Daily Meditation: November 13, 2015

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Heart As Wide As the World

The awareness of being part of the communion of saints makes our hearts as wide as the world. The love with which we love is not just our love; it is the love of Jesus and his saints living in us. When the Spirit of Jesus lives in our hearts, all who have lived their lives in that Spirit live there too. Our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents; our teachers and their teachers; our pastors and their pastors; our spiritual guides and theirs – all the holy men and women who form that long line of love through history – are part of our hearts, where the Spirit of Jesus chooses to dwell.

The communion of saints is not just a network of connections between people. It is first and foremost the community of our hearts.

Henri J. M. Nouwen

Text excerpts taken from Bread for the Journey, by Henri J.M. Nouwen , © 1997 HarperSanFrancisco. All Scripture from The Jerusalem Bible ©1966, 1967, and 1968 Darton, Longman & Todd and Doubleday & Co. Inc. Photo by V. Dobson. Scripture chosen by L. Yeskoo.

 

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Daily Meditation: November 12, 2015

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In Memory of Jesus and the Saints

Belonging to the communion of saints means being connected with all people transformed by the Spirit of Jesus. This connection is deep and intimate. Those who have lived as brothers and sisters of Jesus continue to live within us, even though they have died, just as Jesus continues to live within us, even though <i>he</i> has died.

We live our lives in memory of Jesus and the saints, and this memory is a real presence. Jesus and his saints are part of our most intimate and spiritual knowledge of God. They inspire us, guide us, encourage us, and give us hope. They are the source of our constant transformation. Yes, we carry them in our bodies and thus keep them alive for all with whom we live and work.

Henri J. M. Nouwen

Text excerpts taken from Bread for the Journey, by Henri J.M. Nouwen , © 1997 HarperSanFrancisco. All Scripture from The Jerusalem Bible ©1966, 1967, and 1968 Darton, Longman & Todd and Doubleday & Co. Inc. Photo by V. Dobson. Scripture chosen by L. Yeskoo.

For further reflection…

“For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.” – 1 Peter 1: 23 (NIV)

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Daily Meditation: November 11, 2015

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The Large Network of God’s People

The saints are God’s holy people. The apostle Paul speaks about all those who belong to Christ as “holy people” or “saints.” He directs his letters to “those who have been consecrated in Christ Jesus and called to be God’s holy people” (1 Corinthians 1:2; see also Ephesians 1:1). This sanctity is the work of the Spirit of Jesus. Paul again says: “All of us, with our unveiled faces like mirrors reflecting the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the image that we reflect in brighter and brighter glory; this is the working of the Lord who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

As saints we belong to that huge network of God’s people that shines like a multitude of stars in the dark sky of the universe.

Henri J. M. Nouwen

Text excerpts taken from Bread for the Journey, by Henri J.M. Nouwen , © 1997 HarperSanFrancisco. All Scripture from The Jerusalem Bible ©1966, 1967, and 1968 Darton, Longman & Todd and Doubleday & Co. Inc. Photo by V. Dobson. Scripture chosen by L. Yeskoo.

For further reflection…

“With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith. We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” – 2 Thessalonians 1: 11, 12 (NIV)

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Daily Meditation: November 10, 2015

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Saints, People Like Us

Through baptism we become part of a family much larger than our biological family. It is a family of people “set apart” by God to be light in the darkness. These set-apart people are called saints. Although we tend to think about saints as holy and pious, and picture them with halos above their heads and ecstatic gazes, true saints are much more accessible. They are men and women like us, who live ordinary lives and struggle with ordinary problems. What makes them saints is their clear and unwavering focus on God and God’s people. Some of their lives may look quite different, but most of their lives are remarkably similar to our own.

The saints are our brothers and sisters, calling us to become like them.

Henri J. M. Nouwen

Text excerpts taken from Bread for the Journey, by Henri J.M. Nouwen , © 1997 HarperSanFrancisco. All Scripture from The Jerusalem Bible ©1966, 1967, and 1968 Darton, Longman & Todd and Doubleday & Co. Inc. Photo by V. Dobson. Scripture chosen by L. Yeskoo.

For further reflection…

“We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” – 1 Thessalonians 1: 3 (NIV)

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Daily Meditation: November 9, 2015

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The Saints Who Live Short Lives

As we see so many people die at a young age, through wars, starvation, AIDS, street violence, and physical and emotional neglect, we often wonder what the value of their short lives is. It seems that their journeys have been cut off before they could reach any of their goals, realise any of their dreams, or accomplish any of their tasks. But, short as their lives may have been, they belong to that immense communion of saints, from all times and all places, who stand around the throne of the Lamb dressed in white robes proclaiming the victory of the crucified Christ (see Revelation 7:9).

The story of the innocent children murdered by King Herod in his attempt to destroy Jesus (see Matthew 2:13-18), reminds us that saintliness is not just for those who lived long and hardworking lives. These children, and many who died young, are as much witnesses to Jesus as those who accomplished heroic deeds.

Henri J. M. Nouwen

Text excerpts taken from Bread for the Journey, by Henri J.M. Nouwen , © 1997 HarperSanFrancisco. All Scripture from The Jerusalem Bible ©1966, 1967, and 1968 Darton, Longman & Todd and Doubleday & Co. Inc. Photo by V. Dobson. Scripture chosen by L. Yeskoo.

For further reflection…

But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”- Matthew 14: 30, 31 (NIV)

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Daily Meditation: November 8, 2015

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The Communion of Saints

We often limit the Church to the organisation of people who identify themselves clearly as its members. But the Church as all people belonging to Christ, as that body of witnesses who reveal the living Christ, reaches far beyond the boundaries of any human institution. As Jesus himself said: The Spirit “blows where it pleases” (John 3:8). The Spirit of Jesus can touch hearts wherever it wants; it is not restrained by any human limits.

There is a communion of saints witnessing to the risen Christ that reaches to the far ends of the world and even farther. It embraces people from long ago and far away. It is that immense community of men and women who through words and deeds have proclaimed and are proclaiming the Lordship of Jesus.

Henri J. M. Nouwen

Text excerpts taken from Bread for the Journey, by Henri J.M. Nouwen , © 1997 HarperSanFrancisco. All Scripture from The Jerusalem Bible ©1966, 1967, and 1968 Darton, Longman & Todd and Doubleday & Co. Inc. Photo by V. Dobson. Scripture chosen by L. Yeskoo.

For further reflection…

“For none of us lives to our self alone and none of us dies to our self alone. If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.” – Romans 14: 7, 8 (NIV)

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Daily Meditation: November 7, 2015

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Telling the Story of Jesus

The Church is called to announce the Good News of Jesus to all people and all nations. Besides the many works of mercy by which the Church must make Jesus’ love visible, it must also joyfully announce the great mystery of God’s salvation through the life, suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus. The story of Jesus is to be proclaimed and celebrated. Some will hear and rejoice, some will remain indifferent, some will become hostile. The story of Jesus will not always be accepted, but it must be told.

We who know the story and try to live it out, have the joyful task of telling it to others. When our words rise from hearts full of love and gratitude, they will bear fruit, whether we can see this or not.

Henri J. M. Nouwen

Text excerpts taken from Bread for the Journey, by Henri J.M. Nouwen , © 1997 HarperSanFrancisco. All Scripture from The Jerusalem Bible ©1966, 1967, and 1968 Darton, Longman & Todd and Doubleday & Co. Inc. Photo by V. Dobson. Scripture chosen by L. Yeskoo.

For further reflection…

“And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me — the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.” – Acts 20: 22, 24 (NIV)

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