human flourishing. He invites us to choose Him. In Jesus Christ he has given us all that we need to overcome the obstacles which impede us. Notice the language with which we discuss eternal life.We speak of receiving the “beatific vision” when we stand in His presence, finally free. The Sermon on the Mount invites us to live our lives differently now by living the “beatitudes”. The word “beatitude” actually means happiness! Living in the Lord will make us happy. Yet we too often associate repentance with some kind of wrong- headed self hatred. To the contrary, for those who have been schooled in its lessons, like John the Baptizer, the way of voluntary penitence becomes the path to true joy.
Let me conclude with some words from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
“Freedom is the power, rooted in reason and will, to act or not to act, to do this or that, and so to perform deliberate actions on one's own responsibility. By free will one shapes one's own life. Human freedom is a force for growth and maturity in truth and goodness; it attains its perfection when directed toward God, our beatitude. As long as freedom has not bound itself definitively to its ultimate good which is God, there is the possibility of choosing between good and evil, and thus of growing in perfection or of failing and sinning. This freedom characterizes properly human acts. It is the basis of praise or blame, merit or reproach. The more one does what is good, the freer one becomes. There is no true freedom except in the service of what is good and just. The choice to disobey and do evil is an abuse of freedom and leads to "the slavery of sin." (CCC 1731 – 1733)
REJOICE! GAUDETE! The Lord is near. Let us prepare a place for Him to be born anew within our hearts, our lives and our homes. Let us hear the invitation of the Baptizer today and take the next two weeks to clean the house, making it ready. Let us choose the way of humility and find the happiness of heaven, even here on earth.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
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