Tag Archives: 2013

DECEMBER 6 Friday the First Week

How do we see?

…and their eyes were opened. Matthew 9:30

Jesus Heals the Blind Man copy

One morning, after a young couple had moved into a new neighborhood, the wife looked out the window and noticed her neighbor hanging the wash outside. “That laundry isn’t very clean,” she said.

Her husband didn’t reply, and every time the neighbor hung her wash, his wife made the same comment. About a month later, the woman was surprised to see clean wash on her neighbor’s line. “Well, she finally learned how to wash!” she said.

Her husband replied, “I got up early and cleaned our windows.”

In today’s gospel, two men are cured of physical blindness. But other types of blindness can afflict us too. We can train our eyes to see only what we want to see. We can let our eyes get clouded over because of past perceptions and prejudices, hurts and slights that we’re still harboring, or an attitude that our way is the only way.

There are many legends about St. Nicholas, whose feast we celebrate today, stories of his generous giving to everyone. Perhaps he was able to give to all because he had a wide and clear vision; he could see the goodness of everyone, despite their circumstances.

DAILY PRACTICE: Wash your windows today in preparation for the celebration of Christmas. As you wash them, ask yourself: what smudges and streaks might I need to eliminate so that I can see the fullness, the beauty, and the goodness of everyone?

ADVENT PRAYER: God Who Restores Our Sight, you respond to our every need, even those we might not see. Help me to see as completely as you do and to respond as generously as you do.

From: ADVENT 2013. Daily reflections, practices and prayers.
The Promise of Peace. Janet Schaeffler, OP.
Twenty-Third Publications


DECEMBER 5 Thursday the First Week

Opening the gate

“Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them…”  Matthew 15:36


In the movie Phenomenon (1996), the main character has a garden, and he is pestered by a rabbit eating all his vegetables, no matter what fence he constructs. One night he decides to open the gate to the garden and wait. All of a sudden, he realizes that he had trapped the rabbit in; the rabbit was trying to get out.

Why did Jesus come into our world? Was it because the people were trapped in their fears, in their doubts about what it meant to be really human? Did Jesus come for us because we often fence in our worries, our doubts, our discouragements, our pain and suffering? Did Jesus come to show us how to open the gate, to slowly and steadily let go of our hesitations, disappointments, and negativity?

The coming of the Word into our world spoke words of comfort and of challenge, words calling us to action and to commitment. Jesus, the Word of God, opens new possibilities of peacefulness and freedom.

DAILY PRACTICE: Go for a walk. Each time you pass a fence, call to mind feelings or attitudes that are perhaps trapped inside you. Each time you pass a gate, ask God to help you be open to the words of Jesus that bring you healing and comfort and call you to freedom.

ADVENT PRAYER: God of Openings, you sent Jesus to free us from all the things we’ve fenced in. I am grateful that Jesus’ life and words teach and empower me to be open to healing, positive attitudes, and the freedom only you can give.

From: ADVENT 2013. Daily reflections, practices and prayers.
The Promise of Peace. Janet Schaeffler, OP.
Twenty-Third Publications


DECEMBER 3 Tuesday the First Week

Rooted in Peacefulness

Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb… Isaiah 11:6


A young child frequently wandered in the woods. Over time, his father became concerned. ”I’ve noticed that each day you walk into the woods,” the dad said to his son. “Why do you go there?”

“I go there to find God,” replied his son.

“That’s a very good thing,” said his father. ”I’m glad you’re searching for God. But don’t you know that God is the same everywhere?”

“Yes,” the boy answered, “but I’m not.”

Today’s reading from Isaiah speaks of a stunning vision of a peaceful world. As we think about peace in our times-in our families, our neighborhoods, our nation, our world-many people suggest steps to bring about a peaceable kingdom. They’re all true and need to be adopted boldly.

But what is the first step, the foundational action that leads to the others? The young boy in our story knew the answer. He knew he needed a place, a process, by which he first realized who he was. He needed to be rooted in a peacefulness within himself. Spending time with God reveals to us who we are. It ingrains in us the peace that only God can give. Then we can be peacemakers.

DAILY PRACTICE: Decide on a way that is best for you to spend time with God, growing in peace. Decide on a way you can bring peace to a situation that is full of discord.

ADVENT PRAYER: God of Peace, encircle me in your never-ending peace. This Advent, make me an instrument of your peace.

From: ADVENT 2013. Daily reflections, practices and prayers.
The Promise of Peace. Janet Schaeffler, OP.
Twenty-Third Publications


DECEMBER 1 First Sunday of Advent

Profitably busy

“Stay awake.” Matthew 24:42

For most of us, Advent is a busy season. Today’s readings call us not to be busy, but to be profitably busy. Our busyness must count for something. It must make a difference.

Why are we called to be profitably busy each day? Often these readings lead us to think about the Second Coming of Jesus-and they should! Yet, if we mean by the “second coming” that Jesus isn’t really with us now, that he is an outsider to our world and just drops in once in a while, then we are missing something really important.

Every day of our lives, we encounter Jesus in some person, in some situation. We need to “stay awake” to all the ways we meet him. That means that we are called to be profitably busy.

What will that mean for this Advent? Perhaps it will mean slowing down for prayer, paying closer attention to the people in our lives, building an awareness of those in our world who are lonely and suffering, or taking action to reach out to someone whom we might know.

DAILY PRACTICE: Make a resolution that will enable you to be profitably busy during this Advent season.

ADVENT PRAYER: God of the Here and Now, nudge me to notice your Son in the hundreds of ways he is with me. Urge me to ways of being prayerfully, profitably busy.

From: ADVENT 2013. Daily reflections, practices and prayers.
The Promise of Peace. Janet Schaeffler, OP.
Twenty-Third Publications





As I observe my niece and her husband respond to, care for, and lovingly watch every move of their firstborn, their precious daughter, I’m very aware of how they look at her. Such a protective, proud, cherishing gaze!

That is how God looks on us! God is enthralled with each of us, as if God is saying, “Look at what I’ve made. How unique, how extraordinary you are!”

We often talk about how we believe in God, but the extravagant promise we have received is that God believes in us. This is the message to remember as we celebrate this Advent/Christmas season: because of God’s incredible love, God became one of us and promised always to be with us, offering benevolent care and shielding protection. What an extravagant promise!

In our culture Advent/Christmas is often a time of extravagance. That’s true for us as disciples of Jesus too-this is a time of extravagant love, extravagant expectations, extravagant promises.

Advent comes with this extravagant promise: when we slow down and live the season, we will discover new realizations about ourselves, new awarenesses of the God who loves us beyond imagining, and new and energizing challenges of what it means to live as God’s holy ones.

May these reflections, daily practices, and Advent prayers help us to rediscover the extravagant promises of our extravagant God.

From: ADVENT 2013. Daily reflections, practices and prayers.
The Promise of Peace. Janet Schaeffler, OP.
Twenty-Third Publications