November 25 Devotional

Come to Stillness: Take a few minutes to allow your mind and heart to be still before God.

Opening Prayer: I feel your love as you hold me to your sacred heart, my beloved Jesus, my God, my Master, but I feel, too, the need I have of your tenderness, and your caress because of my infinite weakness. - Charles de Foucauld

Scripture Reading for the Day: Luke 15:11-32

Reading for Reflection: Aren’t you, like me hoping that some person, thing or event will come along to give you that final feeling of inner well-being you desire? Don’t you often hope: “May this book, idea, course, trip, job, country or relationship fulfill my deepest desire.” But as long as you are waiting for that mysterious moment you will go on running helter-skelter, always anxious and restless, always lustful and angry, never fully satisfied. You know that this is the compulsiveness that keeps us going and busy, but at the same time makes us wonder whether we are getting anywhere in the long run. This is the way to spiritual exhaustion and burn-out. This is the way to spiritual death.

Well, you and I don’t have to kill ourselves. We are the Beloved. We are intimately loved long before our parents, teachers, spouses, children and friends loved or wounded us. That’s the truth of our lives. That’s the truth I want you to claim for yourself. That’s the truth spoken by the voice that says,” You are my Beloved.”

Listening to that voice with great inner attentiveness, I hear words that say: “I have called you by name, from the very beginning. You are mine and I am yours. You are my Beloved, on you my favor rests. I have molded you in the depths of the earth and knitted you together in your mother’s womb. I have carved you in the palms of my hands and hidden you in the shadow of my embrace. I look at you with infinite tenderness and care for you with a care more intimate than that of a mother for a child. I have counted every hair on your head and guided you at every step. Wherever you go, I go with you, and wherever you rest, I keep watch. I will give you food that will satisfy all your hunger and drink that will quench all your thirst. I will not hide my face from you. You know me as your own and I know you as my own, You belong to me....wherever you are I will be. Nothing will ever separate us. We are one.” (Life of the Beloved by Henri J.M. Nouwen)

Reflection and Listening: silent and written

Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself

R. and G. are serving at a sanitorium for chest diseases and a children’s home, focusing on bringing holistic healthcare to the semi-nomadic people of an area in the Middle East. R. is a dentist and G. is a teacher and artist. Pray today for another nurse and administrator for the hospital.

Samaritan Ministry is a faith-based AIDS Service Organization led by Wayne Smith at Central Baptist Church of Bearden in Knoxville. They seek to serve people, primarily in East Tennessee, who are living with HIV/AIDS through direct support and by way of their significant network of service providers. Pray today for Wayne Smith as he leads this organization.

Closing Prayer: To my Father, I’m on my way home again. I know the way, but it’s been a long time. I’m different now - not much older, but much more wrinkled. Funny how things change us, funny how we change things. You loved me enough to let me leave. It didn’t seem like love back then - honestly, it seemed like indifference. But time has taught me more about what real love looks like. Now, I see my old house up ahead waiting tentatively beside the road. And then you appear, without folded arms or a furrowed brow, just outstretched arms and tender tears. You run to greet me, looking past my past. Even though I ran away willingly and came back grudgingly, you loved me enough to wait for me, and now I feel the greatest love of all as you welcome me back home. (A Heart Exposed by Steven James)