The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks about earthly things. The one who comes from heaven is above all. He testifies to what he has seen and heard, yet no one accepts his testimony. Whoever has accepted his testimony has certified this, that God is true.
He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure. The Father loves the Son and has placed all things in his hands. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but must endure God’s wrath.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)
When my nephew was a young child I remember my sister with equal parts tenderness and tested patience, holding his face with her hands, look him in the eye and say in a steady quiet voice, “I need you to listen, son, and obey.” As with all children, this was not a one-time occurrence. Sometimes there was more tenderness, sometimes less patience, but always great love. I imagine that Jesus began to learn this lesson to “listen and obey” from his own mother: let other children have the first turn; be good for your grandparents; calm down, it is time to pray; wash your hands before dinner; share what you have with those who are in need; don’t wander off in a crowd. Later in life, secure in the knowledge that he was a beloved child of God, Jesus learned to listen more deeply, and obey out love and generosity, ultimately offering the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of his human family.
Peter and the Apostles learned this lesson from Jesus, knowing that the grace, courage and wisdom required would be abundantly poured out by the Holy Spirit in their time of challenge, even in the face of death threats because of their witness for Christ. St. Stanislaus, whose feast we celebrate today, was Bishop of Krakow and martyred in 1079 because he opposed King Boleslaus II’s immoral reign and oppression of his people. Most of us won’t be asked to offer the ultimate sacrifice of a martyr, but each day we are invited to offer our lives with love and generosity to and for the One who loved us first.
A Morning Offering for the Pro-Life Activist
God, you know the desires of our hearts
for authentic peace, justice and love.
I offer you my prayers, thoughts, words, actions,
joys, and sufferings today, together with Jesus
who continues to offer himself to us in the Eucharist;
who continues to reveal himself to us
in the poor, the oppressed, the marginalized, the unborn,
the most vulnerable in our world.
May your Holy Spirit be my guide and strength today
so that I may be a witness to your love, your justice, and your peace,
and to the sanctity of each human life.
Together with Mary, our mother, sister, and friend,
she who carried the Savior in her womb,
with all the communion of saints,
and with all of us who offer ourselves to you
for the good of others today, we pray:
—From the Apostleship of Prayer website – Morning Offering Prayers. Used with permission.