Taking time to be in solitude     by:   Sr. Leizle Pangngay, SSS

January 12, Wednesday, 1st Week in Ordinary Time [In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. Mark 1: 29-39] In this Gospel reading, Jesus portrays a very busy day- he heals, he preaches and he casts demons away but no matter how busy Jesus was, he gave time for prayer, to be in union with the Father. This is a wake up call for me, that no matter how much work I have for a day, I am being challenged to set a time to be with God alone, to quiet myself, to reflect, to ponder, to pray. I can attest to the truth that without prayer, I won’t last spiritually, psychologically and even physically. Prayer is the source of nourishment and strength, it is the font of grace!

The Threat of the Evil     by:   Sr. Leizle Pangngay, SSS

January 11, Tuesday, 1st Week in Ordinary Time [In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit; he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are–the Holy One of God!” Jesus rebuked him and said, “Quiet! Come out of him!” Mk 1:21–28] I imagine this scene as the ‘face-off’ between the evil one and Jesus Christ. Jesus knocks-out the devil! Translating this in my time and context of today, I should not be afraid of the evil one lurking around me and within me because God is more powerful than any evil. Thus, I am encouraged and invited to cling more to Jesus, to keep holding on to Him because only Him can drive the evil spirits away; the spirit of division, frustrations, annoyance, anger, doubts, anxieties and other negative entities that makes the heart weary. Lord Jesus, grant me the grace of courage and wisdom when facing the activity of the evil one in this world. Give me the wisdom to discern his workings and give me courage to confront and rebuke him with Your grace, love and authority. Amen.

The Call     by:   Sr. Leizle Pangngay, SSS

January 10, Monday, 1st Week in Ordinary Time [Follow me, and I will make you a fisher of men…’ Mark 1:14-20] Responding to God’s call is never easy because it changes life. It goes against the norms of the world. Thus, it takes a lot of courage, faith and trust in God. In the context of religious life, to follow Christ is fulfilling but entails a lot of challenges and sacrifices. As a young religious, I also experience difficulties and challenges but what keeps me going in this way of life is my personal conviction that it is God who called me and surely He will always be walking with me in the ups and downs of my daily life. I beg you Lord to increase my faith and love so that I may be able to follow You courageously in the day-to-day of my life. Amen.

Feast of the Baptism of the Lord     by:   Sr. Leizle Pangngay, SSS

January 9, Sunday, Feast of the Baptism of the Lord ["You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased." Mark 1:7-11 (B)] God loves me and He is well pleased with me! I thank my parents for allowing me and my siblings to be baptized in the Roman Catholic Church. I give thanks to God for the gift of faith. By virtue of my baptism, I became a child of God and belonged to God’s big family. I also share in the mission of Christ, His passion, death and resurrection… Lord, I pray that I may always be aware of your great love for me so that I can also love and exude goodness towards other people. Amen.

'He must increase, but I must decrease'     by:   Sr. Leizle Pangngay, SSS

January 8, Saturday, after Epiphany to the Baptism of the Lord – ['I am not the Messiah, but I have been sent ahead of him.' He who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom's voice. For this reason my joy has been fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease." John 3:22-30] John the Baptist clearly knew his identity and his role and I wonder how he did it… I can only conclude that he must be really a man of God, with a deep, deep prayer life that made him always inclined to the will of God and committed to prepare the way of the Lord. As the Lord increases, he must decrease. I also ask myself… In my life, is Jesus increasing, becoming more and more visible in my witnessing? Lord, I pray that I may also give myself fully to You for the service of many. Amen.

Finding my sacred space     by:   Sr. Leizle Pangngay, SSS

January 7, Friday, after Epiphany to the Baptism of the Lord – [But now more than ever the word about Jesus spread abroad; many crowds would gather to hear him and to be cured of their diseases. But he would withdraw to deserted places and pray. Luke 5:12-16] Jesus was becoming more and more popular among the people because of his wondrous works and they kept on following Him. I can imagine that Jesus must have also felt uncomfortable with the fuss around him so He always finds time to be alone, to be quiet, to pray and to be with His Father. I am also bothered with many things, and even some petty things around my community. I wish to join Jesus in his quiet spot, just to be with Him, to calm my nerves… Lord, please teach me to be quiet and to pray. Amen.

"This Spirit of the Lord is Upon Me'     by:   Sr. Leizle Pangngay, SSS

January 6, Thursday, after Epiphany to the Baptism of the Lord – [‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.’ Lk 4:14-22] The world is full of troubles and confusion. By virtue of my baptism, I became a child of God and also belonged to the Church. Thus, how do I share in the mission of Christ? Do I cultivate peace in me and among my brothers and sisters? I pray to God to grant me the grace to live my daily life as an instrument of peace and unity for my community and for the bigger society. Amen.

My Greatest Fear     by:   Sr. Leizle Pangngay, SSS

January 5, Wednesday, after Epiphany to the Baptism of the Lord [“Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!” Mark 6:45-52] The feelings of Fear surely makes me immobile, paralyze waiting for my doom. One of my greatest fears in life is losing a member of my family. I had experienced it before and it was terrible! It was only by the grace of God that kept me sane… Lord, help me to lift my eyes toward You and to turn away from the sources of my anxiety and fear in life. Fill me with faith and hope in You and give me the courage to put all my trust in You. Amen.

Jesus was looking at the crowd with compassion     by:   Sr. Leizle Pangngay, SSS

January 4, Tuesday, after Epiphany to the Baptism of the Lord [When Jesus saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. Mk 6:34-44] Jesus was looking at the crowd with compassion. He saw a group of people who seemed lost, were searching and were spiritually hungry. They were looking for some direction in their lives, and so, they were coming to Jesus. This is how the heart of God is, it is full of compassion! Right now at this moment, I am also feeling lost and frustrated. I feel so down that everything that I see is all negative. I am looking for a way to relieve these feelings and I end up looking at Jesus. Asking Him in my prayer to help me go through this ‘ordeal’. I just knew that He was looking at me, gazing at me with compassion and this realization made me cry… God is inviting me, teaching me to cling on to him, and know that He is with me, filling me with his loving presence…

The Ministry Goes On     by:   Sr. Leizle Pangngay, SSS

January 3, Monday after Epiphany to the Baptism of the Lord [From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 4:12-17,23-25] Jesus begins his public ministry and he is calling for a change, for a renewal. Today is the start of the new year's week. I also ask myself, what are the things, or my actions that are keeping me away from God? Do I have the will to change my old ways that are not really helping me personally? Lord I pray, give me the grace to become free from all that keeps me from You. May I not only turn from sin but also turn to You as the source of all mercy and fulfillment in my life. Help me to keep my eyes on You and be able to contribute to the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. May I become an instrument to bring glad tidings for others especially at this trial time of pandemic. Amen.

The Great Epiphany     by:   Sr. Leizle Pangngay, SSS

January 2 - Solemnity of the Manifestation of the Lord / Epiphany Sunday [Wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, ‘Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.’ Matthew 2:1-12 (B)] The Magi travelled the distance to look for the newborn King, with the wonder star as their guide leading them to the Infant Jesus in Bethlehem. Life is sometimes full of questions, seeking and searching. With God’s guiding light, I pray that I may always seek the truth and that I may recognize it when God puts it in my path. Likewise I also pray for the many people who are losing their faith due to life’s adversaries, may they find people as their guiding star that will lead them back to Jesus our Savior. Amen. Like the Magi, what gifts can I bring to the Infant Jesus? I contemplate Mary, Joseph and Jesus in the manger. I ask permission from Mary if I can carry baby Jesus… then she gave him to me, saying ‘He is for everyone…’ I am deeply moved by looking at the baby Jesus, so fragile, so innocent, so lovable, so adorable! I thank Mary for allowing me to hold Jesus in arms.

The Light of Christ     by:   Sr. Leizle J. Pangngay, SSS

December 31, 7th day of Christmas Octave [What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:1–18] This readings gives me so much hope and and assurance that God will bring us light. The Light of Christ is more powerful than darkness so nothing to be afraid of. At this time of pandemic, I pray that many people will experience the Light of Christ is this seemingly dark period of our present time. May all people grow in faith, hope and trust in God. Amen.

The Prophetess Anna     by:   Sr. Leizle J. Pangngay, SSS

December 30, 6th day of Christmas Octave [There was a prophetess, Anna…She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer. And coming forward at that very time, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem. Luke 2:36–40] Like Simeon, Anna was also an old woman who prayed unceasingly as she wait for the coming of the Lord. She devoted herself in fasting and praying at the temple while waiting for the one and definitive moment of her life: her encounter with the Christ Child in the Temple. Anna is a woman of prayer and my symbol of persevering hope. Lord, thank You for the powerful witness of the prophetess Anna. May her lifelong devotion to You, a life of continual prayer and sacrifice, be a model and inspiration for me as I follow you your way of life. Anna, holy woman of Israel, pray for me!

The Song of Simeon     by:   Sr. Leizle J. Pangngay, SSS

December 29, 5th day of Christmas Octave [Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying, "Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel." Luke 2: 22-35] Simeon was an old man but one who is hopeful and looked forward to the coming of the Messiah. As soon as Mary and Joseph with baby entered the temple, he recognised Jesus as the promised Saviour of all nations. Simeon took the child in his arms and praised God. All his dreams were now fulfilled and as a servant he was content to go in peace. Simeon is teaching me to be hopeful up to the end, and he also showing me how to welcome Jesus and give thanks to God for the gift of the Incarnate God in the person of Jesus. I pray to recognise Jesus in everyday of my life and to welcome Him more fully as I move forward to the unknown future. Simeon, holy man of Israel, pray for me!

The Holy Innocents     by:   Sr. Leizle J. Pangngay, SSS

December 28, Feast of the Holy Innocents, Martyrs [When the magi had departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.” Matthew 2:13] This passage reveals to us the will of the Father to protect His divine Son and to protect the sanctity of all human life. St. Joseph played the main role for the safety of the Infant Jesus. This envites me to be like Saint Joseph, to become an instrument, an agent to protect life at all cost. To stand for the helpless, the innocent, the most vulnerable especially the child within the womb.

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