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Monday, January 4, 1999

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St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

1 John 3:22—4:6
Psalm 2
Matthew 4:12-17, 23-25

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test the spirits (1 jn 4:1)

"Such is the spirit of the antichrist which, as you have heard, is to come; in fact, it is in the world already." —1 John 4:3

Many people have missed out on Christmas again. They mistakenly thought the true Christmas spirit was pleasure, selfishness, lust, or greed. "Beloved, do not trust" every Christmas spirit, "but put the spirits to a test to see if they belong to God, because many false prophets have appeared in the world" (1 Jn 4:1). "This is how you can recognize" the true Christmas Spirit, the Holy Spirit (1 Jn 4:2):

  • "Every spirit that acknowledges Jesus Christ come in the flesh belongs to God, while every spirit that fails to acknowledge Him does not belong to God" (1 Jn 4:2-3).
  • "Those others belong to the world; that is why theirs is the language of the world and why the world listens to them" (1 Jn 4:5).
  • "We belong to God and anyone who has knowledge of God gives us a hearing, while anyone who is not of God refuses to hear us" (1 Jn 4:6).

Test the spirits by their relationship to Jesus, their kind of involvement in the world, and their obedient hearing of the Church. "Thus do we distinguish the Spirit of truth from the spirit of deception" (1 Jn 4:6).

We don't have to miss out on Christmas and life anymore. Test the spirits, and recognize the true Christmas Spirit.

Prayer:  Father, as we begin this year dedicated to You, give me the charism of discerning spirits or lead me to someone who has this gift (see 1 Cor 12:10).

Promise:  "On those who inhabit a land overshadowed by death, light has arisen." —Mt 4:16

Praise:  St. Elizabeth's mother died when she was three years old. Her husband died when she was twenty-nine, a widow with five small children. She died eighteen years later, but not before giving birth to America's parochial school system and a new religious order.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert J. Buschmiller, June 11, 1998

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 20, 1998