Uplifted Attention

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Friday of the Fourth Week of Advent

John 5:33-36

Jesus said to the Jews: “You sent emissaries to John, and he testified to the truth. I do not accept human testimony, but I say this so that you may be saved. He was a burning and shining lamp, and for a while you were content to rejoice in his light. But I have testimony greater than John’s. The works that the Father gave me to accomplish, these works that I perform testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me.”


Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, I come before you, once more begging you for the eyes of faith, to look forward to being with you in heaven. Grant me the grace to hope in you, in your promise of eternal life. I love you, Lord, for you have loved me first.


Encountering Christ:


  1. Freedom before Facts: Christ spoke about his mission on this earth, which was to reveal the Father to men, and to bring us all to eternal life. Jesus spoke of all that testified to him: John the Baptist, the Old Testament Scriptures, his own miracles, even the Father himself. Nonetheless, Jesus didn’t force the Jews to make a decision, to believe in him or else. Rather, he simply let them know that they were free to choose him: “…but you do not want to come to me to have life.” Christ presents us with the same evidence of his divinity and he leaves us free to choose. To choose him is to choose life!
  2. Horizontal versus Vertical Views: Jesus tried to draw the Jews away from their obsession with Moses and the law and toward him as the fulfilment of the law. They hadn’t realized that Moses testified to Jesus. In the book of Deuteronomy, Moses said that God would raise up a prophet like him from among the people of Israel, to whom they were to listen. Oftentimes we can get caught up in this way or that way of being Catholic, entangling ourselves in the law instead of lifting our eyes and our hearts to heaven, to Jesus. Lord, lift our eyes to you!
  3. Hope Extending from Faith: St. Paul once said, “If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are the most pitiable people of all” (1 Corinthians 15:19). Christ wants to show us in this discourse that there is more to hope for in this life than perfect conformity with the law, personified by Moses. He wants to show us that if we come to him, we will have eternal life. This gives purpose and direction to our whole life. Our time on earth is given to us by God in order to come to Christ, and gain eternity with him. 


Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, you know how distracted I get with the petty day to day drama of my life. You know how far it can drag my gaze from you, Lord. Draw me back to you! Draw my gaze back so that I may help to draw others back to you as well. 


Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will spend a few quiet moments in prayer in recollection at midday.


For Further Reflection: Seasons of Change: A Retreat Guide on Spiritual Growth by Fr. John Bartunek, LC (available on RCSpirituality.org).


Br. Brian Flanagan, LC, is a seminarian studying classical humanities with the Legionaries of Christ in Cheshire, Connecticut. He is from Atlanta, Georgia, and has been in the Legion since 2016. He can be contacted at bflanagan@legionaries.org. 


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