ReConnect Spiritual Challenge: Day 15
There are 10 days remaining before Christmas! Here’s hoping that you are doing well, keeping a joyful spirit and having a heart at peace. We are praying for you and your well-being.
Who do you say that I am?
In today’s readings, John the Baptist sends two of his disciples to Jesus, asking, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?” Jesus, in his reply, teaches and engages his listeners saying, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard.” Jesus then references the scriptures that tell of the one to come, the long-awaited Messiah, the Savior, so that they may come to believe in Him.
The Notre Dame Institute studied the successful passing on of the Faith from parent to child over a long period of time. They found that those parents who successfully passed on the Faith had engaged in frequent and substantive conversations with their children on many different aspects of the Faith.
These parents both listened and shared, engaging their children in the Faith. They did so because they were motivated by a belief that Catholic teachings and values made a positive difference in the way they lived their life. They believed that life with God was happier and better than life without God.
These parents acted like religious mentors. They were able to engage their children into conversation and dialogue in a manner like Jesus. They were passing on a core identity that the Faith mattered and was the driving motivation of their love, care, work, and way of encounter with the world around them.
All of us can be religious mentors whether we have children or grandchildren or not. A religious mentor believes that their life stands for something and that something can be shared with others, that it can be strengthened through trials, and that this Faith is worth living for.
Later, Jesus in the gospels asked Peter, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Jesus continues to ask us the same question.
1) If you have not already done so, set up a Nativity Scene and pray the Blessing of a home Nativity Scene (manger).
- You may desire to add the baby Jesus to the manger on Christmas Eve/Day and pray the blessing at that time.
2) Have a Gingerbread bash with the children. Instead of a gingerbread house, make the Nativity scene out of gingerbread. Here’s a resource to do so, including printable nativity figures to add to the gingerbread stable (Easy tip: pop tarts work well if you do not have time to make the gingerbread):
- Read the story again on Christmas Eve/Day
4) Come see the Living Nativity at St. Francis and sing carols on Sunday, December 19 following the 5 p.m. Mass (about 6 p.m.). The Living Nativity is outdoors, so please dress for the weather.
5) Practice 40 seconds of Empathy
At the recent Vatican conference of medicine, one of the prestigious doctors spoke of the cure for his ensuing discouragement and loss of vitality of life. He knew he had all the signs of burnout and that the recommendation was to rest, but rest did not bring him renewed spiritual energy and joy. And it was then that he felt inspired to give each of his patients 40 seconds where he would listen without interrupting them. They would talk about their concerns, their family, or whatever they wanted to talk about. By giving those 40 seconds, he found himself once again connecting with his patient, and in doing so, he discovered again the gift of empathy. His joy of life and the original purpose of his mission returned to him.
- In these days before Christmas, try the 40 seconds of empathy when you are most stressed, busy, or are being engaged or inconvenienced by another person. Consider those 40 seconds a gift to Jesus, the Christ Child. You may find a much greater gift in return.
God of every nation and people, from the very beginning of creation you have made manifest your love: when our need for a Savior was great you sent your Son to be born of the Virgin Mary. To our lives he brings joy and peace, justice, mercy, and love. Father, bless all who anticipate the celebration of the birth of your Son, and raise our thoughts to him, who is God-with-us and Savior of all, and who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.
ReConnect with your faith and community today, tomorrow — and yesterday! If you miss a day, go back and check out all prior challenge days HERE on our website. We are all imperfect children of God, so let’s KEEP TRYING! To further reconnect with St. Francis Parish, please contact the parish office at 734-821-2100 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to reconnecting with you!
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