FOLLOW YOUR STAR!

The-Christmas-Star

The Feast of the Epiphany ~ Sunday, January 4th, 2015

Today’s feast day has several meanings.  In the Roman Church we celebrate the story of the Magi visiting Jesus and offering him gifts.  In the Eastern churches, they focus on the story of the Baptism of the Lord.  Both celebrate the manifestation, the revelation of Jesus to the whole world.

Paul in today’s letter to the Ephesians proclaims that “that the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.”

We focus on the story of the Magi in our celebration today.  In the Gospel of Christmas, the angels proclaim the Good News of Christ’s birth  to the shepherds, who were uneducated and poor folk;  The story from Luke indicates that the gospel is to be preached to the poor.

Today’s story is from Matthew.  The Magi, are scholars and learned men.  They  discern from their study of the heavens that the Messiah was to be born in their time;  they would risk the search for him and offer  their treasures.  The Magi represent all the peoples of the earth outside and beyond the Jewish experience.  Jesus is the Christ for everyone!

This Gospel story is about darkness and light.

Brilliant light and terrible, fearful darkness.

The Magi were comfortable with the dark.  They knew how to find their way in the dark because they could interpret the lights of the sky.  They were adventurers ~ seekers ~ explorers.

They represent all people who are at home in the world of the intellect.  All people who are willing to journey far to seek and find the truth.

They went out into the night following the light, the great star which marked a singular event in human history.

They stopped to see Herod, expecting that he would welcome the light.  He couldn’t; he was filled with diabolical darkness; he could not abide the light of truth.  He tried to snuff out the life of the God-Man ~ Jesus the light of the world.

Herod, the guy in charge, a king, was worried about the birth of a baby.  Herod was powerful, and yet, as Matthew says, “ . . . he was greatly troubled.”

What was Herod afraid of?  Obviously, he knew that Jesus was going to make a difference in his world and was afraid that a change would mean losing the power he had.  He wanted Jesus gone before any of that could happen.  He liked things just the way they were.

So Herod decreed that all firstborn males under two were to be killed.   Jesus and Mary and Joseph had to flee into the night to find a safe place in a foreign land, the land of Egypt.  And so a shroud of violence comes over the innocence of the Christmas story.  Jesus and his family became political refugees.

Some of us too are swallowed up by darkness, enshrouded by night.

Some of us live in  dysfunctional families.  That too can be terrible darkness, though we may not recognize it.  We may think that yelling and screaming are quite normal.

Some of us get up and work very hard day in and day out.  Perhaps it is work that we do not enjoy, perhaps even hate.  Perhaps our spirits are far away from our jobs.  We go to work  trying to make a living while hoping that the darkness  will not overwhelm us.

And we know that there is darkness in the world.  Israelis refuse to seek peace with the Palestinians.  And there’s troubles in  Sudan, Iraq, Syria. Hate seethes deep in the souls of neighbors a few miles away from each other.

And so, listen to these  powerful words  from Isaiah in the first reading:

RISE UP IN SPLENDOR, DEAR PEOPLE OF GOD, YOUR LIGHT HAS COME.

THE GLORY OF THE LORD SHINES UPON YOU.

This feast is about a light that penetrates the most stubborn darkness of our lives.

This feast brings a Light to us all, if only we, like the Magi, would seek.

SEE DARKNESS COVERS THE EARTH

AND THICK CLOUDS COVER THE PEOPLES.

Violence seems to shroud our whole planet at times.

BUT UPON YOU THE LORD SHINES

AND OVER YOU APPEARS HIS GLORY.

Don’t despair of the darkness, dear friends.  Know that there is a light that can penetrate it.

There was sadness and a thick veil of darkness over my own life for many years.  I had the good sense to move  to the little bit of light that I could find.

A candle flame can be as bright as a great Nova when one is looking for light.

WE need the light of God’s truth in the world today.

NATIONS SHALL WALK BY YOUR LIGHT,

AND RULERS BY YOUR SHINING RADIANCE.

Out of the darkness came the Magi bringing gifts for the Light of the World.  Gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh for the Holy Child who was the Light.

But before we can give a gift, we must ~ often in the midst of the darkness ~ open our hands and our hearts to receive the gift that God would give to us.  We must first receive before we can give.

Out of the darkness of your lives, you  also can find gifts to give to the Lord and your family and friends.

What gifts do we bring?

Do we bring Jesus the gift of our adoration which the Magi did? The gift of our hearts?

These learned and influential people got down on their knees before this little child.

What or  who receives the gift of OUR adoration and allegiance?

The world does not know how to adore God.  We adore so many other things ~ a new sports car, a new home, a gifted child of our own, good-looking women or men.  Maybe we adore a favorite movie star or our favorite sports team when they’re winning at least.  Maybe we adore our career path, willing to do whatever it takes, even if we embrace the darkness along the way.

Remember the story of the little drummer boy?

What one gift can we give to God this day?

Close your eyes.  Think about it for a moment.

Now, before you go, here’s The Little Drummer Boy to help you think about what gift you have to offer.  Click here. Be sure to turn up your speakers and enter full screen.

You can find today’s Mass readings at this link. Click here.

With love,  

Bob Traupman

contemplative writer

Advent Day 19 ~ Our vulnerable God / Hanukkah Day 4

Our Lady breast feeding Jesus — Shrine of our Lady of La Leche — St. Augustine, Florida

Friday of the third week of Advent

Luke tells us the charming story that God became incarnate ~ enfleshed ~ as a little vulnerable baby boy.

It truly is amazing to really think about that.

Even if you’re not ready to accept the story as true, the meaning of that story can really grab you if you let it.

But, sadly, so many of us celebrate Christmas all our lives without really reflecting on the implications of the story for our lives.

Jesus was not only vulnerable in his birth, but also in his death.

He chose to stand before Pilate, bound, scourged and silent.

He chose to say nothing or do anything in his defense.

Vulnerable indeed.

What’s the message here?

St. Paul gives us a clue:

“When I am powerless then I am strong” ~ 2 Cor. 12:9-10.

How can that be?

I think about that a lot because I was powerless a lot dealing with depression.

Some days I wasn’t able to get out of my chair.

Jesus is showing that in our vulnerability,

in our weaknesses,

in our poverty of spirit,

in the brokenness of our lives

we will find God.

Jesus,

You came into this world as a little child

as needy as any other baby.

You sucked at Mary’s breast 

and received your nourishment as God from a human mother.

You became one of us and with us.

You accepted our fleshiness, our misery, our joys and sorrows.

You came down to our level to raise us up to the dignity of God.

Thank you, Jesus!

Come into our world this day.

Help us to accept our own vulnernabiity as something positive.

Teach us to recognize Your face in the most vulnerable among us

for they can be our most radical spiritual teachers.

They know.

Help us understand, Lord.  Help us truly understand.


Now to get us in the mood here is a charming YouTube rendition of  The Little Drummer Boy. Click here. Be sure to turn up your speakers and enter full screen.

With love,

Bob Traupman

contemplative writer

FOLLOW YOUR STAR!

The-Christmas-Star

The Feast of the Epiphany ~ Sunday, January 5th, 2014

Today’s feast day has several meanings.  In the Roman Church we celebrate the story of the Magi visiting Jesus and offering him gifts.  In the Eastern churches, they focus on the story of the Baptism of the Lord.  Both celebrate the manifestation, the revelation of Jesus to the whole world.

Paul in today’s letter to the Ephesians proclaims that “that the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.”

We focus on the story of the Magi in our celebration today.  In the Gospel of Christmas, the angels proclaim the Good News of Christ’s birth  to the shepherds, who were uneducated and poor folk;  The story from Luke indicates that the gospel is to be preached to the poor.

Today’s story is from Matthew.  The Magi, are scholars and learned men.  They  discern from their study of the heavens that the Messiah was to be born in their time;  they would risk the search for him and offer  their treasures.  The Magi represent all the peoples of the earth outside and beyond the Jewish experience.  Jesus is the Christ for everyone!

This Gospel story is about darkness and light.

Brilliant light and terrible, fearful darkness.

The Magi were comfortable with the dark.  They knew how to find their way in the dark because they could interpret the lights of the sky.  They were adventurers / seekers / explorers.

They represent all people who are at home in the world of the intellect.  All people who are willing to journey far to seek and find the truth.

They went out into the night following the light, the great star which marked a singular event in human history.

They stopped to see Herod, expecting that he would welcome the light.  He couldn’t; he was filled with diabolical darkness; he could not abide the light of truth.  He tried to snuff out the life of the God-Man ~ Jesus the light of the world.

Herod, the guy in charge, a king, was worried about the birth of a baby.  Herod was very powerful, and yet, as Matthew says, “ . . . he was greatly troubled.”

What was Herod afraid of?  Obviously, he knew that Jesus was going to make a difference in his world and was afraid that a change would mean losing the power he had.  He wanted Jesus gone before any of that could happen.  He liked things just the way they were.

So Herod decreed that all firstborn male babies under two were to be killed.   Jesus and Mary and Joseph had to flee into the night to find a safe place in a foreign land, the land of Egypt.  And so a shroud of violence comes over the innocence of the Christmas story.  Jesus and his family became political refugees.

Some of us too are swallowed up by darkness, enshrouded by night.

Some of us live in  dysfunctional families.  That too can be terrible darkness, though we may not recognize it.  We may think that yelling and screaming are quite normal.

Some of us get up and work very hard  every day.  Perhaps it is work that we do not enjoy, perhaps even hate.  Perhaps our spirits are far away from our jobs.  We go to work  trying to make a living while hoping that the darkness  will not overwhelm us.

And we know that there is darkness in the world.  Israelis refuse to seek peace with the Palestinians.  And there’s troubles in Lebanon, Egypt, Sudan, Iraq, Syria. Hate seethes deep in the souls of neighbors a few miles away from each other.

And so, listen to these  powerful words  from Isaiah in the first reading:

RISE UP IN SPLENDOR, DEAR PEOPLE OF GOD, YOUR LIGHT HAS COME.

THE GLORY OF THE LORD SHINES UPON YOU.

This feast is about a light that penetrates the most stubborn darkness of our lives.

This feast brings a Light to us all, if only we, like the Magi, would seek.

SEE DARKNESS COVERS THE EARTH

AND THICK CLOUDS COVER THE PEOPLES.

Violence seems to enshroud our whole planet, lest we be engulfed in it.

BUT UPON YOU THE LORD SHINES

AND OVER YOU APPEARS HIS GLORY.

Don’t despair of the darkness, dear friends.  Know that there is a light that can penetrate it.

There was sadness and a thick veil of darkness over my own life for many years.  I had the good sense to move  to the little bit of light that I could find.  A candle flame can be as bright as a great Nova when one is looking for light.

WE need the light of God’s truth in the world today.

NATIONS SHALL WALK BY YOUR LIGHT,

AND RULERS BY YOUR SHINING RADIANCE.

Out of the darkness came the Magi bringing gifts for the Light of the World.  Gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh for the Holy Child who was the Light.

But before we can give a gift, we must — often in the midst of the darkness – open our hands and our hearts to receive the gift that God would give to us.  We must first receive before we can give.

Out of the darkness of your lives, you  also can find gifts to give to the Lord and your family and friends.

What gifts do we bring?

Do we bring Jesus the gift of our adoration which the Magi did? The gift of our hearts?

These learned and influential people got down on their knees before this little child.  What or  who receives the gift of OUR adoration and allegiance?

The world does not know how to adore God.  We adore so many other things — a new sports car, a new home, a gifted child of our own, good-looking women or men  .  Maybe we adore a favorite movie star or your favorite sports team when they are winning at least.  Do we adore our career path, willing to do whatever it takes, even if we embrace the darkness along the way?

Remember the story of the little drummer boy?

What one gift can we give to God this day?

Close your eyes.  Think about it for a moment.

Now, before you go, here’s The Little Drummer Boy to help you think about what gift you have to offer.  Click here. Be sure to turn up your speakers and enter full screen.

You can find today’s Mass readings at this link.  Click here.

With love,  

Bob Traupman

contemplative writer

Advent Day 19 — Our vulnerable God

Our Lady breast feeding Jesus — Shrine of our Lady of La Leche — St. Augustine, Florida

Thursday of the third week of Advent

Luke tells us the charming story that God became incarnate ~ enfleshed ~ as a little vulnerable baby boy.

It truly is amazing to really think about that.

Even if you’re not ready to accept the story as true, the meaning of that story can really grab you if you let it.

But, sadly, so many of us celebrate Christmas all our lives without really reflecting on the implications of the story for our lives.

Jesus was not only vulnerable in his birth, but also in his death.

He chose to stand before Pilate, bound, scourged and silent.

He chose to say nothing or do anything in his defense.

Vulnerable indeed.

What’s the message here?

St. Paul gives us a clue:

“When I am powerless then I am strong” ~ 2 Cor. 12:9-10.

How can that be?

I think about that a lot because I was powerless a lot dealing with depression.

Some days I wasn’t able to get out of my chair.

Jesus is showing that in our vulnerability,

in our weaknesses,

in our poverty of spirit,

in the brokenness of our lives

we will find God.

Jesus,

You came into this world as a little child

as needy as any other baby.

You sucked at Mary’s breast 

and received your nourishment as God from a human mother.

You became one of us and with us.

You accepted our fleshiness, our misery, our joys and sorrows.

You came down to our level to raise us up to the dignity of God.

Thank you, Jesus!

Come into our world this day.

Teach us to accept our own vulnernabiity as something positive.

Teach us to recognize Your face in the most vulnerable among us

for they can be our most radical spiritual teachers.

They know.

Help us understand, Lord.  Help us truly understand.


Now to get us in the mood here is a charming YouTube rendition of  The Little Drummer Boy. Click here. Be sure to turn up your speakers and enter full screen.

With love,

Bob Traupman

contemplative writer

FOLLOW YOUR STAR!

The-Christmas-Star

The Feast of the Epiphany ~ Sunday, January 6th, 2013

Today’s feast day has several meanings.  In the Roman Church we celebrate the story of the Magi visiting Jesus and offering him gifts.  In the Eastern churches, they focus on the story of the Baptism of the Lord.  Both celebrate the manifestation, the revelation of Jesus to the whole world.

Paul in today’s letter to the Ephesians proclaims that “that the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.”

We focus on the story of the Magi in our celebration today.  In the Gospel of Christmas, the angels proclaim the Good News of Christ’s birth  to the shepherds, who were uneducated and poor folk;  The story from Luke indicates that the gospel is to be preached to the poor.

Today’s story is from Matthew.  The Magi, are scholars and learned men.  They  discern from their study of the heavens that the Messiah was to be born in their time;  they would risk the search for him and offer  their treasures.  The Magi represent all the peoples of the earth outside and beyond the Jewish experience.  Jesus is the Christ for everyone!

This Gospel story is about darkness and light.

Brilliant light and terrible, fearful darkness.

The Magi were comfortable with the dark.  They knew how to find their way in the dark because they could interpret the lights of the sky.  They were adventurers / seekers / explorers.

They represent all people who are at home in the world of the intellect.  All people who are willing to journey far to seek and find the truth.

They went out into the night following the light, the great star which marked a singular event in human history.

They stopped to see Herod, expecting that he would welcome the light.  He couldn’t; he was filled with diabolical darkness; he could not abide the light of truth.  He tried to snuff out the life of the God-Man, Jesus the light of the world.

Herod, the guy in charge, a king, was worried about the birth of a baby.  Herod was very powerful, and yet, as Matthew says, “ . . . he was greatly troubled.”

What was Herod afraid of ?  Obviously, he knew that Jesus was going to make a difference in his world and was afraid that a change would mean losing the power he had.  He wanted Jesus gone before any of that could happen.  He liked things just the way they were.

So Herod decreed that all firstborn male babies under two were to be killed.   Jesus and Mary and Joseph had to flee into the night to find a safe place in a foreign land, the land of Egypt.  And so a shroud of violence comes over the innocence of the Christmas story.  Jesus and his family became political refugees.

 

Some of us too are swallowed up by darkness, enshrouded by night.

Some of us live in  dysfunctional families.  That can be terrible darkness, though we may not recognize it.  We may think that yelling and screaming are quite normal.

 

Some of us get up and work very hard  every day.  Perhaps it is work that we do not enjoy, perhaps even hate.  Perhaps our spirits are far away from our jobs.  We go to work  trying to make a living while hoping that the darkness  will not overwhelm us.

 

And we know that there is darkness in the world.  The Israelis refuse to seek peace with the Palestinians. Hate seethes deep in the souls of neighbors a few miles away from each other.  And we’re trying to recover from the shock of a major hurricane, followed by unbelievable sorrow in the massacre of little children.

 

And so, listen to these  powerful words  from Isaiah in the first reading:

 

RISE UP IN SPLENDOR, DEAR PEOPLE OF GOD, YOUR LIGHT HAS COME.

THE GLORY OF THE LORD SHINES UPON YOU.

This feast is about a light that penetrates the most stubborn darkness of our lives.

This feast brings a Light to us all, if only we, like the Magi, would seek.

SEE DARKNESS COVERS THE EARTH

AND THICK CLOUDS COVER THE PEOPLES.

Violence seems to enshroud our whole planet.  We are all engulfed in it.

BUT UPON YOU THE LORD SHINES

AND OVER YOU APPEARS HIS GLORY.

Don’t despair of the darkness, dear friends.  Know that there is a light that can penetrate it.

There was sadness and a thick veil of darkness over my own life for many years.  I had the good sense to move  to the little bit of light that I could find.  A candle flame can be as bright as a great Nova when one is looking for light.

WE need the light of God’s truth in the world today.

NATIONS SHALL WALK BY YOUR LIGHT,

AND RULERS BY YOUR SHINING RADIANCE.

Out of the darkness came the Magi bringing gifts for the Light of the World.  Gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh for the Holy Child who was the Light.

But before we can give a gift, we must — often in the midst of the darkness – open our hands and our hearts to receive the gift that God would give to us.  We must first receive before we can give.

Out of the darkness of your lives, you  also can find gifts to give to the Lord and your family and friends.

What gifts do we bring?

Do we bring Jesus the gift of our adoration which the Magi did? The gift of our hearts?

These learned and influential people got down on their knees before this little child.  What or  who receives the gift of OUR adoration and allegiance?

 

The world does not know how to adore God.  We adore so many other things — a new sports car, a new home, a gifted child of our own, good-looking women or men  .  Maybe we adore a favorite movie star or your favorite sports team when they are winning at least.  Do we adore our career path, willing to do whatever it takes, even if we embrace the darkness along the way?

 

Remember the story of the little drummer boy?

What one gift can we give to God this day?

Close your eyes.  Think about it for a moment.

Now, before you go, here’s The Little Drummer Boy to help you think about what gift you have to offer.  Click here. Be sure to turn up your speakers and enter full screen.

You can find today’s Mass readings at this link.  Click here.

With love,  

Bob Traupman

contemplative writer

 

 

 

 

Advent Day 23 — Our vulnerable God

Our Lady breast feeding Jesus — Shrine of our Lady of La Leche — St. Augustine, Florida

Wednesday of the fourth week of Advent

Luke tells us the charming story that God became incarnate — enfleshed — as a little vulnerable baby boy.

It’s amazing to really think about that.

Even if you’re not ready to accept the story as true, the meaning of that story can really grab you if you let it.

But, sadly, so many of us celebrate Christmas all our lives without really reflecting on the implications of the story for our lives.

Jesus was not only vulnerable in his birth, but also in his death.

He chose to stand before Pilate, bound, scourged and silent.

He chose to say nothing or do anything in his defense.

Vulnerable indeed.

What’s the message here?

St. Paul gives us a clue:

“When I am powerless then I am strong” ~ (2 Cor 12:9-10.)

How can that be?

I think about that a lot because I am powerless a lot when I have to deal with depression

There were days I could not get out of my chair.  I spent over a year institutionalized because of my bipolar illness over the years.

Yes.  I learned the meaning of Paul’s words, “When I am powerless, then I am strong.”  I had to.  For my survival’s sake.

And as a result, I began to thrive.  How?   Because I found the secret.  I found the Source  of  power  in Centering Prayer in the core of my being ~ Emmanuel: God~within~us!

Jesus is showing us his own vulnerability as a baby and in his death: “He emptied himself “ (Phil 2:1-11)

And in our weaknesses,

in our poverty of spirit,

in the brokenness of our lives

we will find God.

Jesus,

You came into this world as a little child

as needy as any other baby.

You suckled at Mary’s breast and

received your nourishment as God from a human mother.

You became one of us and with us.

You accepted our fleshiness,

~ our misery, our joys and sorrows.

You came down to our level to raise us up to the dignity of God

Thank you, Jesus!

Come into our world this day.

Teach us to accept our own vulnerability as something positive.

Teach us to recognize Your face in the most vulnerable among us

for they can be our most radical spiritual teachers.

They Know. They Understand.

Help us understand too, Lord.  Help us to truly understand

~ that vulnerability and powerlessness are very good teachers.

I thank you, Lord.

Come, Lord Jesus!  Come into our hearts this day.

 

Now that message is quite clear in charming children’s story Here it is in a YouTube rendition of  The Little Drummer Boy.

You will need to get rid of the annoying pop up ad that appears on it by click on the X on the right corner.  Be sure to enter full screen and enjoy.

We will have one more post tomorrow before Christmas.

With love,

Bob Traupman

contemplative writer

Advent Day 18 — Our vulnerable God

Our Lady breast feeding Jesus -- Shrine of our Lady of La Leche -- St. Augustine, Florida

Thursday of the third week of Advent (Hanukkah Day 7)

Luke tells us the charming story that God became incarnate — enfleshed — as a little vulnerable baby boy.

It truly is amazing to really think about that.

Even if you’re not ready to accept the story as true, the meaning of that story can really grab you if you let it.

But, sadly, so many of us celebrate Christmas all our lives without really reflecting on the implications of the story for our lives.

Jesus was not only vulnerable in his birth, but also in his death.

He chose to stand before Pilate, bound, scourged and silent.

He chose to say nothing or do anything in his defense.

Vulnerable indeed.

What’s the message here?

St. Paul gives us a clue:

“When I am powerless then I am strong” 2Cor 12:9-10

How can that be?

I think about that a lot because I am powerless a lot dealing with depression

Some days I cannot get out of my chair.

Jesus is showing that in our vulnerability,

in our weaknesses,

in our poverty of spirit,

in the brokenness of our lives

we will find God.

Jesus,

You came into this world as a little child

as needy as any other baby.

You sucked at Mary’s breast and

received your nourishment as God from a human mother.

You became one of us and with us.

You accepted our fleshiness, our misery, our joys and sorrows.

You came down to our level to raise us up to the dignity of God

Thank you, Jesus!

Come into our world this day.

Teach us to accept our own vulernabiity as something positive.

Teach us to reognize Your face in the most vulnerable among us

for they can be our most radical spiritual teachers.

They know.

Help us understand, Lord.  Help us truly understand.


Now to get us in the mood here is a charming YouTube rendition of  The Little Drummer Boy.

With love,

Bob Traupman

priest / writer