of as many as I can that will PRAY for others.

The world is at the precipice ... we need to TAKE ACTION ... NOW. Time for fence sitting is quickly coming to an end. We all need to do what ever we can in the way of PRAYER & PENANCE to beg God's Grace upon humanity that we may shake away this sinfulness and pride to get back on the road that leads to heaven and our Glorious Triune God!

After you have made a decision that is pleasing to God, the devil may try to make you have second thoughts. Intensify your prayer time, meditation, and good deeds. For if satan's temptations merely cause you to increase your efforts to grow in holiness, he'll have an incentive to leave you alone.
~St. Ignatius of Loyola