How to Cultivate the Flame of Love

The Flame of Love is a gift of pure grace from God the Father, merited through the wounds of Christ, that were obtained by the plea of a Perfect Mother. It is gift for these times so that satan will be blinded and many souls will be saved.  It is from the love within our transformed hearts that we want to share these graces with our families, friends, and church community. The Flame of Love is truly shared heart to heart. 

But how do we get people on The Ark, “on board” with the radical and powerful promises of The Flame of Love and not become frustrated or weary when they turn away?

Is it all about the numbers? Well, yes and no.

“I know that many will fall again, but if I see you are not going astray as you distance yourselves from Me, I can quickly raise you from your prostration since My divine hand is close to you. Then, as I raise you, the sin falls away instantly and you become lighter again. Gratitude is all I want in return. Tell Me just one word: ‘Thanks.’
You ask, ‘How often?’ Every time I raise you! Surely, this is the least you can do. However, if you thank Me for others, then you are well engaged on the road of progress. Also, My Elizabeth, I want you to pray so the number of repentant and grateful souls may grow from day to day.”

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The Flame of Love is still relatively new to the Church. Even the simple added petition to the Hail Mary can cause people to back away. But persevere in prayer and give thanks for the souls that Jesus and Mary bring. The Flame of Love is shared heart to heart and this love and unity of purpose binds us together in a sacred oneness. So while we share it with great zeal, don’t be too concerned about the number of people who respond, only that you persevere in sharing these graces. May our hands gather in UNITY and may we ask and pray for the gift of fortitude and gratitude.

Make Reparation

Try and enter more deeply into the commitment of the Weekly Agenda, our apostolic works in the Flame of Love, which Jesus has given to help order our week and make reparation for souls. Be creative in ways to sacrifice for love of Jesus.

“Always give Me new and abundant sacrifices. I am sowing in your soul the seed of My graces, My holy doctrine. Cultivate it in your soul by your prayers, mortifications, and a continual acceptance of sacrifices. Do not forget how painful for Me is the fate of the seeds that fall by the roadside.”

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“On Thursday and Friday, I ask you, my daughter, to offer a very special reparation to my Divine Son. This will be an hour for the family to make reparation. Begin this hour with a spiritual reading, followed by the Rosary or other prayers in an atmosphere of recollection and fervor.

Let there be at least two or three, because My Divine Son is present where two or three are gathered. Start making the sign of the Cross five times offering yourselves to the Eternal Father through the wounds of my Divine Son. Do the same at the conclusion. Sign yourselves this way when you get up and when you go to bed, and during the day. This will bring you closer to the Eternal Father through my Divine Son, filling your heart with graces.”

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Learn about the Flame of Love Holy Hour and begin in your home or small group if you are not involved in a cenacle.

Be a Light

When we have the Flame of Love alive in our hearts, we become partakers of the Divine Nature of Christ Himself, we become united with Him. Others will see it and they will want it! The National Spiritual Advisor, Monsignor Chieffo, shares that what attracted him to the Flame of Love was the witness of those who had been devoted to it in his parish. He saw the light of Jesus. Father Mike Davis shares this…

“Family members are distressed because they have distanced themselves from a relationship with God, who has made each of us for Himself.  Her (Mary’s) lived faith is a beacon which is brighter and potentially more inviting to her family members when she possesses peace, since nothing is impossible with God, as Mother Mary had learned during the Annunciation.”

Fr Mike Davis

So by our witness, they will see the warmth of the Flame, Jesus Christ.

The Power of the Personal Invitation

Ask, invite, ask again, and repeat. And please do also include your pastor with a personal invitation to join you in a Flame of Love cenacle.

“Trust. I have always told you that whatever you ask for in confidence, consider you have already received it. Do you think that if you asked Me for souls, I would not grant them to you? May our hands gather in unity. Ask! Never grow tired of asking and desiring for Me. If large numbers were asking, how many would be converted. All of you have been called to My work of Salvation, fathers and mothers, learned and ignorant, the well and the sick. All can work for Me, the free man and the one suffering in prison. What is important is the availability of the soul and the spiritual freedom which constitutes the culture of the soul. Especially the sick, yes, in truth, these can fly on the wings of absolute trust in Me. With a single request, they can obtain a massive conversion of souls.”

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And If All Else Fails, Bring Food.

Awww, yes, refreshments! Break some bread, incorporate all the Flame of Love prayers into your cenacle, and ask questions from those who attend. Hospitality is becoming a lost virtue, so make the Flame of Love cenacle reflective of what it really is, a refuge for weary hearts.

A Flame of Love Prayer cenacle is like heaven on earth…

“They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. And all the believers were together and had all things in common;  and they would sell their property and possessions and share them with all, to the extent that anyone had need.  Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart,  praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.”

Acts 2:42-47

Be sure to register your Flame of Love Cenacle HERE so that others can find your cenacle and join!

The Flame of Love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary: An Abundance of Grace for Our Time

The Flame of Love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is a devotion that began through a humble widow with 6 children named Elizabeth Kindelmann (1913-1985), who lived in Budapest, Hungary during the height of communism. She began receiving interior locutions from Our Lady and Our Lord 60 years ago in 1961 and they continued until a few years before her death in 1985.

The primary desire of the two hearts is to form an army of willing prayer warriors to stand in the gap for our brothers and sisters through a weekly regime of prayer, fasting and sacrifices. Through this devotion, specific prayers have been given that have the power to blind Satan. By engaging in spiritual combat using these weapon, we can free our brothers and sisters from temptations posed to them by the evil one, helping them to avoid sin, become freed from the snares that have already enslaved them and turn to Jesus for forgiveness. On several occasions, Our Lord told Elizabeth, “The grace from the Flame of Love of My Mother’s Immaculate Heart will be to your generation what Noah’s Ark was to his generation.” One of the most comforting promises that Mary gave for those who join her special fighting force is that they will see the fruit of their efforts while still here on earth.

What are some of the fruits that have already resulted from the Flame of Love grace? The growth of the movement is a fruit itself. What began with a single, poor, humble, widow and one willing priest (12 were invited, only one accepted) in Hungary 60 years ago has grown to a worldwide movement of hundreds of thousands in a matter of only a few years (Bishop Erdo of Hungary only made his official proclamation giving blessing to this movement in 2009). In the United States, the movement began at the kitchen table of the current US National Director’s home with herself and 3 others in 2013. Only 8 years later, the US Flame of Love has grown to tens in not hundreds of thousands and is growing by leaps and bounds every single day. There are also very strong connections between many of Mary’s other apparitions and the Flame of Love (see https://flameoflove.us for more information about these connections.

Members attest to unmistakable callings from Mary to join the ranks of her children in praying for those who are in most need of the mercy of God and to serve as eyewitnesses to great miracles that have resulted through their efforts to spread this Holy Flame (which is Jesus Himself). Take the story of Patti Schwartz, who now serves as the director of the Spanish outreach for the Flame of Love in the United States and as regional director for Florida. Of Hispanic descent, Patti was and still is an avid devotee of Our Lady of Guadalupe. A teacher for 24 years, she began her work for Our Lady in New York where she used to take the traveling image of Our Lady of Guadalupe to various parishes in the evenings and speak about her. She did this for 4 years and then read the book by Father Michael Gaitley called 33 Days to Morning Glory, a 33-day spiritual retreat and consecration to our Lady based on the spiritual wisdom of such giants as St. Maximillian Kolbe, St Louis de Monforte, St John Paul II, and St Mother Teresa. Her humble beginnings led to speaking about Our Lady to 29 different groups during this period of service. But Our Lady had something else in mind. One day during a visit of the pilgrim image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patti saw the eyes on the image look at her and heard Our Lady say in her heart, “Would you like to be my ambassador?” Patti wasn’t sure what that meant at that moment, but she answered with a generous heart, saying “Of course, Mother, I want to be your ambassador.”

Mary introduced Patti to the Flame of Love and soon she became coordinator for New York State. Mary asked her to retire from her job. Then one day, the visitation of the traveling image of Our Lady of Guadalupe got canceled at a nearby parish so Patti arranged to host the image at her house and hold a luncheon in honor of Our Lady. Her husband had always wanted to move to Florida and that very day, he received a good offer for his business and sold it, allowing them to move to Florida. Patti knew Our Lady was behind this move.

One of the first miracles Patti witnessed through the Flame of Love was a miraculous pregnancy in a young woman who had been trying to conceive a child for ten years. She had spent huge sums of money and had undergone many treatments and procedures all of which failed. Patti met this woman in a church and invited her to come to a Flame of Love conference being held that weekend at the Shrine of the North American Martyrs. She gave the woman her contact information and offered to drive her to the conference. When Saturday came, shortly before Patti was about to leave, the woman called saying she was lost on her way to Patti’s home. She got there just in time to leave for the conference. After attending, they formed a Flame of Love prayer cenacle together. After praying for less than one month, the woman became pregnant! She told Patti her story then, explaining that when Patti had approached her, she was lighting a candle at the feet of a statue of Our Lady, offering up her efforts to conceive and leaving that desire in Our Lady’s hands. She named her daughter Grace, in honor of the grace of the Flame of Love she received to enable her to conceive. When someone chooses to help Our Lady spread the Flame of Love, she responds with great generosity!

A second example of Our Lady’s intercession occurred at St John the Evangelist Church. A woman named Debbie came to the little gathering of 6 people: Patti, the priest, Debbie, and 3 others. Debbie had been suffering for a long time from cancer. Her physical distress was evident from her weak appearance and the presence of bandages up and down her arms. Her hair was gone. She was in obvious pain. Debbie began praying the Flame of Love Rosary with Patti and within that year, her illness got progressively better, little by little. Debbie is now cured and took over for Patti in New York when she left for Florida.

There are many others who work to spread Our Lady’s Flame of Love who tell of similar stories of outward and inward miracles and workings of grace in the hearts, minds, and souls of those who are touched by the Flame of Love. Rebecca, a former nun who had to leave the convent because she tuberculosis tells of an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe whose glance also penetrated her very being, and a heavenly encounter with a young woman named Rena (Queen) in a street shop in Mexico near the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe. And the story of Mary B. who actually witnessed a shining Flame of Love appear at the base of the Eucharistic Host as a witness that Our little Flame of Love that Mary enkindles in our hearts is enfolded within the Eucharistic Heart of Our Lord. Here is a photo of this reality.

To learn more about the above miracles associated with the Flame of Love grace, listen to the following accounts from the recent national conference: Flame of Love – July 30 – Aug 1 – Zoom

To learn more about the Flame of Love devotion, to join a prayer cenacle, or to learn about the Spiritual Diary of Elizabeth Kindelmann go to https://flameoflove.us

My Adorable Jesus:
May our feet journey together,
May our hands gather in unity,
May our hearts beat in unison,
May our souls be in harmony,
May our thoughts be as one,
May our ears listen to the silence together,
May our glances profoundly penetrate each other,
May our lips pray together to obtain mercy from the Eternal Father.

WEEK FOUR OF LENT – SATURDAY – MARCH 20, 2021 THE GROWING OPPOSITION (Jn 7:40-53)

Prayer:

O Jesus, never let me oppose you. 

Imagination:

Picture Jesus preaching in the Temple. 

Context:

Jesus has divided the crowd. Some think he is the Messiah and others say the Messiah must come from Bethlehem, the City of David. (John’s community knew that Jesus was born in Bethlehem). The question is about Jesus’ divine origin and this text unfolds the great debate.

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.) 

Some who heard Jesus’ words said, “This is indeed the prophet.” Others said, “This is the Christ.” Some however, asked “Does the Christ come from Galilee? Does not the scripture say that the Christ is from the seed of David and from Bethlehem where David lived?” So a dissension arose because of Jesus. Some would even have apprehended him but no one laid hands on him. 

When the temple guards came in, the chief priests and the Pharisees asked them, “Why did you not bring him in?” They said, “Never has anyone spoken as he did.” The Pharisees asked, “Have you, also, been taken in? Do you see any members of the Sanhedrin or of the Pharisees believing in him? Only this crowd which knows nothing about the law – and they are lost, anyway!” 

Nicodemus, one of their own (who had spoken with Jesus) said, “Does our law judge a man without speaking with him and learning the facts?” They taunted him, “Are you also a Galilean? Search the scriptures. You will not find the prophet coming from Galilee.” Then, each went off to his own home. 

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)

  1. Some grasp the truth. Jesus is the prophet and the Messiah. 
  2. Others find difficulties, as if Jesus does not fulfill the prophecies. 
  3. Still others plot to kill Jesus. 
  4. The guards are honest. Jesus’ words touched their hearts and they would not arrest him. 
  5. Their refusal stiffens the resistance of the temple leadership. 
  6. Nicodemus also speaks up but cannot pierce their darkness. 
  7. Because their hearts are divided, they separate and go home. 

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)

  • O Jesus, you are the prophet, the messiah, all that I could ever hope for. 
  • Without you, my whole life is divided. 
  • O Jesus, give me an honest heart to make the right decisions. 
  • Break down all my walls of resistance so I can follow you. 
  • Send your messengers to instruct me and to show me the true path. 
  • Pierce my heart, Jesus. Plant your word. 
  • I do not want to walk away and return to a life without any purpose. 

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)

+ Today, in the quiet of my heart, I will proclaim Jesus as my Messiah. 

+ I will be aware of any hardness of my heart. 

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation.) 

No one has ever spoken like this before. 

WEEK THIRTY THREE – MONDAY – NOVEMBER 16, 2020 THE BLIND BEGGAR (LK 18:35-43)

Prayer: O Jesus, let me cry out to you in great hope.


Imagination: (Picture Jesus and the crowd with a beggar by the roadside.)

Context:
This journey to Jerusalem began with Jesus healing a blind man and culminates with another healing of blindness. This contrasts with the disciples’ growing blindness about Jesus’ death in Jerusalem. They do not grasp his predictions of his passion. This blind man saw and
followed Jesus to Jerusalem.


Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)
As Jesus drew near to Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the wayside, begging. Hearing the crowd go by, the man asked, “What is that?” When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he cried out, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me”. The crowd told him to be silent but he
cried out even more, “Son of David, have mercy on me.”
Jesus halted and commanded that he be brought near. When he had come close, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” “Lord, I want to see” said the blind man.
Jesus said, “Receive your sight, your faith has healed you.” He saw immediately and followed Jesus on the way, giving God the glory. All the people saw this and they, too, gave glory to God.



Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder those that attract you.)

  1. This beggar is at a severe disadvantage. He is blind, sits by the wayside, and does not even know what is happening.
  2. However, his blindness prepares him for this moment.
  3. He grasps quickly that Jesus is his only ray of hope.
  4. When Jesus summons him, the crowd changes its opinion. His crying out was the right thing to do.
  5. He knows the desire of his heart – to see again.
  6. With his sight restored, he sees the face of Jesus.
  7. His heart tells him to follow Jesus “up the road” to Jerusalem.
  8. What a day for the beggar! He becomes a disciple who gains the Kingdom.
    Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)
  9. Jesus, my limitations are really favors. My heart stays with you.
  10. Lord, come close to me today.
  11. O Spirit of Jesus, whisper within my soul, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.”
  12. Fill me with hope and I will cry out to you, Lord.
  13. Jesus, You will hear and you will ask “What is it that I can do for you?”
  14. Everything, Lord! Bless me and I will “follow you on the way.”
    Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)
  15. I will be attentive today to Jesus’ presence.
  16. I will have great hope that Jesus hears my every prayer.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)
What do you want me to do for you?

WEEK TWO -SUNDAY – (A) – JANUARY 19, 2020 FAILING TO RECOGNIZE JESUS (JN 1:29-34)

Prayer: – O Jesus, come to me. When you come, help me to recognize you.
Imagination: (Picture John at the Jordan River, seeing Jesus among the crowd.)
Context:
John never describes Jesus getting baptized. Instead, the Baptist recognizes Jesus and introduces him to the world as the Lamb of God. Twice, The Baptist admits that he did not recognize Jesus, even though that was his divine call.
Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)
The next day, John saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold the Lamb of God. Behold him who takes away the sin of the world. About him, I have said, ‘after me comes someone who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’ I did not recognize him, even though the very reason I was baptizing with water was to reveal him to Israel.”
John also gave this testimony, “I saw the Spirit descend as a dove from heaven and it came to rest upon him. I did not recognize him even though the one who sent me to baptize with water had said to me, “On whomever you see the Spirit descend and remain upon, he is the one who will baptize in the Holy Spirit.”
Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder those that attract you.)
6. God had prepared John well for his task. He knew what he was supposed to do.
7. Although Jesus had spent some time with John, he never realized that Jesus was the Lamb of God.
8. Suddenly, he receives a divine revelation. Supernatural wisdom helps him to realize Jesus’ identity.
9. John fulfills his task. He tells the world that Jesus is the Lamb of God, who will take away the sins of the world.
10. Jesus accomplishes that by sending his Holy Spirit after his Ascension.
Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)
6. Jesus, prepare me for my task in your Kingdom.
7. How often you are close to me and I do not realize that you are near.
8. Reveal yourself, Jesus and I will rejoice.
9. Take away my sins. Cleanse me forever. Baptize me afresh in the Holy Spirit.
10. Pour out your Holy Spirit. My heart awaits your divine fire.
Resolution: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)
3. I will prepare for whatever task God has for me.
4. Today, I will ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten me.
Thought: (Recall this text during the day)
I saw the Spirit coming down upon Him.

AN EXORCISM IN THE SYNAGOGUE (MK 1:21-28)

Prayer: Come Holy Spirit. Set me free from the Kingdom of Darkness.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus in a synagogue setting the man free from the unclean spirit.)

Context:

Mark groups his stories by geography. The next few stories take place at Capernaum, and provide a quick overview of Jesus’ activities. Jesus’ ministry begins in the Jewish culture and in their place of religious worship – the synagogue.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

In Capernaum, Jesus entered the synagogue on the sabbath and began to teach. The people were spellbound by his teaching because he taught with authority and not like the scribes. In the synagogue, there was a man with an unclean spirit who cried out, “What have we to do with you, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.” Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet! Come out of the man.” The unclean spirit convulsed him. Then crying out with a loud voice, the spirit left him.

All were amazed and asked among themselves, “What is this? What is this new teaching with authority? He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him. His fame spread over the whole region of Galilee.

Thoughts: ( Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you).

1. The man had attended the synagogue for years, but the synagogue had no power over his unclean spirit.

2. When Jesus enters, the demon can no longer stay hidden.

3. The demon faces a powerful new enemy and realizes that Jesus has come to destroy him.

4. The demons know well that Jesus is “the Holy One” come from the Father.

5. Jesus acts quickly so the unclean spirit can do little harm.

6. This was never heard of before. The people have never seen such power. The word about Jesus spreads quickly.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)

1. O Jesus, how many hidden forces come against me.

2. Without you, O Lord, these forces would control my life and I would be in complete darkness.

3. Jesus, you are the demons’ powerful enemy. To me, you are a mighty friend.

4. Cast out from me any powers of darkness that dwell within me.

5. Come to my synagogue, O Jesus – to my heart which needs your cleansing.

6. Never have I seen such power as yours, and you always use it for my benefit.

Resolution: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)

1. Does the demon have any power over me? I will examine my conscience.

2. If involved in occult practices, I will confess them and seek total freedom.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation) He commands even the evil spirits and they obey him.

JESUS FIRST PUBLIC APPEARANCE (MK 1:14-20)

Prayer – Lord Jesus, invite me today to be your disciple.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus calling his first disciples along the Sea of Galilee.)

Context This gospel text begins “After John was arrested” and it records Jesus’ first homily of his public ministry. He repeats John’s teaching that the reign of God has come and gathers his four most important helpers.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

After John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God, saying, “This is the time of fulfillment. The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe the gospel.

Passing by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother, Andrew, casting nets into the sea, for they were fishermen. Jesus said to them, “Come after me and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately, they left their net and followed him.

Going a little farther, he saw James, the son of Zebedee and his brother, John. They were mending their nets in the ship. He called them, also. They left Zebedee in the ship with his hired men and followed him.

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you).

1. Jesus follows his heavenly Father’s timetable. While John is preaching, he remains silent. When John is arrested, Jesus knows to begin.

2. These are the most important years in world history, as Jesus begins to save all mankind.

3. Jesus says that the Kingdom is at hand. God’s power will break into human history.

4. Everyone must be ready. So, Jesus tells everyone to turn away from evil and believe in him.

5. The two sets of brother are the first to hear the message. They respond immediately.

6. Peter and Andrew leave their boats behind. James and John leave their father and friends. These four are perfect models for all believers.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words in prayer).

1. Heavenly Father, what is your timetable for my life? When is the time for me to act?

2. Jesus, I believe. This is the hour, the time of fulfillment. I will not delay.

3. I believe. I accept your Kingdom. I repent. I turn to you and hear your voice.

4. Jesus, you want to come into my heart.

5. I hear your call. I will follow you, forever and ever.

6. O Jesus, You are the gift of the Father. What else compares with your friendship? I will leave everything to be your friend.

Resolutions: (Use one of these or make your own)

1. I will learn God’s timetable. What does he expect today?

2. When Jesus invites me today, I will answer immediately.

Thought: (Recall this text during the day) Come after me and I will make you fishers of men.

BAPTISM OF THE LORD THE SPIRIT DESCENDS (MT 3:13-17)

Prayer: O Spirit of God, descend upon me.

Imagination: (Imagine Jesus meeting John by the Jordan River)

Context:

In Matthew’s gospel, John is reluctant to baptize because he realizes the greater holiness of Jesus. After the baptism, God’s fullness upon Jesus is manifested.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud) Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. However, John said, “I should be baptized by you and yet you come to me.” Jesus answered him, ‘Let it be for now so we can fulfill all justice. So, he allowed him. After being baptized, Jesus came out of the water and behold, the heavens were open and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and coming upon him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)

1. The Father’s plan was happening as scheduled.

2. At the right moment, Jesus comes to the Jordan.

3. John grows confused. Although Jesus is holier, he submits to his Baptism.

4. This is all part of God’s plan.

5. When both are obedient to the Father, the heavens open up.

6. The Spirit’s power rests upon Jesus.

7. The Father approves Jesus as his beloved Son.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)

1. Jesus, you are all holy yet you submit to the Father’s will.

2. O God, you have a plan for my life.

3. I will be faithful and obedient to all your desires.

4. I await your call. I listen for your voice.

5. O Holy Spirit, rest upon me.

6. O Jesus, make me beloved to the Father.

Resolution: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)

1. I will ask Jesus to send his Holy Spirit to rest upon me.

2. I will seek to be beloved of the Father.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation) The Spirit in the form of a dove came to rest on him.

THE BAPTIST COMES ON THE SCENE (JN 3:22-30)

Prayer: Come Holy Spirit. Help me to prepare to increase my life in Jesus.

Imagination: (Picture yourself at the Jordan with John.)

Context:

Luke has told the stories of Jesus infancy, ending with Jesus being lost in the temple. The next 18 years are Jesus’ hidden life. Now the drama opens and John the Baptist is the first actor on the scene.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus and his disciples went into the region of Judea, where he spent some time with them baptizing. John was also baptizing near Salim, because there was an abundance of water there, and people came to be baptized. Now a dispute arose between the disciples of John about ceremonial washings. So they came to John and said, “Rabbi, the one who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you testified, here he is baptizing and everyone is coming to him.” John answered and said, “No one can receive anything except what has been given him from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said that I am not the Messiah, but that I was sent before him. The one who has the bride is the bridegroom, the best man, who stands and listens to him; rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. So this joy of mine has been made complete. He must increase, I must decrease.

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)

1. Caesar and Pilate have political power, but John has the power of God.

2. The “word came to John”. The Kingdom was coming and a religious revival was about to happen.

3. The people sensed this movement of God’s Spirit, and made their journey to the Jordan.

4. They repented of their sins and sought John’s Baptism.

5. Prepared by their Jewish culture, they understood that John was the messenger, preparing the way for the Messiah.

6. John’s clothing and food were signs of repentance, so the people quickly believed his preaching.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)

1. Let your word come to me, O Lord.

2. You have a timetable, a moment prepared for my conversion.

3. Where do you dwell, O Lord? Where can I find you?

4. Where do you stir? Where is your Spirit moving?

5. I will seek you in daily Eucharist. Your Spirit dwells there.

6. You have promised to come. I will wait for you.

7. Jesus, I will seek forgiveness for my sins, and be ready for your coming.

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)

1. I will find personal solitude where I can hear God’s word.

2. I will repent of my sins and make a good confession. That is the right place to begin, Advent.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation) Prepare ye the way of the Lord. Make straight his paths.

CLEANSING A LEPER (LK 5:12-16)

Prayer – Come, Holy Spirit. Help me to believe that Jesus can cleanse me.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus cleansing the leper)

Context:

In these early stages of Jesus’ ministry, Mark wants to show his great power. There is no controversy surrounding the healing because Jesus has not made any enemies as yet.

Although the man disobeys Jesus’ orders, he is a perfect model for the newly converted person. After Baptism, everyone should tell the world about Jesus.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

A leper came to Jesus. Kneeling down, he said, “If you will, you can make me clean.” Jesus had compassion on him. He stretched out his hand and, touched him, saying, “I will. Be made clean.”

When Jesus had said these words, the leprosy left and the man was made clean. Jesus said to him very strictly, “Tell no one. Go, show yourself to the high priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed. That will be proof for them.”

However, the leper went out and told everyone. So, the word went forth. As a result, Jesus could not go openly into a city, but he stayed in desert places. Yet, they came to him from everywhere.

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)

1. The leper believes in Jesus. Having seen others healed, he is stirred to faith.

2. Jesus shows deep human feelings. He has compassion on the leper’s condition.

3. Jesus comes close. He touches the leper and makes himself ritually unclean.

4. His power goes forth quickly. He uses just a simple word, “Be clean.”

5. The leper cannot contain his joy. He tells everyone.

6. Hearing the story, the crowds seek Jesus. They know the power of God is in their midst.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)

1. Jesus, I know you have power. I have read the gospel stories. I believe.

2. I ask with all my heart, “Please make me clean.”

3. Jesus, you always have compassion for me.

4. You come close. You touch me. You make me whole.

5. After you cleanse me, I will begin a new life.

6. Jesus, my tongue will not be silent. I will tell everyone. I will proclaim your mighty deeds.

7. By my words, others will believe in you and search for you.

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)

1. No matter what my illness (moral or physical) I will believe that Jesus can make me clean.

2. I will be God’s witness, telling others of Jesus’ compassion for them.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation) If you will it, you can make me clean.

IN THE NAZARETH SYNAGOGUE (LK 4:14-30)

Prayer – O Jesus, send the Spirit of the Father upon me.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching in the synagogue.)

Context:

Having overcome Satan’s three temptations, Jesus begins his public ministry. Other gospels record this visit to the synagogue but Luke gives it preeminence. This is Jesus’ inauguration address and highlights all the themes of his preaching.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee and his reputation spread throughout the region. He taught in their synagogue and was praised by all.

Jesus came to Nazareth where he had been raised and, entering the synagogue on the Sabbath, as he was accustomed, he got up to read. The book of the prophet, Isaiah, was given to him and he found the place where it was written, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me. He has anointed me to preach the good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind and release to prisoners. To preach a year of favor from the Lord.”

Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down. All the eyes of the synagogue were upon him. He said to them, “This day, this reading is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder those that attract you.)

1. Jesus loved to preach in the synagogue where good people, eager for God’s word, gathered.

2. Jesus explains the source of his power. The Holy Spirit has come upon him.

3. Because his reputation had spread, all eyes were on him.

4. He chooses a text which outlines his work. He will preach and set free.

5. Every group (the poor, the captives, the blind) will receive the favors.

6. His coming establishes an extended time of God’s favor for all Israel.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)

1. Jesus, I know your reputation and I desire your favor.

2. The Spirit of the Lord is upon you. You are the Holy One.

3. I am poor. Preach your gospel to me. I am a captive. Set me free.

4. I am blind. Help me to see.

5. Your time of favor extends to all the years of my life.

6. I will not delay. I will not put off accepting you as my King.

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)

1. I will be faithful to my reading of Scripture.

2. Today, I will ask Jesus for the Holy Spirit.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation) The Spirit of the Lord is upon me. He has anointed me.

WALKING ON THE WATER (MK 6:45-52)

Prayer: O Jesus, come to me when the waves threaten my boat.

Imagination: (Picture the disciples in the boat, seeing Jesus on the water.)

Context:

These early stories of Mark’s gospel reveal to the disciples who Jesus is. However, even as they see the miracles, they do not understand. For some reason, their minds are closed.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus told his disciples to get into the boat while he dismissed the crowds. Then he went up the mountain to pray. When it was late, the ship was in the middle of the sea and he was alone on the land. He saw them being tossed about while they were rowing, (for the wind was against them). About the fourth watch of the night, he came to them walking on the sea. He was going to pass them by. When they saw him walking on the water, they thought it was a ghost and they cried out because they all saw him and were troubled.

Immediately, he spoke to them saying, “Take courage and do not be afraid. It is I”. He got into the ship and the wind ceased. They were astonished. They did not understand the incident of the loaves because their hearts were hardened.

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)

1. Jesus brings about this situation by telling the disciples to cross the Sea of Galilee while he remains on land.

2. Jesus’ supernatural powers are on full display. By divine revelation, he knows they are struggling on the lake and where to find them.

3. He is going to “pass them by.” This means “to come close enough to manifest himself”.

4. By lack of faith, they mistake Jesus for a ghost.

5. Fortunately, he identifies himself and overcomes their blindness.

6. He gets into the boat and the wind dies down. (Another divine manifestation).

7. In spite of all these signs, the disciples do not understand the mystery.

8. They didn’t grasp the multiplication of loaves, either.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)

1. O Jesus, you plan all the events of my life.

2. Seeing my struggles, you come to me.

3. You whisper in my heart, “Do not be afraid. I am with you.”

4. You “pass by”, close enough for me to experience your presence.

5. O Jesus, you are not a ghost. You are my friend and companion.

6. When you are in my boat, all is calm.

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)

1. I will obey Jesus and go wherever he wants.

2. I will not miss his presence when he passes by today.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation) Take courage. It is I. Do not be afraid.

FEEDING THE FIVE THOUSAND (MK 6:34-44)

Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit. Multiply your gifts within me.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus feeding the crowds.)

Context:

This is the first of two multiplications of food in Mark’s gospel. (This one is for a Jewish crowd and the other is for Gentiles). This miracle is told in all four gospels and six times altogether, because it prefigures Jesus’ gift of Eucharist. Epiphany means manifestation and these gospels are Jesus’ manifesting himself.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

When Jesus saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved to compassion for they were like sheep without a shepherd. He began to teach them at great length. When the day was far spent, his disciples said, “This is a deserted place and the hour is late. Send them away to the nearby villages where they can buy something to eat.”

Jesus answered, “You give them something to eat.” They replied, “It would cost two hundred days of wages for bread to feed them all.” Jesus said, “Go, and see how many loaves you have.” They said, “We have five loaves and two fish.”

When they sat down, Jesus took the five loaves and the two fish. Looking up to heaven, he blessed and broke the loaves and gave them to his disciples to distribute. The two fishes he divided among them all. All ate and had their fill. The disciples gathered up twelve baskets of fragments. Those who ate were five thousand.

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)

1. As Jesus begins to teach them, the crowd responds.

2. They pass the whole day with Jesus, heedless of their need to eat.

3. Jesus responds to their faith and He will provide a great abundance.

4. Jesus looks up to heaven, blesses and beaks the bread. He will do this again at the Last Supper. This miracle is just a preview.

5. Jesus invites the disciples to help him. The bread multiplies as they distribute it

6. Jesus brings all to completion. The people have their fill and twelve baskets are left over for us.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)

1. Speak to me, O Lord. I will hear your voice, and you will be my shepherd.

2. O Lord, I will stay with you during the whole day of my life.

3. O Jesus, your plans for me are beyond my greatest dreams.

4. O Jesus, I will help you with your tasks.

5. Every day, you multiply the bread from heaven. Help me to love the Eucharist.

6. I will eat your flesh and drink your blood, so you can complete your work in me.

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)

1. Today, I will seek out Jesus’ teachings.

2. My heart will seek the Bread of Life.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation) The disciples said, “Send them away.” Jesus said, “You give them something to eat.”

A LIGHT AMONG THE GENTILES (MT. 4:12-17)

Prayer – O Jesus, let your light shine upon my whole life.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus going to Capernaum with his disciples)

Context:

Many prosperous towns were around the lake of Galilee. Since Capernaum was larger than Nazareth, Jesus moved his headquarters there to reach a wider audience. In this region, the first Israelite tribes (Zebulun and Naphtali) were destroyed by the Gentiles. This text sees Jesus fulfilling Isaiah’s prophecy of being a great light for the Gentiles.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

When Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he retired to Galilee. He left Nazareth and came to Capernaum, near the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, to fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah, “Land of Zebulun, land of Naphtali, along the sea by the Jordan, heathen Galilee; a people living in darkness have seen a great light. On those who inhabit a land in the shadow of death, light has arisen.”

From that time on, Jesus began to proclaim this theme. Reform your lives! The Kingdom of heaven is at hand!

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder those that attract you.)

1. Jesus has an intense drive to bring his message to the widest possible audience

2. After John is arrested, he immediately begins to preach.

3. What was first stolen from Israel, (this land of the two tribes), will be the first regained by Jesus.

4. Once he begins, Jesus will never stop preaching.

5. Jesus sees a special moment. God will intrude into human history and the Kingdom of heaven will begin.

6. Jesus describes the response needed to enter this Kingdom, “Reform your lives.”

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)

1. O Jesus, you want me to hear and respond to your word.

2. You keep coming closer. You will not stop until I respond.

3. I was carried off into sin. But you will reclaim me.

4. Jesus, I live in the shadow of death. Come with your light.

5. The Kingdom of heaven is here. I will believe and respond.

6. Help me, Jesus, to reform my life.

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)

1. I will examine the areas of darkness in my life.

2. In every situation today I will ask for Jesus’ light.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation) A people living in darkness have seen a great light.

THE EPIPHANY of the LORD THE MAGI (Mt 2:1-12)

Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit. Give me your light to search for the Christ Child.

Imagination: (Picture the three Magi worshipping Jesus in Bethlehem.)

Context:

Since the Magi were not Jewish, Epiphany is called the Gentile Christmas, a symbol that Christ is for all the world. Magi were a learned priestly class of Persia, who knew the stars. The Old Testament had a prophecy about a star that is a symbol of David (Num 24:17).

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud) Magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem saying, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star rising and have come to do him homage.” King Herod summoned the chief priests and scribes, inquiring where the Messiah was to be born. “In Bethlehem of Judea”, they said. Herod called the Magi aside to learn the exact time of the star’s appearance. Then he sent them to Bethlehem

As they set out, the star which they had observed at its rising went ahead of them until it came to the place where the child was. They were overjoyed to see the star, and on entering the house, they found the child, with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage, offering him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. They went home by another route because they were warned in a dream not to return to Herod.

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder those that attract you.)

1. The star is a totally unexpected invitation and the perfect help for their searching.

2. The Jewish leaders know the place of Jesus’ birth but have no interest in going.

3. Even worse, Herod is jealous and wants to kill the child.

4. In contrast, the Magi believe, hope and act.

5. They make sacrifices. They persevere and they do not grow discouraged.

6. They stay together, rejoice and encourage each other.

7. Their hearts are one, always intent on the same goal.

8. They give themselves completely to the Child, bringing their finest treasures.

9. They are the perfect examples of beginners in search for Christ.

10. They return home by a different route to safeguard the Child.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)

1. Show me your star, O Lord, I will make any sacrifice to follow it.

2. Teach me to believe and to set out in faith.

3. I will trust even though I do not know what lies ahead.

4. Give me companions for my journey. Let us be of one heart, and have you as our goal.

5. O Lord, I hold back nothing. I give you all of my treasures.

6. I will change my life and take a different path to safeguard my life with you.

Resolution: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)

1. Today, I will be attentive how God calls me.

2. I will be as a child, believing that God will show me his way.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation) They rejoiced to see the star again.

THE EARLY DISCIPLES (JN 1:35-42)

Prayer: Jesus, I will be your disciple and follow you everywhere.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with his three new disciples.)

Context:

John’s gospel gives some details about the call of the first apostles. Andrew, and another, were originally disciples of John the Baptist, who told them about Jesus. Andrew brings Simon to Jesus who immediately calls him Peter.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

The next day, John was with two of his disciples, when he saw Jesus walking by. He said to these disciples, “Look, there is the Lamb of God.” When they heard what he said, the two disciples followed Jesus. When Jesus turned and saw them following him, he said, “What are you looking for?” They said “Rabbi (Teacher) where are you staying?” He said, “Come and see.” So, they went and stayed with him. It was four in the afternoon.

One of the two who followed Jesus was Andrew, brother of Simon Peter. The first thing he did was to find Simon and say, “We have found the Messiah” (meaning the “Anointed One”). He brought him to Jesus. When Jesus saw him, he said, “You are Simon, son of John, your name shall be Cephas (meaning “Peter’).

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder those that attract you.)

1. The Baptist wants these special disciples to find the Messiah.

2. He is completely unselfish. He wants them to leave and follow Jesus.

3. They act immediately. They take the initiative. They also want to find the Messiah.

4. Andrew prizes this new relationship and wants his brother, Simon, to be included.

5. Simon also responds and comes to Jesus.

6. Jesus gives him a new name, Peter, foreshadowing his role as the rock foundation of the Church.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)

1. Jesus, you are the Lamb of God and I want to follow you.

2. Invite me to come.

3. I will come and stay with you and be your disciple.

4. I love being your disciple. I will tell others to come to you.

5. You will accept them, also. All of us will enjoy this great privilege.

6. You have a task for me (but that will come later). For now, remaining with you is all you ask.

Resolution: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)

1. I will take every opportunity to seek and find Jesus.

2. After finding him, I will tell others.

Thought: (Recall this text during the day) Rabbi, where do you abide? “Come and see.”

FAILING TO RECOGNIZE JESUS (JN 1:29-34)

Prayer: – O Jesus, come to me. When you come, help me to recognize you.

Imagination: (Picture John at the Jordan River, seeing Jesus among the crowd.)

Context:

John never describes Jesus getting baptized. Instead, the Baptist recognizes Jesus and introduces him to the world as the Lamb of God. Twice, The Baptist admits that he did not recognize Jesus, even though that was his divine call.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

The next day, John saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold the Lamb of God. Behold him who takes away the sin of the world. About him, I have said, ‘after me comes someone who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’ I did not recognize him, even though the very reason I was baptizing with water was to reveal him to Israel.”

John also gave this testimony, “I saw the Spirit descend as a dove from heaven and it came to rest upon him. I did not recognize him even though the one who sent me to baptize with water had said to me, “On whomever you see the Spirit descend and remain upon, he is the one who will baptize in the Holy Spirit.”

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder those that attract you.)

1. God had prepared John well for his task. He knew what he was supposed to do.

2. Although Jesus had spent some time with John, he never realized that Jesus was the Lamb of God.

3. Suddenly, he receives a divine revelation. Supernatural wisdom helps him to realize Jesus’ identity.

4. John fulfills his task. He tells the world that Jesus is the Lamb of God, who will take away the sins of the world.

5. Jesus accomplishes that by sending his Holy Spirit after his Ascension.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)

1. Jesus, prepare me for my task in your Kingdom.

2. How often you are close to me and I do not realize that you are near.

3. Reveal yourself, Jesus and I will rejoice.

4. Take away my sins. Cleanse me forever. Baptize me afresh in the Holy Spirit.

5. Pour out your Holy Spirit. My heart awaits your divine fire.

Resolution: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)

1. I will prepare for whatever task God has for me.

2. Today, I will ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten me.

Thought: (Recall this text during the day) I saw the Spirit coming down upon Him.

THE BAPTIST’S FULL IDENTITY (JN 1:19-28)

Prayer: O Jesus, help me to find my identity in you.

Imagination: (Picture John preaching at the Jordan River.)

Context:

The gospel of John focuses on Jesus’ identity. This gospel clarifies the Baptist’s identity so he is not confused with the messiah. John also distinguishes their two Baptisms.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

The priests and Levites were sent from Jerusalem to ask John, “Who are you?” He said, “I am not the Christ.” They continued. “Are you Elijah?” He answered “I am not”. “Are you the prophet?” “I am not”, he said. “Who are you, then?” He answered, “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord.’”

Some Pharisees asked him, “If you are not the Christ, Elijah, or the prophet, then why do you baptize?” John answered, “I baptize with water, but one comes after me, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize with the Holy Spirit.”

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)

1. The Jerusalem leaders are concerned because large crowds follow John.

2. John clarifies all their perceptions. He is not the Christ, Elijah or a prophet.

3. John gladly disclaims these titles, when he would easily have been believed.

4. John’s identity comes from Jesus. He is a voice preparing everyone for the Word of God.

5. John understands that his power is less than Jesus. Only Jesus can baptize in the Holy Spirit.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)

1. Who am I, O Lord? Why have you created me? What is my role in the Kingdom?

2. You have written my identity on my soul. Reveal it to me!

3. O Jesus, in you, I discover who I am.

4. I seek only to be the least in your Kingdom.

5. I will be a voice proclaiming you as the Word of God.

6. Fill me, O Lord, with the powers of your Holy Spirit.

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)

1. I will seek to know God’s place for me in his Kingdom.

2. I will serve Jesus Christ, whose sandals I am unworthy to loosen.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation) I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness.