Regnum Christi | Legionaries of Christ

Weekly Digest of the Regnum Christi Daily Meditations: November 22-29, 2020

Sunday, November 22, 2020 – Sheep and Goats

Monday, November 23, 2020 – The Richest Gift

Tuesday, November 24, 2020 – Why So Glum?

Wednesday, November 25, 2020 – Costly Catholicism

Thursday, November 26, 2020 – Scary Times

Friday, November 27, 2020 – The Kingdom is Near

Saturday, November 28, 2020 – Ready or Not?

Sunday, November 29, 2020 – Always on Watch

 


November 22, 2020 – Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

Invest in Christ

 

Father Edward McIlmail, LC

Matthew 25:31-46

Jesus said to his disciples: “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’ And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of the least brothers of mine, you did for me.’ Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’ Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’ He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’ And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for this chance to spend time with you in prayer. You are the Prince of Peace and the Lord of Mercy. I trust in your goodness and love. I love you and earnestly long to love you more each day.

Petition: Lord, help me to translate my faith in you into good deeds done for others.

  1. Judgment Day: All of our life is, in a sense, a preparation for the judgment we face at life’s end. That is when we go before Our Lord and give account for everything we have done or failed to do. No excuses will be accepted, no more “second chances” given. Jesus’ mercy doesn’t mean he ignores justice. “Mercy differs from justice, but is not in opposition to it,” wrote Pope Saint John Paul II in his 1980 encyclical, Dives in Misericordia (Rich in Mercy). Would I be ready to face the Lord this very day? If not, why not? What facet of my life do I need to change right now?
  2. The Sheep: The sheep to be saved are the people who helped others, who showed mercy, who didn’t turn a cold shoulder to someone in need. Our Lord doesn’t praise them for their many prayers so much as for their good deeds. Prayer is important, of course. But it’s not enough. Christ wants our love for him to be reflected in our love for others. Oddly, many of those to be saved will not have realized that it was really Christ they were helping. Do I see Christ in those who need help? Do I see Christ in my family members? My co-workers? The demanding boss? The unpopular classmate? The smelly beggar?
  3. The Goats: It’s scary to think that those who will be lost were not necessarily “bad people.” In this passage Our Lord doesn’t chide them for doing wicked things. He doesn’t accuse them of starting wars or peddling drugs or committing acts of terrorism. Rather, he faults them for the sin of omission, for things they didn’t do. “You gave me no food… You gave me no clothing.” We may think ourselves good Christians because we don’t cheat on our taxes or look at pornography or miss Mass on Sundays. But acts of charity are key, too. We should do these without neglecting the others.

Conversation with Christ: Lord, I don’t want to end up with the goats at the Last Judgment. That’s why I want to take my faith seriously. I want to have a generous heart. But do I limit my generosity? Why can’t I see you in my neighbor? You have loved me unconditionally. Help me to respond to your love by loving others unconditionally.

Resolution: Before noon, I will perform one small act of charity for someone close to me.


November 23, 2020 – Monday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time

The Richest Gift

 

Father Edward Hopkins, LC

Luke 21:1-4

When Jesus looked up he saw some wealthy people putting their offerings into the treasury and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins. He said, “I tell you truly, this poor widow put in more than all the rest; for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.”

Introductory Prayer: Dear Jesus, I believe that you have blessed me with life and with a vibrant faith. Thank you. I dedicate this time and prayer to you. I love you, and I offer you all that I am and all that I have with the desire of becoming a joyful gift to you.

Petition: Lord, teach me to share joyfully all that I have received!

  1. Some Wealthy People: Jesus sat before the temple treasury. What did Jesus see as he looked on? He saw more than we do. He saw the heart. Wealth tends to captivate us with desire and enslave us with concerns and worries. Jesus saw many hearts squeeze out just a couple drops of their abundant security, a gesture that was neither painful nor difficult. The act of fulfilling, or thinking they were fulfilling a duty to God, caused them to glow with self-satisfaction. Some were even bloated with pride for having given so much, and yet their act was empty of real self-giving. They gave with routine indifference. Their giving lacked love. What does Jesus see in my daily or weekly gifts? Do I generously give God my all when I see him on the altar? Do I generously give him my all when I am on my knees in prayer? Do I give him my all on my feet at work?
  2. A Poor Widow: Only Jesus could have seen that this widow was now reduced to total dependence on family or friends. She gave more because she gave herself with a heart full of surrender. Is there anything we can give God that he has not already given us? We can give God our trustful surrender. The poor widow gave to God with trust since she knew that he would continue to care for her. She had no other real desire but to be with him and be enriched by him. Her giving was serene and resigned, not despairing, but rather full of hope. She had the hope of one who knows deep down how much God loves her. How much do I trust and depend on him, particularly when other securities begin to disappear?
  3. Offering My Whole Life: Jesus shows the great importance of how we give—not only of what we give. What we have—our possessions and those, which in some way we have made our own—are not for us. We have them so that we might give them, and we should give them back to God, for they are his. We give them as an expression of our love for God. I give my life when I work diligently, practice charity, pray, or sacrifice for love of Christ. All these acts of love, if not made explicit before, are made into an intentional gift to Jesus, when I mentally place them upon the paten along with the hosts to be consecrated during the Offertory at Mass. Do I give him my whole life?

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, awaken me to all you are for me, and let me realize all that you have given me. May I never cease to thank you through my own self-giving. You are my living and constant invitation to be more generous, to give more often and with more love. Open my heart, Lord, to your work!

Resolution: In prayer, I will make a list of all that I can do for Jesus this week and offer this to him. Then, on Sunday during the Offertory, I will mentally place before him on the paten all the sacrifices I have made during the week—my real gift to him, given with faith and love.


November 24, 2020 – Memorial of Saint Andrew Dung-Lac, Priest, and Companions, Martyrs

Why So Glum?

 

Father Edward McIlmail, LC

Luke 21:5-11

While some people were speaking about how the Temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings, Jesus said, “All that you see here—the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.” Then they asked him, “Teacher, when will this happen? And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?” He answered, “See that you not be deceived, for many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ and ‘The time has come.’ Do not follow them! When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for such things must happen first, but it will not immediately be the end.” Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be powerful earthquakes, famines and plagues from place to place; and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky.”

Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for this special time I have with you. It’s one of the few calm moments of the day. Your presence reassures me that I don’t have to endure the trials of the day alone. You are my strength and my peace. I wish to abide in your love.

Petition: Jesus, help me to keep hoping despite the crises in my life.

  1. Temple of Doom: For the Jews, the Temple in Jerusalem was the center of religious and cultural life. It contained the Holy of Holies, the sanctuary that once housed the Ark of the Covenant. The people were proud of the Temple, but Jesus warns them that the day will arrive when it will be destroyed (as indeed it was, in A.D. 70). Yet the end of the Temple will not be the end of religion. Jesus himself will remain with us, as he does to this day, in the Eucharist. Likewise, no matter what else passes away—our house, our office, our school—Christ remains. Does that belief fill me with confidence?
  2. Be Not Deceived: Jesus doesn’t directly answer the question about when the Temple will be destroyed. Rather, he tries to get his listeners to focus on what is really important: their faith. Our Lord warns them not to listen to the wrong people. Throughout the course of a normal day, to whom do we listen? Whose voices are on our radios, our TV sets? Who really has our ear day by day? Worldly talk-show hosts? The news media’s “instant experts”? Hollywood stars? Jesus cautions us that the people we listen to might affect the quality of our lives—and the quality of our eternity. Do I judge carefully, then, the voices I listen to?
  3. Do Not Be Terrified: Terrorist attacks, wars, abortion, euthanasia, natural disasters—is the world a nicer place today than in Jesus’ time? Our Lord was no stranger to bad news. He knew about the tower in Siloam that killed 18 people (see Luke 13:4)—and he knew what awaited him on Good Friday. Yet he always remained hopeful and encouraged the best in people. As his followers, we too must be witnesses to hope. We need to brighten the lives of those around us. More importantly, we need to remind others that God will win in the end. “Good, not evil, has the last word,” Pope Saint John Paul II told the general audience of Oct. 17, 2001, “God triumphs over the hostile powers, even when they seem great and invincible.”

Conversation with Christ: Lord, I know in my mind that you will win in the end. If only my heart would believe that, too! Grant me this grace. Grant that my life will show that kind of optimism at every moment.

Resolution: I will make a small sacrifice or offer up a special prayer for someone suffering today.


November 25, 2020  – Wednesday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time

Costly Catholicism

 

Father Edward McIlmail, LC

Luke 21:12-19

Jesus said to the crowd: “They will seize and persecute you, they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons, and they will have you led before kings and governors because of my name. It will lead to your giving testimony. Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand, for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute. You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends, and they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all because of my name, but not a hair on your head will be destroyed. By your perseverance you will secure your lives.”

Introductory Prayer: Jesus my Savior, thank you for another day and another chance to grow in holiness with your grace. I love you and wish to make you the true center of my thoughts, desires and actions.

Petition: Lord, help me face the difficulties of practicing my faith day-to-day.

  1. Persecution: Opposition from the world is the price we pay for following Christ. No pain, no gain. Why should that surprise us? If living the Gospel were easy, all the world would be saints. But the Gospel is demanding. It rubs against our fallen human nature. It demands of us—and even makes us unpopular. Why? Because people who do good are a thorny reminder to those who don’t. It shouldn’t surprise us that the neighbors look down on us for having so many kids. Or that the guys in the dorm snicker at us for living chastely. Or that the boss overlooks us for a promotion because we wouldn’t donate to that pro-abortion group last Christmas during the company fund drive. Do I realize that to be a Christian is to be persecuted?
  2. No Defense: When Christ tells us not to prepare our defense, he’s not telling us to sit back and do nothing. Rather, he wants us to use our talents for the Kingdom. Christ is inviting us to trust that ultimately the victory of good over evil belongs to him. God has his time and place for everything. In the meantime, we are called to build the Kingdom wherever we can—in our families, our offices, our schools, our communities. How am I building the Kingdom in the areas around me?
  3. Wisdom from Above: “I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking…” When we stay close to Christ in prayer and deed, he takes over our lives little by little. And that’s good. Our selfishness fades. Our heart grows. We die to ourselves. “He must increase; I must decrease” (John 3:30). But we have to ask ourselves: Do we really believe in the Gospel? Do we believe in it enough to use Christ’s words when we have to respond to the nonbelievers around us? How often do we identify ourselves as Catholic in public?

Conversation with Christ: Lord, you know it’s not easy to be seen as your friend. People laugh at us — if they don’t feel sorry for us. They don’t understand where we are coming from. Help me understand some of the loneliness you must have felt when you went against the world’s standards. Help me be faithful to you regardless of the cost.

Resolution: In conversation or in an e-mail I will use a line of Christ’s wisdom from the Gospel.


November 26, 2020  – Thursday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time

Scary Times

 

Father Edward McIlmail, LC

Luke 21:20-28

Jesus said to his disciples: “When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, know that its desolation is at hand. Then those in Judea must flee to the mountains. Let those within the city escape from it and let those in the countryside not enter the city, for these days are the time of punishment when all the scriptures are fulfilled. Woe to pregnant women and nursing mothers in those days, for a terrible calamity will come upon the earth and a wrathful judgment upon this people. They will fall by the edge of the sword and be taken as captives to all the Gentiles; and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on earth nations will be in dismay, perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will die of fright in anticipation of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.”

Introductory Prayer: Jesus my Savior, thank you for another day and another chance to grow in holiness with your grace. I love you and wish to make you the true center of my thoughts, desires and actions.

Petition: Lord, give me a healthy but realistic Christian optimism.

  1. Desolation at Hand: What a grim Gospel passage! Lots of talk of armies and calamity and roaring seas. Jesus is speaking of the coming destruction of Jerusalem (in A.D. 70) as well as images of the end times. In our day we can think of wars, terrorism and illness, and wonder why the world is such a nasty place sometimes. Why can’t life be easier? Why do so many innocent people suffer? Alas, Our Lord asked the same questions. All the evil we see springs from original sin, from the fall of Adam. It wasn’t God’s plan to have all this suffering—but he allows it. He allows it because he respects our freedom. He allows it too because he knows he can bring good out of it. How do I use my freedom? Do I have enough faith in Christ to be optimistic?
  2. Trampled Underfoot: The fall of Jerusalem didn’t mean that God abandoned the world. True, the focus of religion would no longer be the Temple; rather, it would be a new focus: Christ, truly present in the Eucharist. The tabernacle would be the new center of attention. How few souls grasp that truth! After 2,000 years, Jesus is still humble, allowing himself to be kept in a tabernacle. Does that fact influence the way I act in a church? Does it affect the way I dress when going to church? Do I try to enter church with the proper state of heart and mind?
  3. Redemption at Hand: Faithful following of Christ gives us the best assurance that our lives have meaning. Christ will make sense of everything at the end of our lives. All our struggles to live the Gospel will be worth it. On the last day we might regret many things, but we will never regret the things we did for Christ. Does that truth guide our lives each day? Do we live each day as if it were our last? What is there in my life that I would be ashamed of on the last day? Why not weed it out of my life now?

Conversation with Christ: Lord, help me to judge the things of my daily life against eternity. Let me see things with your eyes. Let me see what is really valuable and what is fleeting. And help me to act accordingly.

Resolution: I will make a fresh effort to get rid of the biggest vice in my life.


November 27, 2020 – Friday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time

The Kingdom is Near

 

Father Edward Hopkins, LC

Luke 21:29-33

Jesus told his disciples a parable. “Consider the fig tree and all the other trees. When their buds burst open, you see for yourselves and know that summer is now near; in the same way, when you see these things happening, know that the Kingdom of God is near. Amen, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”

Introductory Prayer: Dear Jesus, I believe in you and in the Kingdom you are building in and through me. I believe in the value of my sacrifice and struggles united to yours. I hope to arrive to heaven when you say it is time. I wish to spend myself for those I should love the most.

Petition: Thy Kingdom come, both now and forever!

  1. See for Yourselves: In today’s Gospel, Jesus is responding to the disciples’ anxious plea for a “when” and a “with what warning” the end will come (Luke 21:7). He tells them some signs that will precede the imminent fall of Jerusalem as well as the coming of the Son of Man “on the clouds.” But these will all be very apparent, like the coming of summer. So, don’t be obsessed with figuring out the “when.” Focus on living and knowing the Kingdom of God now. How easily we are distracted with all that happens around us, yet how difficult it is to be aware of the Kingdom and its demands in my heart and my relations to others in my life! What efforts do I make to discover and to know the present demands of his Kingdom in my life?
  2. The Kingdom of God Will Come: Jesus has used many images to describe the Kingdom of God. Like the mustard seed, it is hard to recognize at first. It begins small and grows slowly. But it will come, and this must be our daily prayer of desire: “Thy Kingdom Come!” We must resist a very real temptation. Almost unconsciously we want it to be a worldly Kingdom that will come during our lifetime. We work and pray as though we will soon arrive at our goals and rest from all our spiritual labors. This leads us to get easily discouraged at our lack of progress in prayer and virtue, no less than with the problems that surround us. No, we must live with hope, pushing forward with growing confidence that the Lord will bring his Kingdom to fulfillment, both in us and in the world—when the time is right. Whose kingdom am I seeking?
  3. My Words Will Not Pass Away: Another temptation in awaiting the Kingdom is to despair of the times of trial through which we must pass. But in the words of St. Theresa of Jesus, “all things pass,” only God remains. Nothing we suffer will remain as the Kingdom approaches. And yet all these “trials” are the most valuable and powerful means to bring about the Kingdom in our own souls and in the lives of others, especially in those who wander. Use the tools of the Kingdom: Suffer trials with faith and respond with a love that gives them an eternal value. May we never lose a moment in which to merit graces and to build the Kingdom that comes. In the end, only what we have done for God and for our brothers and sisters remains.

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, give me a greater faith and confidence that every cross and burden, no matter how trivial or small, is a means to love. I want to build your Kingdom with you. Keep me focused on the opportunities and demands of the present moment.

Resolution: I will make one small sacrifice at a meal today for someone I wish I could help more.


 

November 28, 2020 – Saturday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time

Ready or Not?

 

Father Edward Hopkins, LC

Luke 21:34-36

Jesus said to his disciples: “Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise like a trap. For that day will assault everyone who lives on the face of the earth. Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.”

Introductory Prayer: Dear Jesus, I believe in you and in the Kingdom you are building in and through me. I believe in the value of my sacrifice and struggles united to yours. I hope to arrive to heaven when you say it is time. I wish to spend myself for those I should love the most.

Petition: Rouse my heart, Lord, to live in you!

  1. Drowsy Hearts: Our life is a time of preparation, not only for an eternal friendship with God, but for the “assault” of the “tribulations” that must come first. The spiritual battle is real, whether or not we are aware of it, whether or not we want it. We fight each day and in many ways, but the battle is ultimately won in the depths of our hearts. All that puts our hearts to sleep and gives us a false sense of security that must be avoided. I may not “carouse and get drunk” in the typical fashion, but do I wander about seeking satisfaction from the world? Am I superficial in my judgments? Do I become so engrossed and absorbed in material matters, works and worries that I am unable to pursue my spiritual life and vocation with a clear and focused attention?
  2. That Day: It seems that none of us will escape the trial of that last day. For some it will be sudden and painful, for others it will be prolonged and difficult. But we are all mortal creatures. The great saints all lived with their end in mind. Death was a healthy meditation that moved them to live the present day to the full. Death is the door to my real life. The anticipation of that day need not rob us of joy; rather, it must call us to love. How I live this day determines how I will live “that day” and the everlasting day of eternal life with God. How do I want to live that day?
  3. Vigilance and Prayer: This is how Jesus invited his closest friends, the apostles, to live “that day” of his Passion: “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation” (Matthew 26:41). The final words of the Our Father must find resonance with how we live. Vigilance requires awareness not only of the enemies and threats that surround us, but also of the weaknesses within us. These elements are at work each day, and so we must be on guard each day to check their influence. This must be the simple and serene priority in our life. But it must always lead us to Christ, to stand before him sincerely and trustingly in prayer. Prayer and vigilance lead to each other. If we do not make prayer the air we breathe, we will suffocate in a polluted world. How much importance am I giving to my habits and life of prayer?

Conversation with Christ: Grant me, dear Jesus, a sense of urgency. Wake me up from any drowsiness or spiritual carelessness. Allow me to see both the threats and opportunities for my life of grace. Keep before my eyes the real meaning of my life and the limited time I have to conquer and to grow in love.

Resolution: I will pray today for the soul in purgatory who was most distracted or least prepared for “that day” of his death.


November 29, 2020  – First Sunday of Advent

Always on Watch

 

Mark 13:33-37

Jesus said to his disciples: “Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come. It is like a man traveling abroad. He leaves home and places his servants in charge, each with his own work, and orders the gatekeeper to be on the watch. Watch, therefore; you do not know when the Lord of the house is coming, whether in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning. May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to all: ‘Watch!’”

Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, I all too easily forget that you deserve the first spot in my life. In this moment, though, I recognize you as my King and Master. I know you are present with me now and that you wish to fill me with your grace. Thank you for your friendship; I offer my weak love in return. I love you, Lord, and wish you to reign in my life.

Petition: Lord Jesus, help me to stay vigilant and attentive to your holy inspirations.

  1. “You Do Not Know When the Master of the House Will Come.” Lord Jesus, I am not the master of my life; you are. I therefore ought not to fritter away my time simply doing as I please. I will need to render you an account of my stewardship over my life, which really belongs to you, my Creator and Redeemer. What will you ask of me when you come for my soul? Do my daily actions demonstrate your ownership of my life?
  2. Keep Alert: Lord Jesus, this Gospel may sound a bit harsh, but I thank you for its message. You’re reminding me how important it is to live my Christian life in a state of healthy tension—a tension that doesn’t imply frustration or anxiety of any sort, but rather is a constant desire to draw closer to you and be more like you. Just as a lover is exquisitely attentive to fulfill the every desire of the beloved, I should be watchful for the least occasion to please you.
  3. When He Comes, Will I Be Asleep? This Gospel makes me reflect on my need to receive pardon in the sacrament of reconciliation. The definitive moment of my death, that very special face-to-face encounter with you, Lord, might come when I am not expecting it. I must be ready for that moment. I want to be able to look you fully in the eye. I have sought to please you in my actions, and when I have failed, I have turned to you through confession to be washed of my sins. I want to hear you say to me: “Well done, good and faithful servant. Come share my joy” (Mt 25:23).

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, help me to “stay awake” in my daily life, keeping heaven as my true goal in all that I do. Help me to be ready in every moment of my life to be called into your presence.

Resolution: I will set a regular time to receive the sacrament of reconciliation frequently, if possible.

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