Beginnings: What Jesus did for Zacchaeus... and me

Starting our Advent Journey, is still time!
by Rhonda S. Jones | Source: Catholic.net
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I didn’t climb a sycamore tree. And I was NOT thinking of becoming CHRISTIAN! I was content with my Jewish faith. However, my Catholic husband and I were building a secondary business and I was learning what leaders did to be successful. (We wanted to help many people succeed in achieving personal growth and financial goals.) I read books recommended for success, though most were written by CHRISTIANS!

   Ugh! I was exasperated, but I wanted to be successful, so I read them. Eventually I faced a bigger step. It was recommended that leaders attend a Sunday morning “Ecumenical” Service. If we were “Leaders in the Making,” I wanted to know first-hand what we would be recommending to others.

   Ecumenical? Ha! Not quite! But I was obedient. There I was, -- me, a Jew, in a room full of hand-waving Christians for an odd “ecumenical worship service,” (unlike the beautiful Masses I had attended with my husband at his Catholic church). Little did I know what was about to occur. It was like a thunderbolt. It was sudden. It changed everything.  I was struck.
 
   Here’s what happened: With my having initiated my attendance, I had given God an opening and He infused me with FAITH. God spoke to my heart through the Gospel passage about Zacchaeus. I learned how Jesus converted Zacchaeus with few words and saw what the words and actions of Jesus meant to Zacchaeus. I pictured it all. I was absorbed with the Gospel and no longer focused on the service. Suddenly I thought, “Who else but ‘The Messiah’ could do so much for someone with so few words!” I now knew that Jesus WAS THE MESSIAH that we Jews had been waiting for.

   I showed up – as did Zacchaeus. I listened, as did Zacchaeus. And I’d bet that Zacchaeus, like me, wasn’t planning on converting. So God planted great Faith in me at that very moment. FAITH – one of the three Theological Virtues.

   The other two Theological Virtues are HOPE and LOVE (Charity/Caritas). God transmits Faith, Hope and Love to us. We do not create them. How do they increase? We pray and ask for their increase. When we participate in the sacraments, we receive God’s special graces. So, when I was joyfully baptized and confirmed in the Catholic Church, graces flowed into me, which expanded these virtues. This is the same with each of you, every time that you sincerely receive the sacraments!
   
   Each one of us can participate with God to increase out virtues. After all, He is Our Father! If you wonder how we might go about this, I will offer some suggestions. You can study our Catholic Faith through long-respected resources as well as many created especially for this Year of Faith (books, DVDs, short online courses… ). The Catechism and Creeds are great starting points. 

   And you can read the Gospels, explore how Christ outlines and participates in God’s plan of Salvation and meditate upon Christ’s willingness to do this – BECAUSE HE LOVES YOU. As suggested above, you can consider receiving the Holy Eucharist and Sacrament of Reconciliation more often. How about spending more time, regularly, in Adoration? What a gift for Christ!
 
   That leads to perhaps the most basic and important way to team up with God. In Adoration and at other prayer times, ASK CHRIST OR GOD to increase these virtues in you.  I was astounded the first time I did this with these virtues and God gave me what I asked for. God wants us to love and obey Him, truly as our DAD – our ABBA! Luke Chapter 11: 5-13 tells us that our Father wants us to ask Him for what we want and need. In fact, He TELLS us to ask. So let’s ask Him to increase our Faith, Hope and Love. If anyone can do it, OUR TRIUNE GOD CAN!
   
   Advent is a beautiful time to work on Faith, Hope and Charity. This week, let’s meditate daily on Our Blessed Mother’s Theological Virtues -- from early childhood to her Assumption. Each day, choose one of those virtues.  Pray to Mother to show you what you are looking for. Then close by reading the Magnificat .

One more IMPORTANT aspect you should know about the Theological Virtues: THEY LEAD YOU DIRECTLY TO GOD. Let them now guide you to Christ in the Manger!


For comments please contact Rhonda Jones: RhondaJonesWriter.Catholic.net@gmail.com



 


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