4 Dec
1st Week in Advent
St John Damascene, Priest & doctor
Is. 11:1-10
Ps. 72:1-2.7-8.12-13.17
Lk. 10:21-24
How To Pray With Shalom
Home Page of Shalom
Index of This Month

The magnificent passage from Isaiah gives a marvellous description of the personality and character of the expected Messiah. It describes in a wonderful way the person of Jesus, who is that Messiah, who is the human incarnation of God living among us and as one of us. He is 'a shoot ... from the stock of Jesse'. Jesse was the father of King David and Jesus, as Messiah, is the new King, not just of Israel but of people everywhere. He judges people, not by appearances or by the prevailing prejudices that we all have, but with integrity and justice - and above all, love. When he truly enters our lives, he brings to an end all hostility between people and indeed in the animal world. He is the Prince of Peace as people set aside their fears, hates, prejudices and anger and learn to see in each other their common origins in a loving God. How sad that Jesus and his message are still unknown by so many! And, as Jesus says in the Gospel, how fortunate are those who have learnt to see who Jesus really is and have understood and accepted his message. It is not a cause for boasting or arrogance but for humble and wondering gratitude. Why me and not them? And it urges us to even greater efforts to reveal Jesus to more and more people.

As we prepare to welcome You at Christmas, Lord, help us to be aware of our responsibility to make Your message known by the way we speak and act.

Eternal Father, I offer You everything I do this day; my thoughts, words, joys and sufferings. Grant that, vivified by the Holy Spirit and united to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, my life this day may be of service to You and to others. I also pray that all those preparing for marriage discover in Sacrament the source of Christ's grace for living a fithful and fruitful love. Amen.

That Christians may free themselves from the subtle forms of cultural conditioning which prevent them from recognising the dignity and rights of others

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P R A Y I N G    W I T H    T H E    C H U R C H    

INTENTION : That Christians may free themselves from the subtle forms of cultural conditioning which prevent them from recognising the dignity and rights of others

Our vocation and mission as Christians is to bring the light of Christ to the world in order to preserve the world from corruption by permeating it with the values of the Gospel. We need, ourselves, first and foremost to be enlightened by Christ. We do not generate light, we only refract, reflect and radiate. It is His light that we must cast on the world. The more transparent our lives are with the values of the Gospel, the better is the light of Christ reflected and the less we are seen.

The world in which we live is mixed with wheat and weeds. There is good and evil. Consumerism is but the logical sequence of a materialistic way of life. Spiritual values are forgotten. Our wants are made to appear as our needs and we are forced to get so immersed in the joys of this world as to forget the joys of the world to come. We are admonished to be aware lest we be trapped by these and other forms of cultural conditioning that mark this world.

Awareness is the first step to change. We pray that this awareness may help us to be delivered from the cultural conditioning that hinders and hampers our vision and prevents us from recognising the dignity and the rights of others.

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