Christmas Prayer 2020 Greetings, Dearly Beloved. May you be not overly burdened by life’s cares and worries. After all, we have a Great Hope and Friend in Heaven — Jesus — sticking beside us on our journey in this world. A Help for all people who are in need, especially with this illness conveying hardships on so many. With God, life is key; not only the hereafter but today: protect yourself. The deceiver will try to knock you down, only persist in your Faith and devotion to God. Life matters more than money, so protect youself and those around you against the throws of this world. Attend to study, prayer, and meditating which will admit light into your mind and peace to your soul, guiding your decisions. I hope you experience the Joy and Wonder the shepherds felt in the core-of-their-being when finding the Christ Child. Even the angels marveled! Jeff
Jesus makes reference on how important it is to live your life the way God wants us to live. In this instance some people followed Him after He journeyed overnight to another location. Jesus perceived their wanting another meal, after all, who would not like a second meal if the first was pleasing and, quite frankly, a bit of a miracle? He uses the situation as a springboard to highlight the importance of listening to God in our daily life. Eating is important — we can’t live too well without it. It’s just that living in the Kingdom is also necessary and healthy for us.
Paul correlates eating and the Kingdom of God in Romans 14:17. The Holy Spirit’s entanglement with righteousness, joy, and peace in his comparison means more than the eating of food.
Take time to truly nourish your soul: build some time with Jesus, set apart some time to pray, listen. Chew the cud on God’s Word. Consider Luke 16:13 (and surrounding verses). You either serve God, or you are tied to the tethers of this world.
Jude is tucked away at the close of the New Testament, just in front of Revelation. When perusing through the Bible don’t blink or you’ll miss it. It is 1 chapter in length, sincerely compelling us to “contend for our Faith”. But the word “contend” is used in many translations. It is defined as an ongoing effort, a struggle — I think upwards or uphill against gravity like climbing a mountain, with thorn bushes and obstacles along the path — towards a goal. This goal is knowable, defined and is obtainable, reachable.
Jude’s unction for writing is to preserve a genuine Faith, the True Faith. Giving examples of how God rewards the faithful he then begins a laundry list of worldly ideas. Sometimes to know what it is we a talking about we take a look at what it is not. I wish we could do without this but to know the True Faith it is sometimes good to remind ourselves what to stay away from. This litany seems to drag on but verse 17 turns a corner.
In verse 20 you look to yourself and in prayer in the Holy Spirit you “strengthen” yourself. Do not turn aside but keep the goal in mind. Continue to tread towards the summit.
To carry this Faith you must know what the task is. And use the Faith you already possess. Could it be you are honing your Faith? Like a pilot of an airplane flying to a destination making course changes along the way. At takeoff the heading is established but nudges are needs to stay on course. The Faith is summed up pretty well in Matthew 5.
Another practical application in these Covid 19 times is to watch yourself and stay healthy. Watch how often you expose yourself to catching this disease or spread it to others. I live in New York State and Gov. Cuomo has become the herald for lowering the transmission of Covid. I applaud this attitude, others do not, which is their right to choose. But for you: you take responsibility for your health and the health of people around you.
The voids inside oneself from social distancing can become a time to deepen your relationship to God.
Evagrios the Solitary, also known as Evagrius of Pontus
Lived 346 – 399CE (disputable) as an early ascetic pioneer
Texts on Discrimination in Respect of Passions and Thoughts
Let us stand firm in the fear of God, rigorously practicing the virtues and not giving our conscience cause to stumble. In the fear of God let us keep our attention fixed within ourselves, until our conscience achieves its freedom. Then there will be a union between it [this freedom] and us, and thereafter it will be our guardian, showing us each thing that we must uproot. But if we do not obey our conscience, it will abandon us and we shall fall into the hands of our enemies, who will never let us go. This is what our Lord taught us when He said: ‘Come to an agreement with your adversary quickly while you are with him in the road, lest he hand you over to the judge, and the judge deliver you to the officer and you are cast into prison (Matt. 5:25). The conscience is called an ‘adversary’ because it opposes us when we wish to carry out the desires of our flesh; and if we do not listen to our conscience, it delivers us into the hands of our enemies.
Can you see we are at war with the adversary tiny? The “unseen enemy” is upon us. Watch our flanks. No, the enemy is directly ahead. It’s within our ranks, one of us has succumbed. What are we to do now. Don’t let down your guard.
CONSTANT VIGILANCE!!! (Thank you, Professor Moody.)
The book of James has much to say about deepening prayer.
I am cautious when combining these particular Bible verses in this way because they relate independently. Chapter 1 is about how we think. Chapter 4 is on material goods. Chapter 5’s subject matter is on remission of sins. Never-the-less. . .
I am asking you and those whom you share this with to pray the Corona virus outbreak out of existence.
1:5-6 Wisdom can be gained by asking in Faith
To me, ‘Wisdom’ that comes from God gives us hope and a backbone to seek God and His strength.
4:1-3 If you fail to ask you just might end up with nothing.
The simple truth is we want stuff without asking God first. And without asking God we turn to our own way of accomplishing our goals — by massaging our passions.
Thus, I am asking you and those whom you share this with to pray the Corona virus outbreak out of existence. Let it flatline. Let God do His work. Let us be aware that people are of much greater value than money.
As James 5:16 says the prayer of the Faithful can accomplish things with its great power.
“The true contemplative is not one who prepares his mind for a particular message. . .” Thomas Merton
Thomas Merton is portrayed as owning a great joy. In Dialogues With Silence, a book of Merton’s writings and drawings, Jonathan Montaldo, editor, embodies Merton’s thoughts. And captures the “joy” surrounding Merton with Merton’s own words: