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The Love You Had at First

First Reading: Revelation 1:1-4; 2:1-5

The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to him,
to show his servants what must happen soon.
He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John,
who gives witness to the word of God
and to the testimony of Jesus Christ by reporting what he saw.
Blessed is the one who reads aloud
and blessed are those who listen to this prophetic message
and heed what is written in it, for the appointed time is near.

John, to the seven churches in Asia: grace to you and peace
from him who is and who was and who is to come,
and from the seven spirits before his throne.

I heard the Lord saying to me:
“To the angel of the Church in Ephesus, write this:

“‘The one who holds the seven stars in his right hand
and walks in the midst of the seven gold lampstands says this:
“I know your works, your labor, and your endurance,
and that you cannot tolerate the wicked;
you have tested those who call themselves Apostles but are not,
and discovered that they are impostors.
Moreover, you have endurance and have suffered for my name,
and you have not grown weary.
Yet I hold this against you:
you have lost the love you had at first.
Realize how far you have fallen.
Repent, and do the works you did at first.
Otherwise, I will come to you
and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.”’”

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 1:1-2, 3, 4 AND 6

R. (Rev. 2:17) Those who are victorious I will feed from the tree of life.
Blessed the man who follows not
the counsel of the wicked
Nor walks in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the company of the insolent,
But delights in the law of the LORD
and meditates on his law day and night.
R. Those who are victorious I will feed from the tree of life.
He is like a tree
planted near running water,
That yields its fruit in due season,
and whose leaves never fade.
Whatever he does, prospers.
R. Those who are victorious I will feed from the tree of life.
Not so the wicked, not so;
they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
For the LORD watches over the way of the just,
but the way of the wicked vanishes.
R. Those who are victorious I will feed from the tree of life.

Gospel: Luke 18:35-43

As Jesus approached Jericho
a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging,
and hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what was happening.
They told him,
“Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.”
He shouted, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!”
The people walking in front rebuked him,
telling him to be silent,
but he kept calling out all the more,
“Son of David, have pity on me!”
Then Jesus stopped and ordered that he be brought to him;
and when he came near, Jesus asked him,
“What do you want me to do for you?”
He replied, “Lord, please let me see.”
Jesus told him, “Have sight; your faith has saved you.”
He immediately received his sight
and followed him, giving glory to God.
When they saw this, all the people gave praise to God.

NAB

nov-14

The opening of the Book of Revelations that we have today is reminiscent of the Old Testament prophets: God calling His people to remember their first love.

Yet I hold this against you:
you have lost the love you had at first.
Realize how far you have fallen.
Repent, and do the works you did at first.

How many times has my enthusiasm for my faith waned? I used to describe my faith life as a rollercoaster, surviving off of intense annual retreats after which my enthusiasm would slowly run dry until the next one. My love and devotion would grow for a time, and then taper off. Then there was that one crucial retreat, where I realized that the time of my wishy-washy faith was at an end and that it was time to go forward without looking back.

God tells us to repent and to do the works we did at first. The only way to move forward is to remember the first passion that we had for God: when praying was a joy, when we always had spiritual consolations, and do those things whether we have the consolations or not. If the fire of our first love is going to keep blazing, it needs kindling.

One of the habits I have learned from Ignatian spirituality is making resolutions in prayer. There are a couple of ways to make resolutions: making ones everyday to help overcome daily struggles and making ones that establish good prayer habits.

I make resolutions each day during my quiet meditative prayer. During this time of prayer, I read from Scripture or a spiritual book, but I also talk to and try to listen to God. The goal of these resolutions is to bring myself closer to God through my actions. For example, I might be praying about how I can love my husband better and resolve to show him love in small physical ways. Or I might resolve to pray, My Jesus, have mercy, whenever I am tempted to respond sharply to my children (or even after I do and realize my error). These little resolutions can help me to form and maintain in myself the love God wants me to have for him.

I also have a list of resolutions about my life of prayer that I seek to do daily. These are ones that help ones spiritual life, like resolving to each day to pray a morning offering, take a meditative prayer time, pray the Angelus at noon, and do an Examination of Conscience before bed. They also include things like going to daily Mass twice a week and Confession once a month. Do not be afraid to do more, if you feel called to it! I try to examine these resolutions every month or so and discern if they are helping me love God more or hindering my vocation in any way.

When we take on resolutions with prayer, God will give us the grace to carry them out, and when we faithfully do them, our love for God will grow.

Have you made resolutions that you seek to carry out everyday? The first step is to take time to talk to God daily; try to give Him at least ten minutes and open up your heart. Read a few verses of Scripture. Listen to what He is telling you, and resolve to love Him more truly.

Susanna Spencer once studied theology and philosophy, but now happily cares for her three adorable little girls, new baby boy, and her dear husband in Saint Paul. She loves beautiful liturgies, cooking delicious meals, baking amazing sweets, reading good books, raising her children, casually following baseball, and talking to her philosopher husband. You can find out more about her here.

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