Minute Meditations

Hold Back Nothing

In his Letter to the Whole Order, Saint Francis writes: “Let humanity kneel in fear, let the whole universe tremble, and let heaven rejoice when Christ the Son of the Living God is on the altar in the hands of the priest! O wonderful ascent, O stupendous descent! O sublime humility! O humble sublimity that the Lord of the Universe, God and Son of God, should so humbly hide himself for our salvation in what seems to be only a small piece of bread! Look, then, upon the humility of God! And pour out your hearts before him. Humble yourselves that he might exalt you. Hold back nothing of yourselves for yourselves, that he may receive your all who gave his all to you.”

—from the book Surrounded by Love: Seven Teachings from Saint Francis by Murray Bodo, OFM

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Wants and Needs

Somewhere in the course of a childhood or a lifetime, we learn to balance expectations and reality. It has much to do with learning the difference between wants and needs. We rarely do this perfectly in our everyday lives. It’s even more difficult in the heightened atmosphere of Christmas, whether it’s visions of sugar plums dancing in our heads or the bells and whistles of this year’s electronics. Sometimes what we imagine as the perfect Christmas present fails to live up to its hype, and we’re disappointed. Sometimes something that seems mundane proves to be valuable in ways that go far beyond the glitz and sparkle of Christmas morning. 

—from the book The Peace of Christmas: Quiet Reflections with Pope Francis by Diane M. Houdek

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A Blessing in Chaotic Times

Amid all the disaster and distress
that wheels around and swirls within us in chaotic times,
there are also always marvels to behold.

Let neither fear nor preoccupation
keep you from being touched
by wonderfully wounded life.

May you find a way in every day,
to share your great-fullness
for all that touches your eyes.

May you refuse to be crushed
but rather, look lovingly upon all with tear-washed eyes,
trained on woundedness, straining for wonder.

As you savor the sweet brevity of your days, 
may passion puncture you, letting out joy,
till warmly you are welcomed; a sight for sore eyes.

—from the book Wandering and Welcome: Meditations for Finding Peace by Joseph Grant

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We Are All Mothers of Our Lord

In his Letter to all the Faithful, Saint Francis writes, “We are mothers of our Lord Jesus Christ when we carry him in our hearts and in our bodies, lovingly, and with a pure and sincere conscience, and give birth to him through the working of his grace in us which should shine forth as an example to others.”

—from the book Surrounded by Love: Seven Teachings from Saint Francis by Murray Bodo, OFM

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Symbol of Joy

The Christmas tree, so simple and yet so strange, is a natural symbol that speaks to many people without elaborate explanation. It was there, you remember it, you know it was meaningful, even if you can’t put that meaning into words. The lights and ornaments made you happy. You knew that Christmas was a special time, though you have never heard about liminality, utopia, or soul and spirit.

—from the book The Soul of Christmas by Thomas Moore

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Bring the Gospel Back into Christmas

We ask ourselves, what is to be done, what can we do to bring the Christ of the Gospel back into Christmas in a way that is more than a bumper sticker slogan that ends up being mainly a political football? How can we bring the Christ of the Gospel back into our daily lives so that we actually live out the teachings of the Gospel where we first learned the story of Christ? Brother Thomas of Celano says of St. Francis, “His greatest care, his most vivid desire, his supreme resolution was to observe the holy Gospel….” And this very Gospel emphasizes over and over again the imperative of reaching out to those who, like the man in Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan, have fallen among thieves, which in turn calls to mind the rapaciousness of those forces and structures that control our economy and of the many who are left by the wayside. How, then, can we today reach out to those fallen and to the thieves, as well?

—from the book Surrounded by Love: Seven Teachings from Saint Francis by Murray Bodo, OFM

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Gifts of Immeasurable Value

We are constantly surrounded by advertising in a growing variety of forms. Ads creep into nearly everything we do. And this ramps up even more during the weeks leading up to Christmas. Advent invites us to take a break from the deluge of ads and seek something deeper and more lasting than the latest electronics or the best deal on that kitchen appliance that everyone needs this year. Advent invites us to seek a sense of peace and wholeness in our hearts and in our daily lives. If we do that even in small ways this year, we will have an immeasurable gift to share with our loved ones and possibly even with our world.

—from the book Simple Gifts: Daily Reflections for Advent by Diane M. Houdek

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