READ: Mark 9

BACKGROUND: This is an incredible and intense chapter that includes the miraculous Transfiguration, Jesus foretelling his death, the casting out of demons, and lessons on Heaven & Hell.
By Verse:
2 – Transfigured = physically transformed
4 – The Jews expected the return of Elijah (Malachi 4:5-6)
5 – Tabernacles = booths/tents of intertwined branches.  This is interesting because it indicates that in this moment Peter viewed Jesus, Elijah, & Moses as equals.
8 – After God spoke and took away Elijah & Moses it was clear that Jesus was not their equal but their God.
24 – This is an incredibly honest and heartfelt prayer.
31 – Jesus foretold his death, but his disciples were confused by it.
42-50 – Jesus is talking about the seriousness of sin here. Sometimes we take sin lightly. Clearly Jesus does not. Also, his words are interesting because in a culture that did not value children highly, Jesus very clearly values children and wants to protect them. In the gospels he even encourages all of us to have childlike faith.

THINK: In 1873 a baby girl would be born to devout Catholic parents in the province of Normandy, France.  Little Therese Martin was faced with challenges almost immediately.  She suffered a crippling stomach disorder which eventually claimed the lives of four of her siblings.  According to her mother, Therese was like many kids – a little “high-strung” and prone to fits of tantrum.  “She rolls on the floor in despair believing all is lost.  Sometimes she is so overcomes she almost chokes.” Years later Therese would reflect on her own life, “I was far from being a perfect little girl.”

At age four she lost her mother to breast cancer, a tragedy that rocked Therese to the core.  When she was only fifteen Therese wanted nothing more than to give her life to Jesus and was admitted as a nun into a secluded Carmelite community at Lisieux.  There she lived in relative obscurity, in keeping with her desire to be “unknown,” charting a spiritual path that would inspire millions around the world despite her untimely death in 1897.  She was only 24.

Today many Christians, both Catholic and Protestant, consider Therese of Lisieux to be one of the greatest saints of modern times.  Heroes of the faith like Mother Teresa, Dorothy Day, Thomas Merton and Jean Vanier were ardent devotees of St. Theresa who was to be affectionately named “The Little Flower of Jesus.”  Not because she wrote important books or held lofty positions, Therese was known for her “little way,” a childlike way of simplicity, humility and complete abandonment to God.

She once wrote a prayer and kept it in a small container that she pinned over her heart.  The prayer simply read, “Make me resemble you, Jesus!”  Reflecting on the words of her Savior she wrote:

Leaving to great souls, to great minds, the beautiful books I cannot understand, I rejoice to be little because ‘only children, and those who are like them, will be admitted to the heavenly banquet.’

Therese’ life was touched dramatically on Christmas Eve in 1886, an event she would later call her “complete conversion.” “On that blessed night,” she wrote, “Jesus, who saw fit to make Himself a child out of love for me, saw fit to have me come forth from the swaddling clothes and imperfections of childhood.” She may have entered into adulthood that night, but she never left her child-like simplicity and all-consuming trust in Jesus.

For me, prayer is a movement of the heart; it is a simple glance toward Heaven. . . which expands my soul and unites me to Jesus. . . . I have not the courage to look through books for beautiful prayers…. I do like a child who does not know how to read; I say very simply to God what I want to say, and He always understands me.

“Lord, give us the teenagers,” Jim Rayburn prayed, “each one at least long enough for a meaningful confrontation with Thee.” Though they may be simple, unpolished, rebellious and raw – bring us the teenagers who, like Teresa the “Little Flower of Jesus,” have a God who listens and understands.

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” -Mt 19:14

Borrowed from an old friend, Michael Havercamp, and his blog: http://ylcatholic.blogspot.com

PRAY: Today, pray the childlike prayer of Saint Theresa, “Make me resemble you, Jesus!”

 


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