Thursday, February 02, 2017

I Send Messengers

By Beth DeCristofaro

Thus says the Lord God: Lo, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me; And suddenly there will come to the temple the LORD whom you seek  …  But who will endure the day of his coming? And who can stand when he appears? For he is like the refiner's fire, or like the fuller's lye. (Malachi 3:1-2)

When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, Mary and Joseph took Jesus up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law of the Lord, … (and Simeon said) "my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in the sight of all the peoples: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel." (Luke 2:22-23, 30-32)

God our Father, we thank you for calling men and women to serve in your Son’s Kingdom as sisters, brothers, religious priests, consecrated virgins, and hermits, as well as members of Secular Institutes. Renew their knowledge and love of you, and send your Holy Spirit to help them respond generously and courageously to your will. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen
(Prayer for Consecrated Persons, Secretariat of Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, USCCB)

The firstborn baby can be such an occasion of accomplishment and delight which is amplified and deepened when the baby is presented for rites within our various faith traditions.  Imagine Mary and Joseph, a first born son!  Yet, already they are experiencing the refiner’s fire as they ponder the wondrous signs they witnessed at his conception, birth and now in the temple.     

Both of my daughters, and in fact many of my siblings were baptized by Fr. Martin Hayes, OSB, uncle to my mother.  He was not only family – adored by us kids especially for his sense of humor and kindness – but a potent reminder that our family and our family’s milestones were part of a grand wonder, God’s holy Church.  Those who choose consecrated life face a different refiner’s fire than do laypersons but all are refined rather than consumed by God’s holy, burning presence by His grace and presence in all things.

The USCCB website explains that today is a day of prayer for those in consecrated life.  It is celebrated on the Feast of the Presentation and “Candlemas Day; the day on which candles are blessed symbolizing Christ who is the light of the world. So too, those in consecrated life are called to reflect the light of Jesus Christ to all peoples.”  [i]  Today, pray for those who have chosen consecrated life.  Take a moment to rededicate yourself as a messenger, a reflection of Jesus’ light.

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