Stephen, filled with grace and power, was working great wonders and signs among the people. Certain members of the so-called Synagogue of Freedmen, Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and people from Cilicia and Asia, came forward and debated with Stephen, but they could not withstand the wisdom and the spirit with which he spoke.
When they heard this, they were infuriated, and they ground their teeth at him. But he, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked up intently to heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” But they cried out in a loud voice, covered their ears, and rushed upon him together. They threw him out of the city, and began to stone him. The witnesses laid down their cloaks at the feet of a young man named Saul. As they were stoning Stephen, he called out “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”
R. (6) Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit. Be my rock of refuge, a stronghold to give me safety. You are my rock and my fortress; for your name’s sake you will lead and guide me. R. Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit. Into your hands I commend my spirit; you will redeem me, O LORD, O faithful God. I will rejoice and be glad because of your mercy. R. Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit. Rescue me from the clutches of my enemies and my persecutors. Let your face shine upon your servant; save me in your kindness. R. Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
Jesus said to his disciples: “Beware of men, for they will hand you over to courts and scourge you in their synagogues, and you will be led before governors and kings for my sake as a witness before them and the pagans. When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say. You will be given at that moment what you are to say. For it will not be you who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will hand over brother to death, and the father his child; children will rise up against parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by all because of my name, but whoever endures to the end will be saved.”
Anyway, if I were there I would especially want to watch my main girl Mary and how she handled everything. What did she do? What did she say? How did her peace and her virtue transform the less-than-ideal situation of having a baby in a cold stable? What can we learn from her?
I love Mass. Not only is it the highest form of prayer, but it’s also my favorite.
Christmas is also my favorite Liturgical season. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been preparing my heart all of Advent or because of the arrival of my Savior (most likely both), but I’m always getting for Christmas Mass – especially Midnight Mass.
So, if you’re like me, this is probably the journey you take before, during and after Christmas Midnight Mass.
“Now therefore write this song, and teach it to the sons of Israel; put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for me.” (Deuteronomy 31:19) Christmas music is everywhere right now. It’s not uncommon to be standing in line at the grocery or in a convenience store this time of year, […]
Long skirts. Morning prayer with the community. Some rendering of Jesus—whether in painting or statue form—staring down every corner. And crucifixes… crucifixes everywhere. It’s not a convent, but it’s the next best thing. That’s right: Catholic school. I went to Catholic school for 13 years. Jesus was everywhere. We talked about Him in class, we […]
Knowing that God loves you just as you are allows you to be yourself on a date. Since you are loved by Him, there’s no need to question whether or not you are lovable. Knowing that you were uniquely created, with your own beauty and mystery, will help you “guard your heart” and not feel like you have to share every detail of your life early in the dating process. Knowing that God wants us to love others will guide you to be respectful and thoughtful on a date.
This Advent we are given an opportunity to refocus our lives and redirect our hearts back to Jesus. Don’t miss out on this season of grace. Take time to honestly evaluate where you stand with the Lord. No matter where you are, no matter how close or far you feel, Jesus is inviting you to draw closer to Him.
As we learned from the first Christmas, Jesus is willing to enter into whatever space we’ve got for Him. Are we willing to open our lives to Him, to let Him dwell in even those areas where we’d least expect Him to make His home?
Because I’ve tried everything else and I’m still empty handed, empty hearted.
I’ve worshipped at the throne of a hundred false gods, each promising to fill a bigger and deeper need inside of me. Each promise falling through, letting me down, leaving me searching for more, more, more.
What I found up in that attic shocked me. There were empty boxes from our Christmas presents. This may not seem all that weird – except these were boxes from the Christmas presents we received from Santa Claus… and Santa didn’t bring them in boxes.
A horrific reality sunk in: My parents’ had kidnapped Santa Claus.
I hope audiences will sit back and consider their own wrestling with God, their own prayer life, their own dilemmas and choices alongside those of Moses. Enter into the story with their own story. I received tremendous insight through this film. Many years ago, I was once told by a Jesuit spiritual director that I could “negotiate” with God. “What?!” said I. “What do you think Abraham and Moses did?” he asked me. This conversation changed my life and my relationship with God forever. Of course, the Jews totally understand this as they have continuously and intimately wrangled with God and kept their conversation with Him going for millennia: collectively and individually.
…and watching Christie, Claire, Eseni, Francesca and Stacey work, pray, and talk to the professed sisters in these two communities has given viewers an uplifting and honest look at religious life. To add to the fun, the cast has been live-tweeting the episodes. After following cast member Stacey Jackson (@StackeyJaxx), I messaged her and asked if she’d be willing to chat. She agreed, and I was so inspired to learn even more about her discernment.
Last Monday I watched protestors fill the streets of Ferguson, most peacefully protesting, some looting and burning businesses. I watched people from all over the world come together in protest. I saw the video of the death of Eric Garner.
That day, I fell apart.
I stopped what I was doing, grabbed my Bible and a journal, found an open door to my parish church and sat in the quiet darkness of the church.
That day I felt the need for Jesus to come like I had never felt before.
I don’t really know how to say this… but when you called me a few weeks ago and asked me if I was okay, I lied…[pause]… The truth is that I’ve been making myself throw up after I eat, and it’s like I can’t stop… I think I need your help…”
He was here, as a man, to walk with us and speak to us and live and die for us. We discovered that our God had some skin in the game. The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.
And during this Advent season, as we remember the anticipation of His birth in Bethlehem as a reminder that we still anticipate His coming again, we have the chance, every day, to draw nearer. And He is doing the same. He’s coming closer still.
It’s almost as if those of us who are Christian all year round begin to fade into the background and blend in with the crowd at Christmas time. But it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, I believe Christmas is a time when faithful followers of Jesus should stand out.
The fact that you are reading this proves that God has planted a desire in your heart to serve Him in a radical way. Praise God. Not gonna lie, I love camp… it’s where I first encountered the love of Christ many years ago in high school. I loved that it was more than mud […]
When I was 6 years old, there was a book was on display in the family room. It had a picture of Pope John Paul II on the cover and about 1,000 pages of text about his life inside. And around 11:45 p.m. on New Year’s Eve 1998 I decided that my resolution for the […]
In college, I learned I had been stealing. Not shoplifting. Not downloading music illegally (that wasn’t even really possible with our dial-up internet.) Not even neglecting to claim my tips as a waitress (the computer made us to it.) My senior year of college, I realized I was stealing from the poor.