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May 19, 2005 Edition

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Living the Scriptures
Faith Alive!
This week's readings
Pope's Prayer Intentions
Prayer on loss of St. Raphael Cathedral

Rise early: Seek first the Kingdom of God

photo of Andre Lesperance
Living the Scriptures 

with St. Paul University 
Catholic Center 

Andre Lesperance 

"Early in the morning, Moses went up Mount Sinai as the LORD commanded him . . ."

I am not a morning person. Or am I? What does that really mean? If it means I wake up early in the morning with ease, and happily jump out of bed eager to start my day, then I'm definitely not a morning person.

I always need an alarm clock, and the snooze bar can be simultaneously my best friend and worst enemy. There are few pleasures greater than the comfort of my pillow-top Sealy Posture-pedic bed when it is 6 a.m. and 10 degrees warmer under the covers than in the rest of the room.

Holy Trinity
(May 22, 2005)
Ex 34:4b-6, 8-9
Ps Dn 3:52, 53, 54, 55, 56
2 Cor 13:11-13
Jn 3:16-18

Nonetheless, I can't deny that when I do get up early to start my day by spending time with the Lord, there are remarkable rewards. If I can just get myself through those initial three torturous minutes of being awake, I find that it is one of the most peaceful, beautiful, prayerful times of my day.

Now I don't know if the Lord's calling Moses up Mount Sinai "early in the morning" is significant, but I do believe that it could be. Mornings seem to have been important for many people in the Bible.

Psalm 119 proclaims, "I am awake before dawn to cry for help I put my hope in your word. My eyes are awake before each watch of the night to ponder your promise."

Wisdom 16:28: "to give you thanks, we must rise before the sun and meet you at the dawning of the day." Even Jesus himself needed some early morning quiet times: "Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed" (Mk 1:35).

St. Ambrose, in his commentary on Psalm 119, put it this way: "If you anticipate the sun in its rising, you will receive Christ as a light; while you reflect, it will become light; in early morning, hurry to church and render in homage the fruits of your devotion. Then, if the duties of the world call you, nothing will stop you from saying, 'My eyes await the watch of night to meditate on your promises,' and with your conscience aright, you may go about your affairs."

Reflection questions

• Do I take time every day to quiet myself and seek the Lord through prayer and Scripture?

• Might I benefit from rising a bit earlier to "ponder God's promises" at the beginning of each day?

These are motivating words for me; enough so for me to deny my inclination to sleep late, and to rise early to seek the Lord at such a privileged time of day. "Morning person" or not, it truly makes a difference to me when I strive to "seek first the Kingdom of God" (Mt. 6:33) day in and day out.

Andre Lesperance works at St. Paul University Catholic Center as Coordinator of Small Groups and Undergraduate Ministries. He graduated from UW-Madison in 2003 and married his wife Jackie in October of 2004.

St. Paul's Web site is www.stpaulscc.org

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Faith Alive!

Faith Alive! logo

In a Nutshell

  • So many take it for granted today that vast options are available to them, options about how and where to live, work, learn or use leisure time.

  • Making choices is a key to the moral life. What are the keys to making choices?

  • The great commandment to love God and neighbor is a basic consideration when choosing among the many options society presents.

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  •  Food for Thought
    I'm sure it is a blessing to live in a culture that offers many options -- choices -- regarding lifestyles, careers, education or leisure time. But I'm also sure that this abundance of options could sometimes be a mixed blessing.

    Here are a few of my thoughts on making choices -- decisions -- in a world of many options:

    --Always anticipate the fallout -- the perhaps unplanned ramifications -- of decisions you make.

    --Ask who this decision will affect. Bear in mind the unlikelihood that this decision will touch only you.

    full story

    Sorting through life's many options
    By Father W. Thomas Faucher

    Catholic News Service

    It was one of those clarifying moments: Something that had been rattling around in my brain suddenly made sense. In the early 1980s, refugees from Eastern Europe had come to the city. They needed everything, and the parish was asked to help. We did so.

    After the refugees got settled a little, there was an occasion when I joined the interpreter in taking them around the city to see American life. With us that day was a young mother from Poland. We stopped at a supermarket and walked in. She just stood there and looked, her eyes big, her mouth open. She said something the interpreter translated as, "I've never seen so much food in my life!"

    full story 

    Can there be too much of a good thing?
    By Daniel S. Mulhall

    Catholic News Service

    In a culture where I can choose among so many things to do, what gets in the way? Why is it a challenge to be virtuous in the choices we make?

    If the road to hell is paved with good intentions, I've provided many a mile of stones to line the path.

    full story 

    The choices we make, biblically speaking
    By Father Lawrence Boadt, CSP

    Catholic News Service

    God made a choice: He chose us.

    In John's Gospel, these words of Jesus at the Last Supper are heard: "You have not chosen me; I have chosen you" (15:16). That expresses the Bible's most basic and fundamental principle of moral choice.

    full story

    Faith Alive! logo
     Faith in the Marketplace
    This Week's Discussion Point:

    You're free to make many choices in life. Are your choices fulfilling for you? Why?

      Selected Response From Readers:  
    Copyright © 2005 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

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    This week's readings

    Week of May 22 - 28, 2005

    Sunday, May 22, 2005
    The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity
    Reading I: Ex 34:4b-6, 8-9
    Reading II: 2 Cor 13:11-13
    Gospel: Jn 3:16-18

    Monday, May 23, 2005
    Reading I: Sir 17:20-24
    Gospel: Mk 10:17-27

    Tuesday, May 24, 2005
    Reading I: Sir 35:1-12
    Gospel: Mk 10:28-31

    Wednesday, May 25, 2005
    Reading I: Sir 36:1, 4-5a, 10-17
    Gospel: Mk 10:32-45

    Thursday, May 26, 2005
    Reading I: Sir 42:15-25
    Gospel: Mk 10:46-52

    Friday, May 27, 2005
    Reading I: Sir 44:1, 9-13
    Gospel: Mk 11:11-26

    Saturday, May 28, 2005
    Reading I: Sir 51:12 cd-20
    Gospel: Mk 11:27-33

    Pope's Prayer Intentions

    May General Intention

    The persecuted. That those persecuted for the sake of faith and justice may experience the consolation and strength of the Holy Spirit.

    May Mission Intention

    Missionary spirit. That the Pontifical Missionary Works may help the people of God to feel that they have a real part to play in the evangelization of all people.

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    Prayer on loss of St. Raphael Cathedral

    O God,
    whose word is like a fire,
    who spoke to your servant Moses in the burning bush and who led your people Israel out of bondage
    with a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night:
    hear your people as we call upon you both in gratitude and sorrow.

    We thank you for the safety
    of the Cathedral staff and parishioners,
    for those who fought the fire
    and for all who live and work in nearby buildings.

    May this fire purify your Church in the Diocese of Madison
    so that our hearts may burn with the knowledge
    that your Church is built upon the bedrock of your Son, Jesus Christ.

    Through the intercession of Saint Raphael,
    your messenger of healing,
    may we find comfort in our affliction
    and the courage to continue proclaiming
    the Good News of Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever.

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    Diocese of Madison, The Catholic Herald
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