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All Issues > Volume 21, Issue 1

<< Saturday, December 4, 2004 >> St. John Damascene
Isaiah 30:19-21, 23-26
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Psalm 147 Matthew 9:35—10:1, 6-8
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"He will heal the bruises left by His blows." —Isaiah 30:26

It's possible to be so traumatized by disaster that a normal life no longer seems possible. In such a condition, a person can spend so much energy "waiting for the other shoe to drop" that they miss out on God's good plans for them (Jer 29:11). It's hard for them to trust again, to believe again, to hope again. After all, why get our hopes up only to be disappointed one more time?

Jesus is coming soon, and every barrier to His coming must be removed (see Is 40:4). Over and over in the Advent readings, God repeats His message of love, abundance, protection, and provision to those who have suffered much. God must remove every temptation to hopelessness, so He bombards us with words of His amazing love. At the same time, our culture bombards us with words promising quick escape from pain through the "auld lang syne" of the good old days. Many fall for the quick fix of excitement the culture offers at Christmas. It's tempting to want to hope for a happy holiday instead of putting our hopes in God.

With God, often the great abundance comes only after we hit bottom. Only when the old runs out can we be given the best (see Jn 2:3ff). The resurrection comes only after walking through crucifixion. The exaltation comes after being humbled (1 Pt 5:6). The reward comes after the devastation (see Jl 2:25).

Open your heart again. You've been crushed, but "affliction makes for endurance, and endurance for tested virtue, and tested virtue for hope. And this hope will not leave us disappointed, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit" (Rm 5:3-5). "Hope in the Lord" (Ps 131:3).

Prayer: Father, "I consider the sufferings of the present to be as nothing compared with the glory" to be found in You (Rm 8:18).
Promise: "No longer will your Teacher hide Himself." —Is 30:20
Praise: St. John spent all of his life under Moslem rule, much of it fighting not them but heresy within the Church.
(This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Nihil obstat: Reverend Richard Walling, July 7, 2004
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 19, 2004
The Nihil obstat and Imprimatur are a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free from doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted the Nihil obstat and Imprimatur agree with the contents, opinions, or statements expressed.
Volume 21, Issue 1
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