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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

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St. John of Damascus

Isaiah 11:1-10
Psalm 72:1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17
Luke 10:21-24

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the gift of using gifts

"The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him." —Isaiah 11:2

This Christmas, the Lord wants to do in our lives and in our world more than we can ever ask for or imagine (Eph 3:20). He wants to restore us to the harmony of paradise where "the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid" (Is 11:6). In His love, the Lord wills that there "be no harm or ruin" to us (Is 11:9).

Although we find it difficult to allow the Lord to show His love for us to this extent until we see Him face to face in heaven, we can already begin to live in heavenly harmony. We do this not by our power, but by the grace of the Holy Spirit (see Zec 4:6). If we are baptized and confirmed, the Spirit has gifted us with wisdom, understanding, counsel, knowledge, piety, fortitude, the fear of the Lord, and many other gifts (see Is 11:2). If by faith we use these spiritual gifts, we will build God's kingdom of justice, joy, and peace on this earth (Rm 14:17). As Pope Paul VI proclaimed, we will build a "civilization of love."

Christmas is Christ's birthday. Usually, the person who has the birthday receives all the gifts. However, Jesus does things differently. He gives gifts to all those who celebrate His birthday. Using the gifts He has given us is our gift to Him. Give Christ the Christmas gift He desires. Use your spiritual gifts to renew the face of the earth (see Ps 104:30).

Prayer:  Father, today and this Advent may I use a spiritual gift which I have never consciously used before.

Promise:  "Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said: 'I offer You praise, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because what You have hidden from the learned and the clever You have revealed to the merest children.' " —Lk 10:21

Praise:  As punishment for opposing heresy, St. John of Damascus lost his hand. Through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, his hand was miraculously restored.

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 27, 2012

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