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Wednesday, December 11, 2002

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Pope St. Damasus I

Isaiah 40:25-31
Psalm 103
Matthew 11:28-30

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"He gives strength." —Isaiah 40:29

Many of us are nearing the end of our lives. We need the strength to sprint across the finish line to our heavenly home. Some have been given the awesome privilege of having children and making them disciples of Jesus. This vocation requires every ounce of strength that they have, indeed, even more than they have. Many Christians are being persecuted, even martyred. They need strength to withstand the most severe pressure.

Life in Christ requires supernatural strength from the Holy Spirit. The Lord "gives strength to the fainting; for the weak He makes vigor abound" (Is 40:29). "They that hope in the Lord will renew their strength, they will soar as with eagles' wings" (Is 40:31). We receive the supernatural strength we need by hoping in the Lord, that is, the Lord Jesus (see 1 Mc 2:61). Paradoxically, we receive Jesus' strength by taking on our shoulders the yoke of the cross (see Mt 11:29). When we become like Simon of Cyrene and take up the cross, we become like Samson in that we receive supernatural strength from the Holy Spirit. We "have strength for everything through Him Who empowers" us (Phil 4:13).

To put Christmas into Christ, to accept Jesus as the Lord of Christmas, we need strength from the Holy Spirit. Hope in the Lord by taking up His cross, and you will receive all the strength you need for a life-changing, world-renewing Christmas.

Prayer:  Father, I deny myself (see Lk 9:23) and receive strength and power from on high (Lk 24:49).

Promise:  "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For My yoke is easy, and My burden light." —Mt 11:29-30

Praise:  Pope St. Damasus I was called the "pope of the catacombs." He zealously retrieved the relics of Roman martyrs, so that their witness of faith could strengthen Christians in their faith.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend David L. Zink, June 12, 2002

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 13, 2002